Bike Test: B’Twin Triban 500
Bike Test: B’Twin Triban 500
It turns out £350 can buy you a lot of bike. In one way, that’s not surprising; much of the cost of a truly lightweight cycle can be attributed to the manufacturer’s efforts to lose mass, and the Triban 500 isn’t light.
It looks like it should be, with its carbon-fibre fork and a welded 6061 aluminium alloy frame “designed and tested in Flanders”, but nevertheless it’s a bit of a lump. It’s well-specified, however. Styling may be along the lines of a sports or racing cycle, with impressively-profiled frame tubes and a sharply sloping top tube, but the Triban has threaded mounting points not only for a rear rack and full mudguards but a low-rider front rack to boot.
A budget road tourer or commuter, then? Why not, when there’s enough clearance for 25mm tyres with mudguards, when the frame is unquestionably sturdy enough for the task, and when the bike comes equipped with a triple chainset? There are minor issues: bottom gear is high due to the small cassette, and the B’Twin ErgoFit saddle not quite ergo enough for long hours spent pedalling. Yet both are easily remedied. Not so is one fundamental property of the frame’s design – steering that is quick to the point of being positively flighty. The straight-blade fork, made with 12K twill, sits at a steep angle, resulting in a highly sensitive front end that is anything but relaxing and cosseting.
Come to an accommodation with the steering and the bike is, in most respects, a tidy performer. The Microshift levers offer slick, accurate shifting, albeit via an unusual paddle arrangement that transmits the solid feel of an eight-speed derailleur. The B’Twin Sport dual-pivot caliper brakes are strong and controllable. The wheels are nicely true, and the overall finish good. In short, £350 can buy you a serviceable bike, which needs just a small change to the head angle to be more than simply capable.
Flighty steering and somewhat heavy but robust, well-finished, and well-equipped. The Triban 500 has touring and commuting potential.
Tech Spec B’Twin Triban 500
Sizes: XS, S, M (tested), L, XL
Weight: 10.6 kg
Frame & fork: 6061-T6 welded aluminium frame with fittings for mudguard, rack, one bottle. 12K carbon-fibre fork with 1 1/8in steerer and fittings for mudguard and low-rider rack.
Wheels: 25-622 B’Twin Resist 5 tyres, B’Twin Sport 700 rims, Aero 28 aluminium hubs, 28 radial spokes front 28×3 spokes rear.
Transmission: Shimano Tourney triple crankset, 50-39-30, 170mm crank arms, with square-taper BB; Microshift 8-speed rear derailleur and dual-control levers, 8-speed cassette 12-25t. 16 ratios, 32-111in.
Braking: B’Twin Sport dual-pivot
Steering & seating: 400mm×31.6 B’Twin ergonomic aluminium handlebar; B’Twin aluminium stem; semi-integrated 1 1/8in headset. B’Twin Sport aluminium 27.2mm seatpost, B’Twin ergonomic saddle
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