With the launch of its new bike, Elops 500 E, Decathlon promises comfortable and smooth road journeys as the bike is boosted by electrical assistance. It is priced very fairly at 699 euros.
Is the cheapest electrically assisted bicycle by Decathlon good enough to give you the pleasure you need while cycling? Let’s see together.
Presentation of Elops 500 E model
The new model, Decathlon Elops 500 E, is a lot different from Elops 940 E.
Read also: B’twin Elops 940e review: the best electric bike by Decathlon so far – in this article.
While Elops 940 E is a rather expensive electric bike and represents the top range of the electric bikes by Decathlon, the Elops 500 E is priced very low and plays the electrical assistance card only.
This model does not have a mid-drive motor. It possesses a small rear hub motor which enables you to add electrical assistance to the bike at the lowest cost possible.
Read also: Front, mid-drive, or rear motor – which one to choose? – in this article.
To achieve the goal, the Decathlon decided to create this e-bike on the basis of its previous traditional bicycle model, Elops 520. This model is a Dutch-style bike sold for as little as 260 euros. All Decathlon had to do was attach a hub motor, a battery, few sensors, and an on-board computer to transform it into an electrically assisted bike.
Decathlons Elops 500 E is considered as one of the cheapest e-bikes on the market, due to its very low price tag of 699 euros.
So, what exactly do you get for the price? Is it worth it? Is it really necessary for the cyclists to fall for the entry-level e-bike that is still far more expensive than its fully muscular equivalent model, Elops 520? Let’s take a closer look.
Read also: How much does a good e-bike cost? – in this comprehensive pricing guide.
Comfort and ergonomics
Elops 500 E is designed on the basis of the frames other Elops models by Decathlon – from 100 to 500 series. These models have been appearing in Decathlon’s catalog for a few years now. So, the frame of Elops 500 E is not much different.
The e-bike has a low frame that enables the rider to get off and get on the bike as easy as possible (by stepping through). This is especially helpful if the e-bike is loaded. The driving position of the e-bike is also straightened, thanks to the handles that are placed at a high position. They are curvy so the arms usually remain close to the rider’s bust.
This well-designed frame allows the rider to keep the back straight while pedaling. This limits muscle fatigue on the upper body and improves visibility during the ride. You won’t have to ride in a sporty position, which is a plus if you are riding on busy city streets.
Read also: Which muscles work when riding an e-bike? – in this article.
Frame, geometry and suspension
By using a hub motor, Decathlon did not have to change the geometry of the bicycle. So, the frame is the identical steel frame to that of Elops 520 traditional bicycle model.
The frame finishes are satisfactory in this price range. The brake cables and the derailleur pass through the bottom tube. However, it is impossible not to see that it is an electrically assisted bike because the battery is well visible under the luggage rack.
The choice of steel for the fork as well as the e-bike’s frame makes the e-bike quite heavy. This model weighs 25.65 kgs. The non-electrical version, Elops 520 still weighs almost 19 kgs, which is also quite heavy for a non-electric bicycle.
At the same time, there are numerous benefits to a steel frame. For example, steel is more flexible and better at absorbing vibrations than aluminum.
The absence of suspension on the fork and seat post in Elops 520 would not have given the cyclists the comfortable rides they deserve. So, Decathlon decided to add these two suspensions in its Elops 500 E model. The ergonomic handlebar provides the necessary support for the hands. Other than that, the comfortable low-positioned saddle absorbs shocks. But we will still recommend you to avoid non-paved roads.
Equipment and accessories
As far as equipment is concerned, a big luggage rack is welded to the frame and has the capacity to hold about 27 kgs. Furthermore, tensioners are given to hold the objects inside the luggage rack easily.
The battery is housed under the luggage rack and is locked with a key. It takes a bit of effort to remove the battery.
The 28-inch bike tires have a great width (42-622) and are from the Chinese group Cheng Shin (Maxxis). The tires offer good comfort during the ride.
The black plastic mudguards on the bike complement the frame and offer effective protection from flying mud and dirt. However, the one at the front should have been extended down a little lower or should have had a small bib to protect the shoes better.
The bottom of the pants is protected by a chain guard. Don’t worry as the chain is well-covered. The plastic pedals, on the other hand, are rudimentary and non-durable.
Decathlon has focused on e-bike integration, the most. That is why we found the headlights well-welded to the frame. But an aesthetic choice always comes with a consequence. Thus, you cannot change the headlight in the event of the breakdown. And you will not be able to replace it if you want a more powerful one.
The headlight’s intensity is enough to see clearly the road just in front of the e-bike, but do not expect to see what is coming in a distance.
Elops 500 E on the road
Normally, you should now expect much from the hub motor in the model like Elops 500 E. Its maximum torque, which is 26 NM is only delivered if it is in the Sports assistance mode. The torque always remains lower in the ECO mode. If you compare it to other electrically-assisted bikes, the torque deliverance is far from ideal.
