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Triban RC 520 Disc Road Bike



A superb value, fully competent workhorse road bike with plenty of practicality thrown in

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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Ever since John took the B'Twin Triban 520 Disc road bike for a first ride in London in early October, we've been keen to see if it could stand up to his first impressions, as well as the great value legacy of previous Triban road bikes we've tested. I can confirm that it really does, although riders used to or wanting a racier geometry should look elsewhere.

  • Pros: Awesome value, competent and easygoing handling, practicality
  • Cons: Relaxed geometry won't be to all tastes, not hugely responsive

The geometry thing is a really important point here, because it forms the basis of your entire ride experience. It defines the position range that you can attain, as well as having a fair impact on the handling. With the Triban 520, it's all about a functional position aimed right at tourers and regular commuters at one end of the spectrum, and endurance roadies at the other.

> Find your nearest Decathlon store here

> Buy this online here

With a super-tall head tube and compact top tube (more details on those below), the bike sits you upright relative to your general entry-level race bike, or even a fair chunk of the endurance-specific market too. It fully justifies its do-it-all tag – aside from the budding racers, who will be better off opting for an equivalently priced Specialized Allez or similar, even with the downgrade of kit that comes with it.

Triban RC 520.jpg

However, for first time bike buyers after an optimum blend of build and price, or experienced riders after a great value winter bike or commuter, at £729 direct from French sports megastore Decathlon, it's hard to look past the Triban 520, it really is.


What surprises most about the Triban 520 is just how accessible the ride is; how easy it is to pedal the bike at moderate speeds and feel like you're just cruising along.

Btwin Triban RC520 -2.jpg

It was a consistent characteristic whether I was using the bike for a 5km commute down one of Bath's hills to the offices, an ascent back home, or a 40km spin around the country – in each situation, it's a supremely easy bike to get on with.

In fact, I'd describe it as almost lazy. If you want sharp and direct responses above all else, this aluminium-framed bike most certainly isn't the one for you, but the easygoing manner lends itself to almost any other kind of road rider this side of a gravel specialist.

Over longer rides, I found the position an odd strain on my arms and lower back that are used to a more aggressive position, but there's no doubting the Triban's ability to provide an easy-riding position for commuters and those just exploring road riding for the first time.

Cornering in any situation is confidence-inspiring, and it rolls incredibly smoothly too. It takes poor road surfaces in its stride, with a good amount of all-round compliance keeping things comfortable, and as long as you stay in the saddle it climbs moderately well too – especially for a bike weighing in at a fairly hefty 10.8kg.

Okay, it's a bike so it can't be 'lazy', but try to climb or ride out of the saddle and put the hammer down, and the frame's weight begins to pendulum around a little, while the finishing kit isn't exactly geared towards lightweight performance.

Btwin Triban RC520 -4.jpg

John reported that the steady handling allowed him to have a lot of fun on descents when he had a first spin on it in London. I'd agree with that. Around hilly Bath, what goes up inevitably must come down, and the Triban is able to make technical and sometimes fast descents feel very docile and uneventful.

Push the limit of adhesion and I started to find myself wanting a more 'tactile' and direct-feeling front end for a little added confidence, but in truth that's probably down to the geometry more than anything else – especially the very tall head tube, which doesn't exactly encourage you to get low and swing the bike through bends with aggression.

Frame and fork

The frame is certainly geared towards those who commute or want to use it as a winter bike and save their best machine for summer.

A comfort/endurance-orientated geometry sees to that, with a 1 1/8in headset married to a very tall head tube and plenty of additional stack height to sit you upright at the front end, and a suitably compact top tube to make that possible too.

Triban RC 520 - head tube.jpg

In the large on test, it has a 185mm head tube and 56.4cm top tube. The chainstays are consistent across the sizes at 425mm – on the money for a sharpish-handling road bike – and there's 385mm reach. All in, it tips the scales at 10.8kg.

