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Verdict: 
Really good, competitively priced riding staples – but check the sizing
Weight: 
200g

The Triban RC500 Bib Shorts are an impressive package, especially at this price point. Well made and extremely comfortable, they also feature some touring-friendly tweaks that I wasn't expecting.

  • Pros: Great fit, solidly made, extremely comfortable
  • Cons: Sizing slightly off – they're a little short in the leg

The build quality feels reassuringly solid – better, in fact, than several I've got commanding twice the money – with neatly executed and unobtrusive stitching and seams. I would happily choose these for a gravel-biased ride. Besides, I doubt Decathlon would whack on a two-year warranty if it wasn't confident they'd last.

> Find your nearest Decathlon store here

The legs are made from 80% polyamide, 20% elastane, while the mesh bibs are 77% poyester, 23% elastane, designed with easy movement and efficient moisture management in mind.

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - front full.jpg

Plenty of smiles per mile here. The stretchy bib sections offer unhampered movement without any distracting slip on longer rides, while the relatively thin panels do an excellent job of trafficking moisture from the skin and, conversely, trapping some welcome warmth when the temperatures dipped unexpectedly, late evening.

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - straps back.jpg

Sure, a mild mistiness will creep in given 40 minutes or so at a decent tempo, but this is spirited away soon afterward. Odour management is good too – even after a day's steady riding, nasty niffs were a moot point.

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - front.jpg

According to the blurb, there's no fatigue-cheating 'compression' technology, although, like for like, they were on a par with a couple that do. This may be partly attributable to the broad silicone gripper. For me this was on the snug side but hasn't presented any problems, and is infinitely preferable to a loose-fitting example that can permit the fabric to ride up, inducing chafing/similar discomfort.

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - cuff.jpg

Though they did 'creep' slightly as the miles racked up, I concluded that the mediums were slightly shorter in the leg than ideal for me. (It's not me in the photos.)

Pad

Arguably, pads are the most crucial determinant of shorts' comfort. Most are very good by degrees, these days. Decathlon describes it as being a 'gel' design. It is, in fact, polyamide sandwiched between a polyester/elastane mix with a variety of densities to provide optimal support and minimise chafing.

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - pad.jpg

Like many others, it initially felt like the proverbial loaf of bread, especially post-washing. However, it quickly morphed to my shape and went unnoticed, regardless of whether I was doing a sub-30 minute 10 on my TT bike or indulging in an 80-mile mixed terrain meander on my tubby tourer.

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - back full.jpg

The outer fabric permits subtle shuffling/shifting position without distracting slip, irrespective of saddle cover type.

Other features

Unusually, the right leg has a pocket – something of a rarity, although I have a pair of Polaris Challenge Nexus shorts which also have this feature, as do, at the other end of the scale, Rapha's Core Cargo bibs. It's a welcome plus, provided you load it sensibly – cash/patches and other little valuables you might need easy access to. (They're available without, too, if you prefer.)

Triban RC 500 cycling shorts - back.jpg

The backs feature a smattering of discreet retro-reflective detailing.

Sizing/fit

Ours were medium and, on balance, I think I might be between sizes. These were slightly shorter in the leg than I'd prefer. Decathlon's sizing chart is reassuringly accurate, so in all probability online purchases shouldn't present any unexpected surprises.

Value

At a penny under £40, these shorts are really good value for what you get. They're not alone at this end of the scale – dhb's lowest priced bib shorts come with a Cytech pad and silicone leg grippers and, at £35, could give the Tribans a good run for your hard-earned.

> Buyer's Guide: 10 of the best cheap cycling shorts

Caratti's Sport Bib Shorts are £40, though the test sample's stitching lacked the Triban's refinement.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the Triban RC 500s represent excellent value for money and are, thus far, on a par with some in my collection costing twice as much. A lot of thought seems to have gone into their design. Just beware you might have to go up a size if you have sprinter-esque thighs or fall between sizes.

Verdict

Really good, competitively priced riding staples – but check the sizing

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: Triban RC 500 cycling shorts

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the product is for

Triban says: "Our team of road cycling enthusiasts has worked tirelessly to develop, test and hone these cycling shorts to make them the most comfortable in our range.

"These new RC500 cycling shorts are super comfy thanks to the mesh straps and ergonomic pad with gel inserts. Very practical pocket on the outside of the thigh that is easily accessible while riding."

They're high performance and generally very comfortable bib shorts.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Decathlon:

COMPOSITION

MAIN FABRIC

80.00% Polyamide, 20.00% Elasthane

YOKE (GENERAL)

77.00% Polyester (PES), 23.00% Elasthane

PADDING - INNER FABRIC

100.00% Polyamide

PADDING - OUTER FABRIC

77.00% Polyester (PES), 23.00% Elasthane

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Well made and built to last.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Very comfortable in all contexts. Mesh panelling does a good job of regulating temperature on hotter days, too.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Very solidly made and backed with a two-year warranty.

Rate the product for fit:
 
8/10

Generally excellent fit. Figure-hugging, yet tactile and compliant.

Rate the product for sizing:
 
7/10

Slightly shorter in the leg than ideal for me. You might need to go up a size.

