Bike Review: Decathlon Matex B'Fold 5

DECATHLON Matex B'Fold 5 
£169.99

www.decathalon.co.uk

Decathlon Matex Bfold 5

Decathalon has a reputation for providing great bikes at impressively low prices, and this Matex B'Fold continues that theme. For a penny short of £170 you get a smart folding bike, with six gears, front and rear mudguards, and they even throw in a set of lights. 

On the road you certainly wouldn’t have guessed the bargain basement price.  The wide, 20in wheels roll well, even over the worst of London’s potholes, and the steel frame feels reassuringly stiff and solid – it has little of the flex that can sometimes be felt on other folders. The mudguards also seem well built and stay in place without rattling or rubbing the wheels.

The gears were effective, although we did worry about the possibility of knocking the derailleur when folding or transporting the bike. Despite the bike’s hefty 15kg weight, the well-chosen range of gears is equal to all but the steepest hills around town. Shimano V-brakes provided perfectly adequate, if not spectacular, braking.

The bike folds quickly and fairly easily, although its weight makes it difficult to manoeuvre, and the joints were a little stiff. However, once folded it still forms a fairly bulky item – it wouldn’t fit under the tables when we took it to the pub and it would certainly take up a lot of space in a train’s luggage rack. It’s also difficult to carry – it’s hard to know which bit of it to grab and the weight is really noticeable – it’s difficult to lift, even up a short flight of stairs.

It’s this weight and bulk which is the B’fold’s main drawback – it's hard to see anyone wanting to carry this bike around a station, and you won’t make yourself any friends on a rush hour tube!

Having said that, it’s hard to quibble too much at this price and we could certainly see this as a great option for someone without the space to store a full-sized bike, or who wants a bike to keep under the stairs for occasional use. 

Review: Charlie Game


Replies

Thanks for the review, but a bit more information would have helped. Folding is stiff apparently.  Did the reviewer ever think of putting a drop of oil on the hinges, or does the folding HAVE to be stiff, so the bike won't spontaneously unfold when you are holding the bike halfway down a tube station's escalator (does the bike have a catch to prevent spontaneous unfolding)

The gears have "a well chosen range".  What's that in numbers?  Being old fashioned, I like gear-inches, but metric-development would be acceptable instead.  Would the gears let me ride slowly enough to let me get up Highgate Hill?

The wheels "roll well".  That's nothing fundamental about the bike, of course, it just shows that the tyres have been pumped up hard.  There are trade-offs, of course, about this.  If you pump up tyres hard (and what is hard?) that can be uncomfortable with small wheeled bikes, unless there is some kind of suspension, like the rudamentary suspension on my Brompton.  Is there any?  Also tyres vary from the rugged but heavy, less comfortable, and slower riding, to the lighter, faster, probably more expensive, but more fragile.  What have they chosen?

Tyres wear out quickly on small wheeled bikes (an incentive to supply heavier types) so the opportunity to switch to a different tyre would come fairly quickly, after 2000 miles, perhaps.  What would the reviewer advise about this?

How easy is it to fix a puncture (Bromptons are notoriously difficult)?  Is the recommended procedure in cse of a puncture to just jump on a bus?

I've never heard of the company Matex, where are they located?  Do they make anything more well known?

  • By Emyr at 09:03am 30 Jan 2014

I searched for "bfold" and found some models listed on BTwin's website. I've not seen that brand anywhere but Decathlon so I suspect Matex is just another of their own brands.

http://www.btwin.com/en/26-folding-bikes

At £250, the BFold 7 has an Aluminium frame, 7 gears and a rear rack. The 7's weight isn't listed but the gear ratios and rollout (2.88 - 5.76m) are.

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