E-bikes are getting cheaper with the day, the Rockrider E-ST 500 V2 is an example of this positive trend. Decathlon again managed to bring an ebike to market with absolutely great specifications for its price. Decathlon already offers their amazing E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 ebikes that are priced really competitively as well. With the E-ST 500, they really went for the mass market by selling it for only 1200 euros (1000 pounds). Even at its low price, it offers some pretty amazing features, like torque-sensing pedal-assist technology. In this review, I will tell you all the things to like about this budget Rockrider E-ST 500 V2 electric mountain bike of Decathlon.
The motor used on the E-ST 500 is of the geared hub motor type. This geared hub motor is located in the rear wheel and has as the name suggests, gears inside. Having a geared hub motor results in better torque compared to non-geared hub motors. Electric mountain bikes often use mid-drive motors, just like the E-ST 520 and E-ST 900. The reason for this is the higher torque of mid-drive motors compared to hub motors. Mid-drive motors also provide a better weight balance.
Decathlon probably didn’t go for a mid-drive motor on the E-ST 500 because they are a lot more expensive than hub motors. By going with a geared hub motor they could get the price down a lot. Having a mid-drive motor at this price point is simply not possible. So if you specifically want a mid-drive motor, you should look at the E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 instead.
Torque and power
The geared hub motor delivers 42NM of torque at 250W. This might not be as much as the 70NM torque of the mid-drive motors of the E-ST 520/900, but it still is quite a good torque rating. The actual peak power of the motor will be somewhere between 300-400 watts in boost mode, the listed power is 250W since this is the legal nominal power rating in the EU.
Torque-sening pedal assist
The pedal assist is of the torque-sensing kind. This is an impressive feature to see on an ebike that costs just 1200 euros (1000 pounds). Most of the time torque-sensing pedal-assist technology is only featured on higher-end ebikes. A torque-sensing ebike will assist you with a certain amount of power dependent on the force you exert on the pedals and dependent on which assist mode you are in. This will result in the most natural-feeling electric assistance. It definitely is much better than the commonly seen cadence systems on budget ebikes. So I am glad that Decathlon could offer this feature on the E-ST 500.
The rear geared hub motor is completely water sealed and basically maintenance-free. It’s a closed unit with durable parts inside so that it will last a long time. The wheel can be taken out completely if a flat tire needs to be replaced for example.
The drivetrain of a hub motor type ebike is generally less important than for a mid-drive type ebike. This is the case because unlike with a mid-drive motor there isn’t any motor power exerted on the chain, gears, etc. The only power that your hub motor ebike’s drivetrain should handle is your own leg power. Which ofcourse is a lot less power than leg and motor power combined as is the case on a mid-drive ebike.
This however doesn’t mean that it isn’t important at all. You ofcourse want to be able to pedal along nicely. The E-ST 500 uses a Shimano Altus M2000 1 x 9 groupset, with a 32-tooth Sram X-Sync chainring. This setup is excellent for this ebike. The Shimano Altus groupset shifts nicely and provides enough gearing options. The 32-tooth chainring also provides a great balance between hill climbing and high-speed cadence. All in all this drivetrain is more than capable enough for an ebike of this caliber.
The chain Decathlon used on the E-ST 500 is the KMC X9 chain. This isn’t a specific chain designed for ebikes, but that doesn’t really matter for this ebike. This is the case because, as explained above, the hub motor doesn’t put extra load on the chain. So this chain will do the job just fine.
Display and range
The E-ST 500 features, like almost all Decathlon’s ebikes, a small display with integrated control buttons. The display is located at the lift side of the handlebars and can be easily controlled using your thumb. The display is nice and small, discrete, and can stand up to some beating. It’s a nice match for this ebike!
The display shows all the relevant information like speed, assist level, battery percentage, remaining range, trip distance, and more. With the buttons, you can set the bike into 3 different assist levels. The range of your ebike will ofcourse be dependent on the mode you select.
Range and assist levels
|Assist level 0
|Assist level 1
|95 kilometers, 60 miles
|Assist level 2
|70 kilometers, 45 miles
|Assist level 3
|30 kilometers, 20 miles
These 3 assist levels give you great control over the amount of power you can use. In the economy mode, you can expect a range of about 95 kilometers (60 miles). In the Boost mode, you can expect a range of about 30 kilometers (20 miles). I think these range numbers are good for a battery this size and will provide enough range for most riders.
The battery of the E-ST 500 is made out of the same high-quality Samsung SDI 18650 lithium-ion cells that are also found in the more expensive E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 ebikes. I think it’s great that Decathlon also used these high-end cells in their lower-end ebikes. Most of the time you will find Chinese brand name cells in ebikes at this price point. So having these Samsung brand name cells in the E-ST 500 is quite amazing.
Decathlon also mentioned that you could have LG-MG1 18650 cells inside your battery, depending on where your model is produced. Both the LG and Samsung cells are of great quality, so you don’t have to worry about this.
The E-ST 500 has the same capacity battery as its higher-priced E-ST 520 brother. The battery has a capacity of 420Wh (36V, 11.6AH) which is excellent for an ebike at this price. Especially when you consider that the E-ST 520 is 500 euros more expensive than the E-ST 500 and still shares the same battery.
