Table of Contents
Decathlon Elops R500: In brief
- Well finished
- Sufficient assistance
- The front basket is too open
- Quite long
Decathlon Elops R500: Datasheet
|E-bike Model||Decathlon Elops R500|
|Type of e-bike:||Cargo longtail|
|Number of gears:||8|
|Autonomy announced:||90 km (56 miles)|
The longtail e-bikes have the wind in their sails, and Decathlon felt it well. So the brand now offers its Elops R500 model, which focuses on the versatility of an electric bike with transport capacities, all at a rather attractive price.
Decathlon Elops R500: Presentation
Decathlon is an important player in the bicycle market. The brand has developed a wide range of bicycles that cover all ages and uses, both muscular and electric. Decathlon’s recipe is simple: offer affordable models while using leading technologies.
Moreover, the e-bikes sold at Decathlon have a definite advantage with the network of stores of the brand, which constitute as many points of client service, professional advice, and purchase support.
Until now, Decathlon has tackled the e-bike market through two main segments. On the one hand, urban models such as the Elops 920 E and 120 E; on the other hand, the mountain e-bikes such as the Stilus V2 or the more recent Stilus E All-Mountain.
The specialized brand also offers a folding model with its Tilt 500 E. The cargo bike’s rise, particularly its longtail version, has naturally attracted Decathlon to this segment.
That is how the Elops R500 E came about, with its extended rear-loading platform that accommodates children and equipment. This a versatility that seduces more and more cyclists in search of an electric bike able to replace a small car for daily journeys.
The electric longtail bike of Decathlon relies on proper equipment, starting with its motor. This one is housed in the rear wheel’s hub and delivers 58 Nm of torque. A value that is not impressive on paper, even less for an e-bike called to carry heavy loads.
The transmission is also modest and relies on an 8-speed device provided by MicroShift. The energy is delivered by a battery of 672 Wh, with which Decathlon promises a range of 50 to 90 km, which is 31-55 miles (for a rider of 80 kg or 175 lbs, without load and on a flat road).
Once launched, the R500 E is equipped with Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, whose discs measure 180 mm in diameter.
Overall, the technical sheet of the Decathlon Elops R500 E is neither impressive nor worrying. However, this level of equipment is not bad for a longtail e-bike at a low price for the category (2799 €).
You can find a cheaper model, like the RadPower RadWagon 4, sold for less than 2000 €, but the level of performance is not the same. The price of longtail electric bikes climbs quickly with the competition, to more than 4000 or 5000 €.
Decathlon Elops R500: Comfort and ergonomics
Let’s start by defining what a longtail bike is to fully understand the philosophy of the R500 E.
Cargo e-bikes can carry the load at the front (two-wheeler or three-wheeler) in a box located between the handlebars and the front wheel. They can carry large loads but could be not that convenient and require time to get used to.
Longtail cargo bikes place in the main loading area at the rear. They look more like classic bikes with an oversized luggage rack added.
The Elops R500 E is part of this family of longtail cargo bikes, safer for those who are not very comfortable on a bike or do not see themselves riding a three-wheeler.
Generally, longtails opt for 20 or 22-inch wheels to keep a length comparable to a classic bike while benefiting from a low center of gravity. Decathlon chose between them: its Elops R500 E is still 2.20 m long, whereas many competitors stay under 2 m.
Such a length necessarily reduces the maneuverability of the electric bike and its capacity to be maneuvered in restricted spaces. When riding, you quickly realize this limitation when passing certain obstacles that require you to go wide enough.
The length of the R500 E is partly due to the fact that Decathlon placed a 26-inch wheel at the front. Of course, a relatively large diameter impacts the maneuverability compared to a 20 inches wheel. Nevertheless, this choice is attractive in terms of stability and comfort.
Decathlon rarely disappoints with the finishing of its bikes, and the Elops R500 E is quite good overall. Sturdiness and rigidity are there. The welds of the frame are discreet, and the integration of the various elements does not suffer any reproach.
The 672 Wh battery is located in the diagonal tube of the frame and can be easily extracted once the lock is unlocked. The bottom bracket is rougher but provides easy access for maintenance if needed.
The motor is housed in the rear wheel’s hub and is well hidden. In addition, a large casing covers this wheel, avoiding contact between the passenger’s feet and the spokes.
