The B'Twin Triban 100 costs less than a lot of the shoes we test here on road.cc and it's not just a bicycle shaped object either. It's a decent riding, comfortable, smooth handling bike that is great for those who are just dipping their toe into the water, or as something to get you across town, or even gentle rides into the country with the kids. It'll do it all.
- Pros: Stable handling with decent, functional kit ideal for the beginner
- Cons: Steel fork is weighty, bottom gear too high for beginners
I've ridden a few B'Twin aluminium alloy frames over the years and I've always been impressed with their ride quality, and it's no different here with the Triban 100.
Its box section down tube and triangular seatstays give the impression that you are going to be in for a firm ride, but while it doesn't quite have the refinement and smoothness of those in the Ultra range, it is still far from harsh. The 32mm tyres take a little bit of the sting out, admittedly, but it is actually a very pleasant place to be.
You've got quite a short top tube and a tall head tube which gives a relaxed position. It takes quite a bit of weight off your wrists and places less stress on your lower back, making it ideal if you are new to the sport, giving your body time to adapt. It also gives you a higher viewpoint in traffic should you use the Triban for commuting.
Our test model came with plenty of steerer length and spacers so, if needed, you could get a near-level saddle to bar height.
With its weight of 11.61kg (25.6lb), you might think the 100 could feel sluggish, but surprisingly it doesn't. It accelerates reasonably well and climbs okay too, especially if you put the power down while sitting in the saddle rather than standing up and trying to wring every last little bit of performance out of it.
Most of the weight is in that full steel fork and the wheels, so you'll notice this mostly when trying to lift the front end over kerbs or bumps.
When it comes to the head and seat angles they are reasonably slack at 72.5 and 73.5 degrees respectively, similar to what you'd expect to find on a relaxed endurance or gravel bike.
The handling is pretty neutral, and this combined with the 1,005mm wheelbase means the Triban offers plenty of stability through the bends and when descending. It'll give any rider the confidence they need to take things possibly a little quicker next time.
The tyres are semi slick with a bit of knobbly tread on the sidewalls so are ideal for hardpacked towpaths and bridleways. The B'Twin's mild manners also make it easy and fun to ride on this type of terrain.
It all adds up to a good all-rounder that you can use for a multitude of different riding situations without having to change parts over.
The Triban 100's frame is made from 6061-T6 aluminium alloy and while the welds may not be the prettiest you'll ever see it's not bad for the money.
There are some hydroformed tubes, where you use a mandrel and high pressure fluid to shape the finished product like the oval top tube (wider than it is tall), which is thicker at the head tube end for more stiffness and reduces in size towards the seat tube for a little more flex.
Those angular seatstays and the boxy down tube are also far from a traditional round setup.
The head tube is compatible with a straight through 1 1/8in fork steerer and the bottom bracket shell is kept minimal in size compared to today's standards. It accepts threaded bearing cups too.
The silver paintjob is very robust, I wouldn't expect to see any marks and scuffs appearing easily from being locked to bike racks or street furniture. The logos, though, are a different matter as they are literally just stickers and scratch easily.
It's good to see a set of bottle mounts plus points for full mudguards and a rear rack, ideal for year-round commuting.
The fork, as I said, is weighty but it is plenty stiff enough for the type of riding the Triban is likely to see. The narrow legs give a little bit of give for comfort as well.
B'Twin offers five sizes, with top tube lengths ranging from 525mm to 580mm, and it's available in a flat bar version too.
For the drivetrain, the Triban uses a bit of a mish mash of kit but it all works. On the top of the handlebar you'll find a 7-speed Shimano A050 gear shifter, which is basically an old-school indexed SIS job that you operate with your thumb, moving the gear up or down. There is none of the return to centre shifting like you see on integrated brake/shifter technologies like STI. You need a bit of a light touch to not shift too many gears in one go, but you soon get the feel.