Rate the product for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort:
 
8/10

Very comfortable in all contexts, despite being slightly shorter in the leg than ideal for me.

Rate the product for value:
 
8/10

How easy is the product to care for? How did it respond to being washed?

Much as any other bib shorts: pop in the wash, minimum detergent, 30 degrees and line dry.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Deliver phenomenal bang for very modest buck and have performed consistently well, regardless of what machine and type of riding. The pad is particularly good, offering just the right blend of comfort and density. Large silicone grippers keep the shorts from gathering, without encroaching. Moisture management is similarly good, mesh bib panels trafficking moisture very efficiently.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Specification and comfort very high, relative to the price point.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a dislike per se, just a caution re the sizing.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

dhb's Bib Shorts come with a Cytech pad, silicone leg grippers and, at £35, could give the Tribans a good run for your money.

At £40, Caratti's Bib Shorts are arguably their closet rivals, although the test samples' stitching lacked the Tribans' refinement.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but double check the sizing.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Great bib shorts for a modest price. A really good wallet-friendly staple for general summer riding.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 45  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset  My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking

Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)

9 comments

Avatar
alan sherman [36 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

I'll add to the review as I bought some of these a couple of  months ago:

  • Great value for money,
  • Sizing is on the small size so size up
  • Pad is very thick detween the legs, I don't like it when peddling out the saddle.
  • Due to the point above save a fiver and buy the RC 100 bibs which I also have and prefer, they have teh same funciton (minus the pocket) and a thinner pad.

Decathlon is a welcome antidote to the arms race for more and more expensive riding gear.  Decent stuff and a decent price so we can all enjoy riding more and working less.  You do need to select what you buy though, and try on.  I  did have some MTB shorts a few years back that were dirt cheap and the inner short was rubbish.

 

The fact they now have a few inner London stores that are open in the evennings means you can go and try on stuff after work.  Evans used to do evening opening but all the local stores have now gone.

Avatar
kil0ran [1647 posts] 2 weeks ago
1 like

The pad in these shorts has been used for 3 years or so by Decathlon at their 500 level and above - it is on the large side but I find it comfy and have it in a pair of bibs and an undershort I wear with my baggies.

One thing to note - the reflective detailing assumes that you're cycling on the right so it's possibly slightly less effective on UK roads. 

I think the short leg might be a bit of a Decathlon thing as it certainly applies to the older version of these shorts that I own too.

Avatar
Griff500 [433 posts] 2 weeks ago
2 likes
kil0ran wrote:

The pad in these shorts has been used for 3 years or so by Decathlon.....

I'd rather have a new one in mine thank you!

Avatar
Organon [325 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Oddly shiny. 1988 called and asked for it's shorts back.

Avatar
jhsmith87 [60 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

With Decathlon you size up in every aspect. I am 5"11/70kg & take a small practically everywhere but with Decathlons cycling, running etc ranges I get a medium. 

I've been buying Decathlon gear since I first got into road cycling in 2014 & have tried every level of their range. Fantastic kit, not had a single failure or needed to replace any item yet. Have done many sportives & commuting year round also. A friend who I introduced to road cycling started with Decathlon stuff but then felt the need to "upgrade" to Castelli/Sportful et all. He freely admitted that his £150 "mid" level bib shorts where not anymore comfier than the top end £50 Decathlon ones he also had...

Avatar
jhsmith87 [60 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

With Decathlon you size up in every aspect. I am 5"11/70kg & take a small practically everywhere but with Decathlons cycling, running etc ranges I get a medium. 

I've been buying Decathlon gear since I first got into road cycling in 2014 & have tried every level of their range. Fantastic kit, not had a single failure or needed to replace any item yet. Have done many sportives & commuting year round also. A friend who I introduced to road cycling started with Decathlon stuff but then felt the need to "upgrade" to Castelli/Sportful et all. He freely admitted that his £150 "mid" level bib shorts where not anymore comfier than the top end £50 Decathlon ones he also had...

Avatar
Silversurfmonkey [23 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes

Love the predecessors to these (900 series and the last RC500s) as find the pad suits me well and loved the raw cut, unseamed bib straps and non-sausage-leg grippers. This latest version has changed to hemmed mesh straps that bunch up and are far too long & stretchy and, the leg hems are tighter (too tight) and the pad has been moved rearwards for a more upright position. Five quid cheaper but far worse in terms of spec and performance.

Avatar
harragan [283 posts] 2 weeks ago
0 likes
jhsmith87 wrote:

With Decathlon you size up in every aspect. I am 5"11/70kg & take a small practically everywhere but with Decathlons cycling, running etc ranges I get a medium. 

 

I'm a very similar size and weight (perhaps a kilo heaviercheeky) and have been a standard medium for as long as I can remember.  Decathlon medium sized clothing fits perfectly.  I suppose it's all subjective, really.

Avatar
s_lim [223 posts] 1 week ago
1 like

I have the non-pocket version of these.  I tried the L in the shop, and they just felt a tiny bit loose, so I went for a M too, felt they were a bit on the small side (unlike the svelte folks here, I'm 5'9" and 85kg, mostly muscle tbh), but they fit perfectly now after a few wears and washes

At £40, I think these are incredible value