The B’Twin Village, Lille, France

Just when you think you know what a brand is all about…

If I say ‘B’Twin’ to you it conjures the image of a cheaper brand aimed at novice cyclists, right? Well, yes, you’re right, but you’re also very wrong. There’s a lot more to B’Twin than meets the eye.

Ordinary Cycling Girl was recently invited by Decathlon UK to visit the B’Twin Village in Lille, France. For those of you who are not familiar with B’Twin, it’s Decathlon’s cycling brand and as I’m sure many of you are already aware, the brand comes with a very good reputation for offering decent bikes at low prices. However, here in the UK, at least, it’s probably the brand you are likely to suggest to your pal who’s considering their first road bike or mountain bike, rather than your enthusiastic club cyclist who’s looking to add to his N+1 collection. But don’t be quite so quick to dismiss it for the more experienced cyclist too.

If only all bike stores were like this!

Arriving in Lille by Eurostar on a grey winter day, we headed straight over to the huge B’Twin Village, a short taxi ride away. If only all bike stores were like this! I can fully see why the place is called a village. As someone commented to me on Twitter:

The B’Twin Village is heaven on earth!…

3000 squared meters of heaven on earth to be precise. There is so much under one roof it’s difficult not to be impressed and consider moving to Lille just so you can have this place on your doorstep. It’s the biggest cycling devoted store I’ve ever been to and with a child’s indoor cycle track, a cafe, a cycle path and try out track for the adults too, it has everything!

B'Twin Village
What every bike store needs…a cycle testing track. This one’s for the kids but there’s one for the adults too!
B'Twin Village
Yes, this is a dedicated cycle path for staff getting around the store.

But, whilst all this was very impressive, what really shone for me was the team behind the scenes all based at the same venue behind the doors of the shop floor.

The B’twin Village: The place where it happens

The B’Twin factory – the place where it happens

The B’twin factory is situated at the B’twin village too. We met all the different teams behind the bike building process from the design to team to the safety testing teams, to the clothing and textiles team, to the paint team, to the marketing team…There are prototype bikes and parts everywhere and there’s a vast amount of people involved. What was very clear was that each one is genuinely very passionate about the brand. When journalists are taking part on an arranged tour, it’s very easy for people to put on a show, but this was different. Each of them possessed a genuine love of the brand and a belief in it’s ethos.

The frame paining room
The frame paining room

If you follow me on Twitter you would have seen me saying just how nice it was to hear genuine passion from a team about their brand. So much so, that someone even replied to me asking ‘if I was working for B’Twin’. The answer is obviously no, but I would be very proud to be working for such a team. They love their product and when you have a team that genuinely loves the product and truly believes in what it’s offering, both in terms of the product itself and the ethos behind it, well you’re on to a winner, right?

Frame Engineer, Matteo Melotti is one of the many team members who oozed enthusiasm for the B’Twin brand

The B’Twin ethos is simple

It was clear that B’Twin simply want to encourage more people to ride bikes by offering quality at affordable prices. I like that ethos. It sits very well with me. Let’s get more people on two wheels and enjoying the cycling life. And the way to do that is to offer bikes with quality components at a very competitive price. And that’s exactly what B’Twin do.

We got a sneak preview of what will be coming to the UK in 2016. B’Twin have some great looking bikes lined up for us. They offer a lot more than I first realised. In the UK, I think cyclists have the misconception that B’Twin is all about entry level bikes. Having seen what’s on offer for 2016 I can tell you this is not the case. What was really pleasing to see was that B’Twin doesn’t just cater for the novice cyclist. I stand firmly corrected on that one! It offers a whole range of bikes across different cycling interests and has plans to really expand on this over 2016 and beyond. Take this one for example. I loved this top end carbon framed road bike due in the UK in 2016! Isn’t it pretty? I’m loving the colour way and the spec is pretty damn decent too. It’s the top end B’Twin Ultra Carbon with Ultegra Di2 and will retail at £3000.

Btwin Carbon Ultra CF

If that’s above and beyond your pocket, but you’ve been cycling a while and are ready for an upgrade, there’s a great mid-range road bike coming too, the B’Twin Carbon Mach 740 which will be available at £1400. It’s in the same colours as the Ultra.

B'twin Triban 520
The entry level B’twin Triban 520

New to cycling? B’twin will still continue to offer great specced entry level bikes. The Triban 520 for example now comes in new bright orange and white and you’ll get Sora nine speed components for £450. Not bad at all! The colour doesn’t show up well here, but trust me, it’s eye catching!

