The Triban RC500 scores highly for offering dependability and versatility as well as fast and fun ride for a little over £500. With a few tweaks to the cockpit it could be perfect.
Good looking frame
Ride quality (it's fast and comfortable)
Spec list is mostly great (wheels, tyres, drive chain)
Cable actuated brakes
B'twin's previous flat bar bikes offered a no-nonsense approach to bike design that was as bomb proof as they were good value. Now, the French brand - re-branded as Triban - has re-worked the aluminium frame, and updated its design.
Triban RC500 flat bar: New frame, more comfortable geometry
The Triban RC500 flat bar uses the same Triban Evo T6 6061 aluminium frame as its dropped bar RC520 stablemate. It's an altogether new frame following the French brand's re-design and includes modern touches such as dropped seat stays for greater comfort and its paired to a carbon fork with an aluminium steerer.
It's also nice to see a hybrid and touring bike that has all the requisite ports and bolt holes. True to form, the Triban RC500 comes with full suite of pannier rack ports and mudguard holes.
The bike's tall head tube puts you in an upright position from the off, but I've been testing this model with stack as high as it can go. Out on the roads you're left feeling in control of the bike but also comfortable, with the aluminium frame absorbing a good amount of the road's lumps and bumps.
Just because it has a focus on comfort doesn't mean the RC500 doesn't feel nippy. As an old cycling hand I've been impressed by the bike's fast acceleration and how well it holds it speed and I'm in no doubt that newer riders will be impressed by its turn of pace. While its raison d'etre might not be taking KoMs, out on the road the bike's turn of pace has the very practical benefit of getting you off the line first when in traffic.
Triban RC500 flat bar: Bombproof spec
Decathlon's enormity in the cycling world means that its able to now produce the majority of its own finishing kit. Of particular note are the wheels and tyres, both of which are new products for the brand.
The tyres warrant a special mention, having proven their robustness over the course of commutes (and many more shards of glass). The tyres and the wheels (another Decathlon in-house product) form a fine partnership and can even be setup tubeless should you want the extra security.
The Shimano Sora groupset pairs a 50/34 crankset to a an 11-32 cassette, which gives a great spread of gears. It's notable that over the course of my testing I never once shifted down on the front and I don't think there's much use in the smaller, inner ring for central London riding.
Of course, that doesn't detract from the bike, but further enhances its capabilities further afield. The Triban RC500 flat bar bike would be perfectly at home on longer rides, commutes or even touring trips further afield where an inner ring would be very useful, and partnering the 34 to the 32 should let you spin up even the steepest hills.
The Triban RC500 is complimented by the use of disc brakes, not least because they allow an increase of tyre clearance. As standard, the bike comes with 28mm tyres but the frame can accommodate up to 36mm tyres. However, the bike would be improved with the addition of hydraulic disc brakes rather than cable actuated ones, these I find a less nuanced lever feel and less power.
In my experience, the Ergofit saddle will be hit and miss with prospective riders depending on their mileage. It's shaped more like what you'd find on a performance road bike and potentially doesn't offer the comfort that less experienced riders might require.
The grips are designed to be more ergonomic but I found them less comfortable than standard flat bar grips. However, just like the saddle before it, touch points tend to be personal preference.
Triban RC500: Value
If you have £500 and want a bike that offers plenty of versatility and dependability then look no further than the RC500 flat bar. However, if you think that you might like to take your riding up a gear in the future, or are looking for a winter bike, then it might be better to opt for the Triban Rc520 with drop bars.
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