we saw the new optimized version, here is everything that will change

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Frandroid went to Lille, to the huge Decathlon BTWIN Village, to meet the teams of the French brand. The opportunity to present us with the optimized version of its electric long tail, expected this summer. On the menu: a few small improvements and a slightly higher price.

Source: Grégoire Huvelin – Frandroid

500 meters long, 1,500 employees on site: Decathlon’s BTWIN Village is a small anthill with two faces. On the one hand, a large shopping center dedicated to the Btwin brand where families and the general public can go freely. On the other hand, it is Decathlon’s nerve center for the design of new bicycles.

Design, prototyping, laboratory, assembly plant, modeling, digital support, paint shops, innovation hub: the genesis of a new Decathlon bike happens here, in the BTWIN Village. frandroid I had the opportunity to go there for a whole day to meet different teams of the tricolor brand.

Larger front basket

During this event, Decathlon presented us with the new version of its electric longtail, the famous Longtail R500Elec. “New version” is perhaps a bit of an exaggerated formulation, as the group’s engineers have mainly optimized the existing model in small touches.

First of all, the front basket has been widened ever so slightly. According to them, this will better accommodate a child’s or university backpack, for example, thanks to more generous space. After all, an electric longtail is meant to be as practical as possible: so this choice makes sense, even if it doesn’t alter the experience either.

Previously placed on the rear wheel, the lock ring – anti-theft device that allows the wheel to be locked with a simple key – changes place and passes to the front wheel. The reason: it would be easier to access compared to the current location under the elongated rear structure.

A much more robust crutch

On the front fender extension, a flap will be invited to the party: this kind of small tab serves to better protect you from splashing water despite the presence of a fender. Your shoes will thank you.

Let’s continue with the crutch. As you know, an electric longtail does not claim the same weight as a classic VAE. The R500Elec weighs, for example, 38 kilos: it is advisable to install a solid and robust center stand capable of supporting a considerable weight when stationary, if children are sitting in the back, for example.

Source: Grégoire Huvelin – Frandroid

Therefore, Decathlon plays the security card and changes its assembly processes: the new support benefits from a screwed and non-screwed assembly, due to the risk of damage or breakage in the long term. Plus, it’s already possible to go and change your mount for free, because it’s still under warranty – the VAE was released less than two years ago.

Another change will also go into effect shortly. Previously, and in order to preserve the autonomy of the electric bicycle, Decathlon commute electronically the mode -from Turbo to Normal- of your model as soon as a remaining autonomy of 40% is detected. This change was imposed, with no turning back. Problem: Customer feedback has not been favorable.

Scheduled for summer 2023

Therefore, Decathlon will remove this software restriction. According to them, then a slight loss of autonomy will be felt. This is quite logical, since Turbo mode -if it is maintained at all times by the cyclist- consumes more than Normal mode. The autonomy of 50 km in Turbo should be revised down a few kilometers.

Lastly, the French brand has improved the treatment of the rear seat wood: here it is a question of better resistance and a better controlled process.

All of the changes featured here will land in a new version expected in summer 2023, except for the electronic clamping and bolt-on mount, as explained above. Subsequently, new colors (beige, light green and red) will also be added to the catalog.

As for a version 2 of the R500Elec, the project is under study: in any case, this new iteration will not land any time soon. Decathlon is also working on a more compact electric longtail, but whose commercialization is not yet ready to see the light.

Decathlon R500Elec: small price increase to come

Launched at 2,700 euros, the R500Elec is now sold for 2,900 euros on the brand’s official website. The famous optimized version scheduled for the summer of 2023 will be marketed for its part for 2,999 euros, that is, a price increase of 100 euros compared to the current price.

Decathlon justifies this leap for two reasons: all the improvements made to the model, but also the inflationary context that affects all sectors, including the bicycle sector.

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