The luggage rack has an extensive surface area and a standard width that allows the attachment of most universal accessories, such as baby carriers, panniers, or boxes. A metal guard goes around and offers a space of 60 x 40 cm, ensuring a good grip for the possible passengers.
The footrests, also made of wood, provide a useful surface for passengers whose feet go down that low.
The absence of rear suspension – logical considering the weight the bike can carry (up to 80 kg or 175 lbs) – still makes the e-bike stiff when crossing small obstacles, such as speed bumps. The choice of a cushioned baby seat could be appropriate.
The rider is not much better off without a suspended seat. The cushioning relies entirely on the 2.15-inch wide tire, which could have used more cushioning. Up front, things are better thanks to the 2.15-inch tire and the 63 mm suspension fork.
A basket is placed at the front of the Decathlon Elops R500 E. It can support 10 kg (22 lbs), but it could be more practical. Of course, it offers a nice surface, but its opening on all sides requires you to secure everything you want to put in it.
The basket can be easily removed, but you must be careful because the R500 E’s headlight is attached there. So you’ll have to find another way to connect it, for example, to the front fender anchor point.
The riding position allowed by the Elops R500 E is relatively upright. In addition, the height of the seat is easily adjustable thanks to a tool-free clamp. That is an advantage when several family members of different sizes use the electric bike.
Markings on the seatpost make it easy to identify the right level for each person. In addition, the wide seat is quite comfortable, and its profile favors this aspect over sportiness.
This choice is logical because an electric bike is not designed for a dynamic ride. Slightly curved handlebars are comfortable and have ergonomic grips.
The control box controls, the shifters, and the brake levers can be easily adjusted to fit perfectly under the fingers. The curvature of the handlebars is just right for a good compromise between a relaxed position and stability.
Given the equipment selection, we feel that this Decathlon Elops R500 E was thought for the city. The rider can count on a rear mudguard with a good coverage area and on the front one that goes down low enough to protect the pants but not the shoes.
A mud flap in the extension of the mudguard would have been a good addition. The bottom of the pants is also protected from the grease of the chain, the latter being hidden by a plastic casing.
The chain is deviated from its normal course by a roller fixed on the rear base. This assembly allows it not to touch the obstacles that one can have to cross with the e-bike.
The big feet will sometimes go to meet its heel while pedaling. That is due to a design that slightly offsets the frame downwards.
The center stand is good overall for keeping the bike stationary. However, there are several things to consider, starting with its tendency to mark the ground. Indeed, the metal stand often rubs on the ground when the bike is mounted.
A slight bouncing effect can also be felt when parking the R500 E: it is better to be very careful if you carry a child or a heavy load.
The front lighting is provided by a Spanninga Axendo 0 light, which is adequate in the city to complement the street lights but insufficient for safe driving in the dark. At the rear, the red light allows you to be seen by other road users and also signals braking by lighting up more intensely. That is an excellent point.
Finally, Decathlon made an excellent choice to integrate, by default, a frame lock to its longtail cargo bike. It is thus convenient to lock the rear wheel thanks to this device, ideal for a minute stop while buying something on the go.
Above all, the particularity of the rear wheel, primarily hidden by a plastic casing, would have made adapting such a device very complex if it had not been thought of from the start.
Decathlon Elops R500: On the road
The first pedal strokes on a cargo e-bike can be confusing. You have to understand the volume and dimensions of the bike, its width, and its length. Going around bends can be confusing, but this quickly fades away.
On the other hand, you quickly feel at ease thanks to the excellent stability of the Decathlon Elops R500 E. Its center of gravity is relatively low, and you feel well-connected to the road.
The motorization of an electric bike that promises to carry heavy loads needs a bit of discussion. On this model, the 250 W motor (685 W peak) develops 58 Nm of torque. A value that is not impressive in a market where players like Bosch and Shimano offer 85 Nm.
A torque sensor counterbalances the motor’s position in the rear wheel. The latter guarantees – on paper – that the assistance delivered is proportional to the pressure exerted on the pedals.
In practice, we can’t say that the naturalness of the pedaling bluffed us in all circumstances. The Decathlon longtail bike offers three assistance modes (plus a fourth one if you add the zero-assistance one).
The first mode is the most useful for riding in town on flat streets. It is sufficiently responsive, without overpowering, and ensures a smooth start, even when the e-bike is loaded. The intermediate mode is already peppier and offers more sustained acceleration and a better ability to climb hills.
