May 18, 2014 by welshcyclist
As you, my faithful reader, will know, I have been riding my Jamis Sputnik single speed these last couple of weeks, after the left pedal on my Pioneer commuter came off. Since then the it has been in Halfords under my, still current, Bikecare agreement. When I dropped it in, I had the feeling all my past dire experiences with them would become a thing of the past, because the mechanic I spoke to, at the Swansea store seemed to know what he was talking about. I was fairly confident as I left my Pioneer, in his hands.
I wanted a full service done on the bike, Paul had pointed out that, because the rims on the front wheel were completely smooth, they needed to be renewed, or a new wheel put in place. I opted for the new wheel, £40, far from the most expensive, but matching the replacement I had for the back last year. New brake pads, cables, new crank arm, handlebar grips, and replacement mudguards. It all added up to roughly £80, no charge for labour. The crank arm had to be ordered in, so Paul said he would not be able to start the job until the following week, I replied that I was in no rush, Just wanted everything done and well.
After a week, Paul rang me to say he had come across a problem, my bottom bracket needed replacing, I asked how much that was going to cost me, he said £9.99 ? Which, I thought sounded too cheap cheap, “does that mean the replacement would be of poor quality?” I asked. “Not at all,” he said, ” Same quality as the original one supplied by Raleigh, just not paying for a brand name.” I took him at his word.
Another week went by, and I called in last Friday, to check on progress. Paul was not there, but another chap helpfully went into the backroom to find out, only to come back and tell me that as they had been waiting for the crank arm to come in, my bike was still far from finished, but that it had arrived that morning, and if I wanted he could make sure it was ready for Saturday, the next day, afternoon. Well, I left it till the Monday, my better half and I had to go into Swansea, to shop. So I loaded up the bike rack onto my Yaris, and we called to Halfords on our way back.
There were a few surprises in store for me. Overall, all good ones, I think in retrospect!
When my Pioneer was wheeled out to me in the shop, I have to say, it looked brand new. The front wheel and so on. But looking more closely, I could see that my pedals had been replaced with much cheaper ones. I asked what had happened to mine, Paul apologised that they had been lost! Further, that because they could not get a match for my crank arm, and as my pedals had been “lost”, his manager had told him to replace the complete triple crankset for free. I looked and could see this was spankingly brand new! It even hand a chainguard. At this point the manager came over, and I said to him that I was not happy that my pedals had been replaced with poorer quality ones, his reply was that of course he would replace them with similar quality, took me over to his computer, and brought up very similar looking ones , the originals no longer being stocked. I agreed that I was happy to have them, and he said he would have them posted out to me, saving me another trip into Swansea.
The Pioneer before….
and after….. notice the cheap pedals.
My new triple crankset
New front wheel, and mudguards…
However, the best was yet to come. The pictures above were taken earlier this evening, after I had ridden the Pioneer a couple of times again on my commute post repair and new parts, hence it being loaded up with pannier bags.
I have ridden my single speed for a few weeks, and have found it very re-invigorating, faster and much lighter to ride. After reattaching panniers (full) to the Pioneer it seemed so very heavy and cumbersome, I, in fact was dreading my first commute to work on it last Thursday.
I need not have dreaded the experience, because it was a breeze. I started off slowly, but once I got back into the gears it was great. The bike rode so smoothly, it felt, feels like a brand new bike. Complete repairs, new parts £98 etc.. Just waiting for my new pedals to be delivered.
Despite all my past bad experience with Halfords, I really do believe they have turned the corner.
Now I am thinking of getting a Bikecare agreement for the Sputnik.