Smooth, fun, responsive, and built to last, Decathlon’s Btwin Original series are exceptional bikes for young neighborhood riders on a budget. From daily rides to school to long family bike rides around the city, the Btwin Original will have your kids begging to go riding – with or without you!
For a “budget bike”, the Btwin Original certainly doesn’t look, feel or perform like one! Unlike similarly-priced bikes at big-box stores, Btwin boasts great quality, kid-friendly geometry, easy-to-use hand brakes (that actually quickly stop the bike!), as well as responsive gears.
The Btwin Original is available in 20″ and 24″ sizes and in two models – the 100 and the 500. While we tested the 24″ 500 for this review, we will discuss both sizes as well as the differences between the 100 and the 500 series.
Btwin Original 100/500
RATING: Highly Recommended
MSRP: Original 100 – $179 – $199; Original 500 – $229 – $249
BEST FOR: All types of neighborhood riders, from school commuters to city explorers
SEAT HEIGHT (24″ size): 27″ – 33″
WEIGHT (24″ 500 model): 29.7 lbs.
GEARS: All 6-speed with grip shift, except 20″ 100 is a single-speed
BRAKES: Dual handbrakes
- Great quality and performance for its price
- Responsive brakes that are easy to adjust
- No coaster brakes!
- Padded saddle on 100, extra plush saddle on the 500
- Protective derailleur cage on 100
- Easy-to-use 1x gearing (most “budget” bikes have more complex 3x)
- Heavier for a 24 inch bike (but still light weight for its price)
Decathlon’s 24 inch Bike Models
Decathlon offers two different 24-inch bike lines – the Original Line, designed mainly for paved city riding, and the Rockrider line designed for all-terrain riding.
The Original line has two models – the 100 and the 500. The bikes feature the same frame, but the Btwin Original 500 comes with a metal basket, fenders, and a chain guard, while the cheaper Btwin Original 100 Kids version does not.
The Rockrider line (click for our review), which features knobby all-terrain tries, comes in 3 different models that vary in color and quality of components.
All models are available in both 20″ and 24″ sizes
Btwin Original 100 vs. 500
The difference between the 100 and the 500 series is mainly aesthetic. The frame, brakes, tires, handlebars, shifters, etc. on the two models are the same.
Upgrades available on the Original 500 include an extra-cushy saddle, front and rear fenders, and a basket. The 100 is only available in white and light blue, while the 500 is only available in navy and pink.
In the 20″ line, the bigger difference is that the 100 is a single-speed, while the 500 is a 6-speed.
|24″ Weight||29.5 lb.||29.7 lb.|
|Color||White, Light Blue||Navy, Pink|
|Fenders & Basket||No||Yes|
Btwin Original 500 – Results of our Test Rides
To see how the Btwin Original 500 performs, we put it to work around the neighborhood with two 9-year-old testers. One tester was a confident rider while the other was more timid and cautious. Although their experiences differed slightly, they both enjoyed the smooth ride of the Original and gave it two big thumbs up.
Right from the get-go, our typically-timid girl rider showed no signs of hesitation on the Btwin Original. She happily followed along with us on our neighborhood trails.
Like any bike, she took a minute to adjust to the new brakes and shifter but didn’t express any concerns or frustration. Within the first mile or so, she caught her groove and was enjoying the ride!
We specifically wanted to see if the weight of the Original would catch up with her (the bike weighs about 10 pounds more than the more expensive ByK 450 she normally rides) so we put the Original to work on a slight hill in the neighborhood. Once in the right gear, she surprised us by quickly making it to the top and kept on riding without a need to rest!
Turning to our more experienced tester, who typically rides a bike that weighs about 7 lb. less than the Original, the Original again did not disappoint. When asked to ride up and down a hill a couple of times to test out the gears, he did so without hesitation and eagerly responded, “They work great!”.
Although this lucky young tester has plenty of other 24″ bikes at his disposal, for use around the neighborhood or for riding to school, the Original is high up on his list of go-to bikes.
From the parent’s perspective, considering the inherent risks of leaving a bike in front of a friend’s house or even locking it up at school, the lower price point is a huge win!
All in all, for the everyday rider sticking mainly to shorter distance riding around the neighborhood, the performance and quality of the Btwin Original can’t be beat. While other budget brands may be of similar weight and price, we can attest that they don’t offer anywhere near the same level of quality and performance as Btwin.
Far too often our kids bike testers have battled through clunky shifting and barely functioning brakes on 24″ budget bikes, but not on the Btwin Original. Like its fellow model, the mountain-bike style Btwin Rockrider, the Originals are the best 20″ and 24″ kids bike you can buy for under $250.
Bike Weight vs. Price
When it comes to budget bikes, the elephant in the room is the total weight of the bike. Lightweight bikes are typically very expensive to make. So in general, the cheaper the price tag, the heavier the bike.
Of course, everything from frame design, rims, tires, and components need to be taken into consideration when talking about weight, not to mention added features like fenders and kickstands! Most budget bikes also offer mediocre quality and performance.
