Ob the price of a bike is reasonable is usually in the eye of the beholder. Ambitious athletes, highly motivated amateur cyclists and technology-loving amateurs take many big bills in their hands without batting an eyelid, in order to be able to call a bicycle that is as efficient, light or technically sophisticated as possible. Less demanding buy their bike in the hardware store – that also drives and costs only slightly more than the tank filling of an SUV.
There are admittedly some shades between these extremes. If one brings together the premises “sufficiently sporty” and “sensibly equipped” and approaches this from a perspective oriented to economy, the 1000 euro limit should be described as magical. The Triban RC 520 Gravel from the French sports giant Decathlon costs exactly one cent less.
The equipment list has some arguments for the price war gravel bike. The frame is made of aluminum, the “tapered” fork with aluminum shaft made of carbon. The drive is done by a 1 × 11 Sram-Apex-1 gearshift including a suitable crank, decelerated with hydraulic TRP disc brakes. Well, partly hydraulic, because Bowden cables first lead from the brake levers to the brake calipers, which use integrated hydraulics to grip the 160-millimeter discs. In-house tubeless ready wheels with quick releases and WTB-Resolute-Gumwall tires in 650 × 42 keep contact with the ground. All other components have the B’Twin lettering, so they come from our own production, just like the bikes. The scales show 10.5 kilos. Quite a respectable weight in this price range.
The entire wheel is designed in a coherent manner
With a driver height of 1.73 meters, the author lands exactly between frame sizes S and M and, after consulting with Decathlon, sits on an M bike. At first, the seating position seems to be a little stretched, but it turns out to be successful after the first few exits and the accompanying fine-tuning. The entire bike is designed and built in a coherent manner. Good comfort is ensured during long days in the saddle. The frame and fork are flexible enough on loose ground and rough asphalt, at the same time there is enough rigidity during sprinting or in rough, fast descents. The handling is generally on the stable side.
The handlebar is not too wide and with 16 ° flare offers a pleasant variety in the grip position. Brake dosing and power, gear shifting and gear gradation – everything works perfectly and harmonizes with the gravel-road mixed calculation of a gravel bike. There is also nothing to complain about in terms of processing. The weld seams are accurate, the two-tone paint – matt black on top, shiny dark green below – is impressive. A small logo on the seat tube should document that the bike was developed and tested on the historic streets of Flanders. Bottle holders should of course not be missing. A special feature, however, are the threads for luggage carriers and mudguards. Even the carbon fork has threaded holes for screwing in either a small porter or bike packing accessories up to eight kilograms. The gravel bike can be converted into a fast commuter bike or a versatile randonneur with just a few additional accessories.
Criticisms are limited. The cable routing on the down tube – the entry path of dirt and scree – is not ideal and the saddle, subjectively, is too soft. Some people will criticize the freedom from tires, because tire dimensions in the mountain bike segment neither fit in the frame nor in the fork. However, this is manageable and probably a temporary, fashion-related need anyway.
The bottom line is the Triban RC 520 Gravel is quite a price-line hit. The fact that the bike is currently on the same course with Shimano 105 gearshift on the Decathlon website places an exclamation mark behind this statement.