In a potentially exciting development for fans of e-cargo bikes that cost less than £3,000, Decathlon are getting in on the action. The bad news is that the Elops R500E Longtail is currently only available on the continent.
With its scale and buying power, Decathlon has the ability to produce some really great value e-bikes. To provide a couple of examples, we thought a lot of the Riverside 540e when we took a look at it last year and we’ve long recommended the Rockrider E-ST900 as a value-for-money option.
What has however been missing from the French sporting giant’s range – at least up until now – is an e-cargo bike.
There’s no point beating about the bush – e-cargo bikes are not cheap. These are vehicles that can potentially replace a car, after all. In our current rundown of the best e-cargo bikes, half of the eight cost more than £3,000 with one topping £6,000. Only one – Rad Power’s RadWagon – sneaks in under £2,000.
The £2,000 to £3,000 price bracket is therefore a competitive one and that’s where the €2,799 Elops R500E Longtail fits in.
So what do you get?
It’s a pretty classic looking longtail e-cargo bike with a rear bench rated for up to 80kg, whether that’s children, cargo or a bit of both, plus a front basket that can hold another 10kg. The side rails at the back appear to come as standard.
There’s a 672 Wh battery in the down tube, which Decathlon reckon is good for up to 90km on Eco mode, 70km in Normal mode and 50km in Power mode. All of those figures are unloaded – so the rider only – on relatively flat terrain, so you should probably scale them down a bit for a more ‘real world’ estimation of range.
> Range anxiety: how to get the most from your e-bike battery
One possible weakness of the R500E longtail could be the motor. While it provides up to 58 Nm of torque, it’s a rear hub model. E-cargo bikes typically use mid-motors as these are able to provide power more efficiently from a low speed or standing start. (The RadWagon is another notable exception.)
> Hub motor or mid motor? What's the difference?
Other than that, you get Microshift gearing with an 11-28 cassette, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and integrated front and rear lights. There’s a wheel lock and kick stand too.
Crucially, the bike’s compatible with a whole range of Decathlon accessories, including panniers bags, boxes and child seats.
People use e-cargo bikes in all sorts of different ways, so the ability to customise the bike is always quite a big selling point.
No word yet on a UK release.