The shifter controls a long cage Shimano Tourney rear mech. The shifting is fine up and down the range, if a little clunky. It's hard to believe the thickness of that 7-speed when you are used to seeing modern 11-speed systems.
The cassette has a range of 14-34t sprockets, with the bottom six in quite a close range and then a jump up to the Megarange 34-tooth ring for tackling those hills in the saddle.
This is paired with a single chainring; well, 1x is all the rage these days... Here you get a 48-tooth chainring. Even with that 34t sprocket at the rear, this doesn't give that low a bottom gear, basically it's the same bottom gear 38in as a classic race bike running 39/28 inner chaingring bottom sprocket would give you. In fact most modern race-oriented bikes would be running something lower than that 36/28 or 36/30 so if you haven't got the legs for it, stay on flatter terrain.
As the Triban doesn't use STIs you get a set of Tektro RL340 brake levers and with their rubber hood they are quite comfortable, although I didn't find myself spending lots of time in them as I was often on the tops to change gear.
The unbranded callipers are dual pivot and provide reasonable stopping power at cruising speeds. If you're descending and your mph is above the mid-20s you'll find there is quite a bit of flex in them, which takes away a bit of the responsiveness. Stopping power in the dry is still okay, though, and just as good if not better than some of the cheaper cable-operated disc brakes I've used.
The handlebar is B'Twin's own and looks unbelievably small with its 25.4mm diameter and it isn't the stiffest, with a hint of flex there if you really yank on it. Each bike size gets the same width of 420mm although the stem is size-specific: this medium gets a 100mm length, for instance.
The seatpost is another B'Twin model and it's easy to adjust. The saddle perched up on top is quite padded – a little too much for my liking – but for more sedate riding or bimbling around it's probably fine.
Wheels and tyres
The wheels and tyres are both B'Twin's own brand.
I've mentioned that the tyres have a semi-slick tread and that they are 32mm wide, suiting the all-round riding style of the Triban. They have reasonable grip and for the money you can't really complain about the rolling resistance. The test period didn't bring any issues with punctures or cuts either, which was good especially since it was hedgerow cutting season and the rain has returned.
If you are going to stick completely to the road, a lighter set of full slicks will suit you better, though.
Shedding weight is another thing you could do with the wheels, as they make up quite a bit of the overall heft. They use a shallow alloy rim with unbranded hubs, but again for the cost of the bike there is nothing to complain about really.
The wheels have 28 spokes front and rear, and although they remained true over the test period, spoke tension isn't massively high and I could get some sideways flex if I pushed them hard.
The front is equipped with a quick release lever, though the rear has a solid threaded axle which also adds to the weight.
It's easy to criticise various parts and components on the Triban as not being the most up to date or heavy, but for the £249 asking price you can't go wrong. It all works, it's simple to use and there is a fair amount of durability there.
As for the opposition, we don't have a lot come through the door at this price, with most of the larger brands not pricing their bikes much below £500.
There are a few to be found in our bikes under £300 buyer's guide, though. Halfords' Carrera Crixus CX bike is £350. It does get a Shimano Claris groupset and a double chainset for the money, which would justify the slightly higher price.
For £250, though, probably the only way to get such good bang for your buck as you are getting with the Triban 100 would be to go secondhand.
A good package of frame and components for very little money
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: B'Twin Triban 100 Road Bike
Size tested: Large
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Comfort-oriented frame geometry with a higher steering socket and a shorter top tube that offers a more upright position than a classic road frame. 6061 T6 aluminium sloping frame with semi-integrated headset. Frame weight, size M: 1830 g.
Straight steel fork for greater comfort and precision.
Aheadset 1"1/8 head tube makes the steering assembly strong and rigid.
HANDLEBAR / STEM / STEERING
Aluminium B'Twin Sport handlebar - Handlebar width (axle-axle):
B'Twin Sport aluminium stem
Length: XS: 90mm
S: 90 mm
L: 110 mm
XL: 110 mm
Speed changes using 7-speed Shimano A050 indexed shifter on the handlebar.
