With its Elops LD500E, sports and outdoor specialist Decathlon has an interesting and attractive urban e-bike in its lineup: It features equipment for everyday use, a motor with torque sensor, and a large and removable battery. Of course, the low price is also typical for the french brand, which is currently 1,699 Euros for the LD500E. This test should prove if the bike can also score with these features in practice.
It looks quite elegant, the Elops LD500E — which is especially due to the inconspicuously integrated electric drive. Instead of a usually clunky mid-drive motor on the bottom bracket, a hub motor is used in the rear wheel. Compared to other motors of this type, it is somewhat large, but nevertheless disappears behind the cassette of the shifting system.
In addition, the battery is integrated into the down tube and is thus hardly noticeable — at least in the side view. However, if you look at the bike from above, this area clearly becomes wider. The battery cover is attached to the left side and painted in the frame color, but unfortunately it was not mounted quite flush. And while the test bike’s frame shimmers metallic anthracite gray, all the add-on parts are kept in neutral black. Likewise, the fork and the underside of the down tube, which makes the frame itself look a bit slimmer once again.
Contrary to the current trend, all cables and wires are laid openly and visibly on the cockpit, which is certainly also due to the goal of achieving the lowest possible sales price. The advantage of this design is that it is easier to handle if something needs to be replaced or changed. And while we’re on the subject of the cockpit: compared to the rest of the components of the electric drive, the display on the handlebars is unfortunately way too big — a more discreet model would have really suited the bike better!
As already mentioned at the beginning, the Elops LD500E is equipped for everyday use — and this is really extensive. The bike comes with a permanently installed lighting system from the AXA Blueline series, sturdy mudguards and an equally robustly constructed rear rack, which is designed for loads of up to 27 kg. A kickstand, a bell and even Ergo grips have also been thought of!
A derailleur with 8 gears is used here, which is labeled BTWIN by Microshift. Thus, the manufacturer is microSHIFT, on which more and more bicycle brands have recently started to fall back. Basically, it is a series from the entry-level range, which also applies to the hydraulic disc brakes from Tektro.
The heart of the electric drive system is a hub motor from Vision Industry, a manufacturer that has hardly been present on the market here so far. The motor’s torque is specified at 45 Nm, which is definitely in the upper range of this type of motor. This probably also explains the comparatively large housing of the motor and its high weight of around 3 kg.
The battery offers a capacity of 500 Wh, which is also in the upper range. It can also be removed from the frame, which makes charging much more convenient. The control of the drive system is quite interesting: the LD500F features a torque sensor in the bottom bracket, which is supposed to convey a natural riding experience. This means that if you pedal hard, the motor also provides correspondingly strong support — just like on a conventional bicycle. While in the past this technology was usually only found in expensive e-bikes, it is now also making its way into this affordable segment.
The already criticized display shows basic functions such as speed, driven distances, as well as the status of the battery, lighting and speed levels, and also has integrated buttons for operating the drive system. By the way, the drive system does not have an app connection, so you have to make do with the information on the display — which is quite sufficient. The backlit display is sufficiently legible even in sunlight, but it sometimes fogged up for a short time in the cold temperatures during the test.
The position of the display on the handlebars is well chosen and the four buttons can be comfortably reached with the left thumb. Moreover, their functions are largely self-explanatory: On-Off and the light each have their own button, the remaining two are used to control the three riding modes (Eco, Standard and Boost). In addition, the system also has a walk assist mode.
The fact that the LD500E’s battery can be removed for charging has already been mentioned positively. At the same time, it can be criticized that Decathlon did not provide the bike itself with a charging socket — so you are always forced to remove the battery. Thanks to the precise fastening mechanism, this can be done effortlessly and quickly, and a practical carrying handle on the battery folds out when you remove it. This makes it easy to carry the 3.1 kg battery, and it can also be placed safely thanks to the flat bottom.
One word should then also be said about the microSHIFT system, because compared to the known Shimano shifters, this works a little differently. Instead of using only the thumb, this trigger is operated with both the thumb and the index finger. After a short period of familiarization, however, this is not a disadvantage and the operation of the system is as usual easy from the hand.
The extensive equipment and the comparatively heavy motor, coupled with the large battery, result in a weight of the Elops LD500E of 23.8 kg (weighed in frame size M). Thus, the bike is definitely not a lightweight — and surprised positively during the test ride just for that reason!
Although the bike can certainly not be described as particularly quick and agile due to its mass, it nevertheless appears very direct at the start and accelerates with pressure up to the limit of 25 km/h (and even a bit beyond) when needed. This is where the advantage of the torque sensor becomes apparent, which provides the power of the motor synchronously power on the pedal. The barely perceptible volume of the drive gives you the feeling of always being on the road with a breeze of tailwind — which also contributes to the fact that the bike feels anything but sluggish.
The support of the three modes is well separated from each other: while you only feel the motor’s help gently in Eco mode, it increases noticeably in the other two modes. You will switch to the highest boost mode at the latest on steep uphills, which is traditionally a challenge for hub motors. The motor performs respectably here and even managed ascents with a gradient of up to 15% in the test.
Of course, the bike feels more at home in less challenging terrain. And here, the Elops LD500E proves to be a perfect partner for everyday commuting thanks to its comfortable seating position. The comfy saddle, a wide handlebar and the Ergo grips support this, as do the tires, which are declared as a private label and are sufficiently wide at 38 mm. However, the grip of these tires could definitely be better. A circumstance that can be forgiven, however — after all, a tire is quite easily exchanged for a better one.
With its complete equipment, good handling and its solid construction, the Elops LD500E seems to be made for all those who are simply looking for a practical e-bike – but do not want to spend a lot of money for it and still want to ride a chic bike. Operating the bike is easy, as is handling the battery. And despite the comparatively heavy weight, the bike can be moved around swiftly, especially since the drive system works very directly and pleasantly quietly. The fact that you cannot charge the battery directly in the bike itself is one of the few remaining points of criticism. However, you don’t have to be too petty at a price of 1,699 Euros — because this offer is really good! The Elops LD500E (also available with a trapezoidal frame) can be ordered online right here at Decathlon; either directly to your home or to one of the nearest stores for pickup.