BTwin Riverside 26 900- Rider Review
The BTwin Rockrider 26" 900 hybrid bike, or as Decathlon has recently re-named it to: Kids' 26-inch, 8-speed lightweight aluminium hybrid bike, blue, is Decathlon's top of the range child's hybrid bike.
A 'hybrid' bike means it is perfect for both leisure cycling and cycling to school- it's a brilliant all-round bike which our reviewer WP has put to the test to tell us what she thinks of it.
The majority of lightweight aluminium kids bikes come in well above £400, so we were excited to see how this more budget-friendly bike stood up to 8 months of testing.
If you'd like a more in-depth review of the specifications of the bike, our First Impressions Review is a brilliant place to start.
Disclosure: Cycle Sprog were sent the BTwin Riverside 26" 900 to review. We were not paid to write this review, and all opinions are our own. We do use affiliate links so may get a small commission if you choose to buy through the links on this page. This funds the website, and we thank you for your support.
BTwin Riverside 26" 900 review
BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike key data:
Price - £329.99
Weight - 10.5kg
Height range - 135cm to 150cm (53" to 59”)
Age range - 9 to 12 years
Colours - Prussian Blue.
Date of review - Autumn 2023
Pros - Attractive looking hybrid bike which comes with some brilliant features, such as a child-friendly saddle, lights and easy shifting gears- all at a great price.
Cons - There isn't much to fault with this bike. Accessories such as a stand and mudguards are an add-on that require fitting and there is only one colour option.
BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike scores
Quality - 4/5 - A budget bike with brilliant features, but aren't high end.
Weight - 4/5 - Similar weight to high-end bikes.
Value for money - 5/5 - Brilliant features for children on a budget bike.
Customisability - 4/5 - The bike has mounting points for racks and mudguards, but it takes a bit of navigation on Decathlon's website to find the right ones!
Resale value - 4/5 - A budget bike that doesn't rust and stays looking good.
Final verdict - A brilliant budget-friendly bike, that is still lightweight and well designed that our tester struggled to fault!
About our reviewer
WP's been fortunate enough to review a couple of bikes now, and she learnt how to ride on a Black Mountain Skog. Now 10 years old, her biking confidence is significantly greater and it's safe to say we don't get out on the bikes nearly as much as she would like us to (we think she'd happily bike everywhere, but we need to help her gain a little more road awareness first!).
BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike first impressions
WP has been riding the BTwin Riverside since spring this year. A step up in size to a 26 inch, I initially thought it looked too big for her, but with her long, long legs she immediately jumped on it and professed love for it. The beautiful petrol blue frame helped; her favourite colour! It needed a little adjustment of the seat height, but this was easy to do and she was good to go within minutes of seeing it. When bought online, the bike arrives needing the front wheel, pedals and handlebars to be fitted- but if this is something you need help with, there's a video about how to assemble a kid's bike.
BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike in use
The Riverside is a hybrid bike, which suits the type of riding we do as a family well. Living in the lakes we get up to places such as Grizedale Forest for a ride through the trails, but we also cycle into town using cycle paths and the road too and have taken it on holiday with us for a week at Center Parcs. Obviously, WP aims for any muddier or grassy areas on these more urban cycles, being the standard 10 year old that she is! The bike is versatile and great for allowing for the mix of different biking we do as a family.
The Riverside is surprisingly light. We've had no issues lifting it onto the bike rack, which it fits into well, but WP herself can lift it up without issue. This has meant we've been able to get her involved in helping get the bike onto the rack, which is a good step forward in her learning about travelling with the bikes.
WP had started using gears on her previous bike, a Squish, but found the display a little hard to read. When you're learning to use them, this can be a little frustrating! As an adult rider, I tend to use gears intuitively, I'm not looking at which gear I'm in/moving to, but this was clearly something that WP needed when learning how to use the gears on her bike.
One of her 'best bits' about the Riverside is the clear display showing which gear you're in. The Riverside has 8 gears, the display only has the top and bottom number marked with a small dot indicating the central point of the gears. WP found this much easier to read - and, importantly, understand. This made her use the gears much more readily and she quickly took to changing through them as needed with much less prompting from us.
The position of the gear shifter is great, just right for her hand size and, again, she seems to have taken quickly to which moves them up and which moves them down (I still get mine wrong!). The gears change easily and don't make too much of a racket when switching up or down.
