Decathlon Riverside 540e Review

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The last year saw a dramatic increase in the demand for e-bikes with a lot of major retailers quickly selling out of popular models. In this Decathlon Riverside 540e review I will take a closer look at Decathlon’s latest offering and see how it stacks up against the competition in the increasingly competitive e-bike market.

Summary

Decathlon have produced some pretty impressive e-bikes over the last couple of years with the Rockrider E-ST900 and Stylus being my particular favourites. Unfortunately due to a massive spike in demand for electric bikes and the UK leaving the EU, stock has been constantly running out over the last few months and the excellent Stylus e-MTB has disappeared from their website altogether.

One thing that’s always impressed me with the Decathlon electric bike range is the incredible value on offer. Sadly due to the above, their prices have slowly crept up and a lot of the range is now 20% dearer than when they were first released.

decathlon riverside 540e review
Images courtesy of Decathlon

One thing the Decathlon range lacked was a credible mid-drive hybrid e-bike and now it looks like they’ve finally  released one. The new Riverside 540e looks on paper to be a decent bike – it uses the excellent Shimano Steps E6100 motor (which my own personal e-bike uses) and a 418Wh battery.

Decathlon Riverside 540e review

Firstly I want to say that the bike does indeed look good on paper, but I have a few reservations about the use of the old-style E6000 battery and the price. As I’ve said before, Decathlon have always been head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to price. Decathlon are bound by the new laws and unfortunately due to Brexit now have to add customs duty. This means the price of £2499 is not competitive in the face of tough competition.

PRICE DROP – NOW £1999.99

The exact same bike is available on the continent for 2199 Euros which equates to around £1900 – it’s a shame because at the European price it would look like a good buy. To put it into context the Cube Touring Hybrid One 500 costs around £2499 in the UK, has a similar spec and uses a Bosch motor and 500Wh battery.

cube touring hybrid one 400 2021

But what about the bike itself? The spec is actually quite good, from the aforementioned Shimano Steps motor through to the Shimano Deore 10-speed drivetrain and the Vittoria Terreno  tyres everything on the Riverside 540e is decent enough. It’s just you can buy a similar specification Haibike Trekking 6  for less than £200 more and that has a 630Wh battery.

My only other reservation about the Riverside 540e is the styling – it looks a little dated when compared with a lot of the competition. For example the battery pack used is the same style as used on the older Shimano Steps E6000 motor. This gives the Riverside a somewhat dated look. The one department it does very well in is weight – quoted at 21kg for the medium frame, puts it a good 2-3kg lighter than some of the competition.

Below I will have a closer look at the components.

Electric components

Shimano Steps E6100 motor

The Shimano Steps E6100 motor is not only very light at 2.8kg but it’s also known for being very reliable and a solid performer. My own personal e-bike uses this exact same motor and I’ve covered over 1000 miles on it in three and a half months – this is in cold and wet British winter time. I’ve ridden through floods, fords and along debris-strewn country lanes and not once has the motor complained.

shimano steps e6100 motor fitted to the riverside 540e

Riding a Shimano Steps powered e-bike is very rewarding – the motor is very quiet and incredibly smooth, the assist is tuned into every pedal stroke and gives very intuitive assistance. I personally find ‘eco’ mode to be more than adequate for the hilly Cornish countryside, and ‘high’ mode helps you really motor up hills with minimal effort.

Display

The large and clear display on the E6100 motor is one of the best in its class. It provides the rider with all the data needed, and also has an approximate ‘range’ calculator based on what level you’re in. There is also a cadence sensor (pedalling rpm) which is really useful – these motors are at their most efficient at a cadence above 80rpm.

shimano steps display fitted to the riverside 540e

You can also configure certain characteristics of the motor using the Shimano E-Tube app – you can limit the maximum assisted speed from 16mph down to whatever you need, this can be great for conserving battery power.  Another great feature are two different riding modes: Comfort and Sportiv – the latter increases the torque and performance of ‘eco’ and ‘normal’ , you will consume more battery power when in Sportiv mode. You can also download important firmware updates using the app.

Battery

A 418Wh battery (36v 11.6Ah) will give the rider a range of around 50-60 miles in ‘eco’ mode. This figure may be higher or lower depending on how many hills you climb and how often the rider relies on the assist. Other factors like rider weight and wind direction will effect range. I can easily ride 60-70 miles on my e-bike but  I have the 504Wh battery fitted.

418 watt hour battery fitted to the riverside 540e

Warranty

Shimano warranty their bike components for 2 years. It’s important there are no modifications or tuning/derestriction attempted as this will void the warranty.

Bike components

The Riverside 540e is very well catered for in this department with Shimano Deore drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic discs and Suntour hybrid suspension forks. The frame looks well-finished, with nice geometry and internal cable routing.

decathlon riverside 540e review

Gearing

Shimano Deore M6000 series rear derailleur and trigger shifter working via a 10-speed 11-36 cassette and a 38t front chainring will give most riders enough gear range, although at this price point it would have been nice to see the latest incarnation of Deore with an 11-42 cassette – this would have given a low enough hill for even the steepest of climbs. If you need higher gearing there is a 44t chainring available from some retailers, but you will need a special tool to fit it.

