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The best bike under $1k? Decathlon Triban 105 RC 520 – feat. Shimano 105 + TRP HY/RD

The best bike under $1k? Decathlon Triban 105 RC 520 – feat. Shimano 105 + TRP HY/RD

Thanks for tuning in, this is The Sweet Cyclists and today we’re gonna be looking at the Decathlon Triban Disc 105 RC 520 road bike. We’re very excited to review the Triban RC 520 which is one of the best road bike values on the market today. The Triban RC 520 specs are a significant upgrade from the typical entry-level bike. With a retail price of only $900 it comes equipped with the latest Shimano 105 R7000 groupset. A powerful TRP HY/RD 160mm hydraulic disc brake setup. The frame is made from aluminum with a carbon bladed fork and tubeless ready Triban wheels. We want to thank Decathlon for providing this bike for the review. One of Decathlon’s missions is to make cycling more accessible and with the Triban line of bikes they’ve done just that. Now if you’re in the US you may not have heard of Decathlon before, they are a sporting goods store with over 1500 locations worldwide and have only recently made their way into the US. Now back to the bike, the RC 520 is designed to be a do-it-all bike. The wide tire clearance, up to 36 millimeters, and the disc brakes make a great gravel bike while the 11 speed drivetrain means you can also do longer rides. It’s also designed with an endurance geometry which makes the bike very approachable and has all the eyelets and fender mounts needed for commuting. The claimed weight for the large size frame is 23.8 pounds while we measured about 24.5 pounds with Look pedals and some accessories. Interestingly, the front wheel is about 3.7 pounds while the rear wheel is about 5 which means you should be able to shed some weight with some upgrades. [Music] Now let’s go over the fit and finish of the RC 520. This is one of the highest specced versions of the Triban line of bikes. There is a gravel version of the bike for $100 more with wider tires and different handlebars. As a part of the Triban line, it’s designed to be more aggressive than the entry-level B’Twin bikes but more relaxed than the Van Rysel racing bikes. As a result you have this endurance geometry, you’ll note it has a tall head tube here. That brings the front of the bike higher up and it gives you a more natural riding position and more neutral handling. Also note that they’ve included a dropped seat stay design as you can see here. These seats days don’t connect with the top tube and that gives you improved ride as well as better aerodynamics. Colorwise it’s only available in one color and that’s this dark blue navy color. You’ll also note that there’s a two-tone scheme here, you have the dark blue here and then this dividing line with the lighter color that’s carried through the bike at the seat tube as well as the seats stays here, as well as the Triban logo is ghosted on here with that lighter color. It’s a really nice modern look with a sort of matte finish. Now let’s take a closer look at the front end of the bike. You’ll notice throughout the bike we have this square profile design with both the top tube and the down tube. It gives the bike a very distinct look, it’s also carried through to the unbranded stem here. This is 100 millimeter stem that comes with the large size bike, it’s a very unique look overall. Also note that the weld are exposed here, with my more expensive Felt aluminum bike that’s actually smoothed over to give it a little cleaner look. But not surprising on this price and the welds are actually pretty well done they’re very even and look consistent. Also note that I’ve already replaced the bar tape here with this more grippy Fizik bar tape. I didn’t really like the stock foam one and I also added an orange accent color here that really complements tje rear accent on the seat stays. Here’s a side shot of the handle bars, these are really nice drop bars. It’s aluminum drop bar with a shallow drop and as you can see it has a good extension to it as well so you can find a variety of positions that match your riding style. Here’s the front end of the head tube, I wanted to point out that Decathlon logo is very subtly placed here with the black outlines. This is consistent with Decathlon’s branding where the Decathlon part is more of a byline rather than being prominently displayed on the bike and it’s a very good look. Also at this angle you can see the externally routed cables, you’ll see that it goes down the fork externally and then all the rear mechanisms go down the down tube. It’s a little bit cluttered but again not surprising at this price range. Another thing I wanted to point out here is the carbon bladed fork, a carbon