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Rock'n Roll Bikes

BACK IN retail following five years online, Rock'n'Roll bikes is fairly new to the Nottingham scene. The first notable difference between this store and

many others is the ‘thinking outside the box’ interior design. The window display was funky enough, but go inside and you'll be greeted with 'jail bars', presumably installed to provide enough space for customers to slip in and out, but prevent any bikes going missing. Immediately greeted on the shop floor, the salesman

day Halfords

NOT THE most typical layout for a Halfords, this store was situated on a busy road leading into Nottingham and despite a dedicated autocentre just down the road, seemed to be catching plenty of trade from petrolheads with modified cars parked at funny angles outside. Inside the theme continued with the car department busy. In the bike area, however, an idle salesman walked past me twice in the same spot without making any attempt to offer assistance. I could hear customers enjoying a detailed chat with an assistant in the car accessories area so went in search of assistance here. As feared, when we'd arrived at a selection of

Boardman and Carrera road bikes, the knowledge of the nitty gritty thinned. This isn't to say the assistant was defeated though, as he produced knowledge of Halfords' aftercare packages and value for money aspects on the higher priced Boardman, steering me toward the higher price models in the process. This pitch may not have sold to the enthusiast rider, but to anyone looking solely for value for money it might have done the trick.

BIKEBIZ.COM Langdale Lightweights

BLOWING MY chances of a full test of this store's capabilities with a quoted budget of £800, Mystery Shopper thought he'd have to think on his feet to keep this one going. Langdale specialises in the exotic and super high-end road scene and thus my price point wasn't catered for given that no reconditioned bikes were currently in stock. That didn't, however, stop the sole staff member trying to assist. Asking how urgently I'd need the bike, she offered to take my name and number in order to 'look around for something suitable for me'. As I mentioned that my current research of a bike had been internet based, I was told to be wary of bikes bought online, advice that was justified by the need for a proper sizing up and test ride experience. After some discussion, especially considering the

increasingly slim chances I'd be able to hand over cash here, a shop a few miles away was mentioned, followed up with "if you don't have any luck, check back here and we'll see what we can do." Brilliantly helpful, despite my request falling outside

Langdale's niche.

cleverly tempted my investment upwards, pointing out the cost of upgrading a bike piece by piece, bolsetering this by using a bike at £1,000 to emphasise the value for money of a strong investment, should I become an enthusiast. The end of year discounts were evident on many of the

bikes, but a 'sweetener' was offered should I choose to return and buy here. The details of this deal were withheld until that date, however. Intruiging. Forme was sold primarily on its value for money over competitors, even ahead of the shop's own Guess brand. The pitch was backed up by bigging up bike designer Adam Biggs, himself a professional rider.


PERSON TO PERSON interaction can't be beaten, even with the fancy shop floor gadgetary available to Evan's staff. Ultimately, the assistant's role is to find the best bike for their customer's needs and while this may have been achieved in some form by Evans' website, the independent stores created a desire to impulse purchase, or place a deposit there and then. I was convinced Freewheel was worthy of the star

store award throughout the day, but for me, new kids on the block Rock'n'Roll bikes matched the comprehensive knowledge of Freewheel and had the edge when it came to closing the sale.


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