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Decathlon Riverside 500 Electric Bike Review

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The New Riverside 500 Hybrid Electric Bike From Decathlon – Better than the Carrera Crossfire E?

Out of all the styles of electric bike, the hybrid is generally one of the best sellers. You have the ‘go anywhere’ versatility that comes with chunkier tyres and front suspension, and also the lighter weight and faster rolling 700c wheels usually found on road bikes.

I have always been a big fan of Decathlon bikes, and now they have well and truly entered the ebike world with a fantastic range of electric bikes. The new Riverside 500 Hybrid Electric Bike is one of their best all-rounders. I believe it could knock the Carrera Crossfire E, by Halfords off the top spot. Read my full review below.

Summary

I have owned a B’TWIN Riverside 900 before, and I converted it to electric myself using a Tongsheng TSDZ2 mid-drive motor. I though it would only be a matter of time before Decathlon released their own electric version, and they did! Enter the Riverside 500 electric bike.

decathlon riverside 500 electric hybrid bike

Decathlon have recently dropped the B’TWIN brand name from a lot of their bikes. So this new bike is just known as the Riverside 500.

Anyway, moving on. Is the Riverside 500 hybrid electric bike any good? Well at a first glance, it looks to be another excellent value ebike from Decathlon. You have to give credit where it’s due, and I must say that I am very impressed with their new range of electric bikes.

The frame uses the same unisex design as the Riverside 900 I owned, with the exception of an area on the downtube where the battery is installed.

btwin riverside 900 diy electric bike

The rest of the bike looks fairly similar. And the paint finish is what we have come to expect from Decathlon bikes – generally very good indeed.

This new model has a 250w rear hub motor, with a decent 36v 11.6ah battery pack and a torque sensing system for the pedal assist.

It is great to see torque sensing pedal assist on a sub £1000 hybrid electric bike. This brings it into line with Halfords popular Carrera Crossfire E, the only difference being is the Decathlon bike is a whole £400 cheaper! (at its current price)

Electric Motor

The Riverside 500 uses a 250w unbranded rear hub motor. It’s smooth and definitely produces enough power as and when needed. The manufacturers claimed rated torque for this motor is 42Nm which is about right for a small geared hub motor.

The great thing about hub motors, is they are generally very reliable, and I would imagine that this one is no exception. It produces a nice turn of power when needed, and it can also be pedalled normally when the motor is switched off.

The riverside 500 electric bike 250w rear hub motor

One thing I didn’t expect to see on this bike was the addition of a torque sensor. These are usually found on more expensive bikes like the Carrera Crossfire E.

Torque sensing pedal assist measures the amount of force being applied to the pedals and gives you the right amount of assist in proportion to how much effort you are putting in. The bottom line is it makes for a much more subtle transition to electric assist when you start pedalling. It also means the motor is giving you optimal power when you need it.

Another common trait of a torque sensor, is it will generally increase the efficiency of the motor, thus increasing your battery range.

The torque sensor on the Carrera Crossfire E measures force through a sensor fitted to the crankset – Suntour’s patented ATS or Active Torque Sensing system. The torque sensor used on the Riverside 500 is, in my opinion slightly more sophisticated, and measure torque via force being applied through the bottom bracket (the main crank bearing that the crankset and crank arm connect to).

As far as power is concerned, the high-torque, geared hub motor fitted to the Riverside, has a surprising turn of power in boost mode, making easy work of those annoying hills!

Display

The Riverside 500 ebike uses a very tidy and compact LCD display, which is located on the left hand side of the handlebar. There are 4 power levels available – zero assist, economy assist, standard and boost. Using boost mode constantly will deplete the battery the quickest.

riverside 500 electric bike lcd display

As far as displays go, it’s fairly basic, but it provides all the information most riders will ever need – Speed, assist level, battery range and trip computer.  The display is also clear to read and easy to use via the keypad, which is located conveniently next to the left hand grip.

