Reply To: Best Bikepacking Hardtail (front suspension)


Hi Marco,

You could consider the reasonably-priced Décathlon RockRider XC 500. It comes in both 700c and 650b (both in plus and non-plus versions).

RockRider 500XC 29", 2019 version

I rode the bike through Navad 1,000 in June, and it worked OK for the job. And because the bike is quite aggressively priced, you can consider upgrading the components you’re most sensitive about, or as they wear out and break:

  • if you head for the mountains, you’ll definitely want to upgrade the basic (not to say hopeless) SRAM Level T brakes, an upgrade to 200mm rotors.
  • if you’re going for a long bikepacking trip, Shimano-compatible cranks (BSA-threaded BB+ 24mm spindle) will be far more robust, durable, and easy-to-find-spares than the default Truvativ cranks (they come with a cheap plastic preload ring, and it’s all held in place by the world’s cheapest self-tapping screw – which results in inconsistent BB bearing preload and fast spindle wear)
  • the tyres, as with most OEM XC-style builds, are paper-thin (often a way to save money and save a kilogram off of the bike weight). You’ll want to upgrade to double-ply or EXO casing tyres. And that’s where I’d recommend to go 700c (29″ if you live West of the North Atlantic) rather than 650b Plus. Most Plus tyres (650b Plus and 700c Plus) are very thin to keep their weight low. Unless you’re planning to ride very mellow trails, I’d go with normal width (50 to 65mm – 2″ to 2″1/2, which the Decathlon bike can accommodate) and reinforced sidewalls. Personally, I will even look into inserts, I can’t bear spending my life fixing punctures on the side on the road

– 27+ : possible, but I’d recommend 29″. it’s possible to buy a pack with both wheels sizes from Decathlon

eyelet or possibility to mount a rear rack : stap, tape, there’ always a way

bottle holder bosses on the downtube (optional): yes

weight max 14kg: yes, even with the packs strapped on

Dropouts alternators (optional): no

European bike producer (optional): yes, it’s assembled in France (at least for the Western European shops)

The bike isn’t perfect, but I found it OK for bikepacking. And its reasonable price means you could upgrade later down the road.