French retailer Decathlon today announced details of their 2014 B’Twin road bike line, which will be available from late February/early March 2014.
BikeRadar visited Decathlon’s London store to bring you the lowdown on a stealthy new range with an emphasis on value.
Alur 700: Shimano 105-equipped sub-9kg road bike for £700
B-Twin Alur 700
A newcomer for 2014 is the Alur 700, and the £700 retail price seems to stretch a long way. Designed for tough terrain or tackling hours in the saddle, it uses a 1400g UCI homologated aluminium frame, plus a 550g part carbon fork. There’s also a near-complete Shimano 105 groupset with only a Tiagra cassette and own-brand compact crankset being the exceptions.
A new, own-brand wheelset is fitted, which B’Twin claim is lighter, more aerodynamic and more cost effective than Shimano’s RS11 hoops. The details are bang up to date too; both the fork and chainstays make use of Shimano’s new direct mount caliper brakes.
The frame uses Shimano’s press-fit bottom bracket standard and keeps things neat with fully internal cable routing. It’s also fully Di2 ready – there’s even space in the seat tube for the Di2 battery. That’d be quite an upgrade for a £700 bike! But what it does show is B’Twin’s faith in electronic transmissons, B’Twin actually went as far as to say that in the next five years they expect to see electronic transmissions on every road bike they sell over £1,000! The complete claimed weight is 8.9kg.
Mach: £1100 carbon racing machine
B'Twin Mach 720
The Mach is a full carbon bike and is now in its third generation. The idea is that it's a ride that offers extremely efficient power transfer without being uncomfortable for long distances. It's also the bike used by B'Twin's under-19 racing team with their riders having covered over 100,000 miles on these machines last year alone.
The frame is said to tip the scales at 1200g whilst a 360g fork graces the front end. Six sizes are on offer, ranging from 51cm to 61cm.
Three builds will be stocked: the £1,100 Mach 700 gets the same build kit as the Alur 700, but unlike the aluminium bike it doesn’t include the direct mount brakes. B’Twin claim a complete weight of 8.5kg. Spend an extra £200 and you’ll get the Mach 720, Shimano components are ditched in favour of Campagnolo’s Centaur black and red group, complete with nifty red anodised touches. Wheels are also upgraded to Khamsin models from Campagnolo and a Prologo Nago saddle is also standard. These changes also shift half a kilo bringing the total claimed weight down to 8kg.
Paying £1,750 will bag you the top Mach 740, you’ll still get the same frame and fork but this time with Campagnolo’s Athena 11-speed carbon group and a Scirocco 35 wheelset also from Campag. Once again Prologo's Nago saddle is fitted and there's also a move to Michelin Pro 4 Race tyres. The claimed weight of the Mach 740 is 7.7kg.
Ultra: High end race bike
B'Twin Ultra 940
Despite not being the choice of their race team, the Ultra is B'Twin's race bike. Getting your leg over the full carbon Ultra doesn't have to be a hefty investment as the cheapest Ultra 920 retails at just £1999.99 and it looks like a real bargain. For a penny shy of two grand you'll get a 1175g carbon frame and fork combo, a full Ultegra 6800 mechanical groupset including direct mount stoppers. Elsewhere there's Mavic's Ksyrium Elite S wheels and 25c Yksion tyres, a Prologo Nago saddle and Deda finishing kit. You even get a pair of Look Keo 2 Max pedals chucked in. The build is said to be 7.1kg for a size medium.
If you're prepared to spend an extra £1000 then you'll get the Ultra 940. The spec is largely similar, aside from an upgrade to full Ultegra Di2, wheels take a step up to Ksyrium SLR's and there's 23mm Mavic Yksion tyres. The extra heft of Di2 means this spec will only save 100g over the Ultra 920, though.
Triban: Great value entry level road bike
The UK specific B'Twin Triban model is back for 2014. This time it appears to offer even better value than before. For £370 there's the Triban 300 which uses an alloy frame with a part carbon fork and a Microshift groupset.
After B'Twin experienced issues with their own-brand tyres last year they've moved on to spec Hutchinson's proven Equinox tyres. There are eyelets for guards and racks adding useful versatility, claimed weight stands at 10.6kg. Or for £450 you'll bag the Triban 500, which swaps out Microshift components with Shimano's Sora groupset.