Test: The complete wheels of the French sporting goods giant Decathlon still have an inglorious discounter image. This is also due to the still very low price, but bikes like the Triban RC 520 Gravel show that a thoroughly convincing overall package can be obtained by those who are willing to make one or the other compromise and do without the advice of a specialist dealer.
Triban RC 520 Decathlon Gravel Bike: The Facts
Frame material: Aluminium
Wheel size(s): 700cc (650b compatible)
Maximum tire clearance: 36mm / 42mm (650b)
Axle dimensions (v/h): Quick release
Mudguard Eyelets: Ja
Luggage carrier eyelets (v/h): No Yes
bottle holder: down tube up, seat tube
Weight wheels v/h/total (with tires and brake discs): 1.600g / 1.809g / 3.409g
Weight complete bike without pedals (size M): 10,54kg
Price: € 999
Endurance frames on gravel bikes?
With more than 1.500 branches worldwide and an annual turnover of over 10 billion euros, Decathlon is one of the largest sporting goods retailers and manufacturers. The success of the French group is based not least on the many own brands, which can score with an attractive price/performance ratio. For a number of years, Decathlon has also had an extensive range for cyclists, which not only consists of clothing and accessories, but also includes numerous bikes - from city bikes to sporty MTBs or racing bikes. One of these "own bike brands" is Triban. Since 2018, all drop bar bikes that previously bore the b'twin logo have been grouped under this name.
The Triban RC 520 Gravel has been available since last autumn and is currently the only bike with the Gravel suffix. It shares the frame with the RC 520 Disc Endurance bike, which has been available for some time - this of course saves costs in production, but unsurprisingly it does not come without compromises. Above all, the tire clearance should be mentioned here, which is very small at 36mm and makes it impossible to mount large-volume tires - which is not necessarily good for comfort.
Otherwise, the aluminum frame is surprisingly good as a basis for a gravel bike: It comes with mounting points for mudguards and a luggage rack, and the overall relaxed geometry is appropriate for the area of use. The fact that the wheels are fastened with quick-releases is no longer really up-to-date and makes it considerably more difficult to install without grinding, but in view of the low price it is tolerable.
Even for an endurance bike, the RC 520 has an extraordinarily relaxed, touring-focused geometry - which now benefits our RC 520 Gravel. Rather short top tube, little camber, a lot of stack - made for longer tours or relaxed excursions. Thanks to short struts and the steep steering angle, however, it should also be nice and agile to ride. Nevertheless: If you are looking for a rather sporty bike, you might be happier somewhere else.
Geometry Triban RC520 Gravel
|seat tube (in mm)
|Top tube horizontal (in mm)
|head tube (in mm)
|Wheelbase (in mm)
|chainstay (in mm)
|Steering angle (in °)
|Seat angle (in °)
|Stacks (in mm)
Discounter bike – so what?!
At just under 1.000 euros, the Triban RC 520 Gravel is by far the cheapest bike in our test field. However, the equipment would not necessarily suggest this. The tried-and-tested Shimano 105 group with compact crank is used for the drive, and for the brakes, the semi-hydraulic TRP HY/RD is used instead of the classic, mechanical brake calipers that are often installed on inexpensive bikes.
The wheels come from our own company, as do all attachments. As the icing on the cake, the RC 520 Gravel is given a carbon fork - with an aluminum shaft, but normally in this price range you almost only get forks made entirely of aluminum. At first glance, the Decathlon Triban RC 520 Gravel does justice to its reputation as a price/performance bargain.
Even if the Shimano 105 group on the Triban is actually a pure racing bike group, it should also do quite well in gravel use - in terms of quality anyway, and the range of gear ratios and the gear steps are quite appropriate for gravel rides. The fact that you have to do without damping in the rear derailleur results in audible and noticeable chain slapping off-road.
Opinions are divided on the TRP brakes. The chunky calipers aren't exactly pleasing to the eye, and they're also quite heavy. In terms of braking performance and feel, they are superior to weak mechanical brakes, but they do not come into the range of purely hydraulic systems, which is acceptable in this price range. Another plus compared to purely mechanical brakes: the pad adjustment is automatic on the HY/RD.
|Triban Evo 6061 T6
|Triban Evo Carbon
|Triban tubeless ready light
|Hutchinson Overside 35mm
|Shimano FC-RS510 50/34
|Triban Aluminum 27,2
|Triban Gravel 16
Light wheelset with narrow rims
We are amazed when we weigh the wheels: at 3.409g for the complete set including tires and brake discs, they are among the lightest of our entry-level bikes and even compete with significantly more expensive counterparts. In addition to the very light Hutchinson tires, the rims, which are light but also very narrow with an inner width of 17mm, also have their part in this. At least 19mm is now common on gravel bikes, and usually even more. With the Triban, for example, there is a risk that the tires will buckle in fast corners and the wheel will feel spongy if the pressure on the Triban is slightly reduced in gravel use. In addition, the danger of breakdowns increases considerably. However, the tubeless capability of tires and rims should be positively emphasized.
We were positively surprised by the optically and technically really impressive Triban attachments such as saddle, seat post, stem and handlebars. The latter is 440mm wide on our test bike in size L and has a 16° flare.
Let's Gravel: The Triban RC 520 Gravel
At first glance, the Triban RC 520 Gravel looks like an ordinary entry-level racing bike with profiled tires for off-road use. The frame shape and geometry are also reminiscent of the somewhat more comfortable endurance road bikes. In short: Everything is solid but without any notable highlights.
In this price range and for a Gravel beginner, this is not too bad, because once you sit on it and pedal, you can enjoy the balanced riding experience. The seating position is rather comfortable, but overall the ergonomics are really good. The driving characteristics are good, but as with the equipment, the same applies here: little shade and little light.
As already indicated, the geometry is quite relaxed since this frame is also used for the Triban endurance bike. However, thanks to the short stays, this bike is very balanced and definitely not as sluggish as it looks. The biggest disadvantage of this frame is already in the luggage and is tire freedom, because the frame unfortunately only has space for tires up to 36mm.
But if you think about where this entry-level gravel bike for 1000 euros is most likely to be used, this is probably less dramatic. Because especially on commuter routes and normal gravel passages you can get along well with these conditions. It also doesn't seem so bad that the rim with an inner width of 17mm is extremely narrow, but this is in favor of the weight. This is noticeable in the Triban RC 520 Gravel, among other things, in the surprisingly good acceleration. Unfortunately, the low tire clearance and the narrow tires cut the Triban noticeably; comfort leaves a bit to be desired on bad surfaces and would certainly benefit from more volume in the tires.
Speaking of the equipment, we must of course also talk about the equipment package, which is really convincing in this price range. Because the Shimano 105 is still one of the tried and tested groupsets when it comes to simple functionality and durability. The translation bandwidth and precision is also more than sufficient, especially on this beginner.
The Triban RC 520 Gravel also demonstrates everyday qualities with an amazing number of options for attaching pannier racks, bags and mudguards.
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