Battery

Another good feature of the Riverside 500, is the battery has a very reasonable 36v 11.6ah (417Wh), which should give an assisted range of around 40-50 miles. This figure may be higher or lower, depending on how much assist you use, your weight and the kind of terrain you’re riding on.

the decathlon riverside 500 ebike 36v 11.6ah battery pack

This battery fits neatly into the frame, and uses the same side exit system as other batteries used on Decathlon ebikes

Gearing

The Riverside 500 has a 1 x 8 speed set-up, with a 36t chainring on the front and a wide range 11-34 8-speed cassette at the rear.

The derailleur and gear shifter are B’TWIN branded components. My bike had the same components, and in my opinion, they work as well as their Shimano equivalents. I never experienced any problems with indexing and gear changes were always crisp and smooth.

I like the fact they have kept the gearing quite low, a 36t chainring will still allow you to pedal up to around 25 mph (albeit at a high cadence). But if you are exploring the countryside and riding canal towpaths, you don’t really want to be going much faster than 15 mph anyway.

Brakes

Tektro hydraulic brakes fitted to the riverside 500 ebike

The Tektro hydraulic brakes are fairly entry-level, but more than adequate on a bike of this type. I have personal experience with these brakes, and they do the job. I’m quite heavy at 110kg, and I never once experienced brake fade when negotiating steep descents.

Wheels and Tyres

The rims are double-walled alloy with alloy hubs and sealed bearings. All B’TWIN branded components and fairly durable. I covered nearly 400 miles on a Riverside 900, mainly through Cornish country lanes, and not once did the wheels need truing up, despite some unplanned encounters with pot-holes!

The 700 x 38c CST Tirent hybrid tyres have a reasonable degree of puncture resistance, and should provide decent grip on a multitude of surfaces.

Front Suspension

The front suspension is the popular Suntour NCX SF17, which has 63mm of travel. Once again, I can vouch for these forks as they were fitted to my Riverside 900. They’re the perfect hybrid / trekking suspension fork, and more than suitable for gravel tracks, and rough country lanes.

suntour ncx sf17 suspension forks fitted to the riverside 500 electric bike

These forks can be locked-out and also adjusted for stiffness. It should be remembered that as with any hybrid fork, there are limits to the amount of abuse they can take. If you plan on doing a lot of off-road riding, you would be advised to get the E-ST500 Electric mountain bike (which is the same price).

Finishing Kit

All the finishing kit is standard Decathlon, B’TWIN branded components. The seat post, stem and handlebars are all made of aluminium. The saddle is their own brand Ergofit. I find these saddles to be quite comfortable, even on longer rides.

Frame

The 6061 Alloy frame on the Riverside 500 ebike is of good quality and Unisex design, it is quite stiff, and feels surprisingly responsive for a hybrid bike. The frame also benefits from Decathlon’s lifetime guarantee.  The geometry is typical hybrid, making for a very relaxed, upright riding position.

Riverside 500 frame geometry and sizing

Who is this bike aimed at?

I would say this electric bike is aimed squarely at commuters and leisure riders. It would definitely make a great daily commuter bike. Mudguards and a pannier rack can be easily fitted and the comfortable upright riding position will make any longer ride a pleasant experience.

The 417Wh (watt hours) battery should easily give a range of between 30-40 miles on a single charge, making a daily 30 mile round trip commute fairly effortless.

man and women riding the decathlon riverside 500 electric bike

As a leisure bike, the Riverside 500 is excellent. Its unisex design, means that if you’re a couple you can buy two of these and go off exploring the countryside together. The versatility of this ebike means that you can always venture off the beaten track, without worrying too much about gravel tracks or woodland trails.

Versatility is what makes a good hybrid bike, and in all honesty I think the Riverside 500 ticks all the right boxes.

Buy the Riverside 500 Electric Bike Here

Decathlon Riverside 500 electric bike review
Decathlon UK
Decathlon France
Decathlon Netherlands
Decathlon Spain
Decathlon Germany

Conclusion

The more I look at Decathlon’s new range of electric bikes, the more I think they have produced some absolute gems!

