A lot to like about but also a lot to live with
French outdoor pursuits supermarket, Decathlon, has listened to what the British rider wants and delivered this, the Decathlon Rockrider AM 100 HT.
A world away from its usual range of XC bikes for leg shavers, Decathlon’s new trail hardtail has all the right angles and numbers on the spec sheet. It’s got a 120mm dropper post too, totally trumping its rivals and effectively making it faster as there’s no dicking around with QR collars or worse, multi-tools.
It’s also the only bike other than the Vitus Sentier with a RockShox Sector fork and so benefits from the suppleness of the Debonair system. Oh, and it costs £50 less than all the others, too.
But it’s not all roses for this French fancy. While assured and controlled on descents, the BB is a hair too low. Combined with the relatively low profile Michelin tyres and 175mm cranks, pedal strikes are annoyingly common. And there’s barely any clearance between the drive-side chainstay and the lower run of chain so when it gets rowdy it gets noisy. Then there are the B’Twin-branded Tektro brakes that are nothing short of diabolical — we thought they just needed bedding in but they never improved. Factor in the square lever that feels as nice in the hand as cheap cutlery, and we were massively unimpressed.
There’s a lot to like about the Rockrider but then there’s also a lot to live with. It’s a great effort from Decathlon, and they’re on the right lines. Sadly this first attempt has come up just short.