This Triban is the sibling of the rim-braked RC120 I tested recently and rated very highly indeed. The RC120 Disc adds – not too surprisingly – discs, in the form of Promax cable-actuated brakes. This was originally £419 but is now a penny under £400.
Triban bikes are sold by the French sports supermarket chain Decathlon. Decathlon’s bikes used to be branded as B’Twin, but now its more entry-level bikes bear the Triban name while its higher-end machines sport the Van Rysel moniker and logo. Both brands’ bikes are designed and tested in Flanders, and a little Flanders Lion-adorned frame label tells you so.
Not so very long ago budget bikes were often hampered by their gearing, not so much by the number of gears (my first ‘proper’ bike had a measly 12) but by the range, especially at the lower end where newer, younger or returning cyclists are going to need all the help they can get. This is one of the areas in which this Triban scores well, its interesting setup combining Shimano’s Tourney chainset with the rarer 8-speed system from Taiwan’s Microshift.
Microshift levers feature a small lever for shifting to a smaller sprocket. David Caudery / Immediate Media
Microshift’s gear levers resemble Shimano’s to a degree, and also have the advantage of being compatible with 8-speed Shimano. The 50/34 chainset and 11-34 cassette offer the same range as you’ll find on bikes costing much more, though the jumps between gears are larger. But on an 11kg bike the one-to-one ratio bottom is just what you need for you to haul yourself up steeper inclines.
Microshift combines three levers: the right lever has a brake lever, a large paddle for downshifts and a small one between the two for shifting to a smaller sprocket (lower gear). The left is similar, with the large paddle shifting the chain to the large chainring.
It works well and doesn’t take long to get used to, although the central lever sits proud of the other two and you can feel it on the inside of your middle finger when riding on the drops. You get used to it and I’d like to see Microshift on more budget bikes. Our workshop manager Will is also a fan of the system.
The Triban also scores well with its wheelset. They’re not glamorous, but 28mm tyres are always welcome for their extra comfort and barely diminished speed, and the Triban’s wheels are tubeless-ready. I reckon this is the least expensive bike I’ve tested that has tubeless-ready wheels. Get the conversion kit and you could run the tyres at a lower pressure for extra comfort, but, as it stands, this Triban is already pleasingly comfortable, even if the wheels might hamper sharp accelerations and all-out speed.
Equipped with Triban tubeless-ready rims. David Caudery / Immediate Media
The compact frame, tall head tube, 425mm chainstays and metre-plus wheelbase provide an endurance-biased rather than racy ride, slightly upright in the saddle and one that’s good mile after mile. The frame, carbon-bladed fork and wheels absorb bumps and poor road surfaces very well (that’s 28mm tyres for you) and while not an out-and-out speedster, the RC120 makes a nippy and very satisfying cruiser.
While it’s very fine over rolling countryside the 11kg-plus weight does reduce its climbing ability. On descents, performance is aided by the disc brakes. The Promax mechanical disc brakes are a modest set but they still offer more control and power than the budget rim brakes on most £400 bikes. Their other advantage, of course, is their all-weather ability and improved rim life.
The Triban has a few final touches I appreciated. The bar’s ergonomic flattened tops are great for steady, head-up riding, such as touring, which this could take in its stride, thanks to front and rear rack fittings. Mudguard mounts make it a handy year-round trainer-cum-commuter bike. The seatpost markings make setting it up easier and are rare on budget bikes.
The ride could be a fraction firmer than the rim-braked RC120, but this is a fantastic all-rounder that’s superbly thought-out, intelligently specced with wide-ranging gears, good brakes, tubeless-ready wheels and a remarkable price.
A bike that suits gently rolling countryside. Robert Smith
Triban RC120 disc geometry
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 46.4cm
Top tube: 53cm
Fork offset: 4.4cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.8cm