I wanted to buy a dedicated bike for my home trainer- hoping that I will use it more often when I do not have the hassle of mounting and dismounting the bike all the time. Also, my road bike (Rose Team GF Four Disk) was relatively expensive and has a carbon frame, so it might be a good idea to avoid unnecessary stress to the frame, as well as unnecessary wear and corrosion.
So I bought this very affordable Triban RC 120 from the sports discounter Decathlon for 450 euro. I ordered the bike online and picked it up at the local store in Böblingen. Funny thing in other regions they sell this bike as RC 100- while here the RC 100 is an even cheaper bike without actual shifter-levers.
„Bike Radar“ was reviewing this RC 120 bike and gave it 5/5 stars. They were stating it is a “Comfortable entry-level bike with superbly considered kit” and “It’s hard to exaggerate how good the Triban RC120 is, especially when you consider the price”.
At first glance I was also very impressed by how much road bike I seemed to get for so little money. The bike looks really great with the matte gray paint. A friend said it looks better than my 3200 EUR Rose bike. Of course the frame is made of aluminum, but the fork is actually carbon! Its weight is about 10.6kg with the size S frame I got.
Decathlon recommends frame sizes based on body height. At 165cm I am in-between size XS and S. It turned out size S was a good choice for me. To adjust the saddle height according to the data I got from a bike fitter, I had to pull the seatpost out all the way. XS would definitely have been too small for me. Reach was also ok.
When I bought it there was a sticker on it that said “Ready to bike”- after doing some safety checks. And this was actually true- contrary to my expectations based on experiences I had with (city or hybrid) bikes from other discounters.
This bike came well assembled. There was nothing loose. Brakes were working well, and the gear shifting was adjusted correctly. Just the chain seemed to be a little dry, which I lubricated before I went on my first ride.
I wanted a bike with real road bike drop bar shifter-levers, so the handling would be not too different from my Rose bike. This RC 120 bike has drop bar shifters-levers, derailleurs and cassette from the Microshift R8 groupset. I have never heard of Microshift before. Until now I thought all road bike group sets come either from Shimano or SRAM or Campangnolo or maybe Rotor.
The rear shifter works basically the same as the Shimano shifter, I will not have any problems with it. But the front shifter might take me some getting used to. Its seems to have 4 positions for the 2 gears.
The compact crankset (with 50 and 34 teeth) and the tapered square bottom bracket are Shimano Turney, Shimano’s lowest level road and mountain bike group sets. The crankarms have a somewhat wider Q-factor than usual road bike crankarms; I do not think it will make a difference for me. Crankset and bottom bracket are a little heavy, but I am sure they are probably reliable. The bottom bracket is threaded, so it could easily be upgraded to a hollow tech BB to be able to install a higher level crank set (to save some weight).
The cassette has “only” 8 sprockets with 11-34 teeth. So the gear range is very wide for a road bike- but the jumps between the easy gears are a little larger than with an 11 speed cassette. This might make a little difference in a race- but certainly not in training.
The bike came with 28mm „Hutchinson Nitro 2“ tires. According to „Bike Radar“ these tires are not good ones, and they recommended to change them. The rim brakes are large and provide plenty of clearance even for much larger tires.
I took the bike for a leisurely ride over 42km with 565m of elevation gain. Gear shifting was not as comfortable as with the Di2, but not bad. However, I did not feel comfortable with the breaks. General “breaking power” is probably ok, but not what I am used to from my Ultegra hydraulic disk brakes. Especially breaking with my hands on the hood felt very awkward; the beak lever is not ergonomic for me. Perhaps somebody with larger hands would not have this problem. And if I use the bike for Zwifting it will not be a problem for me either, because in Zwift I am much braver when descending than in the real world 😀
It seems I was not even much slower than with my Rose bike (without aero bars, which actually makes a surprisingly significant difference). I do not yet have a power meter, so the comparison might not be very accurate, and part of the track was in a city- where survival is more important to me than speed. My average speed with the Rose was only slightly higher. Only on the descents I was significantly faster- maybe due to the better brakes, or maybe due to better aerodynamics. Uphill I was definitely not faster, even though the Rose bike is more than 2kg lighter. Considering the „system weight“ with me and my clothing this does not seem to make a big difference (though I am a small guy).
So, even after the first ride I am still very impressed. The Decathlon RC 120 is certainly not as good as my 3200 EUR Rose bike- but definitely not worse by a factor of 7 (3200EUR/450EUR)!