Thursday, 2 September 2010

The Cost of (not being able to) DIY

Just got back from Evans Cycles so for the first time in a long time I can get a professional bike shop to fit my headset onto the trucker. 

In the past I've made all sorts of bikes up and traditionally there's one or two 'howling' errors to be made. Getting the headset on is one of them. However with a bit of wood, a gentle touch of the hammer (oxymoron alert!) and the comprehensive guide by the bikers guru Bike Magic I've managed in the past to shove on a few headsets without too much drama or swearing. And more importantly, they've worked and run true.

I realised that this cro-magnon approach probably wouldn't be advisable for a brand new bike. Although the tools for the job aren't ludicrously expensive, I'd use them less than say, my Sony Walkman with the Ghostbusters soundtrack stuck in it. Which currently resides in the loft under the sort of dust usually reserved for way-below-par Christopher Lee films and/or drawing crudely drawn penises.

So, fighting every screaming male gene in my body to not buy the tools and do it myself, I decided to let 'real life monopoly board game for bike shops' Evans take a pop at putting it on. I know a few people that work there, so I know its not run by idiots. I do take umbridge however to their Dad's Army opening credit style takeover of local bike shops. Making this the Pret a Manger of bike shops.

I can spit and hit 2 Evans from my office window.

Whilst presumably having a skinny mocha which I picked up from one of the 4 Prets I passed on the way back from the office toilet to my desk.

Anyway, having descended into the gloomy depths of Evans flagstore on Mortimer Street, it took awhile for someone to serve me. No problem, I'm in no hurry.And when I was eventually served a nice man booked the bike the bike in and we chatted away about the build I'm doing and it was all going swimmingly until I asked for a labour quote...

'£37.50' he said.

'You are joking' I replied.

'Erm... no'. He looked around nervously.

'You are joking' I replied.

'All the prices are up there'. And he points toward a blackboard.

 I look up to the blackboard.

'You are joking' I replied.

He looks at me. He isn't joking. 

He means it. 

Shit that's expensive. Could I seriously moonwalk out of the shop now keeping eye contact and watch his face get smaller as I ascend the stairs? Should I laugh heartily, clap my hands 3 times and disappear in a puff of smoke? Only to then reappear to collect my frame/forks and disappear again?


That's expensive.

The actual headset only cost £30. So that's *counts fingers* £67.50 to buy and fit a headset. 

Fucking ludicrous.

After a look that suggested I may make a run for it, he asked if he should continue to book it in. He did explain that even he thought it was a 'tad on the expensive side' but wasn't at liberty to offer 'anymore of an opinion on it' lest he be flayed and hung outside the shop to be pecked to death by crows.

I said yes, figuring that backing out now is too complex and I'd like this done asap. I can collect it after lunch.

After a Pret sandwich.


John the Monkey said...


My LBS charged me £25 for headset, and being as I bought the frame there, they fitted it for free.

(Sideways Cycles in Alsager). Not a job you want to do yourself, incidentally - mess it up, and you mess up your frame.

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