The R&D folks at Decathlon’s headquarters in Lille,  have obviously really thought things through. The Riverside 500 electric bike is not only a good ebike, by any standard, but it is incredibly good value for money.

A direct comparison with the latest Carrera Crossfire E from Halfords was inevitable. Lets have a quick look shall we?

Riverside 500 Electric Bike vs Carrera Crossfire E

Carrera Crossfire E 2020 model

  • 250w rear hub motor
  • 36v 11.6ah battery
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 8-speed Shimano gearing
  • Torque sensing pedal assist
  • Weight: 22.5kg

Price: £1399 – BUY HERE

Riverside 500 electric bike vs carrera crossfire e comparison

Decathlon Riverside 500 Electric Hybrid Bike 2020 model

  • 250w rear hub motor
  • 36v 11.6ah battery
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • 8-speed B’TWIN / Microshift gearing
  • Torque sensing pedal assist
  • Weight: 21.95kg (medium frame)

Price: £999 – BUY HERE

As you can see, there isn’t really a lot to choose between the two bikes, specification wise. The Carrera Crossfire E is specifically available in a Women’s frame, whereas the Riverside 500 has a unisex frame design.

Having ridden both bikes, what do I personally think? To be honest there isn’t really a lot in it. I am biased towards the Decathlon bike, even though there is hardly any weight difference when compared with the Crossfire. It just feels a bit lighter and more responsive.

The plus point with Halfords of course, is there is one in every large town and city in the UK, while Decathlon stores are a bit few and far between.

I prefer the look of the Riverside 500, it is a very well designed and thought out bike. Ultimately, if it comes down to price, then the Decathlon bike wins the comparison hands down. If it was my money, I would go for the Riverside.

If you have a Halfords and Decathlon nearby, I would go and check both bikes out in the flesh and see which one suits you best.

If you own a Riverside 500 electric bike and would like to leave a review and comment, please do so below.

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Decathlon Riverside 500 Hybrid Electric Bike

£999
8.7

Value for Money

10.0/10

Performance

8.0/10

Battery Range

8.0/10

Pros

  • Another great value ebike from Decathlon
  • Torque sensing pedal assist
  • Good performance and range

26 thoughts on “Decathlon Riverside 500 Electric Bike Review

  • October 12, 2020 at 9:47 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    9

    Performance

    8

    Battery Range

    10

    Hi! Tony!
    Great Blog ! Congratulations! Like Peter I own a riverside 500E and I’m experiencing the same problems he does! Technical services of Decathlon aren’t able to solve the problem and I’m getting tired (4 times in the technical support). Did you know if Peter managed to solve the problem? Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • October 13, 2020 at 7:37 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Manuel,

      Unfortunately I never heard back from Peter so I’m assuming the problem was either sorted out or he requested a refund. Are you getting an error code on the display (error 60)? I had a quick look on the Decathlon UK website, and they list the error codes, although there isn’t a reference to ’60’. Here is a link to the page. They really should sort the problem out or offer you a replacement or refund. Please let me know how things go.

      Kind regards,
      Tony

      Reply
  • October 4, 2020 at 12:53 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    10

    Performance

    10

    Battery Range

    10

    Great site Tony
    I have been using the riverside 500 since April, and I’m absolutely loving it. Its my first ebike, and we live in quite a hilly area, but the riverside makes it a breeze, its effortless (if you don’t want to pedal much) on all but the biggest hills on number 2, I’ve not needed to use 3 much at all.
    I was very worried about how long the battery would last, but that’s totally disappeared now, I very rarely have to charge it after a ride, and the great display shows you exactly how much power you have left and seems accurate.
    I was worried I was buying a cheap bike, but that’s not the case at all, My wife got the Pendleton Ebike at the same time from Halfords, and there is no comparison, everything about the pendleton seems “cheaper”, for example, to use no assistance you have to set it to off, which does turn the whole think off, but the Riverside allows you to select 0 but still have the display for MPH etc. There is also no display, just 3 led’s.
    Overall I can’t recommend this bike highly enough.

