Bike Review: Decathlon Matex B'Fold 5
- By London Cycling Campaign on at 02:57pm 06 Jan 2014
- Posted in: Blog
- Tagged with: city, commuting, folding bike, decathlon, Bfold
DECATHLON Matex B'Fold 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.
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