B’Twin Rockrider XC Pro review

Equipped for serious speed or epic distances

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,800.00 RRP
B'Twin Rockrider XC Pro

Our review

A very light carbon bargain for old-school race bike fans, but unfriendly handling on rougher trails
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The flagship bike from French sports megashop Decathlon couldn’t be better named. Everything about the XC Pro screams maximum race speed, and if you’re not tempted by technical trails it’s an absolute bargain.

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  • HIGHS: Light, modern framed but retro-handling race weapon
  • LOWS: Stiff frame, flexy fork and slippery tyres reduce technical trail capability
  • BUY IF… You want a bargain update for an old race bike without losing trad (ie scary) handling values.

You don’t have to shop around much to realise that a carbon frame, RockShox SID fork and full Shimano XT groupset make the Rockrider an absolute bargain – on paper. Pick the XC Pro up and you won’t believe the sub-10kg weight either.

Add this road bike-esque mass to the low inertia of the 26in Mavic wheels and the acceleration of the B’Twin is outrageously explosive and immediate. The frame is impressively stiff, thanks to big squared tubes and a press-fit BB, so there’s little power lost between your pedals and the trail.

The low flat bars create an aggressive front-heavy riding position which keeps the nose on the ground whether you’re climbing or accelerating hard, and the superlight SID fork has a lockout lever on the bars for instant sprint stiffness, and the lock-on foam grips save literally – literally – a handful of extra grams. Imagine that. It’s a serious bike.

The Hutchinson Cobra tyres are proven cross-country race winners, blitzing trails with zero drag and not much more grip, and they’re tubeless ready to match the UST Mavic rims. Add Shimano’s super-reliable XT transmission and the Rockrider is equipped for serious speed or epic distances – few off-the-peg bikes (at any price) defy the basic physics of gravitational pull better than this one, so if it’s straightline speed you’re after this is a stellar choice.

While the frame is up to date with a tapered headtube, press-fit bottom bracket and an easy adjust post mount for the brake, the angles are old school. The steep 72-degree head angle whips round as soon as you even think of changing direction, and the low leverage 660mm bars and distant 90mm stem means we’re not talking a little tweak but a full-on lurch in any direction. Add slippery Cobra tyres and you spend a lot of time firefighting the bike’s random direction changes on damp, rooty or rocky surfaces.

The twisty, flexy QR-axled SID tends to mumble its feedback rather than communicate traction and trail details clearly, and it’s a jarring contrast to the undiluted hammer coming through the back end via the stout carbon seatpost. The fork can be set up to run smoothly on rolling routes, but both it and the smaller tyres rapidly get overwhelmed by impacts with rocks, roots or steps. You know – trails.

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Comfort levels can be increased slightly by turning the wheels and tyres tubeless and running lower pressures, but the Rockrider is geared heavily towards masochistic racers rather than weekend wanderers.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Rockrider XC Pro (14)
Brand B'twin

Description M, L, XL sizes
Seatpost Rockrider XC
Front Wheel Supra MA20 29er rim, Supra MA20 disc, QR hub
Tyres Hutchinson Cobra TL, 26x2.0in
Wheelbase (in) 42.8
Top Tube (in) 23.8
Standover Height (in) 29.7
Seat Tube (in) 18.5
Chainstays (in) 17.5
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 11.7
Weight (lb) 21.8
Weight (kg) 9.92
Stem Rockrider XC, 90mm
Shifters Shimano XT
Seat Angle 73.5
Bottom Bracket Shimano XT
Saddle Prologo X10
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT
Headset Type Cane Creek 10
Head Angle 72
Handlebar Rockrider XC, 660mm
Grips/Tape Rockrider
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Frame Material High modulus carbon fibre
Fork RockShox SID RL, 100mm
Cranks Shimano XT, 40/28T
Chain Shimano XT
Cassette Shimano XT, 11-36T
Brakes Avid Elixir 7, 160mm rotors
Rear Wheel Supra MA20 29er rim, Supra MA20 disc, QR hub