> The A-Z of cycling jargon

The 6061-T6 aluminium frame weighs a claimed 1,780g in a size medium, and while those with an eye on the scales will say that that's heavy, that kind of bulk actually lends itself to a bike that's undeterred by poorly surfaced British roads.

The plethora of eyelets and mounts for mudguards and pannier racks are plain to see, while there's clearance here for 36mm tyres if you choose not to fit guards, or do what I did and fit a removable Zefal one instead.

Triban RC 520 - clearance.jpg

For established simplicity, the dropouts feature quick releases rather than thru-axles – and brackets for the disc brake callipers have been effectively welded onto the stays. This means the callipers stand very proud of both the frame and fork, examples of which you can see in the photos.

Triban RC 520 - rear disc brake.jpg

The fork blades are made of carbon, while the crown and steerer tube are aluminium. So, not a full carbon fork, but B'Twin says that the blades are designed to provide good stiffness while absorbing a fair amount of road buzz. I wouldn't disagree with that, but the decent 28mm tyres go a long way to mask any potential deficiencies in this area, I think.

Triban RC 520 - fork.jpg

The frame and fork features external cable routing, which at this price is to be expected. It makes servicing that bit easier for both home and professional mechanics (saving time and potentially money in the process), while also making the frame cheaper to manufacture. It looks a little untidy to my eye – especially as I'm used to internal routing at the fork at least – but there's nothing wrong with keeping things simple.

Triban RC 520 - cabel route 2.jpg

Don't think that this is some low-quality budget frame, though – B'Twin stands by its frames (and its stems and bars) by offering a lifetime guarantee on them.

Finishing kit

The bike is built up with a seriously competent set of bits that, actually, you might expect to find on a bike costing much closer to the £1,000 mark.

Triban RC 520 - drivbe train.jpg

Shimano 105 R7000 derailleurs are at the heart of the drivetrain, and it's arguably the best value-for-money proposition out there when it comes to shifting performance. Sure, the chainset is a Shimano non-series RS510 model, but as it shares a similar four-arm design to the standard R7000 version it's still a premium-looking chainset, unlike non-series parts of old.

Triban RC 520 - crank.jpg

It's stiff and reliable, too, and you also get 105-spec levers. These share the same ergonomics as both Ultegra and Dura-Ace, and naturally they feel precisely the same to hold in the hand. I'm a practised user of the latest versions of both Ultegra and Dura-Ace, and while I think shifting feels a touch crisper respectively in both of the more premium mechanical groupsets, there's really no faulting the efficiency of the system itself.

Triban RC 520 - shifter.jpg

Remember, this is a bike that costs £729. As a point of comparison, you could have a Specialized Allez or entry-level Diverge for £70 more, and you'd still only be getting 9-speed Sora or 8-speed Claris respectively for your money.

> Buyer's Guide: 14 of the best road bikes under £1,000

For the record, the ratio is well thought out too. You get compact 50/34t rings, married to an 11-32t Microshift cassette, and there's potential for even easier gearing if you swap out the cassette, because it's a long cage rear derailleur that's been fitted. That said, the supplied combination is ideal for the entry-level or steady commuter, and it's been a breeze to use on the hills of Bath.

Triban RC 520 - rear mech.jpg

The brakes are TRP's HY/RD open hydraulic system with 160mm rotors, which uses a mechanical interface with the levers (hence the mechanical versions of 105 levers) and hydraulics at the calliper itself. So, you're working a hydraulic brakeset, but through a mechanical actuation.

Triban RC 520 - bar and shifter.jpg

The best of both worlds? Well, the Jagwire cable takes the strain of the force you put through the lever, and are bound to need adjusting soon, though that's pretty straightforward with this system. That means they feel awfully like cable-actuated rim brakes on application, but you do get the same high level of performance come rain or shine, wet or dry weather.

Triban RC 520 - fronr disc brake.jpg

Ultimately, I think that's what you want them for, and the system makes setting them up theoretically easier, with a simple cable swap or hydraulic reservoir replacement the key benefits.

