Hall of Shame
On this page we will publish details of badly assembled bicycles. If you would like to make a submission to the Hall of Shame leave a comment at the bottom of this page or make contact here
Tesco Vertigo Mountain Bike
Thanks to Dan for submitting these photos after visiting his local Tesco store. The first photo shows that the front wheel has been fitted incorrectly, with the disc brake rotor on the wrong side to the brake caliper meaning the front brake will not work. The second photo shows that the handlebars have been fitted incorrectly and as a result the brake levers are at a dangerous angle and will make stopping very difficult. You definitely won’t want to be riding anywhere downhill on this bike!
Argos Christmas 2011 TV advert
Argos decided to make the classic mistake of fitting the front forks the wrong way on prime time TV. A costly ovesight. At least its on £5.95 for delivery so you can use the cash you’ve saved to get a proper mechanic to set-up the bike.
My brakes don’t work properly
This isn’t strictly a Bicycle Shaped Object image but its definitely shameful. More on a stupidity level than anything else. The bike below was brought into a bike shop by a customer who said the brakes were not working properly and could the mechanic take a look to see what the problem might be…
Toys R Us – Breeze Mountain Bike
Paul sent us this one, which he actually saw published in an advert in The Sun newspaper. Fortunately Toys R Us have also been helpful enough to display it on their website. Its called the Breeze but riding it will be far from a breeze with those front forks facing the wrong way.
Sports Direct, Milton Keynes – Dunlop “Cold Fusion” Ladies MTB
Thanks to Ian Harper for this one. Forks on backwards but its ok because this is a “mega deal” at £89.99! Great example of a strong brand licensing its name to any product without really considering the end result.
Another one from Asda!
Thanks to William Parsons who submitted the photo below, taken at an Asda store in Manchester on Saturday 15th August. Forks on backwards again!
After the embarrassment of pulling a national TV advert because the front forks of the bike shown were facing backwards Asda should (could) have made sure every store was checked to ensure no other bikes had been incorrectly set-up.
The notice on the bike reads: “Please do not touch display”. It should be added with: “…because this bike is dangerous.”
Montana Mohawk MTB
This is a brilliant example of simple poor quality and set-up, and not a backwards facing fork in sight!
Jamie from Revel Outdoors has been in touch to tell us about this bike which was recently brought into his shop. We don’t know where the bike was purchased but a quick Google search showed it is on sales for between £110 – £125. The cost to properly set-up the bike and replace parts was £80.
As a pleasant change this bike does in fact have its front forks facing the right way, however it’s not totally without its problems as Jamie discovered:
Handlebars and controls:
The controls were all over the place, mainly because they were all loose. These controls should have been tightened up before the bike was sent to the customer – it’s possible they were, but the quality of the fasteners was so poor that they may have become loose in transit. Twisting the right hand grip shifter resulted in the whole unit twisting, rather than any change in gears.
The front wheel was not aligned correctly, causing the brake arm to contact with the edge of the tyre. The forks had holes above the axle and an alignment washer, which clearly the customer had not understood. Whether the alignment washer is actually to align the wheel or act as a safety mechanism to keep the wheel in should the nut come loose, is unclear. The fact that the customer cannot simply put the wheel straight into the forks and have it line up straight is a clear indication of the poor quality of the fork dropouts.
The front brake was lent over to the side. When applying the brakes, the brake arm came into contact with the tyre. Even with the brakes set up correctly, this was still a concern, particularly as the customer may fit wider tyres later on. Notice also how small the gap is between the calliper and end of the cable housing – too small to accommodate the rubber cover!
The front derailleur was far too high above the chainset – the gears wouldn’t change at all. Again, this should have been set up before the bike was sent to the customer. The left hand shifter turned freely anyway, without having any effect on the gears. Once the derailleur was lowered to the correct position, it was clear that it still wasn’t going to work as it was badly bent and didn’t line up with the chainset. The bracket holding it on was too bent to fix so it had to be replaced.
Even after replacing the derailleur, the gears still wouldn’t shift for two reasons:
- The outer cables used for the gears were actually brake cables which do not work for indexing
- The poor quality of the shifters and awful cable routing meant that too much force was required to change gears
Boardman MTB from Halfords
Paul from Ellis Briggs Cycles in Shipley, West Yorkshire sent me the photo below of a Boardman brand mountain bike purchased from Halfords. In case you’ve missed it under all that mud the front forks are facing backwards.
What is scary to me about this is the fact that this bicycle has clearly seen quite a bit of riding and much of it off-road. I guess the rider was lucky to get it to a professional cycle mechanic before an accident occured.
Here’s what Paul had to say:
“The customer said it was Halfords that had built it like that. People are so blasé about it. When you tell them their bike is dangerous and they should send it back or complain, they are just not bothered. “Its just a bike” they say and don’t beleive that its dangerous. Even when they can pull their brake levers right back to the bars they still don’t bother. I find it really incredible. To be honest it makes you think that somebody would need to get killed before people realised anything was wrong.
And people’s perception about our skills is low really. They certainly don’t think that a bicycle takes any skill to work on. Afterall its “just a bike”. I think we’ve sold ourselves short for too many years.”
“Star Wars Clones” 16inch child’s bike from Argos
One sharp eyed reader sent us the photo below from the Argos website, which shows a child’s bike with forks facing backwards. You can see the photo here as well
Another bike from Argos
Steve from Cycling On sent us the following:
For your collection Mark…. Had a wheel in of an Argos bike, at least that is where I was told it came from. A local Autistic school had bought a number of them and a teacher took one for a ride around the car park whereupon the front wheel all but folded.
This photo of a Silverfox MTB was submitted by Jamie from Revel Outdoors cycle shop.
Jamie also noted: “There was something bizarrely wrong with the front wheel – even though the disc was bolted on firmly, it rotated freely on the hub, like the hub had sheared in the middle and was in two parts – so no front brake at all.”
A bike shop owner sent us the following:
I have just been preparing three “Dunlop” bikes which were bought by a family who didn’t know how to set them up. They admit they were cheap bikes, but a bigger load of rubbish you’ve never seen. A photograph doesn’t show the true scale of the problem.
The repair list is as follows.
- Straighten front wheel (x3)
- Front forks wrong way round (1)
- Handlebars too high – about 1″ above limit mark (1)
- Front gear mechanism too high (1)
- Rear wheel cones loose (1)
- Brake levers incorrectly positioned (2)
- Straighten rear wheel (1)
- Reposition Front reflector (3)
- Repostion Rear reflector (3)
- Repositon Bell (3)
- Adjust F & R brakes (2)
- Wheel nuts fitted wrong way round (1)
- Tighten headset – forks loose (2)
- Tighten pedals (3)
- Straighten rear frame dropout (1)
- Adjust rear gears (3) (one impossible to get to work even after 90 mins)
Through the wonders of Twitter I found the image below.
In case you haven’t spotted it the front forks are facing backwards, making the bike dangerous because the brakes and steering will not work correctly. In case you cannot see the image below you can view it here