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.
First off, I would be looking for a 29+ bike. I think 29er’s have come to rule the mountain bike world. You don’t see many 27.5 bikes being created or updated lately. The larger wheel size improves rollover. I would be looking for a hardtail with 29×2.6 tires and an inner width ~i30mm rim. With that rim width you can use any tire width from a 45mm gravel tire to a 2.8 Mountain tire. The Ibis Dv9, Specialized Fuze, and Salsa Timberjack come to mind. These bikes are also great hardtails. The 29+ Timberjack really can use all those tire widths (45mm-2.8)and it has most of the mounts for racks and bottles and what not.
If you really must have a 27.5 bike, the 27.5+ Timberjack is a good bike. However, like many 27.5+ bikes, it comes with i40 rims, and that limits your ability to use a variety of tire widths. You could use a 2.2 gravel tire up to a 3.0 mountain tire on the i40 rim.
Surly karate monkey. You can swap some parts and make it anything you want. Geared 27.5+ with a 140mm fork for the Colorado Trail. Fast rigid 29er for the Tour Divide. SS for putting around town and local trails. Bosses and mounts for days, easy to use dropouts, big triangle for a big frame bag. It is not light, but it also won’t break!