B’TWIN Elops City, hybrid, £109.99, www.decathlon.co.uk


French sports chain Decathlon — with its megastore at Surrey Quays — has always produced suprisingly good bikes at killer prices and, at one sixth of the cost of others reviewed here, the Elops City is no exception. It’s also ‘odd one out’ with its step-through frame, pannier rack and basket, obvious hints at its intended user. 

In many ways it’s like the slimmed down, more attractive sibling of the new Cycle Hire bikes, with a one-size-fits-all robust steel frame and fork, and basic components. It gives an intentionally upright ‘sit-up-and-beg’ riding position, perfect for gentle cruising and both handlebars and brakes are both well shaped and positioned for this purpose.

The rack has a 15kg capacity, more than enough for midweek shops or work gear, while the basket’s meant to have a 5kg limit — however our female tester found that even putting a D-lock in the basket had a destabilising effect on the front end. Likewise the kickstand works fine on its own, except when the basket’s loaded and it tends to topple. 

The single gear proved fine on flat roads, even feeling nippy on occasion, but it came up short on even relatively slight rises. Again geometry and set-up are the main contributors here and you need to accept this bike’s limitations. Impressively you get five years’ guarantee on the frame (two on parts) which alleviates some concerms about durability. For short journeys, it's fine.

PROS price, solid cruiser
CONS poor on inclines/corners