B’Twin Rockrider 8.0, £399.99, www.decathlon.co.uk

We’ve tested a number of Decathlon bikes in the last two years, including folders and hybrids, and they’ve all lived up to the French superstore’s reputation for selling solid kit at sensible prices.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that we were looking forward to testing an off-road model. Decathlon is well aware that mountain bikes still hold the largest market share (even though many never leave tarmac) and it offers a large range. The 8.0 is nestled in the lower-middle of the Rockrider spectrum, but has a great spec for the money and is well capable of handling some pretty rough treatment.

After stripping off the chunky lights and reflectors, we had a closer look at the frame, which is 6061 aluminium (heavier gauge than 7005) and comes in four sizes. The B-Twin-branded fork is actually a Suntour item with 100mm of travel, plus lockout and preload adjustments.

The drivetrain is a 24-speed mix’n’match of Suntour chainset, Shimano Altus shifters, with Shimano Tourney (front) and SRAM X.5 (rear) derailleurs. None of this kit is renowned for being brilliant under pressure, though to be fair it worked fine during the time we took the bike off-road.

The Avid Juicy 3 hydraulic disc brakes will slow you down, literally — but we found the squealing sound and the juddering from the front meant we rode within their obvious limits.

The own-brand tyres are something of an on-road/off-road compromise,
 with almost no side knobbles, discouraging faster off-road cornering. Swapping them for something with more grip is an easy cure.

Overall then there are limits to what the B-Twin is capable of, largely defined by its lack of serious stopping power. However, these are reasonably high limits, and you could quite easily bash around London’s heathland or Surrey’s Downs without ever reaching them. MC

PROS Comfortable ride; keenly priced
CONS Performance limits