I enjoy when brand representatives and marketing experts take our opinions into consideration. Having seen and tested thousands of bikes in our career, I can generally tell at first glance how the bike will likely perform. That’s the reason why I picked with the Btwin Elops 940 electric assisted (pedelec) trekking bike model from Decathlon. Fortunately, they agreed to the plan, and after riding it, I praised myself for still having an eye to pick the right bike!
The question of being able to tell how the bike will perform just by looking at it, is actually a hot topic among my friends and some of the magazine readers. We are often discuss this topic, and I always stick to my opinion that in the majority of cases, in most bike categories, such predictions are valid. In this case my job was actually quite easy, since the bike under review features the Shimano StePS electric drive system topped with quality parts and accessories, a lifetime warranty, and Decathlon’s quality control. This is likely to satisfy even the most demanding cyclist. I can assure you that the frame geometry is spot on for this type of bike and riding — although an aluminum city bike is obviously a simple design task compared to a carbon enduro full suspension frame…
For such a full-featured city bike, the exact frame angles and the aluminum alloy composition is less important than the ride quality and practicality. So if you like the way it rides, the features it provides and the looks, all is good. Concerning the latter, if you take a look at your photo on Decathlon’s website (https://www.decathlon.hu/elektromos-kerekpar-elops-940-id_8379382.html) you might be deceived. It definitely looks better in life, I believe the Elops 940 is one of the nicest trekking bikes around. Aesthetics are a personal matter, but I like frame’s shape, the contour of the curved tubes, and the way the chain stays form a unit with the rear luggage rack. A special feature is the integrated headlight which you will never forget to bring to the ride :)
Since the design goal is to enhance comfort, the riding position is far from sporty. It would be similar to car magazines accusing a seven-seat MPV for not having sporty cornering on the road. Why should it have this quality, if the car was not intended for such purpose? Hence the Elops 940 is not a road or a fitness bike, but a workhorse that could go through the wall if the rider wishes. It provides armchair comfort, having a saddle that is actually a good design. It’s not too broad or soft — the features that make only the first few kilometers of the ride comfortable, than cause nothing but pain for the rest of the ride. The handlebar is bent slightly backwards, but not so much to hinder steering in tight turns as experienced on some comfort-oriented bikes.
The “soul” of the Elop 940’s is the Shimano STePS E6000 pedelec motor system, which provides 250W power along with 50Nm torque. The latter is actually more than what most 500cc scooters could provide! The Li-Ion battery is integrated into the luggage rack, but removable if needed. It allows a range of 50-90 km, depending on rider weight and the degree of motor assistance. (We’ve written extensively about the STePS electric drive system and it’s range in detail, which you can find here. [http://bikemag.hu/magazin/hirek/shimano-steps-az-adaptiv-szamuraj-kard] And yes, there are many fine drive systems like Bosch, Panasonic and Yamaha, but it’s the Shimano that I tend to prefer both on asphalt and on trails. It’s only the display that I cannot become attached to, especially if I consider the Bosch Kiox or Nyon.
You can select Eco-Normal-High modes, and even “Eco” will take you up on most the slopes. In reality “High” is only needed if the gradient is steeper than 10%. Then the motor really kicks in, but it also uses a lot of power — no great surprise. The Shimano control unit is pretty much as nice as the Lancia-made switches on the Ferrari F40. Nevertheless it’s not a deal breaker, I would not mind having this bike – or the above-mentioned car – in my garage! The battery cable routing to the engine is cleverly done, it’s not noticeable at all!
The grey color of the frame is accentuated by the brown saddle and the handlebar grips — just like the former — the latter is also quite comfortable, providing good support for your hand. The lights is clearly not a “toy”, it boasts 20 LUX light intensity, so you can ride safely outside a populated areas as well. The luggage rack includes an AXA padlock, which offers enough protection from theft in some more fortunate countries, but here in Hungary, I would add an extension cable to attach the bike to a stationary object.
Actually, it’s shocking to see a quality Shimano STePS equipped trekking bike for a mere 599,000 HUF, since other manufacturers are asking a lot more for a similar configuration. Of course you do not get a “fancy” brand, nevertheless the performance is brilliant. This is pretty much the price level where you may even consider the return on the investment – this bike could repay itself in a few years if you consider the ever-rising public transport cost, not to mention driving your own car. If you primarily use this bike for commuting, you can get away with a weekly charge, unless you live very far from your workplace. It has enough the range if you’re commuting from the suburbs, then you are saving not only the city public transport costs, but also the suburban train pass. And how much better it is to ride motor assisted, than to stand next to the sweaty bodies of fellow commuters!
I cannot say anything negative about the equipment or comfort — Shimano parts will never disappoint. The Btwin Elops 940 is an excellent choice for bike touring, especially considering the price, as it has everything you’ll ever need for an adventure. In order to stay impartial, I have made a great effort to come up with a disadvantage, albeit one which cannot be blamed only on Btwin. It is the placement of the rear rack integrated battery pack, making installing a child seat more difficult. The center of gravity becomes quite high and it’s more difficult to lift the child into and out of the seat. This may actually be an important consideration since many people buy pedelec bikes to make carrying the baby easier. Still, for most, it’s not a deal breaker, this excellent bike should be on everybody’s shopping list!