Monday, 25 April 2016

B'Twin Triban 500

Edit on 06 Dec 2017: Due to the absolutely pathetic customer service I've very recently had from Decathlon, I have decided to never buy from them again, and I suggest you do the same.

My first ever road bike was a B'Twin Triban 3, the red model, and I was very impressed by it. So much so, that little over a year later, when I got another bike, I ordered the Triban 500, again from Decathlon.

Now you may ask yourself why, if the Triban 3 impressed me that much, I went for a different bike, and that would be a fair question. The answer is quite simple: effectively I didn't go for a different bike - I got the same bike, but with upgraded components.

Allow me to explain: The Triban 3 that I still have, and the Triban 500 have exactly the same aluminium frame and carbon forks. By the time I got the Triban 500, Decathlon had discontinued the Triban 3. In it's place was the Triban 300, which had steel forks along the same aluminium frame. The gear shifters were of a lower spec too than the original Triban 3, while the Triban 500 had upgraded components, from gear shifters to crankset, brakes and derailleurs.

It was a no-brainer, really.

Both the Triban 3 and Triban 500 has Shimano shifters, but the Triban 3's shifters are 2300's, with the little thumb lever, while the Triban 500 has Sora shifters, with the paddle behind the brake lever.
The Triban 500 also has Sora brakes and crankset. Finally, the colour scheme is completely different.

Aside from these differences, it is essentially exactly the same bike, and sadly suffers from the same flaw: the stock B'Twin wheels really are only good for stopping the sharper bits of the bike making marks on Dacthlon's nice showroom floors.

I cannot stress enough how poor the stock B'Twin wheels are. Expect the bearings on the rear wheel to go after between 700 to 1000 miles, with the front wheel typically lasting to around 2 500 miles. The only guarantee that you'll get with those wheels is that they will have bearings that fail.

Once you have better wheels on the bike, it really is superb value for money. The carbon fork helps ease out annoying road buzz that aluminium frames sometimes suffer and I've never seen any reason to change the stock saddle. Bear in mind that I average around 7 000 miles per year - that's a long time on a bike saddle.

Like the Triban 3, the Triban 500 can take a rack and also mudguards, making it more of a commuter than a racer. Having said that, I've done the Dartmoor Classic on mine and it was faster up the hills than a fair few expensive carbon bikes.

It has a position that's a balance between a race position and a long-distance touring position and I've always found it a very comfortable bike to ride, with responsive handling.

Are there better bikes out there? Oh undoubtedly! There are far better bikes than the Triban 500. Are there better bikes out there in the same price range? The Triban 500 sold for well under £500 and you'd need to spend £1 000 or more to start equalling it. That just means, in my opinion, you simply won't get better value for money.

Gotchas: Don't confuse the Triban 500 with the Triban 500SE. The SE model uses Microshift shifters and other cheaper components. Also, Decathlon has updated it's range again and the current Triban 500 being sold has steel forks and Microshift shifters. I'm not saying it's a bad bike, but it certainly isn't in the same category as the one I got.
To get nearer to the one I got, you'd need to go for the Triban 540.