Evans Cycles Instagram Taken Over by Disgruntled Employees, Renamed 'Make Evans Great Again'

Jan 10, 2020
by James Smurthwaite  

An Instagram account from massive UK retailer Evans Cycles has been taken over by a group of employees who are unhappy with the direction the company has taken since it was taken over by Sports Direct.

The account, which used to belong to the retailer's Gatwick store, has been rebranded as 'Make Evans Great Again' and now posts pictures of green caps with the slogan modified from Trump's 2016 election campaign.

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The first post from the account, which was uploaded on December 30, said: "Even though our buying department is full of incompetent and inexperienced people, our stores across the country are filled with knowledge and have a huge passion for cycling. Low end brands like Viking Bikes and Schwinn Bikes cheapen our image as a company. We know there is a market for lower priced bikes more than anyone but when the bike continues to fail straight from the box it’s time to rethink our buying tactics (or buyers)." The account is anonymous but it was signed off by an "Area Manager".

Evans Cycles, which was founded in 1921 in Kennington, London, has been through a turbulent few years after it put itself up for sale in September 2018. It was bought in October of that year by controversial businessman Mike Ashley. He saved the company from administration but Ashley claimed that up to half of the 62 Evans stores could close and hundreds of staff jobs were put at risk. To date, only 11 have closed however it seems that there are other problems for the owner of the hijacked Instagram account.

In other posts, they complain about the company's communication, structure, targets, spending and that the upper management are, "old men who know nothing and will destroy the company and move onto the next." It seems that they are still in control of the account and are posting stories that are claimed to be from other upset employees from Evans.

Road.cc interviewed the people behind the account and they claimed that the problems started before the Sports Direct takeover and that the account is a protest so that their voices will be heard.

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Evans say they believe an employee is acting alone and their legal team is now trying to regain control of the account. They also confirmed they have an internal process for employee complaints.

A spokesperson said: "We are aware of the Instagram account in question as it was a store account that was accessed without permission and re-purposed by a former employee, who we believe is acting alone in this campaign.

“It's now with our legal team and Instagram as we aim to restore the account to its intended purpose. We have internal processes for colleagues to raise their concerns with us directly.”

