Decathlon E-ST520 MTB Review


Just Joined
Apr 16, 2020
I've been lurking for a while and while not new to pedalecs (Giant Twist front drive for 9 years) this is my first emtb and thought I'd post a review on the Decathlon E-ST520.

I've had it since July, I attempted to buy one online during lockdown with nearly 3 weeks of attempts. I got advice from customer services to try around midnight when the latest batches are released during lockdown and was finally successful around 01.00am!

It arrived in 15 days having been assembled in Portugal. Everything was present and correct in the box, bike, manuals, lights and bell and 15 minutes later i had carried out the final assembly and bolt tightening (more of that later).

First impressions were good - the 70Nm Brose motor had more than sufficient grunt for cyclepath/towpath assistance in it's lowest power level. I attempted my 1st ascent up canal towpath steps by selecting maximum power level 3 and a low gear - MISTAKE #1! Too much torque and a visitation to the bushes was unavoidable as it hoisted the front wheel and exited stage left!

My first proper forest trail ascent and descent used only the lowest power level for the majority of it and power level 3 has never been used, (except to see off cars at traffic lights) - too much wheelspin on muddy paths. The first descent resulted in the seat post moving on its serrations due to the seat post allen bolt insufficiently torqued at the factory. Decathlon had no issue replacing it with a newer, 2 bolt version and that has been the only problem I've encountered to date.

I did a lot of OCD research into several makes of emtb - came very close to a purchasing a Haibike Hardseven 1.5 as it seemed impossible to procure a Decathlon due to high lockdown demand but I didn't like the "brick wall" effect of the Yamaha motor whenever it reached 25kph. Decathlon offered a E-ST520 and 900. The 900 has the same Brose motor but with a 500Wh battery as opposed to the 420 of the cheaper model. It also has fatter tyres and Rockshox Judy rather than the XC30 of the E-ST520. The advertising literature stated both models had adjustable rebound damping although the 520 has coil rather than air suspension. I opted for the £300 cheaper 520 but was disappointed to find the Rockshox XC30s had fixed rebound, in fact, no rebound damping full stop! Although still a novice at mtbing, I soon felt the shocks to be inadequate on downhill tracks. Looking into alternatives, I mentioned this literature discrepancy to the mechanic at Decathlon Edinburgh who insisted he look into this and took my phone number. He got back to me pretty quickly and said he'd that after a discussion with his manager, he'd arranged for a fork upgrade which turned out to be an air Rockshox XC30 Silver. I offered to fit them myself but he was insistent as it was a marketing/warranty issue he would book the bike in for the forks to be changed and give it the free 6 month service. This I felt was service beyond the call of duty but Decathlon had made a mistake in their literature and Jacob felt my gripe was justified. So, new forks with a remote lockout and the bike has been transformed!

I've only covered around 400 miles due to reintroduced lockdown restrictions but I have nothing but praise for this emtb. It was great when i got it but even better now and with better forks. Nothing has broken, fallen off or disappointed. The range on level 1 (with occasional level 2) is around 45 miles offroad and over 50 miles in town. It appears to handle off road well from a novices perspective, the Hutchison tyres appear to grip well in all conditions, brakes bedded in nicely and I've no complaints at all.

I fitted ProGuards front and rear (an enclosed rear to protect the motor) and a Decathlon manual seatpost dropper stem. I've not read any reviews on the E-ST520, only the 900 so I hope this is of use to any other potential buyers.


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