B'Twin Hoprider 520

8
£320.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Great value, practical round-town package with no need to add lights, rack or mudguards
Weight: 
18,400g

The BTwin Hoprider 520 comes with everything you need to pootle round town, to the office or the shops or just round the park for exercise. It's not the lightest hybrid ever, but it's very well specced for the money.

Off the peg, the Hoprider 520 comes with hub-powered lighting front and rear, mudguards, rack and kickstand. That's a great set of accessories for a hybrid (too often they're just a bare bike) and really makes this bike an excellent choice for commuting and other practical riding.

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A long head tube and adjustable stem provide an upright riding position. It's not quite as upright as a Dutch roadster but it's close, and keeps your head up for a commanding view of the road.

While the Hoprider 520 is heavy at 18.4kg (40.5lb), it rolls along nicely once you get it moving and its Continental Touring Plus tyres are very puncture-resistant thanks to a thick band of rubber under the tread. Our teenage test pilot has been using the Hoprider for six months as her school transport with no punctures.

Unlike the 28mm tyres Dan tested, these are 42mm wide, so you can run them at a sensible pressure and avoid the harshness he mentions. They're still no speedsters, but that's entirely irrelevant for a bike like this where reliability and practicality are paramount. They have reflective sidewalls for night-time visibility, too, a feature that doesn't sound special until you see them in your car headlights and realise just how visible they are.

The tyres are mounted on sturdy 32-spoke wheels. The wheels and tyres contribute to the bike's overall heft, but also to its general feeling of bombproof security. They make for a bike that lets you point and laugh at potholes and kerbs almost as though you were riding a mountain bike – but without the drag of knobby fat tyres.

The other practical touches make this a superbly liberating bike. The chainguard and mudguards mean you you can ride in regular clothes. The built-in dynamo lighting means you don't need to find lights or keep them charged. There are mounts on the seatstays for a frame lock, a highly recommended add-on. Get a key-retaining model and you don't even have to find your key; it's there in the lock until you close the shackle.

There's a decent rear rack too, so you can carry a wide range of panniers, and the high bar means there's room for that Cambridge gear-carrying essential: a basket.

As you might expect for the price, gearing and braking are relatively basic: Shimano Tourney trigger shifters control Acera derailleurs and basic, anonymous V-brakes. The action of the shifters is actually rather nice, requiring only a light prod to go from one gear to the next, but they don't feel as precisely made as Shimano's more expensive offerings. Similarly, the brakes work.

With a triple chainset and eight sprockets out back you get a wide range of gears, including ones low enough that you'll get up most hills without undue effort. While you don't necessarily need super-low gears around town in many places, they're nice to have if you do live somewhere hilly or want to ride out into the countryside and tackle longer and steeper slopes.

Contact points are all pretty good too. There's a wide, comfortable Selle Royal saddle, pleasantly tacky, ergonomically shaped rubber grips and metal-bodied pedals (though the spec says they're resin).

Two parts of the spec had us scratching our heads: the suspension fork and seatpost. Our tester didn't like the bounciness of the post and after a couple of weeks' we replaced it with a rigid model. The SR Suntour suspension fork has 50mm of travel but also suffers from poor damping, and both parts add extra weight.

A bike like this isn't likely to be ridden on severely uneven surfaces very much, and even if it is, these cheap suspension components aren't going to help. The money spent on the fork and post would be better put into the brakes and gears. As well as improving shifting and stopping, there's less to go wrong with a rigid fork and seatpost, whereas the bearings of cheap suspension parts tend to get loose and rattly after a while.

You get a lot of bike for your money with the BTwin Hoprider 520. It's rare to find an off-the-peg bike with this combination of rack, mudguards and lighting at all – you usually have to add at least one of them, and if it's dynamo lights, that's expensive.

> Find more road.cc reviews of urban bikes here

To achieve this for £320, Decathlon has had to use relatively inexpensive parts and has run into the old adage: 'Strong, light, cheap – choose any two'. You notice the Hoprider's heft whenever you have to lift it, on to a car rack, for example, or up stairs.

But this is a bike-weenie niggle. The Hoprider 520 is still excellent value, thoroughly practical and has proven reliable in day-to-day use.

Verdict

Great value, practical round-town package with no need to add lights, rack or mudguards

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road.cc test report

Make and model: BTwin Hoprider 520

Size tested: L

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Decathlon says:

FRAME

The aluminium frame is light, rigid and stable. The 6061 aluminium frame has undergone heat treatment to increase its durability. Available in three sizes: M, L and XL. (M: 1.65 m to 1.75 m / L: 1.75 m to 1.85 m / XL: 1.85 m to 1.95 m).

FORK/SUSPENSION

SUNTOUR CR8 coil suspension fork. The Sr Suntour CR8 fork is suitable for urban cycling. With 50 mm clearance, you'll cruise just as easily down a bike path as on rougher roads. This fork considerably improves traction around corners and makes emergency braking safer (no sticking due to wheels locking).

DRIVE TRAIN

Powerful front Trek Lite LED lighting.

Pannier rack can hold up to 25 kg

CRANKSET / CASSETTE

Shimano triple crankset with guard. Shimano CS HG 41 8-speed cassette.

BRAKES

Front and rear V-Brakes with Shimano lever.

Pads can be easily changed.

HANDLEBAR / STEM / STEERING

Flat handlebars, tilt- and height-adjustable stem (tool required), semi-integrated headset.

WHEELS

Large wheels (700) for greater stability at high speeds.

Double-wall aluminium rims increase resistance to torsion and impacts.

TYRES

Continental Touring Plus 700x42, stiff bead tyres with reflective strips. Weight of 920 g, highly durable 66 TPI carcass.

Puncture-resistant strip. Inner tubes are equipped with car valves: tyres can be inflated at a service station.

SADDLE / SEAT POST

The gel saddle offers optimal comfort by reducing pressure peaks by 40%.

The open, honeycomb foam structure offers comfort across the entire saddle. Weight: 790 g.

PEDALS

City trekking resin pedals.

WEIGHT

18.4 kg, fully equipped in size M.

ACCESSORIES / EQUIPMENT

Trekk Lite, powerful, 10 lux, halogen front light. Lighting powered via a hub dynamo: take care when connecting the light.

Pannier rack that can hold up to 25 kg: you can safely fit a baby carrier to it.

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Decathlon says:

A women's, fully-equipped, hybrid bike. Complete comfort: 24-speeds to handle uphill climbs, an aluminium frame to make the bike lighter, and a suspension fork to dampen impacts.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
6/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Tidy welding, but despite it being aluminium it's not a light frame.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

6061 aluminium; SunTour suspension fork that's really not needed.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Fat tyres and a big saddle make it comfortable in a cruisy, upright way.

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10

Cruising is *exactly* what this bike was born to do.

Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
9/10

The drivetrain

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
9/10

Controls

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Use this box to explain your score

The Hoprider 520's level of equipment is terrific for the price and while it's not the lightest hybrid around, that's more than compensated for by its sheer practicality.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 5'7  Weight: size 16

I usually ride: Trek 7.5 WSD  My best bike is: Turquoise Cruiser

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Novice

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, general fitness riding, leisure

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