    Reply
    • October 4, 2020 at 5:09 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Andy,

      Thanks for sharing your experience of the Riverside 500, much appreciated.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 27, 2020 at 10:02 pm
    Permalink

    Hi Tony,
    I have a long commute (30 miles or so there and back), mostly on a cycle superhighway with a fair number of hills and some pretty poor quality roads once you get off it.. I have done it before on a normal MTB, but I was fairly exhausted!
    I am thinking about buying either this Riverside Electric bike, or the Rockrider EST-500 v2. I do like riding on the grass/countryside and wood paths when not commuting, and there are a few basic MTB trails in my area too.
    I’m wondering what you would recommend? Do you think there would be a significant difference between the riverside and MTB in terms of efficiency (that would be noticeable) due to the Riverside’s slightly lighter weight and thinner tyres? Do you think the Riverside would be OK to cycle on forest paths and the countryside? E.g. grass, forest floors etc. Obv the MTB would be better for off-road stuff, but I also don’t want to commute (not often, maybe 1-2 times a week 15 miles each way) on it if the Riverside is considerably more efficient and is capable of most of the off-roading that the MTB can do!
    Thanks!

    Reply
    • June 28, 2020 at 8:38 am
      Permalink

      Hi Jonathan,

      Personally I think the Riverside would be more than up to the job. I owned a Riverside 900 (which I converted to an e-bike) and found it coped with the rough gravel tracks on Bodmin moor very well, plus it also rode well on tarmac. The suspension and wheel / tyre set-up is identical to the Riverside 500 e-bike. The Rockrider is a good bike, and certainly better at handling the rougher stuff, but the fat MTB tyres have much great rolling resistance on tarmac and make quite a lot of noise when riding on roads.

      I hope this helps, if you need any more info, please let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
  • June 17, 2020 at 2:52 pm
    Permalink

    I have just taken delivery of my first e bike. Does anyone know how I can change the speedometer from km to miles?

    Reply
    • June 17, 2020 at 8:10 pm
      Permalink

      I’m not sure you can change it to miles. The one I tested was reading in km, but I never had an instruction manual to go with it. I’ve just checked on Decathlon’s website and one of the customer reviews said the display couldn’t be changed to MPH. I know some similar displays you can change from km to mph by holding down the (-) minus key and power (on/off) button simultaneously for a couple of seconds. I don’t know whether that will work or not, but it’s worth a try.

      Regards,
      Tony

      Reply
        • June 20, 2020 at 10:43 am
          Permalink

          Hi Neil,

          Thanks for sharing, much appreciated.

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply
          • September 23, 2020 at 9:24 pm
            Permalink

            Value for Money

            9

            Performance

            8

            Battery Range

            8.5

            Had mine now for just under a week was very lucky to get one as most stores were sold out, I’ve changed mine to miles from km, I think you press and hold the light button if I remember right. Walk mode is done by press and hold + button and to reset your trip press and hold – . My better half has the crossfire E and I have to say I don’t see much difference in these 2 bikes. I do think the crossfire E is better suited to my partner though. I need the Riverside just to keep up with her, the motor only giving 42nm instead of 60nm on the crossfire makes me work a little more but that’s not a bad thing. 8 speed on the Riverside and the crossfire has 9 speed. We are both very happy with both our bikes and love long rides out together on them.

  • May 30, 2020 at 9:15 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    10

    Performance

    8.5

    Battery Range

    8.5

    Hi Tony my name is Isaac, I have just recently bought a decathlon riverside 500 electric bike and its been running very well I haven’t had any problem with at all, I do really like the bike but my question is where I store or keep the bike in the house is my concern because I keep my bike in the conservatory in the house where by it gets really hot doing the summer heat waves so at times I have to open the windows in the conservatory to allow air to come in and also in the winter times its can get really cold both in the nights and in the mornings sometimes below zero degrees . please what do you thinks about keeping an electric bike such conditions? please is it ok to keep my electric bike in the conservatory? I want to know your advice. thank you, sir,Isaac

    Reply
    • May 30, 2020 at 9:39 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Isaac,

      It will be fine keeping the bike in the conservatory, but I would remove the battery pack and store it somewhere cool if possible. The same goes for winter storage. Lithium batteries do not like extremes of temperature.

