Looking to buy a full suspension mountain bike but have a tight budget? Then check out this B’TWIN Rockrider 560s review. At £750 it is a low cost option, but is it the best cheap full suspension mountain bike?
Introducing B’TWIN by Decathlon
Decathlon are a French company that over the last few years have expanded into the UK. You will probably have seen a store pop up in your local town centre.
Their goal is to make all sports and outdoor activities more accessible and they do this by producing low cost but good quality equipment. I have had a few things from Decathlon and have found the gear to be long lasting and very good value for money.
B’TWIN has never been an independent brand – it has always been owned by Decathlon. Decathlon Cycle launched in 1976, but they didn’t sell their own bikes until 1986.
In 1999 the B’TWIN 5 was launched. It was an all round bike that became very popular in France and made the brand well known. In 2006 Decathlon Cycle became B’TWIN and they have been growing and producing good quality bikes ever since.
Testing the B’TWIN Rockrider 560s
I have been riding the Rockrider 560s for around 10 months. Whilst not a prolific mountain biker, I get out for a proper ride about once a week. I also use the bike as transport, to the shops or pub every week or two.
Most of my riding has been around the trails at Stanmer Park in Brighton. These are technical single track through woods with plenty of features. Some of the trails are used in the Brighton Big Dog event, one of the UK’s most popular MTB races.
Also living on the edge of the South Downs I ride a lot of non technical trails up and down the hills. There are plenty of stunning views and riding 20 to 30 km in the South Downs National Park is great for fitness. Check out my first ride on the B’Twin Rockrider 560s.
I have also taken the Rockrider for a few spins through our local BMX/pump track in Newhaven. This was a run down dirt course that has a few table top jumps, bigger jumps (which I stay away from!), nice banked corners and was full of weeds. It is currently being updated and tarmacked, I recommend you visit Newhaven Pump Track once complete.
Having said all of that, I had quite a while off after injuring my wrist snowboarding. It was only a sprain but mountain biking was off the cards for a while. To make matters worse I then hurt it again….
B’TWIN Rockrider 560s review
As long term bike reviews go this one has taken me a while. But I have been out on the B’TWIN Rockrider 560s around 40 times. I feel this is more than enough to be able to decide if a bike is any good, and to answer the question: is it the best cheap full suspension mountain bike?
Frame, weight and suspension
The Rockrider frame is 100% aluminium and the bike weighs just 13.4 kg. This is 0.6kg less than the Boardman MTR 8.9 – their top full suspension mountain bike costing £1600. It is also 1.2kg less than the MTR 8.6 – bottom of the range Boardman FS bike costing £1000.
The Rockrider suspension has 120mm of travel with ROCKSHOX 30 SILVER AIR on the front and X Fusion O2 Pro L Air shock on the rear. This is the same travel as the Boardman MTR 8.6 but the B’TWIN has more expensive components.
I have found the suspension does a great job in rough terrain, during step downs and small jumps. It smooths out the ride nicely although you need to ensure you set it correctly for your weight. The suspension lockout on the handlebar is easy to use and stops you wasting energy on climbs.
I have had no major issues with the bike so far. Although the bolt holding rear suspension in place came loose after about my tenth ride. This was easily fixed with an allen key.
The gears and brakes are the components which receive the most abuse when mountain biking. Get cheap components and you will be replacing them fairly soon.
Fortunately the Rockrider 560s uses Shimano which is one of the industry leaders along with SRAM (we won’t argue which is best here!). The groupset is all Shimano Deore which is a couple of levels above their entry level Acera groupset which is used on the Boardman MTR 8.6.
The Rockrider has a 10 speed rear derailleur with 11 to 36 teeth. At the front there is are two cogs with 24 and 38 teeth. This gives you 20 gears to choose from – more than enough.
I don’t use the lowest gear that often, but on very steep hills or long steep climbs it is a godsend. At the top end I also don’t get into the highest gear that often either, particularly off-road. Gear changes are smooth and quick with the levers very easy to use.
