B'Twin Riverside 920 review
Designed for days out on the gravel or road, the B'Twin Riverside 920 boasts lock-out suspension, 11 gears and hydraulic disc brakes. So we put one to the test to see if the ride is just as good as its description
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The B'Twin Riverside 920 is an exceptional high spec'ed lightweight hybrid bike that is capable of accepting close to all bike riding terrain challenges thrown at it. You won't be disappointed.
Hydraulic disc brakes
11 interchangeable gears
Lock out suspension
Road and gravel versatility
Lightweight for its class
Twitchy steering at low speeds
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Selecting a new bike is one of the best, but often hardest decisions to make. It can feel like a minefield trying to navigate through all the choices to be made. Which is why the B'Twin Riverside 920 hybrid bike stands out, its versatility giving it near 'go anywhere' ability means all the decisions are taken care of.
Buy now: B'Twin Riverside 920 now from Decathlon for £649.99
Made from a lightweight 6061 aluminium the unisex B'Twin Riverside 920 hybrid is impressively light for a hybrid, weighing just over 12kg, depending on size, with our small coming in at around the 12.2kg mark.
>>> Eight best hybrid bikes 2019: ridden and rated
The bike comes equipped with a Suntour NCX Air suspension fork, with remote lockout, allowing you to either take advantage of the 63mm of travel on rougher terrain, or take the suspension away when on smoother tarmac when you want to convert all energy into forward motion.
The air cushioning suspension system also has adjustable stiffness, allowing you to ensure that you option the maximum benefit based on the weight you put through the front of the bike.
The B'Twin Riverside 920 also comes with Promax DSK 908 hydraulic disc brakes. It's an impressive find on a hybrid bike at this price point, ideal for giving riders stopping power and speed modulation in all weather and on all terrain.
Another impressive find on the B'Twin Riverside 920 is the SRAM NX drivetrain. Not only because of its 11 indexed gears, but because of its interchangeable compatibility. The 11/ 42 spread at the rear cassette, should allow you find a gear capable of getting you up most hills, but should you find the spread too wide ranging (the jump from one gear to the next making it too hard or too easy), there's always the ability to fit either a 34-tooth or 38-tooth range cassette options as an after market option, which would make the jumps between gears a lot smaller.
The B'Twin Riverside 920 really does just keep on giving and discovering it rolls on a pair of Mavic Allroad Aksium wheels is outstanding. With wheels often taking the hit when it comes to spec'ing a bike in order for a brand to hit a certain price point, I was expected to see a pair of no-name budget options.
Mavic on the other hand is the go to wheel brand for many bike riders, and an exceptional find on a bike at this price point. Shod in a pair of 38mm B'Twin TrekkingSpeed Protect+ tyres, these should be pretty bomb proof in terms of dealing with hits and nicks on either road or off road.
I'm fortunate to live in an area of the UK that is blessed in terms of riding options. I'm based in Stockport, so have the benefits of all worlds in terms of being on the edge of the hill Peak District and flat Cheshire plains, as well as a brilliant gravel trail network with canals, disused railway lines as well as a significant number of bridal ways to choose from.
It's basically a great test bed for all bikes, and meat that the B'Twin Riverside 920 got a through airing to test its capabilities.
And it didn't disappoint. With the suspension locked out, it rolled rapidly on the road, it's by no means a road bike, with the geometry giving you a upright position, but I was able to feel 'pushed' around rather than 'pulling' a heavy bike along. There was a bit of a big jump in gears, but was always able to find one that suited eventually. If I was going to use it consistently for the same rides I would be temped to get a cassette that suited the sort of terrain I was using to iron some of the jumps out, but it's a minor personal preference.
Taking the bike off the beaten track was just as successful. As expected the wheel and tyre set up was perfect for all but the muddiest of routes, and with the suspension unlocked and wide ranging cassette, there wasn't a lot the B'Twin Riverside 920 isn't capable off.
It's a very comfortable ride, the position, lightweight nature and overall set up means that you can easily spend a lot of time on the bike without suffering from aches and ailments, or feel like the poor relation in terms of keeping up with friends and family who are perhaps on flashier more expensive bikes.
The only down side was that I did notice that the front end was a bit twitchy at low speeds in traffic though. Looking at the B'Twin Riverside 920 you can see that the head tube angle and the forks are almost in a straight line, so any movement you make with the bars are directly converted to the wheel direction.
This isn't an issue when peddling and riding at reasonable speeds, but when it comes to navigating traffic at under 5mph, the direct handling is very noticeable and something to be aware of if you are thinking of using the bike on a daily busy commute when you have to negotiate a fair amount of go slow.
In a word the B'Twin Riverside 920 offers outstanding value for money. It's so versatile, and even compatible with a child seat, rear pannier rack and mudguards. It's high level of components will be hard, if not impossible to match else where and means that the bike is ready to roll straight from the shop.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest-serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011. She has covered all things technical for both print and digital over multiple seasons representing CW at spring Classics, and Grand Tours and all races in between.
Hannah was a successful road and track racer herself, competing in UCI races all over Europe as well as in China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won a 24-hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas.
She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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