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Decathlon's £379.99 alloy road bike looks to offer excellent value

On paper this B'Twin Triban 500 SE - which launches in April - looks to be one of the best value entry-level road bikes we have ever had in for test, costing as it does £379.99 It's light, it certainly looks the part and it gets a carbon fork and a 3x8 drivetrain. We'll be putting it through its paces over the next few weeks to see how well it rides.

Decathlon's instore brand B'Twin wins fans with more than just prices. The French superstore's B'Twin bikes appear to be thoughtfully designed, well specced and very easily mistaken for something that would cost an awful lot more money.

The Triban 500 comes in two guises... this SE (Special Edition) UK-exclusive version with a  3x8 Microshift drivetrain and a 'standard' £429.99 500 which gets a 3x9 Shimano Sora drivetrain. We doubt you'll find a cheaper Shimano Sora equipped bike anywhere. But the Triban bike family is about more than drivetrains. The SE weighs 22.4lb (10.08kg), there are no obvious shortcuts in the finishing parts and a first brief ride suggests that it rides more like a race-bred bike than a bike aimed purely at beginners. There are other bikes in the range designed for those looking for a more casual ride posture.

OK, at £370 you're obviously not going to score a bike that can be seriously competitive and durable enough for an amateur racing career. But the 500 SE comes closer than most. The triple (30/39/50) Prowheel Ounce crankset and close ratio 8-speed cassette gives a range of gears that will suit average sportif riders, pannier tourists, commuters and weekend warriors alike and the B'Twin own brand brakes, with metal shoes and separate pads, appear to be far better than average on bikes at this price.

Our experiences with Microshift gear shifters and mechs have generally been good, although it takes a couple of rides to get used to the twin auxiliary levers outward to inward shifting. The combined brake and shift levers are very comfy on the hoods.

The wheels are far better than average for a bike at this price. Eyeletted rims with a wear line are strongly laced, with 32 spokes, to B'Twin's house brand hubs and the tyres are Hutchinson's Equinox 23mm slicks... again a welcome choice on such a cheap bike. The remainder of the componentry... a compact short drop handlebar, stem, seat post and saddle... are simple black coated affairs but again better than average, and there's lots of bar height adjustment potential via a 40mm washer stack and the either way up stem.

The 6061 T6 heat treated aluminium frame tubes appear to be shaped in all the right ways to achieve an ideal blend of stiffness and vibration absorption and there's enough room for slightly bigger tyres and mudguards. There's one set of threaded eyelets on the rear dropouts and the fork, plus rack eyelets on the seat stays and two sets of bottle cage bosses.

The fork is a straight blade carbon offering with an alu steerer and dropouts, again surprising at the price. We measured the geometry as 71.5 degrees at the head and 73.5 degrees at the seat, and our 57cm test bike has a 57cm hrizontal top tube reach and a 52cm seat tube (BB centre to top).

Full test in a few weeks when we've put some decent distance into it. More at www.decathlon.co.uk

20 comments

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PJ McNally [591 posts] 2 years ago
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Nice!

What is that thing under the stem, bottom of the stack of spacers, just above the headset? The thing which looks like a seat post clamp?

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davegreen70 [35 posts] 2 years ago
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I have a T5 (Sora) which has the same clamp on the stem.
As far as I can see it essentially does the same thing as a well fitted stem (and as such is surplus to requirements). Probably a belt and braces approach.
Got to also say I love the T5. Great bike and it's fantastic value.

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kairey1964 [16 posts] 2 years ago
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Give that chainset and gears a good hammering, then look forward to the report!

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jason.timothy.jones [294 posts] 2 years ago
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The headset clamp is brilliant, makes switching out stems a faster job, but also works well if your puting the bike in a small car, just take the bars of the fork and dont worry about it all falling apart.

I....if I havent said it 1000 times... think BTWIN are realy putting out some decent bikes for the price, but the frames are brilliant, even after the groupset falls apart you have a decent frame for a sexy 105 groupo.

I did about 3000 miles on my T3 before I changed the drive train, and that want out of necessity, its now on an old bommer and going fairly strong for what it is

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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davegreen70 wrote:

I have a T5 (Sora) which has the same clamp on the stem.
As far as I can see it essentially does the same thing as a well fitted stem (and as such is surplus to requirements). Probably a belt and braces approach.
Got to also say I love the T5. Great bike and it's fantastic value.

My mate's got last year's T5, which he bought for 400 quid. He's hammered it for 5,000 miles so far; everything still works fine and the wheels are still true.

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MrGear [87 posts] 2 years ago
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jason.timothy.jones wrote:

The headset clamp is brilliant, makes switching out stems a faster job, but also works well if your puting the bike in a small car, just take the bars of the fork and dont worry about it all falling apart.

I....if I havent said it 1000 times... think BTWIN are realy putting out some decent bikes for the price, but the frames are brilliant, even after the groupset falls apart you have a decent frame for a sexy 105 groupo.

I did about 3000 miles on my T3 before I changed the drive train, and that want out of necessity, its now on an old bommer and going fairly strong for what it is

I think the frames are extremely basic and harsh. Absolutely still great value for money, but the seatstays are just straight tubes that hammer every lump and bump into your backside.

There is a reason why more expensive bikes are nicer to ride, and this is just one of them. Again, I am not faulting this bike at the price it's offered at, but the frame IS very basic.

