Decathlon has earned a solid reputation for delivering great value budget bikes under the B’Twin brand name. The quality is backed up by solid warranties which is lifetime for aluminium frames and five years on carbon frames.
We have been really impressed with B’Twin and even named the Ultra 720 AF as our Cycling Weekly bike of the year, in the best value category.
The B’Twin range is big though with many different models. This can be confusing, so here we explain the differences so you can decide which bike best suits your needs. Let’s start at the lowest price bikes and move through to the highest.
Decathlon’s range starts with the Triban which comprises the Triban 500, 500 SE, 520 and 540 – all of which are also available with flat handlebars. Starting at £250 the Tribran 500 is a excellent entry level bike for those looking to get into road cycling or looking for a speedy commuter. New for 2016, the Triban is available in size XXXS, such as the one shown here and also XXS for juniors. This is useful as it can be hard to find good bikes in really small sizes.
B’Twin Triban 500 – £250
The 500 (£250) comes equipped with Micro Shift gears, a triple chainset, the geometry results in a bike that isn’t too aggressive, but is still fun to ride. It has a good balance. Availbale in the UK is the Triban 500 SE which comes with a carbon fork for only £299. The carbon fork increases the front stiffness and comfort and is worth the extra outlay.
B’Twin Triban 520 – £450
Next is the Triban 520 which has a higher spec aluminium frame than the 500. It still comes with a triple chainset but this is upgraded to Shimano Sora gears instead of MicroShift, which also means nine-speed instead of eight. The Shimano Sora gears have better shifting performance too.
The other key detail is that unlike the 500, the Triban 520 and Triban 540 will also accommodate 28mm tyres with mudguards, or 32mm without. In theory, with a few simple changes any of the B’Twin range could be ridden by women, however the Triban 520 also comes in a women’s specific model, with a shorter stem, different saddle and attractive paint job.
B’Twin Triban 540 – £650
The 540 may look like a big step up in price, but the spec offered for the price is outstanding. If your budget will stretch, it’s hard to look at anything else. The 540 comes equipped with 11 speed Shimano 105 groupset and a compact double chainset. This groupset is normally only found on bikes over £1000 and offers superb quality shifting.
If that wasn’t enough you also get Mavic Aksium Wheels, which are excellent quality and not usually found on bikes at this price.
B’Twin Ultra AF
The AF stands for aluminium frame and is not to be confused with the Ultra CF, which you guessed it, has a carbon frame. The Ultra features a higher spec aluminium frame than the Triban and is ideal for those wanting a higher level of performance, but not wanting carbon. The frame is UCI racing approved has full internal cable routing and would be well suited to any aspiring racer.
B’Twin Ultra 700 AF – £750
The range starts at £750 and for that you get Shimano 105 with direct mount brakes. The direct mount brakes offer improved stopping power and modulation. The Ultra 700 AF has a carbon fork too.
B’Twin Ultra 720 AF – £1050
For £300 more you can get the Ultra 720. For just over a grand this is road bike with a complete Shimano Ultegra 11-speed groupset and Mavic Cosmic wheels. What’s the catch I hear you ask. There isn’t one. This truly is a superb package and deservedly won Cycling Weekly’s best value bike of the year.
The B’Twin Ultra CF
The B’Twin Ultra CF moves away from the aluminium frames of lower price models, with CF standing for carbon fibre. The Ultra CF is a high performance all round carbon race machine, that is ideal for fast paced riding on the flat or assaulting the high mountains.
As you would expect, it is very stiff, light and has internal cable routing. What you might not expect is that a medium frame is reported to weigh just 850g. Very impressive for a bike in this price range.
B’Twin Ultra CF 700 – £1600
The 700 CF has the Ultra CF carbon frame, fork and comes complete with a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset, with Mavic Aksium wheels.
B’Twin Ultra 720 CF – £2,000
The 720 has the same frame, but now comes with a Shimano Ultegra 11-speed groupset and fantastic Mavic Ksyrium Elite S wheels with Mavic tyres. The result is that the bike comes in at a feather weight 7.2kg!
The Ultra frame is stiffer and lighter than B’Twin’s aluminium alternatives. This is most noticeable when accelerating or whenever the road heads upwards.
B’Twin Ultra 740 – £2,500
There are quite a few carbon fibre framed bikes with Shimano Ultegra Di2 available for about this price, but this is the only one we’re aware of that comes with full carbon fibre wheels. Although expensive, it is worth considering that the Mavic Cosmic wheels on this bike typically retail for over £1000 on their own. The value is strong.
You can check out all the bikes shown on Decathlon’s website. If you would like to try before you buy, it is possible to a arrange a two-day test ride with the B’twin Ultra 700AF or Triban 540 by contacting your local Decathlon store too.
So there you have it, whether you are looking to buy and entry level road bike or something more serious Decathlon has you covered. Cycling should not be prohibitively expensive so it is great too see a comprehensive range of quality bikes at competitive prices.