The wheelset and tyres have impressed me too. You'd expect the rolling stock to be pretty basic even in this most premium Triban bike, but the fact is that the 6106-T6 aluminium rims, 28 steel spokes apiece and sealed cartridge bearing hubs come together to produce a remarkably smooth ride. No, they don't feel light or particularly sprightly, but given the almost bombproof nature of the frame, they're in-keeping with the bike and once you have them up to speed they genuinely glide along.

Triban RC 520 - rear hub.jpg

Triban's Resist+ clincher tyres are included, and despite the 55tpi carcass (very much on the endurance side of things) and 410g bulk on each wheel, they're surprisingly pleasurable to ride on a day-to-day workhorse basis. They're grippy in wet or dry, and the 28mm width offers the comfort benefits of running lower pressures.

Triban RC 520 - rim and tyre.jpg

It's also worth noting that the wheels can be run tubeless if you buy a conversion kit, which is almost unheard of at this price point.

Finally, you also get solid B'Twin finishing kit including an alloy bar, stem and 27.2mm seatpost. There's not a lot to say about this – it's all good quality – other than to say the bar is nicely shaped, with a drop that allows easy access if you decide you want to tuck in as far as the geometry allows.

Triban RC 520 - bars.jpg

The ErgoFit saddle is also a pleasant surprise: a comfortable shape with a good amount of padding.

Triban RC 520 - saddle.jpg


The Triban 520 is a value-packed endurance bike that has bags of reliable quality and flexibility. You can use it as a very decently specced entry-level road bike, an everyday commuter and general workhorse, and it'll get on with the job with minimal fuss.

Btwin Triban RC520 -1.jpg

It leaves potential competitors from mainstream brands in the dust in terms of value for money, while packing in plenty of multi-use ability, and those are just two of the main reasons why you should consider it if it matches your budget.

> Buyer's Guide: 13 of the best £500-£750 bikes

Downsides? It is heavy for a road bike at 10.8kg and, with the best will in the world, the relaxed geometry won't be for everyone, especially if you're a newcomer and think you might like to try racing or something similar. But for everyone else, it's a winner.


A superb value, fully competent workhorse road bike with plenty of practicality thrown in

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Make and model: Triban 520

Size tested: L

About the bike

List the components used to build up the bike.

From Decathlon's website:

Frame - New Triban Evo 6061 T6 aluminium frame, comfort-oriented geometry with adapted slope

Fork - New Triban Evo fork with carbon blades and aluminium 1"1/8 headset steerer tube

Cockpit - Ergonomic aluminium Triban handlebars, new Triban stem

Drivetrain - Shimano 105 R7000 shifters, Shimano 105 R7000 front derailleur, Shimano 105 R7000 rear derailleur with 11 speeds, Microshift CS-H110 11S 11/32 cassette, Shimano RS 510 compact bottom bracket chainset in 50/34

Brakes - TRP HY/RD disc brakes, 160mm rotors

Wheelset - Triban Tubeless Ready Light wheels

Tyres - Triban Resist+ tyres

Saddle/seatpost - New Triban ErgoFit saddle, aluminium Triban 27.2mm seat post

Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Commuters and winter bike riders, primarily. Could also be used as a first road bike.

Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options

Top of the range of new disc-brake Triban bikes.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Given the budget price that the bike needs to meet, the build quality of the frameset is very good. Sure, the welding and butting is a little chunky, but it's still solidly made. There's a lifetime warranty on the frame, too.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

The frame is made of 6061-T6 grade aluminium, and the fork blades are carbon.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

A very relaxed endurance-type geometry. This is perfect for everyday commuter use, especially if you don't want to be tucked into an aggressive position day after day.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

This is a large/56.5cm frame and I found it very compact compared to my Canyon Ultimate CF SL – with a very tall head tube and short reach. That shouldn't come as a surprise, but when I rode it it felt even more relaxed than when I tried the Specialized Diverge, which is first and foremost a gravel bike.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

It was comfortable, especially with the help of the 28mm tyres run at lower pressures.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Yes, stiff enough for its target audience.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Yes, especially when sat in the saddle. It's not a quick accelerator, but it does repay consistent pedalling effort.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?