Posted In:
Industry News



59 Comments

  • 19 0
 Basically 5 or so years ago the successful biking sales company was bought by hedge fund managers because it was SUCCESSFUL. The guys saw the green and sold up. Those money men sitting on the hedge has ridden her goooood! Needless to say the actual company has been bled.... Way to go capitalism.... I bet 3 to 5 guys got rich out of it....
  • 10 2
 Nah this is Mike Ashley, it’ll just be him getting rich out of this.
  • 5 3
 @abgs87: nah, Olly is correct. Mike Ashley has been pretty hands off and good for the company.
There's always an element of truth to these things. I don't agree with the way makeevansgreatagain are now going, it's getting personal and spiteful, but for the most part they are not wrong.
  • 3 1
 @Daver27: used to go there quite a bit, these guys should be grateful they have a job, he owes them nothing
  • 2 0
 @pigman65: I spent the last 7.5 years working there through both purchases mentioned. It became a very toxic place to work towards the end. seems like its got even worse
  • 22 0
 gold
  • 8 0
 2008 I got back on a mtb.
Ordered a 2007 Cannondale Chase in the end of season sale, £1100 down to £750. Got a phone call to tell me they had sold out in my size so they sent me a 2008 that was about to be reduced from £1200 to £850 for my £750
That's how to do customer service
  • 3 1
 But not how you make money though !
  • 2 1
 @cristiantomlinson: well I could've said nope an taken my £750 back... they made £ on this sale to clear old stock an get new stuff in....
Believe me, mtb rrp/mark ups are ridiculous
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: I had exactly the same experience getting my first proper mtb in 2005. Ended up with a 06 model Hardrock that I adored. Fair play to Evans
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: 30% average is ridiculous is it?
  • 1 0
 @pedaladdictioncollective: compared to the bmx industry yeah
  • 1 0
 @nojzilla: in what way u mean the bmx industry is lower?
  • 1 0
 @pedaladdictioncollective: that mtb mark ups are a lot more than bmx.... when I worked in bmx we would make £ on more bikes with lower mark ups to stay competitive. Whereas mtb makes £ on mark ups over quantity of sales. Explains why Evan's could knock so much off in end of season sales as in my above post (as well as quantity buy ins in the first place) there where no end of season sales in bmx as bikes didn't stay in the shop by end of season.... Even mass produced companies like mongoose updated every year.
I'm not pretending to be an expert on the bike industry (& it wa a long time ago that I worked in it) but, true story. We had the cannondale rep come into our BMX,/skate shop an try to get us to open an account. We said that we had no interest in mtb also that there was a shop in town that allready sold cannondale (a shop that he had just come from!) His reply was " well, dont you want to make money".... go figure
  • 1 0
 I mean who EVER actually pays full RRP for any MTB bikes or parts...........?
  • 8 1
 Yes! So many brands suffer as result of clueless suits, Calibre will be the next to follow as Ashley has acquired them. Fat gammons who only care about £££.
  • 4 7
 They got bought by JD sports, not sports direct. Outcome will probably be the same though.
  • 2 0
 @wlvJC: Ah, I stand corrected. But yeah, you're right the outcome of a solid fledging brand will be the same, sadly.
  • 2 0
 @wlvJC: They got bought by Mike Ashley who bought / own many high street brands like SD , HMV , Sofa.com Deben....., Huse of Fr.... and few others . Not JD as far I know
  • 3 0
 @allbiker: HMV was purchased by Doug Putman the owner of Sunrise Records from Canadia.
  • 3 0
 @allbiker: the comment was about Calibre/Gooutdoors
  • 3 0
 Noooo!! Ashley got GoOutdoors?
  • 1 0
 @allbiker: Ashley also owns Flannels, USC,Republic,Cruise and Van to name a few of the higher end fashion stores...Strategic and clever in the way that the SD group buy up failing companies to rinse the brand portfolio they carry then cheapen the brand from inside out!
  • 9 0
 Power to the people!!!
  • 5 0
 Good on em, off topic but I recall when thwaites brewery staff reacted to a redundancy announcement, genius....
www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thwaites-brewery-sign-lights-changed-3059037
  • 11 5
 Never been to an Evans store that has knowledgeable staff tbh. Evans is up there with Halfords.
  • 1 0
 so many better alternatives to Evans , online and on the high street , that they are doomed to fail
  • 1 1
 A few of my mates worked in a local Evans about a decade ago and all were proper riders but over the years it has got worse and worse. Granted we bought Dad's Kenevo from Evans as they were doing a trade in any old bike for 350 quid off deal and they were useless, forgot to charge it, offered no tech advice on how to charge or clean it etc. In contrast to the place i bought mine that told me everything i needed to know, set it up for me and couldn't have been more helpful. If they had had one in the correct size we'd have bought Dad's there too.
  • 7 0
 Evans may not suit your niche, but send an idiot to Evans to get a cycle to work scheme bike or a kids bike and they will be sold a decent bike that will last a few years of commuting and or general family use that is the right size and appropriate for them.
The same idiot goes blindly into a Halfords they get sold a subway two sizes too small that lasts a year before it costs more to fix everything than the bike is worth, if they are lucky. Or their kid gets a bike that weighs the same as a car and/or is two sizes too big.