Ergonomic and very comfortable: change speeds without letting go of the top part of the handlebar.
This ergonomically-shaped lever fits the palm of your hand perfectly.
Shimano Tourney 7-speed rear derailleur.
CRANKSET / CASSETTE
Single chainring is easier to use and reduces weight significantly: 48 teeth.
Cranks: 170 mm.
Freewheel Cassette: SHIMANO 14 x 34.
The 34 Mega Range helps riding up steeper hills easier.
Tektro RL 340 brake levers offering good grip and excellent rigidity.
B'Twin 700 double-walled sport wheels.
Quick release attachment (9mm) at the front for easy manoeuvring and transport.
Nut mount for the rear wheel.
B'Twin Sport 700 X 32 hybrid tyres.The tread has small studs for increased performance. The sides of the tyres have larger studs for better grip in bends on consolidated or loose ground and on gravel.
SADDLE / SEAT POST
B'Twin Sport 100 Black saddle
B'Twin Sport aluminium seat post.
Diameter: 27.2 mm for added comfort thanks to its flexibility Length:
250mm in XS / S
350mm in M / L / XL
Hybrid platform pedals (good grip for use on trails).
ACCESSORIES / EQUIPMENT
Comes with a front and rear reflectors and a bell.
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Decathlon says, "Designed for moderate distances over flat or gravel terrain, thanks to hybrid tyres. B'Twin's Triban 100 road bike is the perfect choice if you're just starting out with road cycling. It has plenty of tyre clearance and can accommodate mudguards and a rear pannier rack."
I think that pretty much sums it up, especially the part about being ideal for those new to riding.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
The 100 is the entry level to the Triban range with a £349 500 model using Microshift gearing, a 520 Shimano Sora model for £499, and a 540 with 105 costing £679. Decent value throughout.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
For the money it's well built and finished, with only those fragile stickers being a bit of a pain.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame uses an aluminium alloy frame made from the 6061-T6 grade, while the fork is chromoly steel.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
With quite a tall head tube and short top tube, the position on the bike is quite relaxed, complete with angles at the head tube to give a bike that is easy to live with.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
This medium has a stack of 580mm and a reach of 376mm, which is about what I'd expect for a bike of this type.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes. Not as refined as more expensive alloy frames but not harsh.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
For the type of riding the B'Twin is likely to see, I'd say stiffness is ample. I could get flex at the bottom bracket but only if I was absolutely smashing it.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Reasonably efficient. It's not really a bike for the greatest of power transfer, you get more from it if you ride in a steady way rather than massive accelerations or power outputs.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The handling is very steady and perfect for the market it is aimed at. There won't be any twitchy surprises, on or off-road.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I'd change the saddle, personally, as I found it a little too padded.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
There is flex in nearly all of the components if you push the bike hard, but if you are out for a steady ride around the lanes it all adds to the comfort.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The 34t largest sprocket does offer a decent enough low gear.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Personally, I'd spend the extra £100 on the 500 model to get the Microshift brake/gear levers combo rather than the SIS lever on this 100.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
The wheels are pretty basic but did the job throughout the test period without issue. An upgrade to something stiffer and lighter would transform the bike as you as a rider grow.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
Decent enough across the board for the budget. Grip is good and their size and tread give you plenty of options.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
It's exactly as you'd expect for a bike at this price, quite basic. And seeing things like a 25.4mm diameter handlebar is a blast from the past but it all works. The drops of the handlebar are quite shallow so most people will be able to ride in them without issue.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes, especially if they were looking for a first bike.
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's pretty much the cheapest bike we've tested and there are very few out there for the money other than the Carerra mentioned in the review.
Use this box to explain your overall score
On the whole I found the Triban fun to ride in most situations, and for the money you can't knock the kit. A tyre and wheel upgrade for pure road use would be beneficial.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!