B’Twin is the French brand stocked at Decathlon – and when it comes to value for money, it rarely fails to impress us.
We’ve tested a selection of B’Twin offerings at Cycling Weekly and the vast majority of models have received either a 9 or 10 star rating (out of ten). It’s hard to do better than that.
As you move up the B’Twin ranks, it becomes more and more apparent that the brand has a solid grasp on the importance of quality and matching groupsets.
You can choose between carbon road bikes, starting from £699, with a lower end Shimano Tiagra groupset, or you can spend £999 on an aluminium chassis built up with full Shimano Ultegra and Mavic Cosmic Elite hoops. Go all out and you can get new Dura Ace 9100 and Zipp 303 wheels. In other words, although you can pick up a bike for as little as £249, the focus is on value for money, not keeping it cheap and cheerful.
It’s up to the shopper to decide what’s most important to them – high end spec with a resilient aluminium frame, vs entry level components on a light weight frame that can be gradually upgraded over time. Both options are available – and spend a bit more in the Ultra range and you can have the two qualities married together.
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B’Twin road bikes
B’Twin Triban aluminium and carbon road bikes
The Triban range is designed to offer a sporty ride, that’s still comfortable and suitable for day-to-day duties and commutes as well as weekend adventures.
The geometry is a little more aggressive than the endurance focused ‘Ultra’, but there’s plenty of spacers at the steerer so the fit can be adjusted to suit your needs and a sloping top tube keeps the model compact.
The entry level option is the B’Twin Triban 100 road bike. This costs £249, and comes with an aluminium frame, hi-ten steel fork, seven speed Shimano shifting with Tektro brakes plus B’Twin Sport 32 hybrid tyres, which will be capable or handling a wide range of terrains.
The 48T single chainring comes paired with a 14-34 cassette – so there will be plenty of gears but they’re quite widely spaced. The single chainring is ideal for those new to road riding and a little intimidated by the shifters – though riders may find they soon want to move on to something with narrower spacing for better fine tuning.
The Triban 500 comes in at £349, but sports a carbon fork. The overall weight is almost a kilogram lower. The tyres move to more road going 25c rubber, with eight speed Sunrace shifting. One step up is the Triban 520, at £499 – now just under 10kg (9.9kg for a size medium) with Shimano Sora, but stocking with own brand wheels.
Both the 500 and 520 come with triple chainsets, and 12×25 cassettes – offering plenty of gear options for those otherwise intimidated by the hills.
Next on the ladder is the Triban 540, this moves on to using a semi-compact 52/26 chainset, with 11-28 cassette – this is a slightly more racey set up, but still offers more than enough gearing options. The build comes with Shimano 105 shifting, Tektro brakes and Mavic Aksium wheels for £679.
For those after a quick city slicking ride, but who would rather have the security of a more upright stance, B’Twin makes the Triban 500, 520 and 540 available with flat handlebars, for £260, £429 and £449 respectively. Of the flat bar Triban 520, Cycling Weekly’s tester commented: “[This is] a great commuter bike or entry level road bike which is comfortable, nippy and confidence inspiring thanks to its flat bar.”
If carbon is what you’ve got your heart set on, the Triban 560 carbon road bike costs £699. The groupset drops to Shimano Tiagra (with a compact 50/34 chainset and 12-25 cassette), though you get matching Tiagra brakes. The wheels go back to being B’Twin’s own, shod with Mitchelin Lithion tyres and with an aluminium seat post – something you might want to upgrade for greater compliance and comfort. A medium weighs 8.8kg, a substantial reduction thanks to the frame material swap, and a great first carbon road bike which you could spec up over time.
Putting the Triban 560 to the test this year, our reviewer concluded: “This bike was great fun to ride and constantly surprised us for such a budget option. It is ripe for upgrades, especially the wheels, but this is a race-ready steed without doubt.”
A selection of the B’Twin Triban bikes are available in women’s spec – with narrower handlebars and women’s saddles. However, the geometry does not alter – so it would be possible to purchase any and adjust the components to suit.