I never noticed any that would affect me, even during low speed city manoeuvring.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Very neutral, bordering on lazy. It feeds back sensations ok so there's confidence to be had, but it's a world away from the racier bikes I usually ride.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It's brilliant at giving a calm, drama-free ride.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The tyres are a key factor for the comfort values, and the saddle isn't half bad either, sat atop a simple alloy seatpost which won't be adding that much to the mix.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

No, at this price I'm impressed. The issue is really in the weight of the bike, if there is one.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

There's no one thing, but the overall weight has an effect on efficiency; but to hit a price point and to make it sturdy and reliable, there's reason for the 10.8kg bulk.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:

In the saddle, it's satisfying enough. Out of the saddle there is a little flex to be found, but it's not terrible.

Rate the bike for acceleration:

It'll do for purpose, with commuters (with panniers and so on) and first timers the target.

Rate the bike for sprinting:

No, it's not for sprinting.

Rate the bike for high speed stability:

High speed is relative on this bike, but what speed you can achieve is easy to attain and maintain, and it rolls true too.

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:

Simply spinning along? It's brilliant at that, very easy to ride.

Rate the bike for low speed stability:

Very good here too, although I found the handling a little vague on occasion when I wanted it to be a little more delicate.

Rate the bike for flat cornering:

Good and decently confidence-inspiring despite there being some vagueness.

Rate the bike for cornering on descents:

The high front end actually makes descending cornering feel very similar to the flat cornering.

Rate the bike for climbing:

Considering its 10.8kg, it spins up hills nicely enough.

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:

There are some non-series parts, but it's very difficult to fault the value/excellence of Shimano 105 R7000.

Rate the drivetrain for durability:

No issues here, aside from that the Microshift cassette developed a little rust sooner than I'd expect. Granted, I hadn't oiled the chain after a couple of showery rides, but I was still surprised to see orange on it so quickly.

Rate the drivetrain for weight:

This isn't where the bike gains its bulk.

Rate the drivetrain for value:


Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The non-series chainset and cassette worked just fine, with no issues.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels for performance:

Heavy, but solid and decent rolling.

Rate the wheels for durability:
Rate the wheels for weight:

Well over 2kg for a wheelset is heavy, but remarkably they don't always feel it.

Rate the wheels for comfort:

Fine, able to support 28mm tyres.

Rate the wheels for value:

On a bike this price, it's about right.

Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?

They're fit for purpose and resilient.

Rate the tyres for performance:

I've been very impressed with these. As stock own-brand tyres, they're very, very good.

Rate the tyres for durability:

Plenty of puncture protection.

Rate the tyres for weight:

Chunky at over 400g apiece, but that's not really the main concern here.

Rate the tyres for comfort:

Supple, and 28mm width gives plenty of comfort too.

Rate the tyres for value:

Good value on this bike.

Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?

No need to upgrade as far as I can see.


Rate the controls for performance:

Shimano 105 performance is extremely good, near Ultegra level.

Rate the controls for durability:

Solid and dependable.

Rate the controls for weight:

105 is the third-lightest in the Shimano range, behind Ultegra and Dura-Ace.

Rate the controls for comfort:

The R7000 ergonomics are top-drawer.

Rate the controls for value:

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

See the Shimano 105 R7000 review.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes, and I didn't expect to.

Would you consider buying the bike? No, the geometry is too relaxed for me.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes, if this was their budget and they wanted good 11-speed kit on board, or were a first timer with no designs on racing.

How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on

Value is stunning, frankly. As I say in the review, an equivalently priced Specialized Allez only has 9-speed Shimano Sora.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
Rate the bike overall for value:

Use this box to explain your overall score

The price largely influences the overall score here. For £729 you get a LOT of practical, useful and competent bike here. With the reliability of disc braking too, it's a top bargain.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 29  Height: 188cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Canyon Ultimate CF SL 9.0 SL (2016)  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

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