bladed fork will reduce the vibration and make the ride quality a little bit better. This is not a full carbon fork but you can see it has these aesthetic elements on the bottom of the fork and it really does help with the ride quality. You won’t feel the harshness of the road but you’ll still get good ride feel. Also note that the external routed cables don’t go through the fork which is a little bit unusual. Typically the fork has a cable routing in here. Also you get the eyelet as well as fender mounts which is another great touch. Here’s a close-up of the down tube, you can see Triban is printed really subtly with that lighter blue color. Now lets take a closer look at that rear junction where the top two meets up with the seat tube. Again you’ll notice that the welds are all exposed but they’re really consistent and clean. The offset seats stay here which is not connected to the top tube for a better ride and you also see that boundary between the two colors. You have a darker navy blue and the lighter blue here. You get a standard seat clamp here. So here’s the rear of that same junction, again you can see all the exposed welds. You have pretty good clearance for the tires up to 36 millimeters which is great for off-roading. You can see the minimum insertion location here at the seat post clamp as well the fender locations and the eyelets. Here’s a close-up of the rear tires, these are a Triban Protect Light 700×28 from the factory. The wheels themselves are actually tubeless ready which is really amazing at this price point. I found the wheel to be rather heavy, they don’t have that fast acceleration you get with lighter climbing wheels. It is one thing that’s a easy upgrade but that’s pretty common with entry-level bikes. Usually they’re built for robustness and not speed. Here’s a close-up of the crank, this is a non-series Shimano crank. It looks very similar to 105 though so it really fits the bill pretty well. I’ve upgraded the pedals to LOOK Keos. From the factory you get the 105 derailleurs and the important levers, so you get all the important pieces. The chain set is also not Shimano. Here’s the backside of the crank again you can see exposed welding here as well as this interesting little bracing here which again has another mounting location for fenders. Overall though it looks pretty well done, the bottom bracket is surprisingly not that large. Typically modern bikes have BB30 or even larger standards, and really bulky bottom brackets. This is a lot smaller and more reminiscent of older steel bikes. With the RC 520 they’ve really done a great job in terms of specs, you get the 105 rear derailleur and this is the long cage. As you can see it’s quite a bit larger than the shorter cage version and gives you a lot of flexibility in terms of gearing. Right from the factory they give you 11 to 32 Microshift cassette and that’s really awesome. The range gives you enough to really speed down hills and do a lot a lot of climbs, especially combined with the compact crank which is a 50/34 that means your smallest gear is actually a 34-32. Here’s the rear brake calipers, these are TRP HY/RD which are mechanically actuated hydraulic disc brakes. They’re really great intermediate between full hydraulic system and a mechanically actuated disc brake. Having ridden mechanical disc brakes I can tell you they’re pretty terrible, I’d much rather have a nicer set of rim brakes but with these it’s a great in-between. You don’t have to run the more expensive levers but you get the excellent modulation. So if you’re going down a hill at 40 miles an hour or just coming to a stop sign it always feel the same, it’s really smooth. I also wanted to point out here is that these are post mounted, and you can see part of the reason this bike is so heavy is all these welds and the additional brackets here. So you can see it’s not a flat mounted, with a lot of carbon-fiber bikes they’re really designed with disc brakes in mind so the actual mounts are flat. So it would be really flush you wouldn’t have to have all this extra additional structure here. Here’s the front caliper again, same issue you have post mounted TRP HY/RD a little bit bulkier. With more expensive bikes they will be flat mounted which gives it a much sleeker appearance. Also the cable routes here is a little odd, and it does have to come all the way around instead of going through the fork. Now let’s take the Triban Disc 105 RC 520 on the road, here I have some footage of me on a local ride and as you can see I’ve already had a professional bike fit done at a local bike shop. Being 6′ 1″ with longer legs you can see the seat post is rather high, this is the large size frame which is similar to a 56 cm bike and it’s