B’Twin Ultra range
Whilst most road bike brands make its bikes more aggressive as the prices increase, B’Twin slightly relaxed its geometry as customers enter the ‘Ultra’ range. The logic is that these are bikes designed for longer rides.
Notably, none of the Ultra bikes can take pannier racks – a consideration if you’re looking for a reliable commuter.
These bikes feature an unmistakable sloping top tube, and the aluminium models feature tubes with variable thickness. This means that where possible, the tubing is slimmed down to save weight, though it remains bulkier where power transfer is important.
B’Twin Ultra Aluminium bikes
The entry level Ultra 900 aluminium road bike (£799) features an ‘Ultra Evo Vario’ fork – this combines carbon and aluminium, saving weight where possible.
The weight is 8.9kg – so it’s not that much less than the top end Triban, but you get a full Shimano 105 groupset, including 105 direct mount brakes. The chainset is a 52/36 semi compact with 11-28 rear – which is a pleasantly close spaced option that still offers adequate gears. The wheels are Mavic Aksium with matching Mavic Yksion tyres.
Go up a few rungs and you’re looking at the Ultra 920, for £999 you get Shimano Ultegra throughout, with Mavic Cosmic Elite tyres plus a fetching Fizik Arione saddle. A bike like this is pretty much your perfect crit racing machine, if you’re considering dipping a toe into racing. The frame will stand up to plenty of abuse, but it’s specced out to suit a rider after performance.
Our only gripes would be that the gearing drops down from the Ultra 900 model – to 50/34 with 11-28 cassette – this would be adequate but that semi-compact might be better suited to sprint efforts. In both cases the models come with aluminium seat posts, and we’d be swapping these out for carbon versions which drop the weight and soak up vibrations.
B’Twin Ultra Aluminium disc brake bikes
For those seeking faster stopping, especially in wet British conditions, there are two disc brake models aboard aluminium frames. Disc brakes are significantly more effective in the wet – and contrary to popular opinion, they’re not a home mechanics nightmare. Hydraulics needs servicing once a year, and replacing pads takes a little longer, but that’s it.
The entry level choice is the Ultra 500 AG GF disc road bike with Shimano Sora shifting and flat mount Shimano brakes. This comes with a full carbon fork and Mavic Aksium wheels, as well as 28c Mavic tyres. The wider tyre choice will make for more confident cornering in greasy conditions, and greater comfort – though some of this is lost at the rear via the aluminium seat post.
The gearing is a hill friendly 50/34 compact plus 11-28 rear, and built up, this comes in for £899 with a weight of 9.6kg.
Alternatively, there’s the Ultra 520 AF GF disc with SRAM Rival sporting SRAM Rival Hydraulic brakes and Mavic Ksyrium disc wheels. This sees a notable weight reduction to 8.5kg and costs £1299. The gearing remains the same as the lower end model, though you get 25c tyres – which will feel a little nippier, and a carbon seat post in 27.2mm diameter designed to dampen road buzz.
B’Twin Ultra Carbon bikes
There are three carbon framed Ultra models in the line up – four if you count paint job options.
The selection opens with the Ultra 900 CF carbon road bike, at £1399 with a full carbon fork, Shimano 105 throughout plus Mavic Aksium wheels and New Yksion 25 tyres. The gearing is a compact (50/34) with 11-28 cassette. At this point, the weight has dropped to 7.8kg in a medium.
The Ultra 920 features some rather fetching Shimano Ultegra C24 wheels, along with matching groupset, for £1899.
Top of the tree is the Ultra 940 CF carbon road bike. There’s a big price hike here – £3499. However, for that you get mechanical Dura Ace plus Zipp 303 wheels. Bear in mind that this wheelset isn’t far off £2,000 when bought bought on its own, and the value is pretty clear. The Dura Ace groupset is the new 9100 stuff, too – that’s got a price tag of £1,904 (though admittedly it been reduced since day one, as groupsets always are). The chainset is a semi-compact 52/36, with 11-28 cassette.