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Bad news for 'Cycle2Work' scheme

It may be worth popping into your local Halfords and asking though. I was given an official line about what I could do with my voucher, and the limitations etc when I phoned the helplines - but when I went into the shop they basically said they'd treat it like a gift certificate and I could do what I wanted!

Not that I'd ever encourage rule breaking...


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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Apologies for cross-referring my own thread comments, but a discussion on the lovely Cannondale Slice 105 has turned up some disappointing news for anybody who has access to a cycle to work scheme so I though I would dupe it to a more appropriately named thread.

    Basically, you cannot buy a bike of more than £1000, even by topping up the value yourself.

    The thread is here: http://forum.220magazine.com/tm.asp?m=15500

    My most recent (long) post on the subject is reproduced below:


    OK. I have done some more digging. Just spoken to our 'salary sacrifice' people, SalaryPlus, also been onto my HR department and spoken to Halfrauds Cycle2Work scheme people.

    They all say the same thing: "You cannot top-up the value to over £1000". Looks like the information on the FAQ I referred to has been posted incorrectly. The SalaryPlus people actually read out a letter they had been sent by the DFT, saying "Despite what some marketing materials might suggest, it is NOT possible to top-up over the value of £1000 without a credit licence agreement."

    The 'marketing materials' they refer to might just include the Halfords stuff, which state that you can 'easily' top-up the value using your own funds.

    Apparently it raises problems with regulatory authorities, with VAT issues, and such issues as employees leaving then arguing how much of the bike had actually been paid for.

    Your mileage may vary with the Evans scheme, but I have been told very strictly that Halfords will not even order £1000+ bikes.

    They have suggested the following:

    Dolan Mythos - Carbon frame, Ultegra EVERYTHING, Mavic Aksium wheels... £999

    Focus Azalco Tria - 9/10 from the 220 review, stiff alloy frame with a variety of components including SRAM - £999

    Cannondale CAAD9 Tiagra - Unfortunately the 105 spec is £1049, but you can get the 9-speed Tiagra version for £899 then upgrade.

    Halfords own Carrera Virago - Carbon Frame (looks like the same manf. as Planet-X) Ultegra, Truvativ crank and other bits, Shimano R580 wheels, £899

    Finally, Halfords have obviously seen the £1000 road-bike sweet spot and are getting a bike built by Viner exclusively for the Cycle2Work scheme. It uses the same Taiwanese carbon monocoque as the Dolan bike, but spreads a lot of Campy Centaur kit over it.


    Sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news [:(]
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    That is very interesting - in a purely academic rule-breaking way, of course. [;)]

    Was that for a bike you were buying in-store? Everything I'm looking at is special order through their help line.... or maybe I could take my gift-voucher to the store and special order something from there...
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    TesseractTesseract Posts: 280
    I went for the Vanquish which was their best at the time, but got all sorts of dicsounts from them that I spent on extra kit.

    I'd guess (in an academic kind of way) that the best option is going in and having a chat with one, or some, of the bike hut guys. If you're lucky and get one that's into cycling (rather than it's just a job to them) then I reckon you're sorted (if of course you were really doing this, which of course you're not)
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    bennybenny Posts: 1,314
    Can I move to your country for a week so I can buy a bike this way???!? Or is regularly visiting a UK-Tri-forum enough credit to buy it half price and ship it to Belgium [8|]???

    We dont have anything like it here. Here they like you to pollute the air, cue in line for hours, and spend a lot on highly taxed fuel. Gives them more cash than giving back half the money to buy an eco-friendly bike.

    Sorry to bother you with this, but it feels good to let the anger go [:@][:@][:@]

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    I used the cycle to work scheme with evans last year, Purchased a Cannondale Rush at 1400.00 using my CCard to top-up over the 1k voucher.

    Unless the rules have changed or Halfords is different.............

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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    It seems that people were getting away with it last year. I spoke to a manager at SalaryPlus - who handle the salary sacrifice part of our payroll - and she said they received a letter at the start of this year from the vultures at Inland Revenue specifically warning them about the kind of topping-up behaviour that went on last year.

    Well done to anyone who sneaked in, though. Wish I'd not bothered getting a new MTB when the scheme first started - this has stopped me signing up again until now.

    Mind you.... shopping around for a £1000 bike is still quite good fun. When you take into account the tax breaks etc this is going to reduce my take home pay by a whopping £25 for 18 months. [8D]

    And Benny... I feel your pain, really, I do. But there has to be some consolation for living in this dump. The government allow us to buy fast bikes really cheap so we can get away from all the knife-carrying scum who would otherwise rob us, kill us and probably sell our bodies to the local takeaway (triathletes are known to be very high in protein).
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    First timerFirst timer Posts: 139
    I have myself brought a new bike this year on the scheme and have been very lucky.

    I went to my local independent dealer and ordered a Raliegh airlite carbon pro retailing at 1099. To mcuh for the scheme.

    What he did for me was gave me enough discount to bring the price down for the voucher and any extras i wanted i.e pedals aero bars etc i paid for in cash when i picked up the bi ke.

