As a serious road rider I don’t get to do a huge amount of mountain biking so when I do it doesn’t tend to be on ‘superbikes’ that cost tens of thousands of dirhams. My off road tastes tend to be more realistically priced, which is why the B-Twin Rockrider 720s from Decathlon ticks so many boxes for me.
Decathlon are known worldwide for providing a no-nonsense, good value solution to everyone’s sporting requirements, and the 720s is a great example of this ethos. B-Twin, Decathlon’s in house bike brand, have managed to deliver a very capable, well spec’d, full suspension mountain bike at a very accessible price point which certainly won’t put too big a dent in anyone’s bank balance. Coming in at AED 5,975, the 720s compares very favourably to a number of ‘higher profile’ brands’ offerings, and paired with accessories from Decathlon’s wide range of in-house brands I was up and running with change from AED 7,000 still in my pocket! I was using mid-range accessories and clothing but there are helmets, riding glasses, apparel and hydration solutions available at various price points. They will keep you safe and comfortable out on the trails, letting you get on with enjoying the riding. The helmet I was using was a mere AED 210, and although it was heavier than the helmet I wear when out on my road bike it was cool and comfortable and perfect for off road riding. The only thing I would add with regards to the clothing is that if you were planning on spending more time in the saddle on longer rides it would certainly be worth investing in a pair of higher specification bib shorts as worn by us ‘roadies’!
For the terrain and riding we have here in the UAE the Rockrider 720s really is a fantastic solution. The bike is clearly well designed and the specification brings together a number of components that work well together. Simply put, it gets on with the job in hand without any fuss, whilst allowing the rider to enjoy the experience. Everything works well together and as the bike weighs in at just over thirteen and a half kilos it’s pretty nimble too with a well designed frame and predictable handling.
Wheel size has been an ongoing area of debate in the mountain bike world and the 720s opts for the 27.5 (or 650b) wheel size which seems to provide the best solution for the majority of riders. I find they give the nimbleness of a 26 yet still carry most of the speed of a 29’er (Mountain bike geekery and terminology, I know, I know!) and being shod with Hutchinson front and rear specific tyres the bike has great grip and traction on everything except lose sand.
The 720s has front suspension forks with a very useable 120mm of travel provided by RockShox paired with an in house air shock on the rear, again with 120mm of travel. Both are widely adjustable and the RockShox fork can be locked out to give better efficiency when going uphill. The transmission is provided by a mixture of Sram components with a very wide range of gear ratios for going up and down the steepest of inclines. The hydraulic disc braking system is provided by Avid, and whilst not my favourite set up, it provided consistent braking with good modulation and feedback. All of this means that you are on board a very well equipped and set up off road bike that should never be found wanting when dealing with all but the most technical of terrain and trails. It will comfortably meet the needs of all but the most demanding off road enthusiasts, handling predictably and forgiving the odd less than perfect line through a corner. So basically, for getting out there and enjoying yourself for a few hours, you point it where you want to go and pedal, job done.
All products are available at Decathlon stores: IBN Battuta Mall and Mirdif City Centre.
Words by: Paul Cheetham