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From the first looks of the entire new Btwin range, it is very evident that the company have put in the hard yards in terms of design, technology and equipping the bike with superb components. All these positives are directly implemented into the RockRider 540. The Btwin rockrider 540 is a typical hardtail model. A hardtail is a bike with a solid frame and it usually has a suspension fork on the front. The Rockrider 540 is an upgraded version of the Rockrider 520, with a slightly lighter frame and much better components and added control and stopping power. Btwin bicycles have always been a fan favorite and more for the informed consumer. Btwin as a company under decathlon have sold more than 3.7million bicycles worldwide and are masters of designing best value for money bicycles. Putting all these feats and statistics aside, we test ride the Rockrider 540 from a bicycle expert’s point of view. Here we go!
The Rockrider 540 comes with an EVO comfort geometry frame made out of solid 6061 aluminum. The frame sits superbly well and feels very solid on mounting the bicycle. The bottom tube design is as such that it curves upwards and joins the headtube, this is mainly to ensure the vibrations and soaked into the bottom frame to whatever maximum extent possible to give you a stable and comfortable ride. You can say a lot of work has gone into making the overall geometry near perfect and Btwin have done a remarkable job with respect to overall frame, fit and comfort. I was riding the large size and felt comfortable even after riding for over half an hour through various terrains, there was no strain on any part of my body and the Frame was nicely soaking up the shocks and vibrations with ease. The Frame felt light enough to cut through gaps and take control of the bicycle during rougher terrain. Seating position also is very optimum as the “Hammock shape” saddle provides enough cushioning for longer and bumpier rides as well. When it comes to sizing Btwin have got a variety of sizes, the Rockrider 540 comes in four sizes (S,M,L & XL).
At first look the Btwin Rockrider 540 makes a pretty flashy statement, the reddish orange matte paint coupled with the chunky black MTB tires and sharp black fork make this performance MTB an eye pleaser. The Top Tube of the frame is fairly straight while the Bottom tube of the frame curves into the headset of the bicycle. The seat stay and chainstay look solid and are integrated well into the seat tube. The Rockrider 540 also has classy minimal decals that blend very well into the entire paintjob. Btwin have also been very clever and integrated an upside down aluminum stem which can be raised to about 3cm with 5 adjustment positions, which gives you the best and most precise driving position that even the perfectionists out there can adhere to.
The drivetrain of the RockRider 540 is nothing short of impressive in terms of the nomenclature, A Prowheel flint 401 triple-chaining chain set (22/33/44 teeth), A Shimano Altus 9-speed Rear derailleur, microshift front derailleur and a shimano cassette with 9cogs and 11-34 teeth. The entire drive train is commanded by Shimano Altus M370 shifters with speed indicators. The drivetrain is pretty efficient as I tested it over a very wide range of gear ratios, it worked very efficiently over the lower gears but at times took considerably longer to upshift as the chain a times rotated at the same gear and refused to align until I lowered gear and upshifted again. Overall these small niggles could be taken care of at the workshop level. Btwin could have swapped the Microshift front derailleur with a Shimano Altus front derailleur giving the end consumer a much more complete package.
At this price point the RockRider 540 comes packed with Hayes Radar front and rear hydraulic disc brakes, which not only look very cool but perform brilliantly. I tested these brakes in three conditions. Wet&Muddy, Flat tarmac and light gravel, while the braking was easy and could be mastered very easily on the light gravel and flat tarmac scenarios, I had to slightly be a little more in control while braking through wet mud as at times the rear would slightly slip out of place which I had to almost immediately correct at higher speeds. One more positive about the brakes is that the red brake caliper and the rotor add to the overall aggressive stance of the RockRider 540. When it comes to steering, I wouldn’t overall praise the bicycle all too much, I can say that Btwin have tick marked all the necessities required to steer the bicycle with ease, the extra wide aluminum handlebar with an oversize diameter for added stiffness does its job fairly well.
The RockRider 540 comes equipped with exclusive all terrain dry 27.5” chunky tires, these tires play their part on more MTB like surfaces and produce adequate grip and traction. As one cannot expect MTB’s to be quick on flat tarmac roads, the RockRider 540 does feel that extra bit of weight on flatter roads. The seating position is very comfortable and as explained above the wide hammock saddle provides more than enough of a cushioning effect on bumpier off terrain paths. The Suntour XOR Front suspension with a 100mm of travel goes over pretty steep ledges with ease. The additional lockout option is great for someone looking to quickly descend on faster terrain and this In turn prevents bobbing. One drawback of this bicycle is while it rides beautifully on most surfaces, on encountering a harsher off terrain habit on a descent, this bicycle immediately slows down and takes quite a bit of a push and effort to get back to pace. But for recreational MTB purposes the ride quality is nothing short of excellent.
Great looks, incredible components at a supreme price tag make this entry-level performance MTB a force to reckon with.