Decathlon has finally considered giving its entry-level electric bike the attention it deserves. Today we will see the new version of the Rockrider 500 electric. The Rockrider e st500 v2, a new bike from Decathlon that corrects the main flaws of its predecessor. Discover in this article a detailed presentation of this electric mountain bike as well as our opinion after our real test.
The best electric mountain bikes of the moment
Discover the electric Rockrider range from Decathlon
The electric Rockrider is a mountain bike of great quality of manufacture and composition accessible to the general public. It is available in 4 different versions to satisfy all budgets.
The electric Rockrider, whatever it is, has an exceptional manufacturing quality and a very elegant finish and design.
Return on the Rockrider E ST 500
It would not be wrong to say that Decathlon launched its first electric mountain bike very late. While some of the best sports specialists are already planning to launch their third generation of electric bikes. Decathlon, one of the best sports equipment sales specialists in France and Europe, has just entered the competition by launching its very first entry-level electric mountain bike model. It is called the Rockrider e st 500.
For some time now Decathlon has decided to rename its bikes in order to simplify the identification of its range. Thus the mountain bikes previously called Btwin Rockrider are now simply called Rockrider. The Rockrider 500 is the entry level of the firm. It is nevertheless a quality bike. And we are going to tell you about it in this article.
Presentation of the electric Rockrider 500 : Rockrider e st 500
Here we are, the heart of the matter. Let’s talk about the Rockrider 500 in its electric version. As we said above, the Rockrider e st 500 v2, is a (light) evolution of the previous e st 500 of the French brand. It remains an entry-level electric mountain bike like its traditional version but perfectly at ease for mountainous excursions.
This model was launched to forget its predecessor which had mixed reviews from many customers. The defects corrected, place has this superb electric bicycle all ground of last generation!
First ride on this electric Rockrider 500
This new Rockrider e st500, is composed of a brand new control screen and a new electric motor. This is to provide above average performance and improved comfort in all conditions.
Compared to its predecessor, the replacement has the same aluminum frame, properly polished and finished in its black and blue tones. The bike feels heavy at first sight. Thanks or rather because of its massive wheels and thick frame. But this is not the case, as this electric mountain bike weighs only 23kg and is still within the norm for an electric bike.
At this price, it is normal to notice that the integration of the battery remains rather basic. Indeed, the battery is integrated on the frame and not in the frame. This remains totally justifiable for this entry-level mountain bike. And this point does not call into question the quality of the services offered by the latter. For a better finish, count on the market, an extra 1000 euros. Is it really worth it ? To each his own.
A new control screen
The new control display is one of the main evolutions of this Rockrider e st 500. Compared to the previous generation, from the outside the evolution is quite discreet. The new display is certainly of high quality. Although it is a basic display that allows the rider to view information such as range, pedal assist level and instantaneous speed, it is very different from those of traditional electric mountain bikes.
USB port removed, water infiltration fixed
In this version, Decathlon has decided to remove the USB port that was integrated next to the control screen of the first model. It will no longer be possible to charge your phone while riding your mountain bike. On the old model, users had problems with water infiltration, which mainly came from the USB port. So indeed, the engineers, instead of deciding to remove it, could have tried to think of a fix. This may seem like a very radical solution but we are not on a city bike and the usefulness of a USB port is not prohibitive.
Its simple and effective braking system
The same logic probably prevails in the choice of brakes. Between the entry-level hydraulic disc brakes and the advanced mechanical disc brakes, Decathlon has decided to go for the second option.
However, the performance of the two types of brakes is somewhat similar, but only on dry ground. But the feeling of progressive braking is not quite the same in the advanced mechanical disc brakes. In our opinion, this is a bit of a handicap, especially on a demanding, hilly course.
If you want to compare the Decathlon E-ST500 V2 to one of its serious competitors, the Intersport Nakamura E-Summit 710 has rightly opted for hydraulic disc brakes in its entry-level model.
A transmission that is a bit tight
The transmission is perhaps the black spot of this electric Rockrider 500. Who says black spot doesn’t mean bad quality! But the demanding riders will find themselves limited. By this choice, Decathlon wanted, for its entry-level bike, to limit the costs by installing a transmission system of entry-level too, the Shimano Altus.
This choice is still a good one! It is rare that Decathlon installs bad material on these bikes. This one is still a good product. Looking for a better electric mountain bike? Redirect yourself to the top of the line Rockrider e st 900.
Indeed, because of this choice, the rider will suffer from a somewhat limited and slow reaction of the transmission during more advanced solicitations.
A good quality fork
On the other hand, we like the choice of the fork with the Suntour XCR (120mm of travel). This choice offers not only a good value for money but also great performance for an amateur mountain biker.
A motorization in adequacy with the price
The 250W motor is located in the rear hub. This is a much less efficient option than a center drive motor for an electric mountain bike of this type. But it is also the most economical. Indeed, you will have to invest 800 euros more in order to go to the top of the range in this matter, the Rockrider e st 900. This one is more powerful and has a central motor.
The hub motor has been developed in partnership with the Chinese company Vision and offers 42Nm of torque. This is enough to overcome some bumps on the course but a bit limited for an “All Mountain” practice where the technical requirements will be more important. But the price difference is there! Buying an entry-level electric mountain bike for intensive use is not the right choice.
An improved torque sensor
The torque sensor is one of the major improvements of this bike. This torque controller has been modified from the previous model. This sensor is now studied and designed by Decathlon in its factory in Dieppe.
The modification aims to improve the performance of the engine so that it provides a more natural feel. The French group speaks of a fluidity in the pedaling. With the torque controller, we are no longer faced with a simple electric motor that deploys all the power it is capable of. But to an adaptation of this power according to the force provided by the cyclist.
