Sports megastore Decathlon has earned a solid reputation for delivering great value budget bikes under the B’Twin brand name – we named the Triban 500 SE our Budget Bike of the Year for 2014/15 . But there is more to the firm’s offering than that. As well as other versions of the Triban, the various setups of the B’Twin Mach and Ultra also cater for those looking for superior performance.
At the time of writing, Decathlon road bike prices range from £280 for the standard Triban 500 (or even £260 for the flat handlebar version), up to £2,500 for the top-of-the range Ultra 740.
Seemingly overlapping price ranges for different-named bikes can make life confusing, particularly when you throw in the occasional whopping great discount for an end-of-the-line model. Fortunately, Decathlon generally abides by the time-honoured naming convention of ‘bigger number, better bike,’ so this can give you a general idea of the hierarchy.
In simple terms:
- The Triban is the entry-level model and Decathlon’s best-selling bike by a country mile
- An aluminium version of the Ultra has replaced the Alur a notch above that
- The Mach is built to be stiff and efficient for big powerful types bashing out the miles in spring classics type conditions
- The Ultra is the Grand Tour all-rounder or Ardennes classics specialist – designed to be smooth, light and responsive
The Triban range comprises the 500, 500 SE, 520 and 540 – all of which are also available with flat handlebars.
A new model for 2017, the B'Twin Triban 100 has an aluminium frame and seven-speed gears with 32mm tyres so it can tackle the odd dirt track or towpath without any fuss. It'll take mudguards and a rack so will make a serviceable commuter that can take you pootling round the lanes at the weekend.
The next step up, and your 300 quid gets you an aluminium frame with carbon fork, a triple chainset and eight-speed MicroShift gears, which are said by Decathlon to have proven more reliable than Shimano’s similarly-priced entry-level options. It retains a reasonably racy geometry, but has full rack and mudguard mounts.
For another £50, the Triban 500 brings a lighter fork and lighter wheels to the party.
Still a triple but with Shimano Sora gears instead of MicroShift, which means nine-speed instead of eight. We've tested the Sora groupset and found it to be an excellent performer. Both the 520 and 540 will accommodate 28mm tyres with mudguards, or 32mm without.
Recently updated, the 540 boasts 11-speed Shimano 105 with a compact double chainset. This version also features Mavic Aksium wheels.
This is where the demarcation between B'Twin lines gets a bit blurred. The CF indicates a carbon fibre frame, and the Triban 560 is the cheapest road bike we know of with a carbon fibre frame. Decathlon hasn't skimped on the parts either; you get Shimano's 10-speed Tiagra groupset, including cranks and brakes, and B'Twin's own Aero wheels with Michelin tyres.
B’Twin Ultra AF
The Ultra AF is an aluminium framed bike with a carbon fork.
Featuring Shimano's 11-speed 105 groupset, the Ultra 900 AF features full internal cable routing in a UCI-approved racing frame. The bike as a whole weighs in at 8.9kg. Interestingly, it also has the rear brake positioned under the chainstay.
This version of the bike is upgraded to feature an 11-speed Shimano Ultegra 6800 compact drivetrain and Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels.
This new model is B'Twin's first foray into disc-equipped road bikes. It boasts a SRAM Rival 22 drivetrain and Rival hydraulic disc brakes for what looks like an excellent all-day bike or urban commuter.
This is the cheapest bike we know of with a complete Shimano Ultegra Di2 electronic groupset, which has an RRP of £2,000 on its own, though it can be found for about £900.
B’Twin Ultra CF
The Ultra CF is a carbon-fibre road bike which is available with both mechanical and electronic gears. It is a stiff, light performance bike with internal cabling and the rear brake positioned behind the bottom bracket for improved aerodynamics. Decathlon claims the B'Twin Ultra Evo Dynamic carbon fibre frame weighs just 850g in a size Medium, and the fork 320g. Those are impressive numbers for the frame of bikes in this price range.
The 900 CF has a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset hung on its carbon fibre frame, with Mavic Aksium wheels. Decathlon claims a 7.8kg weight without pedals, which aren't included.
The 720 has a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed groupset and Mavic Ksyrium Elite S wheels with Mavic tyres. The frame's the same lightweight unit as the other Ultra CF bikes, which keeps the weight down to a claimed 7.2kg without pedals. It's currently discounted from £2,000 but only available in size XS, which suggests it's on the way out, to be replaced by the Ultra 920 CF.
The Shimano Ultegra-equipped Ultra 920 CF has Shimano's Ultegra C24 wheels with carbon/aluminium rims and Hutchinson Fusion tyres. It weighs a claimed 7.2kg without pedals.
There are quite a few carbon fibre framed bikes with Shimano Ultegra Di2 available for about this price, but this is the only one we're aware of that comes with full carbon fibre wheels, in this case Mavic's Cosmic C40 Elites which typically retail for over £1,000.
[This article was last updated on August 18, 2017]