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Test & Tuning Decathlon Bike:
Triban RC 120 Disc
French sports discounter Decathlon is known for its excellent value for money, but what you get for your money with the Triban RC 120 Disc - respect, that's awesome. Exactly € 499,99 are called for the chic blue racer with orange Triban lettering. Comparable bikes of other manufacturers cost gladly times the double. So maybe a cheater after all?
Anyone who has known Decathlon for some time probably knows that the entire cycling line, including clothing and accessories, is marketed under the B'Twin label. Or rather it was. Because everything has changed recently - from March 2019 there will be brand labels for every cycling sector. The Road Cycling segment, designed for comfort, long distance and everyday use, is covered by the Triban models. Road Racing, strongly competition-oriented, is covered by the brand label Van Rysel. In this respect it suits me, I am not a competition driver and therefore in good hands with the Triban brand. Nothing worse than a bike that doesn't fit your personal needs and abilities! The Triban 120 is actually a high-end Triban 100. A cyclist friend even called it the Triban 100 on steroids. The 100 has already proven in many tests that for € 259.99 you get a full-fledged racer with a range of uses from road to gravel to randonneur.
The Triban RC 120 Disc is based on the proven 6061 aluminium frame of the 100. Decathlon sells the Triban 100 in over 50 countries. That means really large
quantities and in total millions of kilometers of experience. Advantage: The 1830 g heavy frame is technically mature and Decathlon gives a lifetime warranty on it. By the way, this also applies
to the stem, handlebar and fork [Note: since 4/2020 fork 2 years]. The fork is undoubtedly the highlight of the
RC 120 Disc. No shit, it is a carbon fork. It doesn't just look that way - everything is real. I particularly like the natural carbon design. For me it also looks as if it is the same fork as
used on the higher quality Decathlon bikes RC 500, RC 520 and RC 520 Gravel. That would be nice, wouldn't it? In addition to the high-tech fork, there are mechanical disc brakes from Promax with
160 mm rotors and semi-metallic brake pads at the front and rear. Finished is the varnish concerning the optics! In front of you stands a bicycle dream in noble navy blue and black and it
definitely makes a good figure in the beer garden too.
With the favourable price, it is of course clear that there will be some compromises to be made somewhere. And so the Triban RC 120 Disc has a somewhat peculiar mix of components. The rear derailleur, front derailleur, cassette and brake/shift lever come from Taiwanese manufacturer Microshift, while Decathlon uses the Shimano Tourney A070 road bike crankset for the crank with double chainring.
By the way, the Decathlon bike comes with tubular tires, but the rims are already 'Tubeless Ready'. So you don't have to invest in new wheels. The standard tires are
sporty profiled road tires with a modern 28 mm width. Hell yea!
The standard pedals are, as I should say, very simple and don't really fit the bike. I think the pedals are mounted more for the sake of completeness. A Decathlon customer wants a 100% ready to ride bike. After all, the plastic pedals are nice and light.
Out of the Box and
Officially Decathlon sells the Triban RC 120 Disc as a road racing bike with which you 'make fast progress'. With its 2x8 gears it is also suitable for any track.
And what does that mean in concrete terms? I would like to take up again the new brand philosophy of Decathlon: Triban stands for comfort, long distance and everyday life. In this respect, you
sit much more relaxed on this bike than on a competition racing bike. The Triban is really pleasant to ride and yet somehow sporty. I feel ready to ride an attack at any time. That is real racing
bike feeling what arises there.
I am 180 cm tall and have decided on the L frame. The size M was definitely too small for me. I would have had to ride with a lot of elevation and then there wouldn't have been much of the Triban comfort left. The RC 120 Disc moves forward wonderfully, the bike is very stiff and the cockpit is great. The optical value continues in haptics and function. A small drop of bitterness: Unfortunately, the employee in the Decathlon shop didn't check the gears and so there was chain rub in some gears on the front derailleur. When you pick up a bike at Decathlon, make sure everything works perfectly. For me it was unproblematic because I know my way around quite well, but especially if you are a beginner, everything should work perfectly.
Back to riding. The disc brakes are great, so are the tires. They have really good grip on the road and look great. Almost like a super bike tire that got too thin. The track keeping on fine, rolled gravel is also ok. At least as long as it's dry. Anyone like me who, motivated by the many positive tests of the Triban 100, intends to use the RC 120 Disc more on gravel should, however, put on other tires.
One more remark about the dropbar - it has a slight backsweep (approx. 4°) and therefore the bike is very comfortable to ride in the upper position. A small detail, but it makes the bike absolutely suitable for long distances.
The Triban RC 120 Disc from Decathlon is a great sports bike at a fair price. The bike is neither a cheapo, nor a cheater. For price-conscious leisure cyclists with
sporting ambitions definitely a very hot offer. The seating position is comfortable and anyone who wants to attack can get out of the saddle and really put the pedal to the metal. No speed is too
high for the disc brakes, they are easy to adjust and decelerate excellently.