However, the Btwin Original is unique in this sea of budget bikes. While it is heavy like other bikes in its price range, it has the features and performance level of a more expensive mid-range bike. In addition to the shifter and brakes mentioned above, it also has the coveted 1x drive train, which will go into more detail about below.
|Original 100||$179||23.8 lb.||Single Speed|
|Schwinn Koen||$199||27.8 lb.||Single Speed|
|Huffy Scout 24||$138||36.4 lb.||3x|
|Original 100||$199||29.8 lb.||1x|
|Schwinn High Timber||$400||30.8 lb.||3x|
|Guardian Airos||$479||23 lb.||1x|
What size child fits on the Btwin Original 24?
The seat height on the 24″ Original we tested ranged from 27″ – 33″. Both of our 9-year-old testers in this review wear size 8/10 kids’ pants and still had plenty of room to grow on the bike.
While we didn’t have a chance to test out the 20″ Original, we were able to test out the Rockrider 20″. Based on the Rockrider’s measurements, we would expect the 20″ Original to have a seat height range of approximately 23″ – 30″.
As a side note, compared to other “budget” bikes, the Btwin Original has a slightly smaller frame design to allow a child to ride a larger wheel size sooner. For example, the Schwinn Kent 20″ has a seat height range of 24.5″ – 29″, while the Btwin’s is around 23″ – 30″.
Riding a larger wheel size sooner has several benefits, including allowing for further distance with each pedal stroke (allows for a longer crank arm), and making it easier to roll over obstacles on the road, including uneven sidewalks and curbs.
Components and Features of the Btwin Original
Responsive Hand Brakes
The handbrakes on Btwin’s bikes are an anomaly for budget bikes. Why? They actually work! In addition to needing very little (if any!) tuning straight out of the box, they are very easy to use and offer great stopping power.
On most low-end bikes, kids really have to put some muscle into the brakes if they want to bike to stop in a timely manner. Not so on the Btwins. An easy pull of the lever is all that’s needed for the responsive v-brakes to kick into action.
Gearing and Gain Ratio
A common misconception, for kids and adult bikes, is that more gears are always better. While more gears are necessary for some technical riding, for the average child rider, 3 to 8 gears are typically plenty! In addition to being unnecessary, more speeds are more challenging for kids to use due to their more complex drivetrains.
One of the unique features of Decathlon’s Btwin kids bikes is their 1x drivetrains. Most budget bikes (kids and adult) have two shifters, one for the front and one for the back. While this combination allows for more gears, it also complicates shifting for kids as well as adults.
1x drivetrains only have one cog on the chainring (the cogs closest to the pedals), which results in only needing one shifter and one derailleur. With only one shifter on the right hand to worry about, shifting becomes simplified and much less stressful. With just half of the shifting components, maintenance and repairs are also greatly reduced!
The Original 24 inch (both models) have six gears, but all of its gears are within a narrow gain ratio range. The lowest gear comes in at 2.3 while the fastest is 4.61. Our testers found this range just fine for everyday riding around the neighborhood.
City riders who tackle longer straightaways and want to really ramp up their speed may benefit from a wider gear range. The Guardian Ethos is a great option with 6 gears (still a 1x system), but with a gain ratio range from 2.3 to 5.6. The higher 5.6 gear, versus the Btwin Original 4.61, will allow the bike to gain higher speeds on longer flat sections.
Grip Shifter with Soft Grips
The Microshift grip shifter of the Btwin Original is easy to engage and is made of soft rubber to provide nice cushioning for the hands. While the Microshift brand is not as well known as Shimano, it’s well established in the biking industry and is known for manufacturing quality budget shifters. Many high-quality brands such as Guardian Bikes and Polygon are using Microshift components on their kids bikes.
Derailleur with Derailleur Cage
Derailleurs are very temperamental and easily get out of tune. While extensive use can wear out a derailleur over time, in the world of kids bikes, being hit during a ride or simply squished from the bike being dropped on the ground are much more common reasons for issues.
A derailleur cage is a simple wire cage that protects the derailleur from damage, especially from kids who don’t carefully place their bikes down. (So basically most kids.)
A derailleur cage is found on the 24″ Original 100, but not on the Original 500’s due to the fenders.
All Original models have padded saddles, but the saddle of the 500 line has extra cushioning and is also a bit wider.
For easy height adjustments, all Btwin Original models have a threaded headset to allow for height adjustments as your child grows.
Additional Upgrades on the Btwin Original 500
While the frame, gearing, and basic components of the Original 100 and 500 are the same, the Original 500 also comes with a kickstand, fenders, a basket, and a chainguard.
The 500 also features integrated decals, while the 100 has sticker decals. While mainly aesthetic, for a $50 price increase, these upgrades certainly add to the overall appeal of the bike.
What makes Btwin bikes so affordable?
Btwin bikes are the house brand of Decathlon.com. Decathlon is unique in the sporting goods world as it only sells its own in-house brands. By eliminating many of the middlemen, they are able to lower their prices by selling direct to consumers.
Btwin Original Kids Bike Bottom Line
Whether you want a quality bike for your child to ride to school without breaking the bank, or a great bike for family bike rides, the Original 500 is a solid choice for price-savvy parents. Offering quality and performance, without skimping on durability and “curb appeal”, the Btwin Original line will quickly bring a smile to your little rider’s face.