      I hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • June 7, 2020 at 7:46 am
        Permalink

        Hi Tony

        I wanted to find out if it is possible to de-restrict a Riverside 500. I have read a lot about this but never sure if it is a good thing regarding the components. We use our bikes on quite country paths but would love a little extra speed.
        Thank you

        Reply
        • June 7, 2020 at 1:01 pm
          Permalink

          Hi Stephen,

          These e-bikes are built to stringent standards to comply with the European EN15194 pedalec laws and de-restricting them isn’t straightforward. It is possible, but it’s likely to involve replacing the motor controller (ECU) and display. The controller is located to the rear of battery (inside the housing).

          Most e-bike hub motors (including the Riverside) have a circular multi-plug connector which contain within a positive (red), negative (black), 3 x phase wires (yellow, green, blue) and a hall sensor wires (usually 5 or 6). The main issue with replacing the controller is the Riverside uses torque sensing pedal assist, and a regular cadence-sensing controller would not work (unless you retro-fitted a cadence pedal sensor). You can purchase torque-sensing controllers, but whether they are compatible with the sensor fitted to the Riverside I wouldn’t like to say.

          What I did do for a customer in the past (with a Carrera Vulcan E) was to install a mid-drive motor, wire it into the existing battery and replace the rear wheel with a regular one – but that’s an expensive solution.

          If you need any more advice, let me know.

          Regards,
          Tony

          Reply
  • May 26, 2020 at 10:47 am
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    9

    Performance

    7.5

    Battery Range

    6.5

    Hello there, tried lot’s of ways to zero the trip on my riverside 500,can you help?
    Regards den.

    Reply
    • May 27, 2020 at 8:01 am
      Permalink

      Hi Den,

      It’s been a while since I tested the Riverside but if my memory serves me correct you need to hold down the minus key for 10 seconds to zero the trip computer. I have found a manual online but it is in Portuguese – using Google translate, this confirms the above. Here is a link for the manual.
      I hope this helps.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • May 22, 2020 at 9:49 am
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    8.5

    Performance

    7

    Battery Range

    9

    I have also had problems with my Riverside 500 E-Bike that I bought last October. After about 400 miles I kept feeling that something just wasn’t right, the power was cutting in an out and at times it felt like the brakes were on (checked them and they’re ok). Today as I passed 500 miles I had an ‘Error 60’ code come up for the first time which looks like explains the problems I’ve had. This is all very frustrating as otherwise I really love this bike (although very heavy) and I use it twice a week for 20-25 miles rides through the local countryside. I have alerted Decathlon customer services but as all of their stores are still closed there’s not a lot I can do. I really don’t want to go through the hassle of lengthy and repeated repairs and so may hand it back under the guarantee. Any suggestions as to the best alternative?

    Reply
    • May 22, 2020 at 8:08 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Peter,

      I’ve been hearing off a few people about recurring problems with the motor cutting out. This is a real shame, as when it’s going it’s a good bike.

      Regarding alternatives, there’s not a massive amount of choice in the £1000 price bracket. The Carrera Crossfire E from Halfords has also had it’s fair share of problems reported by customers, and the price has been increased significantly recently. One bike that I’ve tested and haven’t heard any bad reports about is the German NCM Milano Trekking ebike – it is quite a heavy bike, but it’s well equipped for the price and has a more powerful battery than the Riverside. The Carrera Subway E (also from Halfords) is a little lighter in weight, but doesn’t have front suspension (although it does have high volume tyres).