It'll be a shame if the stock changes so Evans staff can't feel confident in what they are selling. In the past, I'd point people to Evans for 'everyday' bikes. We have spesh and trek dealers locally too, where the elite can go and drop several k if they wish.
  • 2 0
 @Braindrain:i don't have niche and would always point even "idiots" to an alternative to Evans , it really isn't just spesh and trek dealers out there , my three local bike shops sell very good entry level bikes and a proper service as well as you top end bikes , my experience of Evans cycles in the last decade has been poor , from accessory choice to bike service to customer support .
have to add for fairness I have no experience of the service to the roady community
  • 1 1
 I bought a Pinnacle Iroko at an Evans a few years back and there was two lads who were proper riders and it seemed they were passionate and knew what they were doing and talking about but both left pretty shortly after and everyone else in the shop seemed to not really care about bikes, that being said I'd much rather use my really good LBS and since Ashley took over Evans don't think I've even stepped foot in one.
  • 3 0
 Hmm, tricky one - is a dumbed down bricks and mortar bike shop better or worse than one that doesn't even exist any more? At least having a big bike shop on the high street is an encouragement to people to get on a bike. So, while I'm no fan of Mike Ashley, I'm glad Evans still exists.
  • 3 0
 I bought some 5-10 freeriders from Evans and holed the sole in about 70 hours of riding. I took them back to Evans and the "passionate rider" Gatwick manager told me "they weren't really for pedalling in" what an idiot. 5-10 eventually sorted me out, after i contacted them direct. They are full of sh%t.
  • 5 0
 I just ordered some shoes from them, I hope they place one of these caps in my order ????
  • 2 0
 I used to like Evan's until I went for an interview at one of their stores about 15 years ago and learned about the kind of micro management they out their sales staff under. Not through their store managers but from their central retail policy they develop.
Right I'm going to name and shame here, my local store in Reading is typical of this. I Go in, browse, see if there's a bike that in interested in (latest Norco Sight for example), see if the guy on the shop floor might come over and say "hey can I help"........ but no I'm clearly not making the right engagement signs for someone to engage with me. Their staff also seem to have little knowledge of the products they stock at their Gatwick warehouse and just end up checking their own customer website for the info.
Stores like this need a shake-up, they need to listen to their customers, the ones who are passionate about cycling not about looking great in the latest gear but about actually getting out their and riding their bikes.
The shop I used to love was Mud Dock in Bristol, used to love the way this was a bike shop/cafe/live music venue and the staff really cared.
  • 1 0
 Haven't bought a thing from them since the Ashley hostile ownership, he pressured the other potential buyers of the company out of the equation to force Evans into administration. The stores and jobs could have been saved.
Feel sorry for the guys/gals that work there but I'm one (used to be regular) customer that's never going to buy there. Cheapening the brand shows how little the upper management know.
  • 1 0
 Ive lost count of the times Ive been in there browsing in my lunch hour and heard staff giving new cyclists inaccurate product info and poor advice. Its either a lack of knowledge or a desire to sell unwitting people who are about to get into cycling a whole bunch of extra stuff they dont need.
  • 4 0
 Brilliant
  • 3 0
 Amazing!! Fuck the man!!!
  • 6 3
 Still better than CRC/Wiggle
  • 4 0
 CRC went wrong after being taken over much like Evans started to go wrong when they got taken over.
  • 1 0
 They should give him a job in the guerilla marketing department. As it stands dude is probably just heading for a shedload of legal shit
  • 3 0
 Norco Optic yes! Pressfit BB, nope.
  • 1 0
 I hope new ownership doesn't change the caliber of the mechanics they employ from now on.. Evans is the only place near me that I can trust to work on my bike
  • 3 0
 LOL
  • 3 0
 Fuck yeah !
  • 2 0
 Least my local Evans has people who actually ride.
  • 1 1
 UK friends say that Evans are the only place at moment in UK where you can get hold of Norco.
Get your Optics ordered before the close then!!! Smile
  • 6 1
 They are UK distributors and sole retailer. it's a prime reason never to buy a Norco.
  • 3 3
 @aidy: if it were me I'd rather have a piece of Norco's sick 2020 line up than be snobbish about who is selling it.
  • 4 0
 Like the look of the new Optic but don't think I could bare giving Mike Ashley a single penny, especially as a Newcastle fan
  • 1 0
 @Chilliwacker: I'm not been snobby, they are now owned by a company with some of the worst treatment of staff in the UK. No matter how good the new Norco's might be there are a lot of other good bikes out there too. It's not like the 90's when we had so little choice.
  • 1 1
 Since Evan's closed the Leeds store I sometimes use Cycle Surgery in the city centre, pretty good.
  • 2 3
 Evans are like the McDonalds of bike shops, everywhere and full of low grade shit. Sooner they gone the better.
  • 2 1
 Long live Halfords
  • 1 1
 Aww, guys. It was never great.
  • 1 1
 Evans wasn't great to start with.

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