If you have lived or are living in Europe, then the Decathlon brand will be quite familiar to you. The value oriented retail giant has shops all across Europe and includes in-house brands such as Quechua and Forclaz. If you’ve been living in North America, you may not have had the pleasure of shopping through one of Decathlon’s megastores – but you can now buy from Decathlon online in the US!
I moved from London back to Boston in April of 2018, and with me came my B’Twin Triban 500 road bike. I had been using that bike for commuting in London for a couple of years, and had grown to love it immensely. I brought this bike back to the US with me, using it for my commute into Boston. One unlucky day earlier this summer, the bike was stolen from outside my office. I was devastated and heart broken. My companion through rain and rough pavement, a reminder of time in London, and my avenue for blowing off office stress had been stolen!
Time for a Decathlon Upgrade
Getting over my sorrow, I started doing research into getting a new bike; which is when I discovered that Decathlon was now selling bikes in the United States! That’s when I quickly zeroed in on an updated cousin of my original bike – the Triban Disc 105 RC 520.
This blue beauty showed up at my door just days later. The specifications are formidable for the price. For $899 – you get an amazing amount of value. The bike comes with a Shimano 105 gear set and levers, hybrid disc brakes, and a carbon-bladed fork. These are features that you generally find on much more expensive bikes.
The geometry is perfect for me. On the bike, you sit fairly upright, much more like an endurance bike than a racing bike. Obviously, you can move the saddle forwards or backwards at your chosen height to tweak your own seating position. This geometry makes the 520 equally suited to fast commuting as it does to long rides over the weekend. The ergonomic saddle is comfortable -even for heavier riders like myself. I find myself looking forward to my 11-mile commutes. I smile to myself as I pass stopped red-line trains.
Getting up to speed is easy, and the 105 shifters are silky smooth. In the past, I had 21 speeds in a 3×7 set – whereas Triban 520 is 2×11. The impact that has is that you have a much wider ability to shift up and down on the rear gear set without having to shift again on the front. It is easier for my to find the optimal gear for chugging up and over a rail bridge, or picking up velocity on a descent.
For the Urban Commute
My general route takes me on battered city streets, filled with potholes and cracks. It takes across bridges made of metal grates, and winding through parts of Boston whose streets still show the scars of the Big Dig. I was completely surprised then when I felt barely any potholes nipping along Morrissey Boulevard. This is my first bike with a carbon fork – and it does make a massive difference to comfort. The stock tires are Triban Protect anti-puncture tires. I’ve put roughly 500 miles on so far – with no problems. That’s on some pretty poor roads with a bulky load. The 28mm size also helps as you can have a little lower pressure over smaller sized tires. The mechanically activated disc brakes hold their own, even in the New England weather – which just adds to the trust I have in the bike.
Easy Like Sunday Morning
It’s a bike that just wants to cruise. It’s ability to keep up speed with very little effort is a tribute to how well made this bike is.
All of these features make the Triban 520 a superb value bike that’s going to last me for years to come. The tempered aluminum frame, made in Belgium, has a lifetime guarantee (along with the stem and handlebars). Along the frame are plenty of points to mount bag racks or mud guards. The frame can even handle tires up to 36mm – meaning you could certainly make this into a more gravel-friendly bike. The handlebars come with spongy and comfortable grip tape already on them. Reflectors and peddles are included in the box. It’s the complete package at a price point where most of its competitors won’t have half the gear.