The only issue I’ve had is that over time the cables stretched and I had to adjust the gears – but that happens to all bikes. Decathlon offer a free service within 6 months that irons out these kind of issues.
Hydraulic disk brakes
All mountain bikes these days have disk brakes as they provide far more stopping power and control than the old rim brakes. But not all disk brakes are equal with hydraulic far better than cable disk brakes.
The B’TWIN uses Tektro 160mm double hydraulic disc brakes. During this B’TWIN Rockrider 560s review I have found them to be excellent. With minimal effort they provide precise control and powerful stopping ability, all easily controlled with one finger.
Tyres and wheels
The best cheap full suspension mountain bike would be no good without decent tyres and wheels. The Rockrider comes fitted with 27.5″ wheels, this provides a combination of 26″ maneuverability and 29″ efficiency and comfort. Having ridden all three sizes in recent years I love 27.5″.
The Rockrider comes fitted with Aero Trail Pro 27.5″ double walled aluminium wheels. They seem strong but are lightweight and I have had no issues so far.
I find the 27.5″ x 2.20 Hutchinson Taipan tyres provide very good grip in everything from dry dusty conditions to thick mud. I lost grip once on wet grass on hard summer ground, but then most tyres struggle in those conditions.
B’TWIN Rockrider 560s review: Other features
The Rockrider 560s is a unisex bike – my wife has ridden it a few times and been comfortable on it. The seat is quick to adjust which is useful when doing some downhill riding – a dropper post would be a good upgrade.
The B’Twin Ergofit Evo saddle is about as comfortable as standard bike saddles get. The handle bar grips are also good, I have used some that are uncomfortable without gloves with but these are fine bare handed.
The Rockrider is supplied with B’Twin Flat Evo platform MTB pedals. They are made from strong plastic so are lighter than metal but probably won’t last as long. They have a wide surface giving plenty to push against and the pronounced dots provide excellent grip.
How does the Rockrider 560s ride?
But the most important factor to be considered the best cheap full suspension mountain bike is how well it rides. Great components make no difference if the ride is horrible. Fortunately, the Rockrider is smooth, fun and seems to improve my riding.
Ultimately you can only really judge a bike on how much you enjoy riding it. Some of this comes down to your ability and how willing you are to send it! With the Rockrider I have found myself going faster and bigger progressing my riding and having more fun.
That said, I am not the best mountain biker on the planet, I am just fairly proficient. I have ridden in the Alps quite a few times and been lucky to ride some very good bikes.
The Rockrider is certainly not as good as the best full suspension bikes I have ridden. But then they cost up to £5000+, have significantly more travel, the best components and are ultra lightweight carbon fibre beasts.
This Rockrider 560s is never going to be better than the top bikes. But I enjoy riding it more than my old GT Aggressor hardtail. I also found it better than other low cost full suspension bikes I have ridden that cost in the £1000 to £1500 range.
Best cheap full suspension mountain bike?
There are some very cheap and utterly awful full suspension mountain bikes out there. On eBay or from various cheap bike outlets you can pick them up for less than £200. These bikes are very heavy, with terrible components and won’t last long off-road. So please don’t buy them.
If you want a proper full suspension mountain bike you need to spend a lot more. The cheapest competitors out there are the Boardman MTR 8.6 at £1000 and the Voodoo Minustor at £850 and neither of them have as good components as the Rockrider 560s.
Both also weigh more, with the Boarman 1.2kg heavier and the Voodoo weighing a whopping 3.2kg extra. In fact the mid range bikes from both brands are more comparable and they are still heavier and cost £1000-£1200.
To conclude this B’TWIN Rockrider 560s review I’d say it probably is the best cheap full suspension mountain bike on the market right now. I haven’t tested every bike, but I prefer this to other bikes I have ridden. Plus the Rockrider is cheaper, lighter and has better components than its nearest competitors.
You can buy the B’TWIN Rockrider 560s direct from Decathlon for £750: www.decathlon.co.uk/rockrider 560s