    It's worht talking to them you never know what you can get..[:D][:D]
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    just as a bit of a warning - i have just received notice of my final payment from last years scheme where i got the full 1k voucher.

    This has come in at a whopping 12.5% + VAT (we didnt even get VAT discount as with some schemes when we took it out). This has come as a bit of a kick in the face and left the actual savings minimal (I had to use Evans and probably could have got a better priced equivalent through a local shop especially when they would include service as well).

    Just be aware that the final payment may be more than your expecting, however this is being contested by all concerned.
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    Evans Cycles are running a simular scheme called bike 2 work and you can get any bike you want


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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    There are a couple of schemes running, all under the government's cycle to work initiative. The biggest of them are Halfords, Evans, and the ride2work scheme which is used for independents. Wish my company used the latter...

    The long and short of it is this: you are not allowed (not my opinion, this comes from the DfT and Inland Revenue - I phoned them both) to get a bike worth more than £1000. You might get away with it, particularly with the Evans and independent schemes where your bike of choice is far more likely to be on the shop floor.

    For the Halfords operated scheme, most desireable machinery is going to be special order and they are following the rules exactly. As I said above, they won't even order me a CAAD-9 105 because it is £1049. Unfortunately, many of us will get no choice on which scheme our employer's go with.

    I guess the cautionary note is this: don't get your £1000 credit note in the expectation of getting a more expensive bike - it could all go wrong at the last minute. Have a back up plan.

    Now I have to decide between Dolan Mythos, Focus Izalco Tria and CAAD-9 Tiagra.
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    Sorry to re-hash this subject AGAIN

    My company Ride2Work scheme with Evans has just been re-launched. Yes you guessed it Bopomofo the FAQ's still say that you CAN use your own dosh to go over the £1,000 ceiling of the scheme.

    I don't doubt your research for a second but no-one seems to have told my people or Evans!!!! I guess the message is to check out your own company scheme on this topic first before disregarding.

    Doesn't make any difference to me now as frustrated at the wait and starting to panic over finding a Cannondale Carbon Slice in a 58cm (all my local dealers laughed at me and said they were sold out everywhere) I drove down to Eastbourne and got the last one (in that size) from The Tri Store.
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    I've just applied for my £1k voucher, and again I checked the FAQs (which tell me I can top up), and again I phoned up everybody (Department for Transport, Inland Revenue, my own Payroll people) who all said "No", so I called the Halfords Cycle2Work scheme direct and said "Hi, can you order me a Slice 105 or a CAAD9 105" and they said "No, too expensive".

    Even my "Oh come on, it's only fifty quid (in the case of the CAAD9)" didn't work.

    As I said, good luck if you can get away with it. It seems that Halfords are sticking to the letter of the law, whereas other schemes (Evans etc) are kind of ignoring the group Credit License Agreement that applies to the ride to work initiative.

    If anybody is interested, I'm going to plump for the £1000 Dolan Mythos (carbon frame, Ultegra everything), and sell the bars and Ultegra shifters to fund the purchase of base bars, clip-ons and associated gear/brake levers. I'll get a TT front-end with a more relaxed geometry for easy days and group rides. Seems a good compromise.
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    It's sooooooo frustrating.

    Narrowed mine down to Planet X (but my scheme doesn't deal with them), Dolan (nice but could be a bit more colourful!) or Orbea Vuelta (but 9 speed!). The Orbea is just out of my reach at £99 more.

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    Phil TPhil T Posts: 49
    My company (the mighty NHS, I'll keep the specific PCT quiet) are about to sign up for this hopefully through cyclescheme so does the grand cap effect independent shops? I suppose Halfords sell the complete bike whereas independent shops can possibly sell you individual parts i.e. a grand would get a very nice frame.

    I won't get too excited the speed the NHS move in anything which can actually help their staff I'll be waiting a wee while. I started the ball rolling last September I'd be suprised if I get anything for this season.

    Cheers Phil
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    BopomofoBopomofo Posts: 980
    Phil, the £1K 'Cap' is regardless of who organises the scheme, it is the limit in the consumer credit licence that covers the scheme, as arranged by the Inland Revenue.

    A quick google will give you the implementation rules from the DfT http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/sustainable/cycling/cycletoworkschemeimplementat5732

    As you can read here, some people have got away with using the Letter of Collection like a voucher at their local bike shop. Good luck if you can do this, but the IR are clamping down on it so make sure you know what your fall-back plan is (i.e. what bike you would choose instead) before you do it. It can complicate things, for example your company don't have to sell you the bike if you leave, or if you are made redundant. They'd get to keep the extra you paid, or perhaps that keen cyclist in HR would decide to pay £10 for the bike himself....

    I started this thread as a warning to those who were pinning their hopes on going over the £1k.

    Same applies to just buying a frame etc. The scheme is intended to allow you to purchase a complete bike and safety equipment, and nothing more or less. Shame.

    One other gotcha that might apply to you: most of us get the bikes tax and VAT free, but some companies cannot reclaim the VAT, for example charities and some NHS trusts.
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