Sportive prices for a racing thoroughbred? B'twin's ability to pass technology down its range shows in the affordable Mach 740 road bike
The effect of trickle-down technology has never been so marked as it is in the products of French firm B’Twin.
Each time a new frame is introduced, the model at the bottom gets put out to pasture and the previous top-end machine moves down a rung. So the Mach 740 frame is now B’Twin’s entry-level carbon option, although last year it was the range’s flagship.
That means that for £1,699.99 we have a bike with almost aero levels of design: there’s internal cable-routing and some quite incredible tube shapes, including a squared-off camtail to its extended seat tube.
The spec is equally impressive. Campagnolo Athena offers supremely smooth gear shifts, a compact carbon chainset, and the skeleton brake calipers are simply superb. A set of equally competent Scirocco wheels round off the Campag package. An all-up weight of 8kg — including B’Twin’s complementary Look Keo-compatible pedals — for a 57cm model is impressive.
On the face of it, B’Twin’s enthusiasm for a trickle-down bike range is a great idea, but there are some caveats. For example, in this case we have a bike that is positioned in the sportive rider price bracket, yet it was designed as an uncompromising race bike. So the Mach 740 has a very solid ride, which dances just below being harsh.
“This is trickle-down at its best. Last year, this frame was B’Twin’s flagship”
The upside of that firmness is fulsome reward for your pedalling efforts. On flat, smooth roads it goes like a rocket, and climbing is likewise impressive. Out-the-saddle efforts don’t merely maintain momentum but propel you forward with increasing speed.
Control is very good too. It’s not a nervously quick front end, more a smooth but reactive set-up. In fact, as long as the road surface is playing ball, the Mach 740 is nigh-on perfect. For riders making the move from sportives to more competitive outings, the Mach 740 is a fine second road bike. Stick a set of aero bars on it and it could even make a passable first time trial bike. And if £1,699.99 is beyond your means, B’Twin offers the Mach 720 kitted out with Campagnolo Centaur for just £1,299.99.