The third and last mode is reserved for climbing when the bike is loaded. In this mode, the torque sensor is not used anymore, and the slightest pressure on the pedal results in a pronounced acceleration.
It’s best to avoid this mode in the city, as it’s challenging to master when the speed must be moderate. But, on the other hand, when it comes time to tackle a hill, the engine delivers an excellent performance, and the rider doesn’t break a sweat.
The assistance modes are managed from the control display, which integrates the screen. The “+” and “-” buttons allow you to change modes on the fly, while short presses on the start button scroll through the different information.
This information is complete since it includes the instantaneous speed, the distance covered, the battery capacity, and an estimate of the distance that can still be covered. In addition, the display remains clear and readable, even in bright sunlight.
The 8-speed MicroShift transmission is decent. Shifting gears is smooth and has a proper response time. Confidence in your transmission when carrying a heavy load is essential to avoid inconveniences.
The acceleration range is satisfactory for riding up to about 28 km/h (17 mph) on the flat without too much effort. To go beyond this speed, you must push hard on the pedals or wait for a descent. The gearing range also allows you to tackle hills while keeping a good pedaling pace, as long as the engine is there to assist.
Without assistance, the 38 kg Decathlon Elops R500 E will drag. It should also be noted that when the battery capacity drops below 20%, the motor limits the power it delivers, making crossings more difficult. Therefore, it is better to avoid this area if you are loaded.
The thumb can reach a small trigger near the left handle. This one allows you to start the assistance of the bike to reach 6 km/h or 4 mph (“walk” mode).
This function is handy when you stop at a stop sign (especially if you didn’t anticipate the right gear), when you have to start on a hill, or simply when you have to push the bike next to you, and it is loaded.
Read also: Decathlon Elops 940 E test and review – the best city e-bike by Decathlon so far. Decathlon Elops 500 E test and review – a good e-bike, priced at 699 euros. Decathlon Elops 920 E test and review – best balanced e-bike. Decathlon Elops 120 E test and review – great value entry-level e-bike.
Another critical aspect of a cargo bike like the R500 E is the braking. Stopping quickly when carrying 80 kg (175 lbs) of cargo load requires good quality equipment. Decathlon relies on Tektro hydraulic disc brakes that bite on 180 mm diameter discs.
This is the minimum required, according to our views, also taking into account that the tires of the R500 E are not the widest on the market.
Nevertheless, these brakes are enough to ensure braking without a load and with a 65 kg rider in a little over 3 m. That remains satisfactory without being dazzling. The brakes also offer an appreciable progressiveness for good precision.
Decathlon Elops R500: Autonomy
The Decathlon longtail cargo bike comes with a 672 Wh battery. This is a good capacity but needs rigorous testing, especially for a cargo e-bike.
The company claims a 50 to 90 km (30 – 50 mile) range depending on the assistance mode chosen, and this is on relatively flat terrain with a rider of 80 kg (175 lbs) only on the bike.
As usual, we performed our range test with the highest assistance mode on a medium hilly route (about 600 m of positive difference in altitude) and with a 65 kg rider.
This test was carried out without any additional load on the luggage rack. In this configuration, we rode 57 km (35 miles), which is still quite average in absolute terms for an e-bike. By using the Eco mode on flat roads, extending the riding range of the R500 E and covering the 90 km (55 miles) promised seems possible.
On the other hand, if you use the e-bike more loaded, you can cut a few kilometers from these estimates. You should also consider that the engine power is limited in the last few kilometers.
The longtail R500 E-bike makes up for it with its 4 A charger that allows it to fully charge its battery in a little less than 4 h 30 min. A small but nice addition, the battery of the bike integrates a USB port to recharge a smartphone, if necessary.
It’s a pity that Decathlon does not offer a second optional battery that could increase the autonomy and make this e-bike more attractive for those who ride a lot with heavy loads.
Decathlon Elops R500: Conclusion
The Decathlon Elops R500 E may be the first electric cargo bike of the brand, and overall it is very nicely done. Aesthetically appealing, it is efficient and pleasant to ride once you get used to its size.
Decathlon succeeds in proposing a relatively affordable electric longtail bike, capable of being very versatile. The Elops R500 E will hardly find a competitor in this segment and at this price. Added to this is the strength of the Decathlon network.
Read also: Is Decathlon a good e-bike brand to buy? Brand and models review.