You can read the first part of this article here.
Set on the same thoroughfare as Cycle King and Beeline, Mystery Shopper was greeted and offered help soon after entering the Cycloanalysts store.
The shop stocked a couple of models – both of which, I was assured, were good quality folders. The two on offer, one of which was a Giant model, were reduced due to being from older ranges. I was informed that they would soon be ordering in 2010 models and could request one in for me if I wanted them to.
I grilled the sales assistant on whether folding bikes would be more likely to ‘go wrong’ than non-folding, ‘normal’ bikes. The employee said that it may be true for some models, but not for those the store stocked – decent models with a higher price and long guarantees (the Giant model boasts a five-year guarantee).
Before leaving the store, the proactive staff member gave me a catalogue of product information to take away and read at my leisure. Having gone through the bike features with very little prompting and answering a testing question or two, the sales assistant rated highly, as did the store.
Offering perhaps the best range of folding bikes on the day, Warlands – aka Botley Road Cycles – is set close to Oxford’s train station. I was asked if I needed help on entering the bustling store. Warlands provided good bike signage and recommended Brompton bikes as ideal in terms of comfort and longevity, while also warning me that the manufacturer’s bikes were quite expensive.
The motivated sales assistant offered to fetch a bike to demonstrate the folding mechanism. He also assured me about the quality of the build by showing a ten-year-old model that had recently been in for a service. Assuring me that it was sturdy, the staff member went on to discuss Dahon as a major alternative to the Brompton, which was crucially not as expensive.
Overall, Warlands provided a good range of folding cycles with decent customer service.
Mystery Shopper visited two other stores in the city: JJB Sports, which didn’t stock folders and where it was hard to get the attention of the staff, and Oxford Cycle Workshop, which sold some recycled bikes, but sadly was shut on the day of the visit.
Overall, the bike shops of Oxford provided a consistently good level of customer service, with most offering appropriate product. All questions were answered, with friendly advice and sales assistants willing to take the time to go over features and the pros and cons of folding bikes.
Consequently, it’s tough to rate one store as a stand-out over the others. In terms of folding bikes, Warlands had a deeper product range than most, but had Beeline actually stocked folders, it could have pipped the store for its quality and knowledgeable service.