If you’re looking to upgrade from your entry level bike, the next step up is the very reasonably priced Ultra 700 AF with Shimano 105 shifters and it’s coloured in a very sophisticated grey and black with bright green highlights. It’s a nice looking bike.

To be honest, they’re all nice looking bikes. The design team has done a good job for 2016. I’m not going to ruin the surprise by showing them all here. You should definitely head to Decathlon in 2016 and check them out; I don’t think you’ll be disappointed and I think you’ll see B’Twin with new eyes. I guess the message is, consider B’twin for more than entry level bikes. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what they have to offer.

My only criticism of the B’twin range right now is the lack of women’s specific bikes, but I’m assured they’re on the way. About time too. There’s a market waiting for you, B’twin.









14 comments on “More to B’twin than first meets the eye”

  1. Lucky you getting a trip to their factory, well jealous.

    Been in Decathlon many a time as we have one 20 mins from our house. My wife got a hardtail mountain bike there for here birthday and I had a good nosey at the bikes and spec and was impressed with what they had to offer.

    They really are producing some very nice bikes with decent componetary on it.

    I think to really crack the UK market they need to come in with a price point to tempt people to look at the brand instead of Trek, Specialized, Cube Etc.

    I have the 2015 KTM Revelator Sky Di2 which has the Shimano Ultegra 6870 11-speed groupset and Shimano Hydraulic Disc brakes on it and it came in at £3000, the price of B’Twin Ultra Carbon.

    I think if they came in and attacked the market with very competative price points they’d build the brand recognision and prise people away from the more well known brands.

    Anyway great blog as usual Donna. Have a great Christmas and New Year when it comes.

    • I think their biggest challenge is getting people to consider the brand alongside the more established mid-high range ones. I think this will take some time but their bikes are great, as is their ethos so I hope people start to consider them. I do think if we had actual separate B’Twin stores over here, that too would help to establish the brand. I can’t wait to see how their women’s range develops too.

      Wishing you a great Christmas and New Year too, Stu. 🙂

    • It was a great trip, Louise! Good to see behind the scenes and learn more. I have an interview coming up soon on the blog with more information about the women’s cycling range, so look out for that one early in the New Year. In the meantime, wishing you a very merry Christmas.

  2. Interesting trip. I guess it’ll take a while for people to consider a B’Twin over the more established mid-high end brands. In France, they are well respected by many club cyclists and some French professional sponsored teams use them. It’ll just take a little longer for it to catch on here since Decathlon stores are relatively new compared with the long heritage they have in France.

    • Hi Maria, yes it was a really interesting trip. I wonder if the dedicated B’Twin stores in France help with the marketing over there. Here B’Twin is in a corner of a Decathlon store and I wonder whether that may dilute the brand name somewhat. I agree it’s going to take some time for the brand to really develop and establish itself over here – I look forward to seeing how that happens over the next year or two. Early in the new year, there’ll be an interview here on OCG with B’Twin about their plans for the development of the women’s range so look out for that. 🙂

  3. Hi!
    I am from Brazil and did the L’Etape du Tour last year. I have seen a Btwin road bike in the stand at the Village before the race that interested me, but I could not buy it at that moment. I tried to find it in the website, but no success. The model is the Ultra 940 CF that you posted a picture.
    I am trying to figure out where to buy (in Europe) it since it is not available in the website (it is not even possible to find this model). Any clue?
    Thank you!

    • Hi Henrique, it’s a great looking bike isn’t it! I’ve had a look at the B’Twin Village website in Lille, France. They have the model you mention available on their website here although it is in a different colour. You check out the full range available to buy there here. I hope that helps.

      • Sorry for the delay in replying, but I have not receive a notification of your reply. Thank you for your attention. I check the website and I know that the model exists, the issue however is to find the same exact frame/bike in carbon/blue/pink as in the picture. Do you think Btwin still have one to sell? Any contact at Btwin that can help me?

        • Hello Henrique, the bikes mentioned in this post are B’twin’s 2016 bikes. I have contacted B’twin for you and they confirm that the carbon blue and pink road bike you are referring to will be available to buy as a web exclusive through the B’twin website from May 2016. I hope that helps. Happy cycling!

  4. Hi and thank you for your article.

    I was wondering if you can give us some more hints about the mid range 2016 b’twin bikes. Are they going to propose a new version of the Ultra 700 af or they repropose the 2015 black/grey with flash green bike?

    Thank you!

    • What do you consider to be a weird frame, Mike? I think there is a lot of choice now in terms of women’s frames and from that perspective we’re lucky. I don’t think they’re always as ‘beautifully’ or performance-led designed as men’s frames, sadly, although as a market, things are certainly progressing.

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