B'Twin Facet 3 review£899.99

Shining bargain carbon performance

BikeRadar score3.5/5

B’Twin is the house brand of the massive decathlon sports supermarket chain which has also sponsored several French pro teams. That means the Facet 3 offers top-level-evolved performance at a super low price. The carbon frame with semi-integrated seat mast design and carbon topped fork are a coup at this price.

The angular ‘stealth bomber’ shapes, conventional head-tube, slab alloy rear dropouts and skinny tubes show that its design and technology are rather more dated. It was good enough to win the French national champs under Christophe Moreau in 2007 though, and is impressively light for the price.

The fork is very light too, but there’s a noticeable amount of flex and twang in the front end as a result. The slightly soft frame and relatively weighty wheels mean it’s not the most reactive bike under power, relying on steady application of wattage rather than a sudden snap to get you up to speed. It’s certainly no escargot though, and the triple chainset means it nearly always has a lower gear ratio left if you decide to sit and spin up the climbs.

The full 105 drivetrain is another tick in the value box, and the cartridge pad B’Twin brakes produce predictable if low-powered braking, though that means less chance of braking judder from the light front fork. Helped by the long racer-style position, this gives it a useful dose of stability and confidence at higher speeds on descents.

Overall handling balance is good too, with an easy swing and sweep through corners and reasonably reassuring traction from the B’Twin branded tyres. The soft frame means it treats precision steering instructions as suggestions rather than following them slavishly, though, while twist in the front end is very obvious if you get too far forward over the front on climbs or trackstands.

While not everyone will enjoy the amount of flex in the frame or the long and low position, comfort levels are more than good enough for longer rides and sportives, with no nasty shocks coming from either rough tarmac or pothole/cattle grid collisions. The short seat-tube stub plugged into the top of the extended seat mast also allows plenty of height adjustment without having to get your saw out. It’s certainly worth a long look for cost-conscious composite fans.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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