Another big plus for WP was the saddle. The bike is fitted with a child-specific Selle Royal saddle which is a brilliant addition. She has found this to be much more comfortable than any of her previous bike saddles. Slightly spongy to touch, it seems more tapered at the front, wider at the back than others. It should be noted that WP is tall and slender with a bony bum, so this could play a part in how the saddle feels to her. But the fact that she finds the Riverside seat comfortable is no small thing, she regularly complained about the seats on her previous bikes. This should keep her in the saddle longer!
The brakes are very effective, WP didn't find them too sharp and we haven't had an incident where she's struggled to stop. We've used the bike on mud and tarmac and there have been no skidding incidents, even when she's needed to brake hard. While the levers look large and adult size, they have a good angle to them meaning they are within reach for smaller hands.
The paintwork is holding up well after 8 months of use, the only small problem we have had was the rear wheel reflector pinging off the spokes while WP was riding. These don't seem to be attached particularly well and seem like cheap plastic additions- but as the bike has lights and reflectors on the pedals these aren't safety critical.
Accessories and lights
The bike comes with LED lights to the front and back, which WP was thrilled about! A lovely addition so you wouldn't need to purchase these separately. The front light clicks on with a push of the button at the top, and the rear one has a slide button underneath it. They only have one mode, a constant beam, which means there arent hundreds of settings to click through and its easy for WP to turn on and off as needed on her own. As the nights are only just drawing in, we've not really had a chance to test the lights but we have had them on in a darkened room and they're nice and bright. WP is keen to test them out so a night ride might be on the cards shortly!
One of the very few, minor, downsides of this bike is that it doesn't come with mudguards and a kickstand. For year-round cycling to school and winter adventures, we think mudguards are pretty handy, but can thankfully be brought as a very cheap extra! Mudguards here.
Thoughts from the Sprog
When we discussed the bike, we had an interesting conversation about how it feels to ride. WP brought up that she doesn't get 'that juddering' (and even included a hand movement of said juddering) when riding. It seems that she's finding this bike much smoother to ride. She didn't complain about this being an issue with her previous bikes, but as a young rider, it's perhaps something that she just wouldn't think about or notice, but it's interesting that she's noticed it enough to comment on. This feeling of a smoother ride can probably be credited to the bigger wheel size, 1.75" wide tyres and a comfortable saddle. The 26" wheel size will mean the wheels roll over bumps easier too, reducing the 'juddering'! As WP pointed out, we're cycling in much the same places as we have previously, so it must be the bike making the difference!
Overall, we're really impressed with the Riverside. It's turning out to be WP's favourite (not just due to the colour!) and she's enjoying riding it hugely. Her confidence when riding is ever growing, whether this is down to this bike, or just her age and her having been cycling for a good few years now. That said, her use of the gears is great and I do feel that this has been helped hugely by the Riversides gears. She's also clearly more comfortable on it, between the seat and lack of 'judder'.
She has a little more room for growth as the saddle can go nice and high, so she can continue riding it for a little while to come, but I think this will be the first bike that she's really sad to part with. We'd definitely recommend this for a child who is doing a mix of riding, but who is also still to gain a little confidence when out on their bike. It's a good solid bike while being light and comfy. We're impressed!
Where to buy the BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike
The parent Company for BTwin is Decathlon which is a global success story, selling a huge range of sporting equipment and clothing that is both fit for purpose and at realistic price points. They sell bikes in their network of stores and also online.
The Riverside is BTwin's range of hybrid bikes for kids (a hybrid is a regular ride-most-places type of bike with gears). They also do a Rockrider range, which are mountain bikes with front suspension.
Alternatives to the BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike
In the lightweight competitor category, the Squish 26, woom 6, Boardman JNR 26" and Frog 69 are similar bikes weight-wise to the BTwin Riverside, but at a greater cost. These bikes do however come with branded parts, such as Shimano gears and Kendra tyres- but our tests of the BTwin Riverside 26" 900 bike doesn't seem to be lacking performance with its unbranded spec.
Still undecided? Read our dedicated page for a larger range of 26" wheel bikes here.
Other articles you may be interested in:
- Best 26" wheel kids bikes for ages 9-13 years
- Best kids 26" wheel mountain bikes
- Bikes for teenagers and small adults
- Bike helmets for teenagers
- Cheaper alternatives to Islabikes
- 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike
- Why you shouldn't buy a REALLY cheap new kids bike
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