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Neil753 [447 posts] 2 years ago
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MrGear wrote:
jason.timothy.jones wrote:

The headset clamp is brilliant, makes switching out stems a faster job, but also works well if your puting the bike in a small car, just take the bars of the fork and dont worry about it all falling apart.

I....if I havent said it 1000 times... think BTWIN are realy putting out some decent bikes for the price, but the frames are brilliant, even after the groupset falls apart you have a decent frame for a sexy 105 groupo.

I did about 3000 miles on my T3 before I changed the drive train, and that want out of necessity, its now on an old bommer and going fairly strong for what it is

I think the frames are extremely basic and harsh. Absolutely still great value for money, but the seatstays are just straight tubes that hammer every lump and bump into your backside.

There is a reason why more expensive bikes are nicer to ride, and this is just one of them. Again, I am not faulting this bike at the price it's offered at, but the frame IS very basic.

I'm not too sure about that. The designer will have taken into consideration that this will be the first "proper" bike for many purchasers, many of them will be overweight, with poor bike handling skills, and the frame must accommodate those extra loads. In other words, the one frame design must cope with some quite hefty newbies.

Apart from anything, the "factory gate" price of a top end aluminium frame made in the far East is about ten dollars, so speccing a lower "grade" of frame would save hardy any money at all.

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levermonkey [663 posts] 2 years ago
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For less than £400 your getting quite a lot of bike, I can see nothing wrong with it. You (road.cc) members are probably not going to look at this bike as their main steed, but now look at it as an all weather commuter, a bike that is not going to break your heart if it gets stolen/under a car. Does it look any different?

As for comfort. Fit a suspension seat post if your that bothered by it.  4

Or are your objections to it are that it is 'budget'?  39

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StantheVoice [94 posts] 2 years ago
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If something's expensive then something better can always be bought for less, and if it's not expensive then it's never quite going to be good enough.
FACT

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youngoldbloke [109 posts] 2 years ago
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Doesn't it allow you to loosen off the stem so as to turn the handlebars for transport, storage etc, without affecting the headset adjustment?
(PS - as stated above  1 )

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alexb [127 posts] 2 years ago
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I wish you'd test this in the very small sizes. Decathlon are one of the only companies that offer proportional sizing which includes going to smaller wheels on their smallest frames.

A test of this with 650 wheels, with a petite woman tester for example, would be of real interest.

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james-o [234 posts] 2 years ago
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Neil753 wrote:

Apart from anything, the "factory gate" price of a top end aluminium frame made in the far East is about ten dollars, so speccing a lower "grade" of frame would save hardy any money at all.

Neil, where do you get these 'factory gate' prices you speak of? High-end Al for $10, I'd hire an agent that can get prices like that. That's an even better deal than the carbon bike prices you quoted : )

But all that aside, it has to be said this is a great VFM bike.

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David Arthur @d... [685 posts] 2 years ago
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james-o wrote:
Neil753 wrote:

Apart from anything, the "factory gate" price of a top end aluminium frame made in the far East is about ten dollars, so speccing a lower "grade" of frame would save hardy any money at all.

Neil, where do you get these 'factory gate' prices you speak of? High-end Al for $10, I'd hire an agent that can get prices like that. That's an even better deal than the carbon bike prices you quoted : )

But all that aside, it has to be said this is a great VFM bike.

I wouldn't take much notice of what he's saying...

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Das [241 posts] 2 years ago
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Looks like I just found my new Winter bike.

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MKultra [396 posts] 2 years ago
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I want one. The 8 speed groupset doesn't bother me in fact I quite like the idea that higher end NOS 8 speed stuff off ebay and out of the clearance bins will work with no major changes. I am sorely tempted to get a 26" wheeled MTB at the minute simply because good quality 26" sus forks and wheels are getting stupidly cheap as people ditch them to "upgrade". One mans trash is another mans treasure.

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Tripod16 [155 posts] 2 years ago
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Bought the Triban 5 for the Heir-to-the-Throne, in my house, and it is steady and excellent VFM for a teenager new rider. Had I not had a Specialized Secteur as a winter bike, this might have tempted me.
Keep up the good work Decathlon!

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mtbtomo [200 posts] 2 years ago
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Always someone along to point out the 'perceived' flaws.... is there anything better for around £400? Or even £500?

I doubt any other manufacturer offers a substantially better frameset on a £400 bike? So you may as well get one with the best kit on it surely?

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gareth2510 [167 posts] 2 years ago
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£370 for a bike in Sky Pro colours.
Jobs a goodon

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RobD [290 posts] 2 years ago
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The 'straight tube seatstays' don't appear to be that different to the straight tubes Specialized have on the Allez frames, although that is apparently for performance reasons, and that's not an overly harsh frame considering it's apparent design brief. Just wondering whether making a judgement about the design of the frame just by looking at it might appear a little unwarranted. I rode the older model of this last year, not sure if the frame has changed much for this model, but I thought it was a good ride, admittedly it had some different wheels and tyres to standard, but couldn't believe the price of it for how well it rode. It'd be nice if it came in something other than black though.

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Adey [86 posts] 2 years ago
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Das wrote:

Looks like I just found my new Winter bike.

you won't be disappointed pal - had the T5 for a winter bike myself, rides superb and turns a few heads and admiring comments from the rest of my clubmate's! Especially when you tell them how much you paid for it  4