French brand Decathlon has signalled a major change in direction, and introduced some new bikes
In what will be a monumental change for the French company, Decathlon has decided it will drop the B’twin moniker on its Triban range and on its Ultra models from 2019. As big as this decision is, Decathlon says it’s necessary because of the sheer number of bikes it now produces, it was a necessity to split the ranges to make managing them easier.
But on the flipside, the brand says it has also allowed it creative space to create a totally new and completelt different Triban models, as well as a brand new Ultra AF GF model.
We were invited to the launch in Cambril, Spain to help get our heads around the slightly befuddling changes, and what immediately stood clear is how important this direction change is for the French brand.
We’ll start with the new Triban range and what we know so far before getting on to the updated Ultra models.
Triban Start, Adept and Vista
The Triban models were without a doubt the French brand’s bread and butter bikes. Ranging from flat bar, go anywhere models through to superbly comfortable aluminium frame racing bikes, they flew of the shelves.
Those previous models still exist, but now Decathlon has a deeper clarification of its Triban range, introducing “Start”, “Adept” and “Vista”. Each title is dedicated to serving a specific level of cyclist.
Vista is yet to be launched, but we could get hands on with two prototype Adept models. These are two new bikes that retain that go-anywhere ethos, but with updated frames. These new Adept models will replace the old Triban 540.
The models are still aluminium, but now have dropped seat stays and a 27.2mm seatpost for the compliance improvements. Decathlon maintains this is a bike designed for adventuring, and that ethos is mirrored in the the carbon/aluminium fork and the clearance to gobble up 36mm tyres.
Particularly exciting is the new Triban wheelset, a brand new, in-house creation that’s tubeless ready – these look to be bang on the money and we can’t wait to try a pair.
Those with an eye to commuting will also be pleased to hear that the frame comes with holes for mounting guards and pannier racks.
We were able to view two of the new models in their prototype form, the Triban Adept Sora and a 105 equipped model. Currently the later is priced somewhere between £550 and £599 to be confirmed, while the Sora model is expected to cost anywhere between £700 and £779. Both bikes should be available in the UK from October.
The Ultra range – expansive and staggering value for money
The Ultra range will also drop the B’twin moniker, but so far Decathlon has been unable to decide upon a new name. Right now, the range rests under the Cyclo-Sportif catergory with two types of bikes – racer and Enduracer.
We’ll start with the Enduracer catergory, because it’s brand new with two bikes who are subtly different in their frame design from the Ultra AF models. According to the French brand, rider comfort is a priority on a bike designed for “Gran Fondo” cycling.
The geometry of the frame is different to its Ultra AF siblings, with a taller head tube and marginally shorter top tube. It also comes with wider tyre clearance, a full carbon fork and disc brakes as standard.
The new comfort orientated range starts with the Ultra 500 AF GF. It comes with nine speed Shimano Sora and Mavic Aksium Disc wheels. It’ll cost £899 and weighs 9.6kg.
It continues with the Ultra 520 AF GF, which is specced with 11 speed SRAM Rival in compact form and hydraulic brakes. Like its stablemate is has Mavic Aksium Disc wheels and 28mm tyres as standard. This time, it comes with a 27.2mm carbon seat post.
Despite its Gran Fondo designs, the frame is Di2 ready, marking this out as a performance ready piece of kit. This model will cost £1299. Both these bikes are rolling into Decathlon stores nationwide right now.
The rest of the aluminium Ultra AF range is as equally interesting. All the frames are UCI improved and the range starts with the Ultra 900 AF at £799. It’s equipped with Shimano 105 and Mavic Aksiums wheels.
The understated champion that was the Ultra 720 AF has become the Ultra 920 AF. It’s equipped with brand new Shimano Ultegra R8000, and Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels. It has increased its price by £250, but considering the specification, that’s still a whole lot of bike for £1299 and a claimed 8.45kg.
Following these aluminium models lies the Ultra CF range, which consists of four models starting at £1399 for the Shimano 105 equipped Ultra 900 CF.
The Ultra 920 CF model will come in two forms. Their will be a brand new Campagnolo equipped bike that immediately pricked our ears up when we heard of it. It’s the first time Campagnolo has partnered with the French brand, and it’ll have the eleven speed Potenza groupset in 52/36 form plus Zonda wheels, and will cost £1999. There will also be the Ultegra R8000 equipped model which comes with Mavic Cosmic Pro carbon wheels for £2299.
At the top of the tree is the Ultra 940 CF, which has Shimano Dura-Ace, Zipp 303 wheels, Vittoria Corsa tyres and an all carbon finishing kit, all for £3499 which represents phenomenal value for money.
Decathlon’s first women’s specific racing bike
2018 is the year that Decathlon releases its first ever women’s racing bike – the Ultra 900 AF WSD. The frame remains the same as the men’s, although it’s updated so the rear brake is no longer on the chainstay and it’s available in XS, S and M. Currently there’s only one model available, and it comes with Shimano Tiagra 2×10.
According to Decathlon, Tiagra has smaller hoods offering a more comfortable resting position for smaller hands. However, considering it costs the same price as the standard Ultra 900 AF which comes equipped with 11 speed Shimano 105, it doesn’t look to be as performance orientated. Although, from 2019 there will be four more models according to the design team.
Other “women’s specific” finishing touches include velvet handlebar tape, a smaller stem, a shorter crank arm and a new women’s specific saddle.