on the lower end of the bikes I typically fit so I have to have the seat post higher. Overall I would describe the handling of the bike as being very neutral due to that endurance style geometry. The head tube is taller which means you’re in a less aggressive position and as a result of that it’s less twitchy so if you’re looking for a very aggressive road bike that has fast handling the Triban is not quite for you. It has a more neutral feel to it and it’s happy to go on a straight line. It also handles well though if you need to do but it’s just less eager to do so. Now let’s talk about the drivetrain, I really like the Shimano 105 drivetrain on this bike. Unlike a lot of entry-level bikes which have eight or nine speed clunky drivetrains this generation of 105 is really crisp and clean. It’s also a modern 11 speed which gives you great gear range and with every generation Shimano also always integrates all the improvements from the older Ultegra and Durace lines down to the 105. So this generation of 105 is as good as previous generation Ultegras. The levers are also very ergonomic and really easy to modulate. As I mentioned I really love the gear ratios on this bike, you can really tell a cyclist put some thought and effort in this with the compact crank and the wide 11 to 32 cassette on the back. You can really take on a lot of steep climbs while staying in a granny gear and then also do a fast ascend with the higher gears. So now let’s talk about the brakes, this bike comes equipped with the TRP HY/RD hydraulic disc brakes which are mechanically actuated hydraulic disc brakes. I’ve heard some people say they don’t really like this but I don’t think they’ve actually ridden it. As someone with both rim brakes and TRP mechanical disc brakes I think these are really great improvement. They’re as good as a really solid rim brake and even though they’re not fully hydraulic they give you all the benefits of a hydraulic disc brake which means the modulations is very soft. Whether I’m coming down a steep descent or just going to a local stop sign it always feels really smooth and very easy to modulate. Another thing is responsiveness, with the design of this bike and the more entry-level wheels and tires it really doesn’t feel fast off the line. So you don’t feel like you’re going fast until you really get up to speed. I think the problem with this is a combination of the higher weight and the wheel/tire combination which is not surprising especially on entry-level bikes. The wheels and tires are great for commuting or off-roading but if you plan and do long or faster rides I highly recommend getting some lightweight climbing wheels and low resistant tires on there and that’s something we’re gonna explore in the future. So now let’s go over the final scorecard for the RC 520. In terms of design it is an A-. The two-tone color scheme is really well done and gives it a very sleek and modern appearance. Even though you have externally routed cables which make it a look a little bit cluttered, I think they’ve done a great job overall. In terms of components I’ve definitely give it an A, for this price point you just don’t see Shimano 105 components and the hydraulic disc brakes are a really great addition. Handling wise I’d give this a B+. It has a more endurance geometry and as a result it has more relaxed handling to it so it’s less responsive than a more aggressive carbon bike would be. Overall though the value of this bike is definitely an A+, you just don’t find specs like these on a $900 bike. It really makes a entry-level bike a lot more premium and even though the overall weight of the bike is a little bit heavy and has some negatives like the less responsive handling and wheels entire combination, I think it’s a really great value. Whether you’re looking for a good commuter or just looking for a bike for centuries or even as a winter bike I think it’s a great all-around bike. You can definitely adjust it and modify parts as you see fit to really improve the various characteristics. Thanks for watching this review, if you like the content don’t forget to like and subscribe. If you want to see more content from The Sweet Cyclists you can follow us on Instagram at @thesweetcyclists you can also visit our website at for additional content. This is The Sweet Cyclists reminding you to enjoy the ride! [Music]

1 comment on “The best bike under $1k? Decathlon Triban 105 RC 520 – feat. Shimano 105 + TRP HY/RD

  1. oh okay so USA is finally getting support for triban bikes from decathlon thats surprising, i thought you already had them because the brazilians are getting much earlier new products in comparison to us europeans.

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