Matt Lamy

See other accessory reviews written by Matt Lamy

It's half the price of some hybrid bikes, so make sure you check out our B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar bicycle review before splashing the cash

Overview

If you haven't enjoyed a bike ride on holiday for years, perhaps this could be the year to make your comeback! Remember that glorious feeling as you freewheel down a gentle hill to the beach? And just imagine the joy of silently heading off to a local shop to pick up croissants or bacon for breakfast back at the motorhome.

There is no better way to explore an area than from the saddle of a bicycle, and you can even pause to chat to people en-route. Best of all, you'll end up fitter at the end of your holiday, and be able to tuck in to calorific local delicacies without any guilt.

We've decided to test a batch of bikes that give fair-weather cyclists an easy ride. These are all hybrids – all-purpose bikes for both road and track, with flat handlebars that allow you to sit tall in the saddle.

They're not mountain bikes, and they won't win you over if you're a serious road racer either. So in our tests we've looked for bikes that are easy to use, comfy to ride, light enough to manhandle, manoeuvre and get going. 

We've also given marks for such things as the gearing, both in terms of the range of ratios available and the quality of the gearsets’ operation. Both are pretty important when it comes to how rewarding your bike feels to ride. The same goes for brakes: those that are safe and secure let you spin on with confidence.

The saddle and tyres on a bike make a big difference to the rider's comfort, too. Although it's easy to change both of these things once you've bought your bike, we gave more marks to bicycles where the basic set-up is good enough to stick with them. Handlebars, grips and steering controls can be a little more difficult to alter, so it’s worth being comfortable with those from the start, too.

Finally, something that non-cyclists often don’t consider is their position on the bike. Is the basic frame shape comfortable for a rider of average size? And are there easy ways to manipulate it?

Practical Motorhome's hybrid bicycle tests reveal which are the best for motorhome holidays, and you can read a selection of the reviews online. For instance, we've tested the Islabikes Beinn 29, costing £499.99 and weighing 12.1kg, the Dawes Discovery 201, costing £319.99 and weighing 12.6kg. Then we tried out the Pinnacle Neon Two, priced at £450 and weighing 10.4kg, the Verenti Division CB2.1 SORA, costing £449 and weighing 10.8kg. Then finally we tested the B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar, costing just £260 and weighing 10.9kg.

In this review we'll take a closer look at the refreshingly affordable B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar bicycle to see how well it would suit touring holidays.

B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar bicycle is available from the Decathlon chain of sports superstores, which have revolutionised the UK bike market by offering everything from trouser clips to carbon race bikes at incredibly low prices. This bike, for example, could easily command a further £200 from a different manufacturer. However, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect for our needs.

Based on an aluminium racing frame, the Triban is fast but quite unforgiving. It’s super-stiff, which is great if you need to get somewhere quickly, but if you want to look around and enjoy the ride, it’s tough to live with.

That said, everything works well, although the caliper brakes prevent fitting wider tyres to help with comfort. For commuting, it’s a five-star bicycle. For leisure, though, it loses points.

Technical specs

Weight11kg in size M, without pedals
ForksSteel bladed forks
Fork / SuspensionNew Hi-ten straight steel fork for added comfort and precision 1 1/8in headset pivot
GearsSRAM 3.0 21 speed groupset
FrameShort frame geometry, 1.9 kg in size 57, durable frame, available in 8 sizes for users from 1.60 m to 2.00 m tall
AccessoriesComes with front and rear-lighting kit and bell
Drive trainSRAM 3.0 push-pull gear shifter, SRAM 3.0 long-cage, rear derailleur, Microshift R8 triple, front derailleur
Crankset/cassetteShimano TZ21 7-speed 14 x 28 cassette (14/16/18/23/25/28) ; BTWIN 48/38/28 triple crankset, with 170 mm cranks
BrakesBTWIN SPORT double-pivot brake callipers for added power Aluminium TEKTRO brake levers
Handlebars560mm in S/M/L 600mm in XL BTWIN Sport Oversize stem S: 80mm M/L: 100mm XL: 110mm
WheelsBTWIN SPORT 32-spoke wheels, Aero 32 hubs, two wheel sizes: 650 wheels: Junior - S 700, Wheels: M - XXL
TyresHutchinson Equinox 23 C
Saddle/seat postPU Sport Royal Saddle BTWIN Sport Aluminium seat post, diameter: 29.8mm, length: 350mm
PedalsVP 383 pedals with toe clips

Verdict

If you're looking for an absolute bargain for commuting, the B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar bicycle is the one for you. For motorhome holidays we'd save up for the Islabikes Beinn 29 (£499.99) or a Pinnacle Neon Two (£450.00). 

We've awarded the B'Twin Triban 500 Flat Bar bicycle a three-star rating for motorhome touring.

Conclusion

Pros

  • Fast on the road
  • Amazing value for money
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Stiff to handle
  • Caliper brakes prevent you from fitting wider tyres
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