Triban's 500 Women's Bibless Cycling Shorts are a budget option, fine for short outings and indoor training sessions, but support is limited and the absence of any kind of leg gripper means they're prone to creeping up.
I've tested a variety of kit from Decathlon that's impressed for the price point – comfortable, with a decent fit and performance, all for a very reasonable price. Unfortunately, the 500 shorts don't really fall into this category.
There are plus points: the fabric is a combination of polyamide and elasthane, and feels super soft and stretchy against the skin – a million miles from any kind of performance-orientated shorts. Anyone who doesn't like the idea of squeezing into compressive Lycra will be pleased.
The waistband is elasticated at the rear, with a tapered, giving panel at the front – basically a double layer of the main fabric. I found it was prone to rolling down when I was on my road bike, though I only noticed this if I glanced down – the material has so much give that I didn't sense the gathering at my abdomen.
Otherwise, there's enough height at the waist to not sink below a jersey, provided it isn't a particularly short one.
The tapered band at the end of the legs mimics the abdomen panel – a double layer of the shorts fabric, with no extra elasticity or silicone gripper to hold them in place. This means they're not a great combination with leg/knee warmers – I was continually pulling them down to avoid an unsightly shorts-skin-warmers sandwich.
They also ride up without warmers underneath, resulting in a very short pair of shorts. If you like short shorts then this might not be an issue for you; if you don't, and you prefer everything to stay firmly in place, you might want to look elsewhere.
The padded insert is pretty basic. It's best described as a uniform piece of foam with a central channel, covered with a less-than-durable piece of fabric – after just three weeks it's looking old with mild pilling. That said, the edging is impressively tidy for the price point.
I'd say it's best suited to a small frame – some might find that their sit bones aren't as protected as with a larger chamois.
There's a comparison here with Altura's Firestorm Waist Shorts that I tested a couple of years ago.
It provides minimal support which, admittedly, is better than nothing. However, after an hour and a half I was shuffling in the saddle looking for some kind of pressure relief, and I can normally ride for a decent duration on a minimal pad. I found it tolerable on a softer saddle and never actually suffered from chafing or soreness; it's more a matter of not sensing any kind of pressure relief.
> Cycling clothing guide: 5 ways proper kit can boost your riding
The chamois doesn't offer much in the way of breathability either, though for the shorts as a whole it's sufficient for a gentle ride. They soon become weighty if you are working up a sweat indoors, though, and the fabrics don't dry out rapidly.
As well as the mild pilling on the pad, after a month or so of wears and washes the shorts fabric is starting to appear see-through when held to a window. If you're using them under tights for a commute or on their own for training indoors then it might not be a huge concern – especially considering the price – but it doesn't bode well for durability.
Value and conclusion
Waist shorts certainly have appeal, particularly to those new to the sport, and they tend to be so much more affordable than bibs. It's easy to find options under £60 from the likes of dhb, Altura, and Endura – £30, £40 and £60 respectively – though we haven't tested them so can't comment on their performance or quality (we will have a full review of the Endura Xtract Lites shortly though).
> Buyer’s Guide: 12 of the best cheap cycling shorts
Triban's 500 Bibless Shorts are among the cheapest out there, but bear in mind you need to be happy with zero compression, a short pair of shorts, and a minimal pad (for your narrow frame). If all of this is acceptable for you, just be aware that you'll also need to feel comfortable in something that could lose opacity quite quickly.
Cheap shorts with compromises as a result, though still some appeal to those on a budget
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Make and model: Triban 500 Womens Bibless Cycling Shorts
Tell us what the product is for
Decathalon says, 'These women's cycling shorts are designed for regular cycling on rides of up to 2 hours.
'These women's bibless cycling shorts have flat seams for a more comfortable ride. The foam pad absorbs vibrations and minimises rubbing even while cycling regularly.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
-Ergonomic, breathable foam pad designed for women, with antibacterial treatment.
-Elasticated lower thigh area for comfy support.
-Breathable and technical material actively wicks away perspiration.
-Wide, ventilated pad.
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Construction is reasonably good, fabrics less so.
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for fit:
Shorter than average leg, even before they start creeping up.
Rate the product for sizing:
Rate the product for weight:
They are light, but then there's not much to the pad and the fabrics are very thin.
Rate the product for comfort:
I personally don't like it when the legs creep up, and the pad is minimal and narrow so comfort here is compromised.
Rate the product for value:
Despite being only £20, they're not great value.
How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?
The shorts come out smelling fresh enough but the fabrics are showing signs of wear already.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I found the support from the insert sufficient for short rides. A lack of gripper means the shorts aren't really compatible with warmers, and will only appeal to those who are happy with very short shorts or if you want to team them with tights.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
An attempt to add some colour to the usual black.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Lack of leg grippers and a narrow, basic pad.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Very cheap, though Altura and dhb come close.
Did you enjoy using the product? No
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Unlikely
Use this box to explain your overall score
Even accepting that they are suited to certain rides and specific tastes, the fabric's quality is questionable, compromising durability and overall value for money (and environmental impact). For these reasons I've scored them as average, but still worth considering if you're on a limited budget and a newcomer to the sport.
Age: 42 Height: 173cm Weight: 64kg
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, Getting to grips with off roading too!
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