The Triban RC500 Bib Shorts are an impressive package, especially at this price point. Well made and extremely comfortable, they also feature some touring-friendly tweaks that I wasn't expecting.
- Pros: Great fit, solidly made, extremely comfortable
- Cons: Sizing slightly off – they're a little short in the leg
The build quality feels reassuringly solid – better, in fact, than several I've got commanding twice the money – with neatly executed and unobtrusive stitching and seams. I would happily choose these for a gravel-biased ride. Besides, I doubt Decathlon would whack on a two-year warranty if it wasn't confident they'd last.
The legs are made from 80% polyamide, 20% elastane, while the mesh bibs are 77% poyester, 23% elastane, designed with easy movement and efficient moisture management in mind.
Plenty of smiles per mile here. The stretchy bib sections offer unhampered movement without any distracting slip on longer rides, while the relatively thin panels do an excellent job of trafficking moisture from the skin and, conversely, trapping some welcome warmth when the temperatures dipped unexpectedly, late evening.
Sure, a mild mistiness will creep in given 40 minutes or so at a decent tempo, but this is spirited away soon afterward. Odour management is good too – even after a day's steady riding, nasty niffs were a moot point.
According to the blurb, there's no fatigue-cheating 'compression' technology, although, like for like, they were on a par with a couple that do. This may be partly attributable to the broad silicone gripper. For me this was on the snug side but hasn't presented any problems, and is infinitely preferable to a loose-fitting example that can permit the fabric to ride up, inducing chafing/similar discomfort.
Though they did 'creep' slightly as the miles racked up, I concluded that the mediums were slightly shorter in the leg than ideal for me. (It's not me in the photos.)
Arguably, pads are the most crucial determinant of shorts' comfort. Most are very good by degrees, these days. Decathlon describes it as being a 'gel' design. It is, in fact, polyamide sandwiched between a polyester/elastane mix with a variety of densities to provide optimal support and minimise chafing.
Like many others, it initially felt like the proverbial loaf of bread, especially post-washing. However, it quickly morphed to my shape and went unnoticed, regardless of whether I was doing a sub-30 minute 10 on my TT bike or indulging in an 80-mile mixed terrain meander on my tubby tourer.
The outer fabric permits subtle shuffling/shifting position without distracting slip, irrespective of saddle cover type.
Unusually, the right leg has a pocket – something of a rarity, although I have a pair of Polaris Challenge Nexus shorts which also have this feature, as do, at the other end of the scale, Rapha's Core Cargo bibs. It's a welcome plus, provided you load it sensibly – cash/patches and other little valuables you might need easy access to. (They're available without, too, if you prefer.)
The backs feature a smattering of discreet retro-reflective detailing.
Ours were medium and, on balance, I think I might be between sizes. These were slightly shorter in the leg than I'd prefer. Decathlon's sizing chart is reassuringly accurate, so in all probability online purchases shouldn't present any unexpected surprises.
At a penny under £40, these shorts are really good value for what you get. They're not alone at this end of the scale – dhb's lowest priced bib shorts come with a Cytech pad and silicone leg grippers and, at £35, could give the Tribans a good run for your hard-earned.
Caratti's Sport Bib Shorts are £40, though the test sample's stitching lacked the Triban's refinement.
Ultimately, the Triban RC 500s represent excellent value for money and are, thus far, on a par with some in my collection costing twice as much. A lot of thought seems to have gone into their design. Just beware you might have to go up a size if you have sprinter-esque thighs or fall between sizes.
Really good, competitively priced riding staples – but check the sizing
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Triban RC 500 cycling shorts
Size tested: Medium
Tell us what the product is for
Triban says: "Our team of road cycling enthusiasts has worked tirelessly to develop, test and hone these cycling shorts to make them the most comfortable in our range.
"These new RC500 cycling shorts are super comfy thanks to the mesh straps and ergonomic pad with gel inserts. Very practical pocket on the outside of the thigh that is easily accessible while riding."
They're high performance and generally very comfortable bib shorts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
80.00% Polyamide, 20.00% Elasthane
77.00% Polyester (PES), 23.00% Elasthane
PADDING - INNER FABRIC
PADDING - OUTER FABRIC
77.00% Polyester (PES), 23.00% Elasthane
Well made and built to last.
Very comfortable in all contexts. Mesh panelling does a good job of regulating temperature on hotter days, too.
Very solidly made and backed with a two-year warranty.
Generally excellent fit. Figure-hugging, yet tactile and compliant.
Slightly shorter in the leg than ideal for me. You might need to go up a size.
Very comfortable in all contexts, despite being slightly shorter in the leg than ideal for me.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
Much as any other bib shorts: pop in the wash, minimum detergent, 30 degrees and line dry.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Deliver phenomenal bang for very modest buck and have performed consistently well, regardless of what machine and type of riding. The pad is particularly good, offering just the right blend of comfort and density. Large silicone grippers keep the shorts from gathering, without encroaching. Moisture management is similarly good, mesh bib panels trafficking moisture very efficiently.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Specification and comfort very high, relative to the price point.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Not a dislike per se, just a caution re the sizing.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
dhb's Bib Shorts come with a Cytech pad, silicone leg grippers and, at £35, could give the Tribans a good run for your money.
At £40, Caratti's Bib Shorts are arguably their closet rivals, although the test samples' stitching lacked the Tribans' refinement.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but double check the sizing.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Great bib shorts for a modest price. A really good wallet-friendly staple for general summer riding.
About the tester
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)