A cargo bike from Decathlon?! Yes, the sporting goods giants also have a cargo bike in their range. The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 cargo bike promises to be a nifty little helper in everyday life. But how does the most affordable contender fare against the high-end competition in our group test?

BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 | Vision Industries rear hub motor/672 Wh | 90/- mm (f/r)
41.8 kg in size One Size | € 2,999 | Manufacturer’s website

You will most probably have heard of Decathlon before, and you might already have bought something from the sporting goods giants. Whether it’s a tent for an upcoming hike, fishing gear for your next trip to Norway, or a bike. There are hardly any sporting goods you can’t buy from Decathlon. In addition to regular ebikes and mountain bikes, Decathlon’s in-house brand BTWIN also have a cargo bike in their range. Of course, we had to include the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 in our big cargo bike group test. Priced at just € 2,999, it is by far the most affordable cargo bike in the test field, and it tips the scales at a reasonable 41.8 kg (with safety bar). The Decathlon cargo bike is the only bike on test with a 58 Nm hub motor, powered by a 672 Wh battery. With that, the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 promises to make easy work of grocery shopping, transporting the kids, or fetching a couple of crates of beer. But can it give it’s high-end competitors a run for their money considering the price?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best cargo-bike – The 12 hottest models in our comparison test.

Attention Tetris fans! – What sets the Decathlon cargo bike apart?

The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 isn’t just affordable. While most off-the-shelf cargo bikes come specced rather sparingly in terms of accessories, the Decathlon cargo bike comes well-equipped as standard. For € 2,999, the cargo bike comes specced with foot rests, safety bars, and a wheel guard for the kiddies. You also get a front luggage rack for smaller loads. As such, you’ll be prepared for most transport tasks without having to budget for additional accessories. However, you can pimp your Decathlon cargo bike with additional accessories if you want: there’s a child seat for € 50, cushions for € 30, and 2×50 litre pannier bags for € 120. Compared to the competition, you get a wide range of very fairly priced accessories. That said, the cargo concept of the BTWIN R500E isn’t quite as smart as those of the other cargo bikes in the test field. It’s less flexible and can’t be adapted to different transport needs quite as quickly, like with the MIK system on the Moustache Lundi, for example. You won’t find clever details on the Decathlon either, like the glove compartment on the Specialized Porto and the R&M Multitinker.

The Decathlon cargo bike is the only model on test that relies on a rear hub motor, providing a maximum torque output of 58 Nm.
The 672 Wh battery is secured with a lock and can be easily removed out of the top of the down tube.
The rear carrier has been designed around standard Eurobox dimensions, which can be easily stacked like Tetris. With a gross weight limit of 200 kg, it’s a true pack mule too.

Nevertheless, the designers at Decathlon have thought everything through and tailored the rear carrier to Eurobox dimensions (60 x 40 cm and 30 x 40 cm). It’s every Tetris player’s dream because you always win, and the safety bar holds the boxes securely in place. With a maximum payload of 170 kg including the rider, the Decathlon is the pack mule amongst the longtail cargo bikes on test. You can place 80 kg on the rear, and 10 kg on the front, surpassing all other longtail cargo bikes in the test field. In fact, you’ll have a hard time exceeding the BTWIN’s gross weight limit of 208 kg.

At Decathlon, the designers have also embraced the pack mule look for their cargo bike. The BTWIN cargo R500E Longtail V2 isn’t a design firework, placing less emphasis on form, and more on function. The aluminium frame isn’t curved like on the Specialized Porto, nor does it feature an industrial look like the Moustache Lundi, relying on straight tubes and visible weld seams instead. Still, considering the price, the designers made the most of what they had at their disposal. The foot rests, rear carrier, and the front basket have been fitted with bamboo boards, which match well with the green finish.

The display on the handlebar provides basic information like your speed and battery level, but it lacks the connectivity features of the Bosch Smart System.
Rear carrier, foot rests, and front basket are fitted with bamboo boards. They help refine the otherwise comparatively rudimentary look of the Decathlon cargo bike.

Decathlon also take a different approach to the motor, equipping the cargo bike with a rear hub motor from Vision. At first glance, the 58 Nm motor seems significantly weaker than the competition. However, it can keep up with the supposedly more powerful mid-motors on test nonetheless – but more on that later. The motor is powered by a 672 Wh battery, which is integrated into the down tube and secured with a lock. It’s easy to remove out of the top of the down tube if necessary, allowing you to charge the battery in your apartment. All the most important information, like the battery level, speed, and support mode, is provided on the large display on the handlebar. However, it’s more closely reminiscent of a calculator than a modern ebike display. The BTWIN doesn’t boast any clever anti-theft functions like an alarm or motor lock either, relying on a physical frame lock instead. The Riese & Müller Packster2 sets the standard here, showing what’s possible with its Bosch Smart System and in-house RX Connect package, providing tracking and an optional replacement service.

BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2

€ 2,999

Specifications

Motor Vision Industries rear hub motor 58 Nm
Battery Samsung Batterie 672 Wh
Display LCD-Display
Fork SR Suntour 90 mm
Seatpost Alu
Brakes TEKTRO 180/180 mm
Drivetrain Microshift Mezzo 1x8
Handlebar BTWIN Alu 660 mm
Wheelset Alu 26"/20"
Tires CST C1996 2.15"

Technical Data

Size One Size
Weight 41.8 kg
Perm. total weight 208 kg
Max. payload (rider/equipment) 170 kg
Kickstand mount yes

Specific Features

Lighting system

Tuning tip: suspended seat post for more comfort at the rear

The Decathlon cargo bike on test – A pack mule for all eventualities?

So, you swing your leg over the BTWIN cargo R500E Longtail V2 immediately after breakfast and the first cup of coffee. Due to the high top tube, hopping on board isn’t quite as effortless as with the Riese & Müller Multitinker’s low step-through frame, and because the BTWIN has to make do without an angle-adjustable stem, the riding position can be slightly stretched, depending on your size.

Pulling away with the kids on the back can be a shaky affair. However, using the push assist will help, using it as a kind of thumb accelerator when pulling away, thereby bridging the gap to the motor’s engagement on the first few metres. Once you’ve picked up some speed, the motor provides plenty of assistance, and feels just as powerful under load as the mid-motors on the Moustache Lundi and the Riese & Müller Multitinker. However, the difference in power of the hub motor compared to current mid-motors becomes evident on the climbs. It demands significantly more physical input on steep climbs, requiring a similar effort as the Cannondale Wonderwagen or the WINORA F.U.B. 2W. That said, the gear range and power are perfectly sufficient for riding in flat cities.

As functional as a pack mule – the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 comes well-equipped as standard, accommodating a variety of transport tasks.

Steep climbs are best avoided with the BTWIN. In these situations, the 58 Nm hub motor will quickly reach its limits, requiring a lot of effort from the rider.
The Decathlon cargo bike remains easy to steer and instils you with confidence, even with heavy loads.

Navigating city streets, the handling of the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 feels intuitive. Compared to the long john models in the group test, it still feels most like a normal bike. Nevertheless, you need some time to get used to the cargo bike’s size, and you can’t weave through a crowded market or narrow alleys as easily as with the much shorter Riese & Müller Multitinker. The BTWIN feels stable and confidence-inspiring on cobblestone paths, and the large 26″ front wheel simply rolls over curbs. In combination with the suspension fork up front, big impacts are effectively damped and mitigated. Unfortunately, the small 20″ rear wheel doesn’t roll over obstacles as well as the front, and your cargo tends to get somewhat shaken up. This is also reflected in the ride comfort: while the Decathlon cargo bike offers a lot of comfort up front, the rigid seat post passes bumps on to the rider almost unmitigated. It’s worth upgrading to a suspended seat post.

Packed full of groceries, the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 is a little bit harder to get off its stand – at least you can cancel your expensive gym membership. Whether you like it or not, every good day comes to an end, when you’ll have to park the Decathlon cargo bike in the garage. But like the Riese & Müller Multitinker and the Moustache Lundi, it can be placed upright on the rear carrier, saving maximum space in the garage. However, measuring 220 cm in length, you’ll need an appropriately high ceiling: higher than you would for shorter longtails like those from Specialized, Moustache, and Riese & Müller. We also recommend securing the bike strap to prevent it from tipping over.

Although the BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail isn’t as manoeuvrable as other bikes in the test field, it scores for its intuitive and confidence-inspiring handling.

Who is the Decathlon cargo bike for? – And who better steer clear?

The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 is ideal for price-conscious cargo newcomers seeking the lowest possible barrier to entry, who don’t care too much about looks. Thanks to the wealth of standard accessories, it caters to a wide range of transport use cases and scenarios as is. Those who live and ride in mountainous regions should rather look at the Moustache Lundi. The Decathlon cargo bike is better suited to those who reside in flat port cities, looking to fetch fresh fish from the market.

Our conclusion on the Decathlon cargo bike

The BTWIN Cargo R500E Longtail V2 isn’t the most sophisticated, flexible, or versatile cargo bike in the test field. BUT: it comes specced with a wealth of standard cargo carrying accessories, and optional extras won’t break the bank if the standard spec doesn’t meet your needs. Moreover, even cargo newbies will quickly feel at home thanks to the stable and intuitive handling. You get a lot of cargo bike considering the price, and it was unanimously voted our well-deserved best buy!

Tops

  • fully equipped cargo bike at a good price
  • intuitive and stable handling
  • umfangreiche Serienausstattung

Flops

  • motor struggles on steep climbs
  • difficult to pull away and to prop up on the stand when fully loaded

For more information, visit decathlon.de


The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best cargo-bike – The 12 hottest models in our comparison test.

All bikes in test: Moustache Lundi 20 Cargo 3 (Click for review) | Specialized Porto (Zum Test) | Ultima Multipath Cargo Compact (Click for review) | i:SY Cargo P12 ZR (Click for review) | Riese & Müller Packster2 70 Touring (Click for review) | Riese & Müller Multitinker Vario (Click for review) | BTWIN | WINORA F.U.B. 2W (Click for review) | Cannondale Wonderwagen Neo1 (Click for review) | VEOLO Cargo Trailer (Click for review) | Benno RemiDemi XL (Click for review) | Momentum PakYak E+ (Click for review)

Words: Mike Hunger Photos: Antonia Feder, Robin Schmitt