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!
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 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.
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?
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.
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.
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.