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Btwin LD 920E Connect: Decathlon goes automatic with its new VAE

Decathlon Btwin LD 920 E Connect

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Decathlon’s news in the electric bicycle sector is a reflection of this market: dynamic. After announcing its new Rockrider range of VTTAE and a tough and refined model with the LD 500 E, the French brand is bringing a new toy to its catalog with the Btwin LD 920 E Connect. The latter was awarded the “Techno Innovation” prize at the Decathlon Reveal 2022 event. This ceremony crowned four products from a panel chosen by the brand and decided by the Decathlon teams.

The first iteration of this event had already rewarded an electric bike, the Btwin R500 E, Decathlon’s first electric longtail cargo bike. This year, it is an electric variation of a muscular model that is reaping the honors of its own company. For the time being, the LD 920 E Connect is only known on the surface, the sports brand having not communicated much information about it.

The first images provided show that the LD 920 E is part of the same aesthetic dynamics as its little brother, the LD 500 E. The frame, which is assumed to be in hydroformed aluminum, harmoniously accommodates the battery. Decathlon’s new VAE presents a priori a rigid fork. However, on the presentation video, we think we can see a small suspension above the fork and under the steering tube. What offer a few tens of millimeters of travel perhaps.

The real asset put forward by Decathlon is on the engine side. The LD 920 E opts for a central engine, placed at the level of the pedals, incorporating a gearbox. We would have thought that the chain of sports stores would have called on its compatriot Valeo for this type of engine. However, this engine-gearbox couple is the work of the Belgians of E2 Drives. The promise here is an automatic gear change depending on the cadence and the force applied to the pedals, to make the most of an engine whose torque is unknown for the moment.

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This integration makes it possible to simplify the transmission, which then does without a derailleur. Decathlon promises more reliability, ease of use and less maintenance. It may therefore seem surprising to see a chain and not a belt with such a system. A belt would have had the advantage of being devoid of grease and not dirtying the pants as a chain can. The gear change, which can take place automatically or manually if desired, can be carried out both when stationary and under heavy pedaling stress. Real assets, especially for urban use, where changes of pace require regular juggling of the transmission.

Stéphane Blandin, Btwin engineer, states that “there is no reason not to use this motor and this technology on any type of electric city bike.“This could augur more models equipped with this type of engine at Decathlon.

The information distilled by Decathlon is, for the time being, very meager. The mention “LD” stands for “Long Distance” and the manufacturer of the LD 920 E Connect – which should not be confused with the “very short” 920 E Connect – embeds a battery “very large capacity“. The LD 500 E being equipped with a 504 Wh battery, we can hope to see an accumulator of at least 630 or 730 Wh for the LD 920 E. What to obtain a comfortable autonomy, especially with an automatic transmission always pulling best engine performance.

The rest of Decathlon’s electric bike spec sheet is guesswork. Renders show a screen integrated into the stem, as does the front headlight. The LD 920 E Connect should benefit from the same connected services as the non-“LD” version, thanks to a smartphone application. For the rest, kickstand, mudguards and luggage rack are present, as are a pair of disc brakes.

We can’t wait to learn more about this new Decathlon electric bike and even more to be able to try it out. There remains the question of the price at which such a VAE will be offered. The LD 500 E is marketed at €1649, and the LD 920 E will logically be higher. In a bicycle market that continues to drive up its prices, Decathlon could have a good card to play by remaining reasonable.

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