Bosch Active line central motor, for example, gives a torque deliverance of 30 NM. The rear hub motor of Cowboy Sport V2 gives a torque deliverance of 30 NM as well. Even though the torque is not much but the Cowboy V2 weighs so much less that there is not much problem.
Read also: Cowboy e-bike review. An electric bike that rides faster than its shadow – in this article.
When it comes to Decathlon Elops 500 E, the main problem lies in its weight. The e-bike behaves rather well on the flat routes and the motor provides what it takes to aid the pedaling.
The motor is not helping much when it comes to climbing the hills. It is, therefore, necessary to force on the pedals and quickly change gears to keep the sufficient pedaling frequency. It is better if the climb does not last too long or is not too steep since the ordeal is never far away when it comes to bringing 26 kg of steel to the top.
Read also: Can e-bike help climb steep hills? – in this article.
Shifting the gears
The Decathlon Elops 500 E is rather pleasant to use, much of which is due to its 6-speed transmission, which is sufficient to drive quietly in town. This transmission, an entry-level Shimano Tourney, however, deserves only a casual approval.
It inevitably hangs a little on certain speed changes. If you want to ride it with pleasure, it is better to check its setting regularly. This is rather easily done using the small derailleur screw. As it has a low number of gears, you will easily find the right cable tension.
It is obvious that the cyclist will not beat speed records on this bike because of the handlebars. But the riding position and the largest gear barely makes it possible to exceed 30 km/h even on the flat routes.
The absence of a force sensor in the crankset is not too disturbing, given the weaknesses of the motor, which for once provides fairly gentle assistance, despite a noticeable lag between the rotation performed on the crankset and its activation mode.
The level of assistance is easily set via a small control button attached to the left of the hanger. Switching from one mode to another is done using a single button. All you have to do is go from Eco mode to Normal mode, then to Sport mode. Similarly, you can switch from Normal mode to Eco mode by pressing it again.
We would have preferred a 2-button system (shifting up and shifting down), especially since the responsiveness of the system is not great.
In Eco mode, the motor drives us up to around 14 km / h. You must switch to Normal mode to be assisted up to around 22 km / h, then to Sport mode if you want to continuously benefit from maximum assistance, that is up to 25 km / h. It would not be wrong to say that with such a low maximum torque, we will rather stay in Sport mode most of the time.
Read also: Do e-bike riders switch electric assistance up and down as they ride? – in this article.
The e-bike has classic V-brake pads. They are effective in dry weather, allowing the cyclist to stop the bike in less than 4 m. Moreover, the size of the tires helps too. The additional weight of the battery on the luggage rack prevents the rear wheel from lifting.
But it is not the same in the rainy weather. The brake pads lose their effectiveness very quickly when they have to drain water from the rim.
But the main problem is that the brakes wear out fast. Decathlon is nevertheless transparent on this point, indicating that it is necessary to change them every 400 km in the case of use in “degraded conditions “, that is sandy paths, heavy load, etc.
The autonomy of Elops 500 E
Decathlon Elops 500 E is equipped with a modest battery delivering only 220 Watts (24 V / 8.8 Ah). It is nothing like the marathon runner.
In Sport mode, the e-bike would go up to 25-30 km, and even less with hills on the route. This may be enough for purely urban commuting, but do not forget to recharge the battery every night.
Switching to Normal mode logically saves a bit of autonomy, provided you agree to pedal harder and potentially slower since assistance then no longer propels up to 25 km/h. With the announced up to 50 km of autonomy, it then means in Eco mode and without hardly any elevation.
Charging takes just over 5 hours and the bike comes with a 2A charger. It is a long charging time if you are wondering but there’s no harm in leaving the battery overnight for charging.
This charging time could become an issue if you want to recharge during the day. With such a limited autonomy, faster charging time would have helped.
Decathlon Elops 500 E datasheet
|Engine||The rear hub, 250-watts, 26 NM|
|Number of speeds||6|
|Autonomy announced||50 km|
|Battery weight||2.1 kgs|
|Battery||24 Volts, 8.8 Ah, 221 watts/ Samsung cell|
|Luggage rack, tool kit, anti-theft||Yes/no/no|
|Bike weight||25.65 kgs|
Pros of The Decathlon Elops 500 E
- Nice riding on flat roads.
- Gentle assistance.
Cons of The Decathlon Elops 500 E
- The motor is rather weak.
- Low autonomy.
- Heavy weight.
- Long charging time.
- Low range transmission.
- The battery is difficult to remove.
Final remarks about Decathlon Elops 500 E
The Decathlon Elops 500 E is not a bad e-bike, but its electrical assistance is questionable. It is recommended for driving on flat ground as its engine is not powerful enough to assist on steep inclines. This quality alone greatly limits the interest of this e-bike in many locations.
It is better to not go very far with this bike either since you will only cover around 30 kilometers. Its autonomy is weaker as compared to other e-bikes at this price. The risk of having no more energy on the way back is not negligible. As limited as it is, the help of the engine is important when it comes to riding with a bike weighing nearly 26 kg.
Here is a quick video presentation of Decathlon Elops 500 E: