Rockrider series from Decathlon can definitely have the pride of increasing the number of trail riders in India. With the rigorous expansion of Decathlon stores across India, the future looks bright for Btwin bicycles.
The Btwin Rockrider 520 2016 uses a reinforcing curve at the head tube instead of a chunky gusset. Its aluminium tubes are burly, with the down tube flaring wide at the head tube for maximum stiffness and drop-off resistance. A cursory glance might peg it as a shorter and slacker angled budget hardcore MTB but it isn't. It does have a trail-centre friendly big bar, but it uses cross-country angles and has a roomy reach. There are eyelets for a rear rack and/or mudguards which are easily accessible making the Rockrider 520 2016 ideal for dual use as a weekday work bicycle as well.
The fork in the Rockrider 520 2016 is the XCR 100mm with lockout feature, like you get on MTB's costing a couple of thousand rupees more. At this price point, when most MTB's are ruled by randomly rebounding fork sticks, this XCR fork is a steal.
The Rockrider 520 2016 is a prime example of how a simple design can be elegant and classy. The frame is shaped perfectly for the challenging trails including the exceptional control required on downhills. The paint job is neat with minimal graphics just enough to get the model name across to the rider's view. The huge Btwin sticker which is slapped on the down tube is always a good thing as most brands now-a-days lose out on portraying the brand name across the bicycle while sacrificing them for a flashy paint job.
Drivetrain-wise, the Btwin Rockrider equips a Shimano Acera rear derailleur with a clunky but very efficient crankset and Shimano X50 derailleur up front. Shifting was perfect throughout the test ride. A minor setback on the gearing department was the quick gear shifts whilst on a climb where there was an obvious delay in the speed change to take effect. The shifters were placed conveniently as close as possible to the handlebar grip. The index finger shifter could have been slightly longer as it left me reaching out quite a bit to get to the shifter.¾
The Tektro Auriga Comp brakes on the Btwin Rockrider 520 2016 are among the best budget hydraulic disc brakes on the market. They don't offer much lever modulation and they will take a few big descents to bed in and start performing at their best, but they are almost scarily powerful if you are not used to hydraulic discs. So start slow and experiment a bit with the braking in your neighborhood before hitting the trails.
The perfectly long handlebar is not just good if you are cruising along but as the terrain got more technical with the length and shape showing it mantle giving exceptional control especially on rough downhills. And the stand out white colour of this handlebar just takes the looks of the bicycle to the next level.
The Rockrider 520 2016 runs on the Kenda 26'' tires with double-walled rims. I ran the tires softer than usual, and the meaty square edge tread pattern meant that this resulted in slower speeds as well as slightly more comfort and traction the slower pace was particularly noticeable on long steady climbs.
This MTB does have the capability of giving a comfortable trail ride. It picks up the pace well and isn't twitchy, even over steppy sections. Where it makes your mouth go dry is on steep rollover drops, which will feel more precipitous than they actually are.
French superstore giant Decathlon sells their bicycles at prices that must make other manufacturers get on the backseat. Also by cutting out the middle man and selling directly at Decathlon stores does make the buying experience of Btwin much better. The Btwin Rockrider 520 2016 is a formidable hardtail MTB which can handle the trails safely for you, if you are a first timer on the muddy terrains. The 520 Rockrider will also not budge to being comfortable when used as an occasional commuter inside the city. And such good specs in this competitive price point makes the Btwin Rockrider 520 a front runner in the 2016 MTB range in India. We would like to thank Decathlon, Chennai for providing us with this bicycle for the review.Î¾