As your first road bike, the B’Twin 520 is a superb option, and even as your second or third bike, it’s still a cracker. The extra tyre clearance, space and mounts for mudguards and front and rear racks makes this bike incredibly versatile and exceptionally good value.
Superb Value - you get a lot for your money here
Great quality frame - lifetime warranty
Versatile - ideal for commuting, touring, first triathlon, first road bike
Good range of gears
Female and Male specific options
Fun to ride
Brakes could be better
Wheels are a little heavy
The Triban has almost gained a cult like following over the years, it’s been a perfect transition bike for many riders looking to test the road cycling water, without wanting to spend several hundreds, if not thousands of pounds. By sticking to the direct sales delivery model, the Decathlon owned manufacturer has been able to ensure that the B'Twin Triban 520 continues to keep costs down and passes savings on to the customer.
We loved the B’Twin Triban 500, but the 520 represents a significant improvement over its predecessor. Made from 6010 –T6 Aluminum, B’Twin 520 has tweaked geometry over it’s predecessors, giving the fame a relatively short wheelbase, but keeping the long headtube, allowing for a more upright riding position, but giving the bike an air of nippyness thanks to it’s short back-end.
The B’Twin Sport carbon bladed forks with aluminum steerer are teamed with the aluminum frame, helping to keep the B’Twin 520 overall weight down and, in theory, a reduction in front end road buzz.
The carbon bladed forks help keep weight down and add compliance to the ride. As well as the carbon blades, the geometry of the B’twin Triban 520 frameset has also had comfort and compliance designed in by way of sloping top tube and extra tyre clearance. By sloping the top tube, allows for a shorter seat tube and more of the seat pin to be exposed, which offers an element of flex and rear end compliance.
Improved tyre clearance now allows up to 32mm tyres on the B'Twin Triban 520, or up to 28mm if opting for mudguards and front and rear racks, to be used. Both these voluminous tyre sizes will improve comfort and stability and make the bike ideal for commuting, taking to the tow path or even touring.
You get a lot for your money and the specification of the B’Twin Triban 520 is well thought out. The drivetrain (gears) is Shimano Sora R3000 with a triple chainset (50x39x30) and 9speed cassette (12x25), giving a wide range of gears perfect for beginners or those already looking to concur the cols.
Wheels, brakes, and handlebars are B’Twin’s own, and depending on whether you’ve opted for the male or female bike package, you either get a women’s or man’s specific B’Twin Sport Ergo Fit saddle.
I genuinely get excited when I come across a well performing bikes at this price point, and after just one outing in the hills of the Peak District National Park, I was very excited. It’s testing terrain for any bike and the the B’Twin Triban 520 not only stepped up, but delivered an awesome grin inducing ride.
The short stiff chainstays are noticeable, especially when climbing out of the saddle, it almost feels like you’re being given a helping hand up the hill on each pedal stroke, rather than having to pull the bike along. Some stronger/ heavier riders might notice a slight flex in the frame in larger sizes, as our 70kg rider did, but it’s a common issue with bikes at this price point, and certainly won’t hold you back.
The wide range of gears were spot on, shifting seamlessly, with a wide enough range to cope with even the steepest of climbs. The Shimano Sora groupset performs very well offering good quality, reliable shifting. It's a real workhorse groupset and with a little tlc, if you look after it, it will look after you. The Triban is an entry level bike, so if you are new to road bikes and groupsets (the gears and brakes) you can click here for a guide.
On the downhills, my concerns regarding the B’twin own brand brakes were somewhat alleviated, and they did cope with stopping and slowing forces, although they aren’t as powerful as most branded options, and it is something with a simple upgrade would take the bike up another level.
The B'Twin Triban 520 handles well, with a predicable and stable feel. The 40cm bars are a little wide for me, and I suspect many female riders, but they did add to the feeling of stability on the bike and most importantly curl my index and middle finger round the brake leaver when either in the hoods or drops, allowing me to remain in total control of speed moderation.
I was impressed with the wheels, again I was slightly dubious about the performance of the own brand B’Twin Sport wheels wheels, but after several rides commuting on the maleTriban 520 with a 70kg rider, with heavy bags and ploughing into multiple potholes, the wheels stood up and have required neither truing nor maintenance, they aren’t the lightest, but at this price I’d take sturdy components over light and weak.
Opting to dress the wheels in the 25mm Michelin Dynamic Sport with a folding bead is a canny move by B’Twin. It’s often an area where bike manufactures have to compromise on, but these are pretty decent and you should get plenty of miles out of them.
Similar to the likes of Specialized and Trek, the B'Twin Triban 520 comes with a lifetime warranty on the frame. However, the key difference from more established brands is that for a similar price, you get much better components on the B'Twin. This is because B'Twin is Decathlon's in house brand with the company handling its own distribution and retail, resulting in a direct sales business model.
There really is a lot to like about this sub £500 bike.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011.
She's specialises on the technical side of all things cycling, including pro peloton team kit having covered multiple seasons of the Spring Classics, and Grand Tours for both print and websites. Prior to joining Cycling Weekly, Hannah was a successful road and track racer, competing in UCI races across the world, and has raced in most of Europe, China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won 24 hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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