Rockrider ST520 Review
Has decathlon created the best budget mountain bike for the money?
After 2-3 weeks of riding with the Rockrider ST520 V2 (2020), my first impressions have me happy with the purchase, but there are a few caveats to the product which can be improved.
The bikes full specs are listed over on Decathlon’s website but below are the specs simplified.
Let’s start off with the numbers.
Specifications (Rockrider ST520)
Weight vs Materials vs Durability
When it comes to the durability of this bike the frame and the wheels are incredibly robust. I'm very happy that decathlon offers a lifetime warranty on the frame, it gives you great peace of mind.
From my past experience, I can highly vouch for having double-walled rims (for the wheels). I have had single-walled rims before and they are very weak and not very strong. Knowing this, I'm happy that decathlon put double-wall rims with the wheels of this Rockrider.
Overall I would say the whole bike is incredibly robust.
There is however a caveat to having a very strong bike, he can make the bike rather heavy if you use cheaper materials.
This bike is heavy.
The total weight is 14.4kg and something I noticed is, that when you ride up steep ascent on dirt trails or gravel roads, the bike has a tendency to lift the front wheel because the frame and the back wheels are rather heavy.
Another area where decathlon have had to cut corners is with the tyres.
Honestly, the tyre’s performance against punctures is very poor and I highly recommend putting puncture resistance slime or sealant inside the tyres.
On the plus side putting the puncture-resistant sealant inside the tyres, greatly improved its puncture resistance, which made the bike rideable even over sharp and bumpy terrain.
Comfort, Gears and Geometry
When it comes to the overall comfort of the bike I would say personally for around 2 hours of riding it's ok, but I will say that after about 3 hours of riding the long flat handlebars can get rather uncomfortable to stay in that position for too long.
On the plus side, you'll have great manoeuvrability because the handlebars are incredibly wide. The downside is that your arms are locked in a fixed position.
When it comes to the size and the geometry of the MTB it's semi-relaxed. It's just right in the middle between aggressive and upright.
The size of the Rockrider we have is M. On the decathlon website, they state the sizes that are recommended for a 173cm tall person is between small and medium. If you are probably above my height you should go with a large size.
I would highly recommend trying one of the bikes in the decathlon store to get the right size.
The shifting is really good, no complaints with changing from one gear to the next. It's definitely not a Shimano Ultrega, but it definitely gets the job done. They offer smooth shifting, and I'm really happy that the gear ratios are really good when you're climbing up steep terrain.
The front suspension fork is rather comfortable and it has 80 mm of travel, some bumpy terrain does the job just fine but there is no rear suspension.
The tyres do offer a pretty decent grip downhill or on loose gravel especially when you lower the pressure of the tyres then you can almost get them to about 2.2 inches in width.
Obviously, when you ride a mountain bike on the road, you have to take into account that the 27.5" wheels put more rolling resistance on the road. Especially when you compare it to a 29-inch wheel or 700c if you want to get technical.
Also when you put the puncture-resistant sealant inside the tyres it makes the bike heavier and on each wheel, it puts more rolling resistance.
The saddle is pretty basic, nothing fancy and it's worth changing.
The design has been greatly improved from the prior B-twin series. They have removed the B-twin brand name and replaced it with two simple brand names known as Rockrider for the Decathlon mountain bikes, and Triban for the road bike series.
I remember several years ago I reviewed the B-twin Triban 500, and I mentioned the poor design. I really feel like decathlon listened to their customers and the redesign, in my opinion, it looks just as good as the large brand names, for example, bikes from Giant, Trek and Cannondale.
If you find yourself on a budget then I can highly recommend the Rockrider.
But I would say if you have an extra $200 to spend on a bike that will offer you rear suspension and is a little bit lighter I would definitely go with that.
My main takeaway is that for me the bike is a little bit too heavy, there's no rear suspension and the tyres puncture resistance is terrible.
On the plus side, the bike is very robust, fairly comfortable and when you put the puncture-resistant sealant in the tyres the bike becomes a fantastic commuter bike especially at the price point of around €300.
I can really see that this bike is aimed at either commuters or families that are looking for a mountain bike to give them that confidence boost when they are cycling, but they don't want to spend €600 to €900 on a bike, but they want something that will last a long time.
Did I mention the frame has a lifetime warranty!
I’m always on the hunt for new innovations in the camping and outdoor market. I am testing out new equipment each month either from decathlon or amazon.
I love budget orientated outdoor gear and I think it's amazing what decathlon offer for the money. I think that Rockrider can make some improvements for the next model but it’s a decent tent for the money. Hope you enjoyed reading this review!
(Remember that's this is simply just my overall opinion. You will have to decide for yourself whether the product benefits you or not.)