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Verdict: 
Well-priced and competent choice for commuting and touring rather than more spirited riding
Weight: 
684g

The Triban RC 500 SPD Road Cycling Shoes are surprisingly capable road-biased shoes. They're well suited to commuting, touring and general riding, though there are better options for training/harder riding.

  • Pros: Surprisingly comfortable, easy to care for
  • Cons: Not the stiffest sole; sizing

> Find your nearest Decathlon store here

Materials/construction

These are fully synthetic, with a 100% polyester inner sock and perforated polyurethane upper with an angular mesh panel across the toe box to assist climate control. "Bumpers" around the toes are designed to combat premature wear and accidental toe-stubbing.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - toe

The sole comprises a glass fibre mid, polyester outer and rubberised grippers. They're drilled for recessed twin-bolt cleats and offer a decent blend of pedalling efficiency and walkability/grip.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - sole toe

Subtle retro-reflective detailing is strategically positioned around the heel, sides and laces.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - heels

Build quality is uniformly good throughout, and is reinforced by a two-year warranty against manufacturing defects. I'm still running B'Twin shoes and other kit thousands of miles, and several years hence, with no hint of imminent retirement.

I prefer the neat convenience of Boa dials or buckle type systems, but the laces ensure easy tunability and even pressure across the foot – a bonus, given that the sizing is less precise than numbers would suggest. I default to a 44 in most brands' cycling shoes, but these, with their long, narrow design, I found uncomfortably tight.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - laces

I might have stuck with 44s had they been the RC 520s, which are leather so will mould to the feet over time, but the size 45 RC 500s that were sent in for testing were fine, given that I use a specialist insole and default to touring/trail socks, the sort with reinforced toe and heel sections.

Power transfer/efficiency

Overall performance has been favourable. On the road, power transfer doesn't match that of sportier types, but it's superior to trainer-type commuter/touring shoes. Powering up 1-in-7s on my fixed there was some discernible give, but rigidity is a pronounced improvement on trainer types. I've cruised along the flat for several hours at 18-20mph without any sense of foot fatigue or those painful "hot spots" that can make a challenging ride miserable. Ten miles of stop/start town riding seems the ticket.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - sole heel

I've also indulged in mixed terrain day rides, and again the soles have struck just the right balance between power transfer and practicality off the bike. However, sole flex was more apparent with the off-road pedals' smaller surface area.

While I wouldn't be reaching for emery paper, the rubberised tread needs to coarsen slightly before you can reliably walk over slippery surfaces, such as mossy tiles or wet stones.

Comfort/climate control

The 500s provide good support, especially around the heel cup and toe sections. Breathability is one of the downsides of synthetic uppers but, thus far (paired with merino/hybrid blend socks), moisture and odour management is better than I'd expect, especially at this price point.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - rear

I was a bit sceptical as to how effective the big mesh panel would be. A race slipper with multiple vents would certainly be airier, but with temperatures ranging between 19 and 25°C, they've been up to the job. My feet have never exceeded the faintly clammy stage, and thus far there have been no funky odours.

Triban RC 500 SPD road cycling shoes - side

Unexpected showery rain hasn't resulted in soggy feet either, although beyond two or three-mile scoots I'd be packing overshoes if rain was forecast. (Compatibility seems fine with standard road-biased models, such as Alé's Winter Shoe Covers.) 

Durability

These are very easy to care for: a damp cloth should be all you need to dismiss everyday dirt and grime, while more stubborn stuff is easily removed with a product such as Crankalicious Epic Hide Leather and Vinyl Leather Cleaner or a conventional leather cleaner.

After 500 mixed terrain miles, wear is limited to superficial erosion of the toe and heel tread.

Value

These are certainly good value, although if you're seeking something slightly sportier you might do better to stretch the budget slightly: the B'Twin 500 road shoes are £49.99, feature a three-strap Velcro closure system and offer a choice of recessed twin-bolt SPD or three-bolt cleats, while for another £25 you could get the leather RC 520s I mentioned earlier, which promise a stiffer sole.