The Microshift gearshift is also convincing. It is in no way inferior to the well-known Shimano and Sram products. An 11x34 rear sprocket set and a double chainring in the front with 50 and 34 teeth respectively results in 16 gears. Uphills welcome. Highlight is the carbon fork.
No wonder that shortly after the start of sales not all sizes are available anymore. I am really happy to have received a bike in size L for the 2019 season. The conversion to the trendy Gravel Racer is possible with very little effort. I strongly suspect that the French will soon bring a 120 Gravel and probably also a 'Limited' edition. No doubt, the RC 120 Disc has the potential for it (Update: on 17 January 2020, the Triban GRVL 120 was presented at the Velofollies bike show in Kortrijk, Belgium.
From Leisure Road Bike to Gravel Racer
My home is surrounded by woods. More precisely, there is a lot of forest and many gravel roads. And so it was obvious to make
few modifications to the bike. In the past months I have tested different parts and setups. Tires, pedals, bags, handlebars, brakes and of course riding, riding and riding again. Dry, wet, dusty,
slushy - except for snow really everything was there.
In the meantime Decathlon has launched the GRVL 120. A real gravel bike for the budget price of 600 Euro. So the question arises whether an RC 120 'Gravel' still makes sense at all. The answer is simple: Yes, it makes sense. Because gravel is extremely versatile and the boundaries to randonneur, expedition bike, cyclocrosser and even to the classic hardtail are fluid. In addition, should personal preferences change, the bike can be converted back into a pure road bike at any time. And a suitably tuned RC 120 can not only compete with the GRVL 120 in price and performance, but can even compete with bikes in the 1000-1500 Euro class.
In the following I would like to introduce the tuning packages 'Performance Gravel' and 'Competition Gravel' for the RC 120 Disc, which I developed and tested in practice. Below are the individual tuning parts with links to the shops. Of course you can also create your own individual RC 120 'Gravel' from the tuning parts listed below.
RC 120 'Performance Gravel'
With the 'Performance Gravel' parts the RC 120 Disc becomes a stylish gravel bike. I have tested this package for several hundred miles on gravel roads in the woods
and fields, on tarred farm tracks and on the road.
Typical usage profile road/gravel: 50/50
Perfomance level: beginner / sporty recreational rider
RC 120 'Competition Gravel'
With the 'Competition Gravel' parts the RC 120 Disc becomes a real hard gravel bike. I tested this package several hundred miles on gravel roads and single trails in
the Schoenbuch Nature Park and in the Black Forest.
Typical usage profile road/gravel: 20/80
Performance level: advanced / sports rider
Top Tuning Parts
Trekking Speed 700x38
Shimano Combination Pedals PD-M324
Frame Bag Riverside 300
Decathlon Triban 500
Saddle Mudguard Road Bike
Saddle Mudguard MTB (modifiziert)
Schwalbe Smart Sam
Ritchey Comp Ergomax 440 mm
Important tuning part; seat post tube quick release clamp. A must have if you wanna ride downhills full throttle.
Schwalbe's G-One Bite tire is lightweight, delivers massive traction and comes in stylish classic wall design.
The XLC skewer set in orange is perfect for the RC 120 (notice: seat post tube skewer can not be used).
Currently testing this part! With the 11-40 cassette the RC 120 gets mountain approved. In addition you need the Alivio derailleur and the Shimano
Currently testing this part! The Alivio derailleur RD-M4000 Long Cage has a capacity of 45. Necessary if you use a cassette bigger than 11-34.
Currently testing this part. Necessary if you use 11-40 cassette and Shimano Alivio RD-M4000 derailleur.
Exactly the right size for the gravel bike. Perfect in combination with BBB Cycling's backloader.
Much more than just a navigation system. With the 'Edge 830 Sensor Bundle' my training got really professional.
No overnighter without backloader - BBB Cycling's backloader system is smart designed. Check it out. I love it.
Triban Riderz Community
You also ride a Triban RC 120 Disc? Then share your experiences with me. Especially to tires and other tuning parts your information is always welcome. Because for
me, only really tested tires and parts make it on the list! Even if you have questions about the bike you are welcome to contact me.
By the way, under the hashtag #swtrbn120rc you can find all my posts about the Triban RC 120 Disc on Instagram.
List Gravel Tires
Decathlon Trekking Speed 700x38c (680g)
Decathlon Trekking 9 Speed Protect Plus 700x38c (610g/60TPI)
Schwalbe CX Comp 700x35c (480g/50TPI)
Schwalbe CX Comp 700x38c (550g/50TPI)
Schwalbe Smart Sam 28x1.40 / 700x35c (475g/67TPI)
Schwalbe Smart Sam 28x1.60 / 700x40c (555g/67TPI)
Hutchinson Overide 700x35 Hardskin (350g/127TPI)
Schwalbe G-One Bite 28x1.5 (470g/67TPI)
Ride On ;-)