      If you need any more advice, please let me know.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
  • February 7, 2020 at 7:17 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    8.5

    Performance

    8

    Battery Range

    7

    first of all sorry for my terrible English, but I want to share my experience, im Italian man that live in italy (Sicily 😛 where the weather is really good for e-bike activities almost the whole year ) and bought the Riverside 500 E on Decathlon next my town. I own 2 more new ebikes (e-mtb and Trekking from Armony Bikes – Italy) with mid drive engine (Oli engine (80nm) , its a nice Italian Engine, much appreciated here, Bianchi Bikes using it re-branded as Bianchi ). Anyway I used for about 2 weeks the Riverside 500 E, and it is really amazing even if it has not the power of a mid drive engine of course. Even when you use it without any assistance it is really nice ,further… it is very confortable when you sit on and drive. But i had some “error 60” show on the display, it is communication error btween engine and electronic.. when it happens you lose the assistance..it happened just 5-6 times for just 5 sec or so, but i was really upset..just about 150 kilomtrs and 5-6 times error..other 2 bikes about 1600 kilometers total ..never had any error…never..So i Decided to retur back to decatlhon my E-bike.. And guess what…after about 2 more weeks today I ordered it again..I was so happy with it that i decided to give Riverside 500 E another chance..So when i need hard works like big hills roads or hard trail on moutain i use mid drive e-bikes, but for daily use and slow easy bike rides i find this little gem really good. Hopefully this one will not has that bad “error 60”
    Sorry gain for my bad english , i refused to use google translation so this is my whole works :). Ciao !!

    Reply
    • February 7, 2020 at 8:30 pm
      Permalink

      Hi Salvatore,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences, it is much appreciated. There have been a few electrical problems reported on the first batch of Riverside 500 electric bikes, hopefully Decathlon have now sorted these out.

      Glad you are enjoying riding the bike on your beautiful Island – Sicily is on my list of places to visit within the next 5 years!

      Your English is very good👍

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • February 8, 2020 at 2:23 am
        Permalink

        Value for Money

        8.5

        Performance

        8

        Battery Range

        7

        Thank you Tony, but I know my english is barely understandable :p , when you or other forum readers will dècide to come in Sicily just contact me I will give many tips , I host my people from over all world + I normally ask them to make some nice ebike walk around ( got 3 ebikes) for free. Weather tend to be really good here almost always , I just suggest to avoid Jan,Feb for some rain , and Jul,Aug, if you don’t like extreme hot temperature . Ciao. Best regards.

        Reply
  • January 22, 2020 at 11:47 pm
    Permalink

    Value for Money

    7

    Performance

    5

    Battery Range

    8

    I bought the Decathlon Riverside 500 Electric hybrid bike in mid-October 2019 and have been attempting to use it as my daily commuter every day since. My journey is 10.5 miles each direction, and I have racked up 1000 miles so far. After 2 weeks use (200 miles), the motor stopped working. Decathlon replaced this, but the bike was off the road for nearly 2 weeks while the part came from France. I left my bike in for its 3 month service last week with 945 miles covered. It needed a new chain (£10) and gear cable (covered by warranty), but was otherwise felt to be OK. Since then, I think that the motor is on the way out again. I had to pedal with no assistance today for 4-5 miles (which is fairly horrendous given the weight of the bike) before the motor randomly decided to come back on. If this happens again tomorrow, I will be bringing the bike back to the store and exploring the 365 day refund option, since a new motor every couple of months (with a 2 week repair time) is not good enough for me. When it is working though, this bike is fantastic and I really love it. Perhaps I have been unlucky with my motors, but my ride is on a smooth tarmac cycle path and I have not been riding hard.

    Reply
    • January 23, 2020 at 11:52 am
      Permalink

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. It’s a great shame that some of these ebikes are plagued by persistent faults. The problem with your Riverside sounds like it could be related to either a bad connection or faulty torque sensor. I know the Rockrider E-ST500 also had a similar fault with the motor randomly cutting out. Hopefully they can sort the problem out once and for all. Please keep me updated as to what happens.

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply

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