Brakes

The Tektro TKD hydraulic brakes with 160mm rotors are fairly entry-level brakes but they are more than adequate for a hybrid bike. They’re generally very reliable and provide good modulation and stopping power.

Wheels and tyres

Front and rear wheels are 28″ double-walled Decathlon brand with 28 eyeletted spokes up front and 36 at the rear. These wheels use standard quick-release hubs which is a little disappointing as most of the competition now uses thru-axle hubs which increase strength in this area.  The Vittoria Terreno 700x40c tyres are a very good all-terrain tyre which will be equally home on tarmac or exploring gravel tracks and forest trails.

Suspension

Suntour NCX SF17 coil-sprung suspension forks are pretty common on hybrid e-bikes at this price. The can be adjusted for preload or locked out all together for road riding. These forks are great for light off-road riding and have 63mm of travel – they are just the job for all round riding and commuting.

Frame and finishing kit

The 6061 alloy frame uses very similar geometry to its non-assisted counterparts. The dropped seat stays, slack head angle and sloping top tube mean the Riverside 540e is definitely designed for comfort and versatility. The benefit of the sloping top tube is a relatively low standover height making the 540e suitable for both men and women.

There is a frame-mounted kickstand and nice comfortable saddle, there’s also ergonomic handlebar grips designed to increase comfort in the wrists.

Who is the Decathlon Riverside 540e aimed at?

As with any hybrid e-bike, the Riverside 540e is going to appeal to a wide range of riders, ranging from commuters through to weekend leisure riders.  There’s no mistaking the Riverside’s all-terrain credentials and it would be the perfect compromise between an e-MTB and road bike. It’s designed with comfort in mind and also has provisions for mudguards and pannier rack so it could even be used for light touring or local bikepacking adventures.

Conclusion

I really want to like the Decathlon Riverside 540e. It’s actually quite a decent bike, but in the UK at least, it’s let down by a price tag which puts it in direct competition with the likes of Cube, Scott, Haibike and other prestigious brands.

The 418Wh battery although decent enough is lower in capacity than other bikes in this price range – for a couple of hundred more you can buy a Cube Nuride Hybrid Allroad 625Wh which has over 50% more battery capacity and uses an 65Nm Bosch Performance Line motor.

PRICE DROP – NOW £1999.99

Hopefully the current price rises we’re seeing due to Brexit will soon settle down when (and if) our respective governments can sort out tax issues.

If the Riverside 540e was priced at £1900 like it is on the continent I would have no hesitation in wholeheartedly recommending it, but as the price stands and in view of the competition (and the slightly dated looks), I think there’s better alternatives out there for the price.

Buy Now from Decathlon UK

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Thanks for reading, if you have any questions please leave a comment below. I usually respond within 24hrs.

Decathlon Riverside 540e

£1999.99
7.5

Value for Money

6.0/10

Performance

8.5/10

Battery Range

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fantastic Shimano Steps E6100 motor
  • Ruggedly built to cope with mixed terrain
  • Nice and comfortable riding position

Cons

  • Looks very pricey when compared with alternatives

Tony

Passionate E-Bike advocate and enthusiast since 2016. Riding an electric bike helped me to lose weight, get fit and reignite my passion for cycling!

20 thoughts on “Decathlon Riverside 540e Review

  • Afternoon,
    You stated ion your review of the Riverside 540 e that if it was priced at £1,999 which it now is at decathlon you would have no hesitation to recommend this bike. It a lot of cash for me to spend but at 6ft 6 and wanting to increase my fitness after a heart Op I find this bike (in XL format) to be the most appealing in its price range. What are your thoughts.
    I live in quite a hilly area in Essex, Rayleigh, Hockley, Ashingdon, Southend On Sea. etc.

    Reply
    • Hi Dave,

      I reckon now it’s dropped down to £1999 it is much better value. There’s not many e-bikes available for under £2000 that use the Shimano Steps E6100 motor. I’ve owned Decathlon bikes in the past and they’re usually well put together. If you have a store near you I would recommend trying on out for size just to make sure you’re comfortable on the XL. There’s quite a bit of adjustment in the saddle but if you wanted a more upright riding position, I would think about getting a riser stem.

      Reply
  • Hi Tony,

    I’m trying to decide between the Elops 920e and the Riverside 540e for my commute (should we ever return to the office!). I would be cycling mostly on roads but have the option of a few gravel tracks to get me off the road as much as possible (the drivers in Geneva are not the most careful or patient!). I would probably use it a bit on weekends for road and countryside routes, but nothing too adventurous. The commuting route is mostly flat but with a fairly big hill at either end. Which would you recommend? I prefer a more upright position if possible and I’m not the most confident of cyclists. This is my first two-wheeled e-bike (we have a three-wheeled electric cargo bike for the school run). In terms of price, I can stretch to the Riverside if it’s the better option.

