From the first look of the entire new Btwin range, it is very evident that the company has put in the hard yards in terms of design, technology and equipping the bike with superb components. All these positives are shown in the Btwin Rockrider 520. An entry level MTB with a killer combination of components. Here’s what we though when we put this bicycle to the test.
The Rockrider 520 27.5 is built on an Evo tech aluminium frame. This comfort frame geometry is actually the perfect blend of comfort and aggressiveness , that is needed to tackle trails. No tubes on this frame are chunky, as the material is more at places where the frame will take the maximum impact of the surface. The top and bottom tubes are disconnected and this makes for a simple and clean welded frame. During the test ride this frame did feel a little heavy but it comes with supreme strength needed to tackle those harsh trails. When it comes to sizing Btwin have got it spot on, the Rockrider 520 is that this MTB comes in four frame sizes (S,M,L & XL).
The 80mm front suspension fork comes with a preload weight adjuster, which is useful for riders looking to optimize the suspension travel according to their weight. The suspension lockout has been left out this year as it featured in the previous year’s model. This suspension worked seamlessly during the test ride making the trails comfortable to ride on.
Minimal yet classy, The Rockrider 520 easily combines the grey and black overall paintjob with blue accents giving the bike an uber cool look. Solid Btwin All Terrain dry 27.5” tires make this bicycle look sharp. One nice add on is the “Do not forget to wear your helmet” sticker on the top tube, I think this is an important message and especially while riding an MTB. Overall this bicycle looks like a top-notch unit in terms of design and color combinations.
SRAM X3 8-speed rear derailleur, Micro-shift MS22 front derailleur, SRAM X4 shifters with speed indicators coupled to a SRAM S200 triple-chain ring chain set. Need we say more? Honestly these are over the top components on an entry level MTB, you probably will close your eyes and pick up this bicycle by just looking at the specifications. While riding, the shifters were relatively responsive with upshifting and downshifting happening with ease. Quick shifting at the rear derailleur did react well, and the gear transition was smooth with no lag.
The Rockrider 520 comes with TEKTRO Aluminum brake levers to operate the front and rear Hayes MX5 mechanical disc brakes. We tested the braking in the harshest of conditions and we can say confidently that on flat trails and tarmac roads it works effortlessly. Quick halts and turns with these brakes were effective and felt balanced.
The Btwin sport oversized aluminium handlebar on the Rockrider 520 had a slight raise from the middle which adds to the comfortable posture of the rider. The grips weren’t cushioned enough and so you would need gloves when riding on teeth jittering trails.
The Rockrider 520 rolls on a pair of 27.5 inch x 2.0 inch all terrain dry tires. These tires are well supported by top notch light weight Aero trail double walled alloy rims. These tires were a mix of speed and traction on moderate trails. On softer mud trails, these tires could roll over efficiently without sinking in. A tire liner might help protect from those punctures which otherwise cannot be avoided. The Btwin ergo fit saddle on this bicycle is perfectly designed for the trail rider. The ergonomic design makes sure soreness is the last thing you would have to worry about on an already shaky trail. The overall ride quality was both balanced and comfortable on flatter trails.
This hardtail MTB has the perfect performance packed specs which makes the trail riding experience exciting. With a good quality frame and smooth drivetrain, the ride quality on rough terrains will be seamless. To sum it up the Btwin Rockrider 520 - 27.5 2017 comes with unbelievable set of components, bundled together at an incredible price tag which makes it a dream entry level MTB