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Two years ago I had my first ever bike stolen. But, as I explained at the time, it was my fault. In short, during a hasty locking of my bike, I simply attached my lock around the lamppost, but not my bike frame – which, as it turns out, is pretty important if you don’t want someone to walk off with your bike.
The next day, I decided I needed to find the best cheap bike I could find. So, I went to Decathlon: the home of cheap bikes.
I’d love to buy a fancy shiny bike with all the bells and whistles, but the truth is: I don’t trust myself to take care of it. My bike maintenance skills are close to zero and even if the bike evades the slow death caused my little upkeep, there’s also the matter of me not being able to lock up a bicycle.
After some potential deliberations about possibly getting a gravel bike, I opted for my typical bicycle of choice: a hybrid bike.
Living in Spain, I like a bike that can handle dodgy roads, so front suspension is very welcome.
So, after some research, I settled on the cheap and cheerful BTWIN Riverside 500 Bike from Decathlon, which is available for around the £/€/$300 mark.
I don’t know why, but despite owning this bike for two years, I’d never actually gotten round to writing a review on it. So, here is my two-year review of the Riverside 500…
BTWIN Riverside 500 Review
I’ve always been partial to owning a cheap bike. Sometimes through necessity (i.e. being a broke student), but I also like not having to worry about my bike too much. If something happens to it, I’ll get a new one with not too much stress.
Over the past year, I’ve experienced the flipside of this by owning a somewhat expensive electric fat bike. That bike I have to be much more considerate about when and where I leave it, as it is an eye-catching bike that thieves will definitely be keen on stealing if given half a chance.
So why did I choose the Riverside 500?
Well, first off, I thought it looked cool. Hybrid bikes can sometimes look a bit clumsy, but with a squared frame shape with a slight drop in the top bar plus some really nice colour options (I went for the blue/orange combo), it looked nice.
In the past I’ve got some bikes with all the bells and whistles for commuters (i.e. dynamo lights, pannier racks and the like), but this time I wanted something a little bit simpler and lighter.
Decathlon’s Best Hybrid Bike?
For a hybrid bike that comes in well under £/$500, the Decathlon’s Riverside 500 is impressively light, weighing in at 14.1kg – which is definitely the perk of not adding too many features to the bike, plus an aluminium frame.
Indeed, the Riverside features solid reactive disc brakes, front suspension and is a 9-speed bike with a thumb shifter which makes switching through gears very easy.
I also find this bike very comfortable to ride. This is aided by the bike’s suspension, but also by Decathlon’s ergonomic saddle.
Admittedly, I don’t ride this bike for long rides. That’s mostly because it’s exceedingly rare for me to ride more than 10km in general. 90% of my rides are a 3.5km (hilly) commute to my office in town. As well as the hills, there are several hefty speed bumps on my route, so the front suspension certainly helps in this regard.
A Budget Hybrid Bike for Commuting
Indeed, after two years of riding this bike nearly every day, I’m still happy with the purchase. I’ve gotten a bit better at bike maintenance over that time too, so it’s stay in condition. I’m still using the same disk brakes, even the same tyres as when I bought it. The only thing that’s aged in the colour of the bike frame somewhat, which has faded quite a bit after being left in the Spanish sun for many hours. It’s also worth noting that the frame does scratch quite easily, as you can see in the picture below.
But in terms of a cheap commuter bike, it’s great. I’ve even tried it out as a “mountain bike” with friends and managed to, for the most part, keep up with them on the tracks, even despite having significantly narrower tyres than them.
Decathlon’s Riverside 500 Bike Review Summary
All-in-all, this a great value budget hybrid bike. If you’ve got a relatively short commute (under 10km or so) with some hills and bumps, I can attest to the fact that it will be a dependable companion. It’s a sturdy hybrid bike available at a fantastic price.
Two years after buying it, I still stand behind the fact that the Riverside 500 is best budget hybrid bikes for commuting, with the bike available for around $550/£350.