    Thanks for your help!

    Katie

    Reply
    • Hi Katie,

      I think the Elops 920e would be better suited for your needs. It has a more relaxed, upright riding position and the Brose T motor will provide comparable performance and battery range to the Shimano Steps motor (fitted to the 540e). The Shimano Nexus 7 speed gearing on the Elops is fairly maintenance-free and should give adequate gear range. If you found the gearing a little too high, you can always get a bike shop to change the rear sprocket for a slightly larger one (to lower the gearing a little).

      All the best,
      Tony

      Reply
      • Thank you! That’s very helpful!

        Reply
        • You’re welcome.

          Reply
  • Hi,
    Thanks for all your reviews – they are very much appreciated, and really thorough, I’d be lost without them!
    I’m from Ireland so the Riverside 540e is €2,250 here, much cheaper than UK.
    Comparatively the Cube Nature One 500 is €2,490 and the Cube Nature Hybrid EXC 625 is €2,949, Whilst the Carrera Crossfuse is €2,279 and your own bike the Vitus Mach E Urban Electric Bike comes in at €2590…

    I’m looking to start commuting 13km each way a day, but havent cycled since been a teenager 20 years ago! Ideally something lightweight so I can get in and out of the house easily, but I really like how the Cube’s look.

    I’ve sat on the 540e Medium in Decathalon and it fits perfectly, and I like that it is lighter and more balanced than the 500e…

    Do you think it is worth spending some more on getting the CUBE Nature One – or is the 540e or a similar spec?

    Sorry for all the questions, but it is still a lot of money for a bike that i might not use that often, but if it is the right one that I enjoy it should end up more value for money at the end of the day!

    All help appreciated – thanks in advance if you can find the time to help!

    Reply
    • Hi John,

      The Cube Nature has a 500Wh battery and uses the 3rd Gen Bosch Active Plus which isn’t going to feel quite as lively as the Shimano Steps E6100 motor (50Nm torque for the Bosch vs up to 65Nm on the Shimano). Battery range should be a tad higher on the Cube, but it also weighs around 3kg more than the Riverside 540e. The Decathlon bike has 10-speed vs 9-speed on the Cube.

      I genuinely like the Riverside, but in the UK it’s too expensive for what you get. At €2,250 it looks much more appealing and my personal experience with the Shimano Steps motor would sway it for me. The Bosch motor used on the Cube is great, but I prefer the Performance Line Bosch motor as it’s got more get up and go. You should be able to get an easy 40-50 mile range out of the 418Wh battery (on the 540e).

      I hope this helps, if you have any more questions let me know.

      Cheers,
      Tony

      Reply
        • The Cube Touring Pro uses the Bosch Gen 3 Performance Line motor, so the torque would be around 65Nm which brings it on a par with the Shimano unit. I’ve ridden a lot of Cube e-bikes over the last couple of years and it’s hard to find fault in any of them. For only €100 more I’d have to say the Cube wins it for me!

          All the best,
          Tony

          Reply
          • Great review and really useful logic/context. Cheers for your input too John…..going to take a good look at that Cube…..i like the look of it

          • Value for Money

            0

            Performance

            7.5

            Battery Range

            7.5

            I bought my riverside E540 at the end of April 2021 to find out that the price had dropped by nearly £500 6 weeks later and Decathlon are saying I cant have the price difference back.
            The bike did not go in the sale and reviews clearly state this bike was not worth the money and thus dropped the price.
            Really feel ripped off and conned.
            Is there anything I can do to get my money reimburse.
            From Vicky Nixon

          • I recently had a similar experience with a hybrid bike – two days after purchase the price was reduced by over £100. Unfortunately there’s nothing that can be done from a legal standpoint. Some credit card companies will pay the difference if a product you buy is available cheaper soon after purchase. I’m fairly sure Decathlon have a 12-month returns policy where you can return a purchase within a set time period, regardless of whether there is an issue or not. You would need the original box it came in (or you could get one from a local bike shop) to send it back and there will be a fee (usually £30-£50 for bicycles).

          • You’re welcome!

  • Value for Money

    5.5

    Performance

    7

    Battery Range

    8.5

    Please can you advise me about what water bottle I need and holder I need for the Riverside 540e bike as there is not a lot of room as the battery is close to the frame ot will attach to.
    Thank you
    From Vicky Nixon

    Reply
      • Value for Money

        3

        Performance

        8

        Battery Range

        8

        Thank you for your advice.
        I have to take my bike in for a free service and I’m going to ask them what they can do.

        Reply
        • You’re welcome. Please let me know how things work out, it would be nice if they offered you some money back as a gesture of goodwill.

          Cheers,
          Tony

          Reply

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