The Hall of Shame

August 11, 2009 at 11:01 am 8 comments

Our Hall of Shame – an ongoing list of badly assembled bikes – continues to grow with submissions from different people and sources.

So far we have evidence of badly assembled adult and children’s bikes from:

  • Halfords
  • Argos
  • Asda
  • Toys R Us
  • Dunlop
  • Silverfox

Take a look for yourself


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Getting support BBC Watchdog to feature bicycle shaped objects

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Michael Hockaday  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:30 am

    I became interested reading this article as I think I have fallen foul of the BSO as well. I purchased an Apollo Mountain bike from Halfords 6 months ago costing me £150, little did I realise that it was the wrong choice for me eventually after I had ridden it a few times. I can barely use the gears above 15th because it is just so hard to pedal for more than a few seconds due to the resistance on my legs, which is disappointing as I remember my dad purchasing a 21-soeed bike a few years ago for £300 (another mountain bike) but I could easily achieve top gears and maintain them.

    The frame on my bike has a front suspension but this adds extra weight to the bike causing riding to be difficult upon tarmac and road-like surfaces and meaning that an average speed of 10mph is the best I can expect to achieve without damaging my legs and muscles.

    Although this bike is unsuitable for me, I understand why I purchased mine, I paid £150 from Halfords and they did all the assembly for me, unfortuantely I was too naive to realise that part-time college students aren’t the best people to build a bike and I had to take it back twice to get minor adjustments done to it.

    I was on a strict budget at the time and couldn’t find any shops that would stock a total price of under £200 for all the cycling equipment I required, as road bikes or even commuting bikes do not come that cheap.

    This bike will get me from A to B but it will get me there slower than I can realistically achieve the distance, it will cause me more effort that I need to put in and ultimately it will cause me to become unhappy with the experience.

    I am now looking for a second hand road bike on eBay that has been used as that is all that I can afford, as I cannot pay in excess of £200 for a bike but I am sure that in due course I will make my move up from mountain bike, which is completely useless for my type of cycling to road bike.

  • 2. Martin  |  January 12, 2010 at 11:30 am

    Thanks for this blog Mark.
    Halfords, Supermarkets, Argos and Toy shops have been selling BSO for a long time!
    As there is a market for BSO’s. It’s great you are letting the consumer aware of BSO’s, before they buy. I sometimes have to charge a little more to work on a BSO’s, as it is more time consuming, to do repairs like adjusting gears and brakes. And even then it still doesn’t feel right. This year I have noticed a decline in BOS repairs. I think as more people are getting in to cycling and are buying from a shop and having the bicycle that is for there use of riding. And then they enjoy cycling.
    Network of mobile bicycle mechanics

  • 3. Maarten Sneep  |  September 6, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    The real trick is of course to get someone who has bought one of these £70 bikes on a bike that is still not too expensive, and see if they can spot the difference, sort of the same experiment, in reverse.

    I mean, you and I know what a good bike feels like, but a totally inexperienced rider wouldn’t recognise a good bike at any distance.

    Maarten (from The Netherlands).

  • 4. Darren Selby  |  September 4, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I was interested in your bike Shaped objects article . I may in fact be the proud possessor of such a bike. I originally purchased a Falcon Mountain bike for my daughter which languished in the shed mainly for 4 years. A waste of materials and resources I thought and when i discovered the grand union canal rang near my house I began riding to work on it (300 miles so far completed) My point is this the bike is heavy and chunky , has cheapy tires , good brakes , shimano gears and a semi decent crank but has done the job thus far. I assembled this myself though I think it came straight from falcon. My point is this there are many bikes in the £300-500 price range of what are considered good makes but they are aluminiun. apparently this develops fatigue and has a 5 year life span. Why would I want to buy a bike costing £500 or more that has a lifespan of 5 years ! hardly enviromentally friendly, which is a selling point. There is a market for cheap SAFE bikes and as pointed out people like me who have got the bug will look to purchase a better bike later. Any ideas ? Steel frame , lightish, hybrid £300-500

    • 5. Jamie  |  September 5, 2009 at 7:29 am

      Hi Darren,
      There’s definitely a market for cheap, safe bikes and there are plenty of them out there for between £300 – £500. However, your point about aluminium is absolutely incorrect – if aluminium only lasts 5 years it wouldn’t be used to make Boeings and Airbuses! Of course there are many different grades of aluminium, just as there are many different grades and alloys of steel. But it really doesn’t matter too much – bicycles hardly ever fail because of their frames – it’s the components that fail, which is why the best cheap bikes use basic frames with good quality components.

    • 6. Darren Selby  |  September 7, 2009 at 11:36 am

      Hello Jamie,

      I didn’t mean to imply that Aluminium frames only last five years. However it must be stated that the manufacturers only offer this warranty whereas a steel frame is generally guaranteed for life. This must mean something ! On investigation of the subject I have found that Aluminium is indeed more prone to fatigue and it may last longer than five years but will be more likely to crack at some point. It is also harder to get aluminium welded especially on the road. I think basically the message is this if you want a bike for a lifetime or a tourer it would be best to go with steel. This is only my opinion. Your quote about bike frame design may be correct and certainly aluminiun is used in aircraft design , however aircraft are routinely scanned for fatigue. does anyone have a definitive answer ?

      • 7. Jamie  |  September 7, 2009 at 12:18 pm

        You are right that Aluminium is (in general) more prone to fatigue, and more difficult to weld than steel. But I think this misses the point of a “cheap, safe bike.” Yes – if you want a tourer (a very specific kind of bike for a very specific kind of purpose), I would recommend (good quality) steel alloy or titanium, for the very reasons you state, and you should expect to pay a slight premium for this particular longevity and on-the-move fixability. For the vast majority of people wanting a cheap and safe bike (as I believe was your original comment), an aluminium frame will easily outlast the componentry (wheels, gears, bearings etc.), or the rider’s cycling lifetime. Go to your local dump where the bikes are piled up high and look at the bikes in the pile. You won’t see many broken frames – regardless of what material they’re made of. You will see a lot of BSOs with cheap, nasty components. Also, different manufacturers offer different guarantees – many aluminium manufacturers offer lifetime guarantees – it’s simply not true that they all only offer 5 years (although I’m sure some of the cheaper ones do – or indeed some of the lightweight competition ones). Your steel Falcon cycle I’d guess came with a lifetime guarantee if it’s a rigid steel frame, if it’s got any suspension, as so many BSOs do, it’ll only be a 1 year guarantee.

  • 8. chris  |  August 24, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    This looks like a worthy cause to highlight.

    On a plus note for those genuinely looking for a cheap ride, Decathlon (i know they don’t have stores everywhere) do what seems a very decent bike for £100.


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