> Buyer's Guide: 11 of the best cheap cycling shoes

Conclusion

Ultimately, there are better options for more spirited riding, but despite some quirks I've enjoyed testing the RC 500s and feel they meet the cross-purpose design brief competently. And if you don't like the Whale Grey/Navy Blue of our test pair, alternatives are Grey, Bordeaux/charcoal grey, Black/Black and Fluro Orange/ Charcoal Grey.

Verdict

Well-priced and competent choice for commuting and touring, but check the sizing

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Triban RC 500 SPD Road Cycling Shoes

Size tested: 45

Tell us what the product is for

Triban says, "Developed by our design team, these Triban SPD road-cycling shoes combine pedalling efficiency with comfort. The even lacing system enables a close fit and also provides you with a uniform distribution of pressure. When not pedalling, the polyurethane rubber soles enable you to walk comfortably and safely."

They're surprisingly capable shoes for commuting/touring and general riding, though their 520 siblings are probably a better bet for training and more spirited riding.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Decathlon:

100.00% Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU)

UPPER OF

100.00% Polyurethane (PU)

LINING AND SOCK OF

100.00% Polyester (PES)

CARE INSTRUCTIONS:

FITTING COMFORT

Lace-up shoes for even pressure distribution

RIGIDITY

Nylon sole filled with fibreglass for efficient pedalling

FIT

Heel and toe stiffeners and even lacing system with 5 eyelets

LIGHTWEIGHT

306g in size 8,

613g per pair in 8

VENTILATION

Perforated upper with mesh over the forefoot

ABRASION RESISTANCE

Stiffener on the toe so you don't bash your toes when stopping or walking

USER COMFORT

PU rubber sole for walking comfortably

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Well made. Two-year warranty boosts confidence.

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Strike a good balance between efficiency and walking comfort, better suited to commuting and touring than training/sportives.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Seem pretty durable thus far. I've taken ours on and off road, without any signs of wear in 400 miles.

Rate the product for fit:
 
7/10

Decent fit but favour long, relatively slender feet.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
5/10

Sizing is a little off piste. I'm typically a 44 in cycling shoes but took a gamble on the 45 which paid off (with thicker merino-rich socks).

Rate the product for weight:
 
5/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
6/10

Surprisingly good, in every respect, especially given the synthetic uppers and relatively high, summer temperatures.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Very straightforward: simply wipe over with a clean, damp rag. More ingrained dirt was removed easily using a gentle cleanser.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Overall, the Triban RC500s have struck a decent balance between walking comfort/practicality and pedalling efficiency. Despite my initial scepticism, the faux leather uppers have proven relatively temperate and surprisingly water resistant. Seemingly rugged, they've coped well in road and trail contexts. Personally, I'd spend an extra £25 and go for their 520 siblings, which promise stiffer soles and have full leather uppers.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Met the design brief well. Responsive sole that's easy to walk in. They're easy to care for, so should hold up well in the longer term.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The sizing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

A very good price, cheaper than most. Riders wanting something slightly sportier could plump for the BTwin 500 road shoes, at £49.99, which feature a three-strap Velcro closure system and a choice of recessed twin-bolt SPD, or three-bolt cleats.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? On balance, I'd go for the 520.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly, depending on their budget, but I'd probably steer them towards the 520 if funds permitted.

Use this box to explain your overall score

They're competent shoes for commuting and touring, at a very good price.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

3 comments

Avatar
fixation80 [74 posts] 1 month ago
0 likes

As I bought a pair of these just yesterday the article came as a big surprise. I have been out today wearing them kitted out for Speedplay Frog pedals. I found the stiffness of the sole really good, better than my old ones, the sole was the reason I bought them and they didn't disappoint on my fixed gear ride, the short one in six hill on my circuit was a good test.

Avatar
randonneur [34 posts] 1 month ago
1 like

I bought these when riding le tour de course
Corsica. Very comfortable and walking is good.
More like a normal shoe when out and about.

Avatar
liligtr [1 post] 1 month ago
0 likes

Is the rc520 really supposed to have stiffer soles ? 

I'm thinking in buying of the 2 but can't really decide on leather vs synthetic.