Bike test: B’Twin Hoprider 300 City

B’Twin Hoprider 300 City, a grey hybrid bike with flat bar, mudguards and rear rack
B’Twin Hoprider 300 City
Going touring on a budget? Cycle editor Dan Joyce discovers a very capable trekking bike available for just £250

You can’t get a drop-bar touring bike for £250 but you can get a trekking bike. It’s challenging compared to other bike types because the additional equipment – a pannier rack and mudguards, at least – eats into the budget.

Not that you’d know it, looking at this own-brand hybrid from Decathlon. As well as guards and a rack, it has a kickstand and hub dynamo lighting. The hub is of unknown provenance but works fine with little resistance, powering a switchable halogen headlight and, until the rear wiring came loose, a Basta lamp on the rack.

The bike’s aluminium frame is long in the top tube for a medium. I set the adjustable stem upright more to reduce the reach than to raise the handlebar. If I owned the bike, I’d fit a shorter quill stem. The chain stays are long too, giving more heel clearance for panniers and taking the edge off any jolts from the rear wheel.

Fully equipped

The Innova tyres have a touring pattern with a centre rolling strip, and are wide enough for comfort on badly surfaced roads. The sidewalls read ‘700x38C (40-622)’, but my Vernier calliper says they’re 35mm.

They’re fitted to wheels with 36 spokes each, which adds strength for commuting or touring. But due to the budget, the rear wheel has a threaded hub. This makes the axle weaker than a freehub’s as there’s a bigger distance between the dropout and the drive-side bearings. For any touring you’d likely do on the Hoprider, it should be fine.

Gearing is 3×7 with twistgrip shifters. It works OK, wanting only a lower bottom gear for loads and/or hills. The Altus rear derailleur will handle a sprocket up to 34T, so it’s a shame a Megarange cassette wasn’t fitted. That’s my only real criticism of what is an outstandingly well-equipped trekking bike.

First published in Cycle magazine, February/March 2017 issue. All information correct at time of publishing.

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Tech spec

B’twin Hoprider 300 City

PRICE: £249

SIZES: M-XL (M tested)

WEIGHT: 15.6 kg

FRAME & FORK: 6061-T6 aluminium frame with fittings for 2 bottles, mudguard, rack, frame lock. Steel fork with fittings for mudguard and dynamo cable

WHEELS: 40-622 Innova tyres, double-wall aluminium rims, 36×3 2.0mm spokes, unbranded front dynohub, threaded rear hub

TRANSMISSION: Flat pedals, 170mm Shimano FC-M131 chainset, 48-38-28 chainrings, square taper bottom bracket, KMC chain, Sunrace 14-28 7-speed freewheel. Sunrace twistgrip shifters, Shimano Altus rear and Tourney front derailleurs. 21 ratios, 28-94in 

BRAKING: Alhonga V-brakes

STEERING & SEATING: 600×25.4mm riser handlebar, 90mm adjustable-angle quill stem, threaded headset. Lookin gel saddle, 27.2×350mm micro-adjust seatpost

EQUIPMENT: Chromoplastic mudguards, rear rack, kickstand, Trekk Lite 10-lux halogen front light, unknown Basta rear light

Other options

Carrera Axle £150

Discounted from £199, this urban mountain bike requires only mudguards and a rear rack to turn it into a tourer. It’s a viable MTB too.

Dawes Sahara £299.99

Not great value alongside the B’twin, but this UK trekking bike is touring ready thanks to a fair gear range (3×8 Tourney), a rear rack and mudguards.