Decathlon have rebranded their performance road bikes, with what was previously called the B'Twin Ultra now being known as Van Rysel Ultra for 2019. One other fascinating fact is the Ultra is also road.cc's Road Bike of the Year 2018/19 AND our overall Bike of the Year 2018/19 too.
Decathlon live-streamed the launch on Facebook late last Friday (watch the video above) and as well as showing the 2019 bike and kit they also revealed a prototype of what looks to be an aero road frame that will form part of the 2020 Van Rysel range. Van Rysel translates to ‘from Lille’ in Flemish; and to show further commitment to their image transformation from bargain basement bikes to a performance-orientated brand, Decathlon have now switched production from Portugal to Lille for the Van Rysel project so the bikes can be tested on the same storied roads used in Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders.
The 2019 Van Rysel Ultra performance road bike is essentially the B'Twin Ultra frame, just given a fresh lick of paint and a new name; however that's no bad thing at all, with the Ultra receiving a glowing review on road.cc last summer (as you'd expect from a multi-award winning bike). There will be two aluminium and seven carbon models in a range of specs, colours and price points. The Ultegra Di2 version with Mavic Cosmic Pro SL carbon wheels will be €3800. For this year all bikes are rim brake only, with Decathlon planning to introduce disc versions “in the near future” according to their road bike brand manager.
There will also be products such as performance jerseys, skin suits and shoes in the range, and the new €130 Van Rysel road shoe was developed with input from AG2R La Mondiale pro riders. Perhaps the most interesting part of the launch was what’s to come in 2020, with Decathlon revealing that next year they will branch out to three new frames. The prototype shown, named PNPL 2.0 for now by the looks of it, appears to be the all-out aero bike, and Decathlon say they will also be introducing an all-round lightweight option and an entry-level racer.
Decathlon say we can expect to see the 2019 Van Rysel Ultra bikes online and in stores from March 2019, with no exact dates set for the new frames coming in 2020.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.