That’s a great looking bike. What is it exactly?
B’Twin is the in-house cycling brand for French sports superstore chain Decathlon, which takes in a huge range of bikes from hybrids and kids’ bikes to full carbon racing machines such as the Ultra 920 you see here.
Don’t be fooled by the ‘superstore’ tag, this is a bike with serious performance credentials – in fact, it’s the same frame that the firm supplies to the under-19 racing team it has been sponsoring since 2008, developing young French cycling talent.
It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement, with B’Twin taking feedback from the team to improve and refine the frame. Something which shows in its performance, with sharp handling on the road and competitively low weight -just 7.4 kg which is seriously impressive for a bike at this price point.
If you’re already familiar with the Ultra range, however, you might have noticed something a bit different about this particular bike: it’s fitted with Campagnolo components, in this case the superb Potenza 11-speed groupset, the Italian brand’s equivalent to Shimano’s Ultegra.
I’ve never used Campagnolo – Will I get on with it?
If you’re used to using Shimano shifters, you’ll find Campagnolo levers work a bit differently, using a paddle inside the brake lever (similar to Shimano) and a thumb lever on the inside of the brake hoods. Another difference is the brake quick-release mechanism being built into the levers instead of the callipers.
As with most bike components, what you like best is often a case of what you’re most used to, but Campagnolo does have a loyal following among aficionados who find the shape of the hoods more comfortable in the hands. The best thing is to try them and find out for yourself- and the great thing is that B’Twin now makes that easy by offering both options on its bikes, so you can choose whichever suits you best.
Are the rest of the components Italian, too?
Yes, pretty much. The finishing kit includes stem and handlebars from Deda, and a saddle from Fizik – all good quality Italian stuff. The wheels are Campagnolo’s popular Zonda – the workhorse of the Campagnolo wheel range, the Zondas are known for their unimpeachable reliability and durability. And at i,596g for the pair, they’re no heavyweights either.
Performance-wise, they’re perfect for all-round training and riding duties, and while you won’t see them on the pros’ bikes at the Giro d’Italia, you may well see some pros using them for training rides.
The latest C17 version of the wheels features wider rims (25 mm) in line with current trends, to allow the fitting of 25 mm or even 28 mm tires. And with traditional cup-and-cone bearings in the hubs, they’re user-serviceable and long-lasting.
Weight: 7.40 kg
Frame: B’Twin Ultra full composite frame, Btwin Ultra Comp full carbon fork
Shifters: Campagnolo Potenza 11-speed
Chainset: Campagnolo Potenza, 52/36
Cassette: Campagnolo Potenza, 12-29
Brakes: Campagnolo Potenza
Bars: Deda RHM02 alloy
Stem: Deda Zero 2
Seatpost: B’Twin full carbon
Saddle: Fizik Antares
Wheels: Campagnolo Zonda
Tires: Hutchinson Fusion 5 Performance, 25c