The battery also is removable which makes it convenient if you want to charge the battery inside. The charger that is included is a 36V, 2A charger. This is the same charger that comes with the E-ST 520. Charging from 0 to 80% will take about 5-6 hours with this charger. It would have been nice if Decathlon provided a faster charger with the E-ST 500. Like a 36V, 4A charger that can charge twice as fast. But at this price point, it makes sense that this isn’t included. Some cust cutting can be expected.
The frame is made out of the same strong 6061 hydroformed aluminum tubes used on the E-ST 520/900. The frame is covered by Decathlon’s lifetime warranty for mountain bike frames. So you probably don’t have to worry about it falling apart. The welds on the frame are neat and the paint quality is nice as well.
The frame of the E-ST 500 looks exactly the same as E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 (apart from the mid-drive motor mount). Decathlon seems to use exactly the same frame on all their electric e-bikes. This also makes sense from a manufacturing standpoint. The fact that they all use the same frame isn’t a bad thing, it simply is a nice frame, so that also applies to the E-ST 500.
The battery is integrated into the frame and can be slid in easily. Once the battery is in, the battery can be locked down. Preventing someone from stealing your battery.
The E-ST 520 comes in multiple colors. The male version comes in black/blue and grey/green and the female version comes in blue/white. I think all color schemes look nice and it’s nice that they provided a female version as well. The only other difference apart from the color between the male and female versions is the saddle. The female version has a special saddle designed for women.
The E-ST 500 has mechanical Hayes MX5 disc brakes with 180 mm rotor discs. These brakes are quite entry-level and don’t provide an awful lot of stopping power. I do have to say that they are sufficient for this e-bike and most people will find that they have enough stopping power for their needs. It would have been nice if Decathlon had installed hydraulic disc brakes on the E-ST500 instead. But at this price point that also couldn’t really be expected.
Decathlon went with a Suntour XCR front suspension with 120mm travel. Decathlon uses this front fork a lot on different bikes they sell. For this ebike, they improved the design of the lubrication and wiper seals, so that it will last longer. The front fork is just like the brakes quite entry-level, but it still is an excellent suspension at this price point.
If you really want to go hardcore off-roading, this suspension will show its limits pretty soon. So if you are planning on doing this, I suggest looking at the E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 instead. They both offer RockShox suspension that will handle serious off-roading much better.
The E-ST 520 comes with 27.5 inches by 2.5 inch wide tires. This is quite a wide tire for a mountain bike which will result in a lot of off-road grip. They also offer a good level of protection against punctures and are tubeless-ready.
The tires are installed on 23mm wide wheels. These wheels don’t feature a thru-axle style mounting. But this again isn’t expected at this price point. The front wheel can still be removed without any tools. The rear wheel needs to be removed with an 8mm Allen wrench if needed. The fact that the front wheel can be taken out easily is especially convenient for transportation.
E-ST 500 for serious mountain biking?
If you want to get into the hobby of electric mountain biking, this might be the perfect ebike. It has a lot of amazing specifications for such a low price. If you however are a somewhat more serious mountain biker, you probably want to invest in something a bit better. The E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 will be amazing alternatives that will offer a lot more off-road capabilities. You will get a balance-enhancing mid-drive motor, more torque, better suspension, and more powerful hydraulic brakes. The E-ST 520 and E-ST 900 will simply handle off-road situations much better.
The E-ST 500 still is an amazing e-bike for people that don’t plan to go hardcore off-roading, but just want to ride some small off-road trails. This ebike is perfect for this kind of use. The ebike is also really interesting to use as a commuter bike, you could add mudguards and a luggage carrier to make the E-ST 500 truly practical. You will then have an amazing commuter ebike with great specifications at a really low cost.
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Decathlon has again shown that they are very capable of providing impressive quality sports products at an extremely low price. The E-ST 500 is a great example of this. It brings the electric mountain biking sport/hobby available to the masses. The E-ST 500 is an amazing ebike that has a nice frame, a quality battery, and torque-sensing pedal assist. These features often can’t be found on ebikes this price. There therefore also isn’t really another brand that can compete with this ebike. The E-ST 500 just offers absolutely amazing value for money.
The E-ST 500 might not be the most capable off-roading machine ever. But that’s not the point of this ebike. The rock rider E-ST 500 electric mountain bike is meant for basic mountain biking or just light off-road trail riding. Most people just want an ebike that has some basic off-road capabilities and that is exactly what the E-ST 500 brings to the table.
The E-ST 500 is also perfect for people that are looking for an affordable ebike, but not necessarily an electric mountain bike. It can become a really nice commuter e-bike if you install some mud-guards and a luggage carrier. There is nothing wrong with having an electric mountain bike as a commuter, it actually is really convenient. It can ride along nicely on road and if you encounter an off-road path you will not be in trouble at all.
So if you want a great commuter or an entry-level mountain bike that offers the most value possible, you really can’t go wrong with the E-ST 500!
If you have any questions, want to start a discussion, or need some support, please use the comment section below. I will respond to you within 24 hours.