20th June 2019 update: We’ve now reviewed the RC500 disc and given it four stars.
Back in March, French brand Decathlon revealed that it was planning to drop the B’Twin name completely, marketing its entry-level road bikes simply as Tribans.
At the time, the intention was to call the first two new models the Adept and Adept+, but those monikers have been dropped due to a naming conflict and instead they’ll be known as the RC500 and RC520.
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We’ve now got full details and pricing on the new bikes, which apparently were designed with plenty of input from the Decathlon UK team.
In addition, a gravel bike based on the same frame and a higher spec RC900 road bike have been promised, along with women’s and flat bar options.
The RC500 and RC520 will be available in UK Decathlon stores and online from 8 October. The rest of the world will have to wait until the spring.
Triban RC500 — £529
The RC500 gets the tidy new frame we saw in the spring, which Decathlon says is the most comfortable it’s ever made.
It has dropped seatstays in keeping with current trends, clearance for tyres up to 36mm and all the right mounts for guards and a rack.
The frame itself weighs a claimed 1,780g for a medium and it’s matched to a carbon-legged fork. The geometry is relaxed and beginner-friendly, as is the range of gears.
The RC500 is equipped with Shimano Sora R3000 components, Promax 300R mechanical disc brakes and own-brand tubeless-ready wheels weighing a claimed 2,200g which are fitted with 28mm tyres.
Triban RC520 — £729
The RC520 gets the exact same frameset as the RC500, but with significant spec upgrades.
Shifting kit is Shimano 105 R7000 (with non-series cranks), while braking comes courtesy of TRP’s Hy/Rd mechanically actuated hydraulic disc brakes.
The RC520 also gets slightly lighter wheels weighing a claimed 2,000g, along with the same in-house finishing kit and tyres.
BikeRadar’s take plus first ride impressions
The old B’Twin brand consistently impressed us with affordable, well equipped bikes at seriously low prices and it looks like the new Tribans might continue that trend.
The RC500 looks good for the money (and we love that blue), but it’s the RC520 that has us really excited; 105 shifting and good quality disc brakes — even if they aren’t pure hydraulics — are quite an achievement at this price.
If it lives up to expectations, the RC520 could be the perfect machine for riders who want a bike for year-round riding, whether that’s for leisure, commuting or even a bit of light touring.
We’ll bring you full reviews when we’ve ridden the bikes more extensively, but Cycling Plus editor-in-chief Rob Spedding has had a brief outing on the Triban RC520 already and he reported that it feels like a well put together, reasonably rugged machine that’s perfect for heavy daily use. It doesn’t get the pulse racing but it’s solid and stable, nimble enough in traffic and, as Decathlon claims, pretty comfortable.
The new tyres prioritise puncture resistance and felt a little inert and firm to him, but he found it to be a decent amount of bike for the money and he’s looking forward to running one as a winter bike.
Original article published 5 March 2018 appears below
French sports behemoth Decathlon has been making bikes under the B’Twin name for years, establishing the brand as a go-to for value for money. Over the coming year or so the B’Twin name will be consigned to kids’ bikes only, as part of a branding shake-up that will see numerous new bikes launched, targeting a huge range of riders including both road and mountain bikers.
Every kind of road bike for every kind of rider
Unlike most bike brands who love nothing more than a ruthlessly enforced embargo, Decathlon was quite open about its long-term plans.
At the entry level of the road range, Triban will become the brand rather than just a model, with new bikes called the Adept and Adept Plus taking over from the old B’Twin Triban bikes in the sub-£1,000 category.
The new machines will have discs and a new frame with a-la-mode dropped seatstays. The old rim-brake Triban will continue for the time being as an online-only model, but the likelihood is that it will be phased out in time.
Decathlon’s higher-end race and endurance road bikes will be sold under a new, yet-to-be-revealed moniker.
The Ultra AF racer has been given some small but important tweaks, which I covered in my first ride review.
Alongside this, a more endurance-focussed machine called the Ultra AF GF offers generous tyre clearances, disc brakes, and thru-axles.
A Tiagra-equipped model with mechanical calipers will retail at £899, while a version with full SRAM Rival hydraulics and Ksyrium Disc wheels will come in at £1,299. There’ll even be a 1× option in the near future.
The top-end Ultra CF has received similar updates to the alloy model, and the latest spec for the flagship model is pretty incredible.
For £3,499 / €3,800 you get a full carbon frameset kitted out with full mechanical Dura-Ace, Zipp 303s with Vittoria Corsa G+ graphene tyres, and full carbon finishing kit including a carbon-railed Fizik Antares saddle.
Women’s specific, sort of
While you’d probably describe most of Decathlon’s bikes as unisex, the company now has an all-female team dedicated solely to women’s specific bikes.
Its first model is the Ultra AF Enduracer Woman, which takes the standard Ultra AF frameset and dresses it in components deemed more appropriate for female cyclists: a different saddle, shorter stem, narrower bars, a compact with shorter crank arms, and softer bar tape (yes, really). The reach on the brake levers will be adjusted inwards for smaller hands by default.
The women’s bike will be sold in sizes XS to M covering rider heights of approximately 150–175cm, and comes in its own colour scheme that manages (I think) to be subtly distinct from the unisex bike, but not too stereotypically feminine.
It’s built with Tiagra shifting kit and Tektro brakes (there’s no direct mount Shimano option at this level, and the fork requires it), plus B’Twin’s own wheels.
This spec weighs a claimed 9.2kg (size small) and costs €900.
Adventure-ho — Vista?
Decathlon isn’t stopping there with its road range. It’s some way off (2020 perhaps), but a new range of more adventure-oriented bikes is in development under the name Vista. (Vista is a category rather than a brand — I’m not sure what it’ll say on the down tube yet…)
These will be aimed at experienced riders who like to put in serious miles on varied terrain and surfaces, and while we have only the scantest of details, it sounds like Decathlon will be going after the gravel and bikepacking market.
What about mountain bikes?
The B’Twin name will be disappearing from the trails too, with Rockrider (an existing model range) taking over.
B’Twin’s current MTB offering is, with the best will in the world, extremely Euro. That’s set to change next year when a new range of UK-oriented trail bikes will hit the shops, promising more progressive geometry that’s in line with current trends. (I wonder where that idea came from?)
We haven’t laid eyes on one of the new Rockriders yet but given how aggressively Decathlon prices its bikes, this can only be good news for riders.
Do you like what you see from Decathlon? Click through the gallery above for lots more photos of the new bikes.