There is indeed a notable evolution compared to the previous model.
The modes of operation of the assistance
As for the electric assistance, we appreciate that Decathlon has limited the choice to only three levels (Economy, Standard and Boost).
We appreciate Decathlon’s efforts to offer an electric mountain bike that is nearly as capable as its traditional competitors, but at a much more affordable price. However, this experience is still far from the thrills and chills that Yamaha and Bosch motors could provide to their riders. The big brother, the e st 900 provides much higher versatility than the latter.
The Rockrider 500’s favorite routes are, of course, the forest trails. Their muddy bumps are what separate them from traditional roads. But even though it’s a forest and mountain electric bike, it can also be used in an urban environment. It is still a bike, and many of us use our bikes in all kinds of conditions.
At this point, the Rockrider electric bike was quite surprising. Although this electric bike has its massive tires, it is fun to ride on paved roads.
Although it is not bad in urban areas, the terrain of choice for this mountain bike remains the forest and nature. It was designed for more than anything else! The distinctive geometry of the well-calibrated frame brings it closer to a muscular mountain bike than any mountain biker could wish for.
Rockrider 500 electric is almost as responsive as a conventional mountain bike. The rider can adapt to this model, its frame and electric assist in no time.
Why not consider a mobile app in the future?
To improve the rider’s experience, we could propose to Decathlon to develop a mobile application for its electrically assisted bicycles. The mobile application could be used to anticipate its maintenance as well as to manage and observe the performance of the eMTB on the course.
Competitors (with much higher prices) are starting to offer this kind of equipment. It might be possible to find in the next few years generations of Decathlon electric mountain bikes offering this kind of useful features.
Battery and autonomy sufficient for this range
Decathlon does not take the risk to indicate a minimum mileage for the Rockrider e st500. And they are right! It would be absurd to rely on a mileage range on a mountain bike that is an off-road enthusiast. The conditions of use will be completely different from a city bike for example. The type of roads, the obstacles, the slopes of the paths will require strong electrical resources to the mountain bike especially if you use it in Boost mode. This manufacturer indicates that the 420W battery should be enough for a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of riding.
Need more precision? For more precise information on the autonomy, the documentation provided by Decathlon proposes a calculation base. This calculation to estimate the autonomy of the bike takes into account the size of the cyclist, his weight and the type of trip.
In fact, and in our opinion, the 420W battery of the Rockrider e st 500, composed of LG cells, offers perfectly adequate performance at this price level. However, it also varies considerably, depending on the level of pedaling assistance required by the rider. At the second level of assistance, out of three, it should be possible to reach about 70km of autonomy on a relatively flat urban route.
Below, these few technical points to establish a summary of this electric Rockrider 500.
- 27.5 inch mountain electric bike
- Available in several sizes: S – M – L – XL
- Electric assistance allowing a tenfold increase up to 300%.
- 6061 aluminum frame
- Suspension on 120mm SUNTOUR XCR hydraulic fork
- Wide tires
- 42Nm 250W motor
- 420Wh 36V 11.6Ah battery (average autonomy of 2h30 in sport mode)
- Control screen on the handlebars (LCD)
- 3 operating modes: Economy, Standard and Boost
- SHIMANO ALTUS M2000 transmission
- Oversized mechanical disc brakes of 180mm Hayes MX5
- Weight 22kg and a maximum load of 120kg
- Designed in France
Like most, if not all, of its electric mountain bikes, Decathlon offers an interesting warranty. Indeed, the frame, the stem and the handlebars are guaranteed for life! The rest of the bike and the battery are guaranteed for 2 years (500 charging cycles for the battery).
In any case, the autonomy performances of this Rockrider 500 remained very honest considering its price. The second version of the Decathlon E-ST500 is an evolution that is openly welcomed and appreciated in the mountain e-bike. Decathlon’s entry-level model gains in comfort and reliability but lacks in practicality.
Having a torque sensor is quite rare for a 1200 euros electric bike. This feature should also be well highlighted in the documentation. However, to catch up with the competition, Decathlon could have equipped the second version with hydraulic disc brakes and a longer range transmission.
Prices and competition
This Rockrider 500 is a serious mountain bike in the entry level electric mountain bike market. Sold by Decathlon it will seduce more than one. Offered at a price of 1199 euros, it is among the best in its category. Speaking of its competition, it is interesting to talk about similar products. There are hundreds of references and brands. It is often difficult to choose the good from the bad. Our team took the time to analyze this competition. So we have made it easy for you by offering you our top 3 best electric mountain bikes below.
Interesting purchase aids
Buying an electric bike is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, its starting price can be higher than an ordinary bike. This is why in some European Union countries there is financial aid. Let’s take the example of France. For several years, the French government has been trying to encourage citizens to use alternative means of transportation to the car. This is why it has set up, with the help of local authorities, subsidies for the purchase.
These purchase subsidies allow customers to save money by buying an electric bicycle. City bikes, folding bikes, mountain bikes, cross-country bikes… are all eligible as long as they are equipped with electric assistance. This aid, depending on the location of the buyer’s home, can reach 500 euros! Let’s imagine a mountain bike like the Rockrider e st500 advertised at a price of 1199 euros. The maximum discount of 500 euros would then reduce the purchase price of the mountain bike to only 699 euros.
To know if you can also benefit from these aids, we advise you to inquire with your local authorities
The few shortcomings mentioned in this article are well mitigated if we consider the overall quality of the new entry-level Rockrider 500 model. In our opinion, the Rockrider e st 500 is an electric mountain bike that will satisfy a multitude of amateur customers. Without a doubt, this electric bike will give the rider a wonderful experience in mountainous settings.
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