Sometimes it pays to spend a little bit more...

Honour Tomkinson

Honour Tomkinson

First published in News
Last updated
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There is a big new shiny French superstore in town and its selling bikes. If you ignore junk mail and generally have a knack for filtering useless adverts out of your life then you may have missed the fact Decathlon “the sports megastore”, yes they call themselves that, has opened on Botley Road. Cycle King and Go Outdoors have a new contender as this place makes its dosh in the same way, pile ‘em high and sell ‘em cheap.

Some call me a bike snob but I just think things should be built to last, including something that is going to propel you along concrete at 15mph.

I am open minded when it comes to budget bikes but I think I know cheap components when I see them. Shiny paintwork and slick logos don’t obscure my vision.

There was a bit of that going on when I visited the week after opening but honestly I thought their offerings weren’t so bad if you don’t mind a few compromises on your bike.

If you want really cheap there’s a £140 folding bike and £170 full sized bike on offer. Personally I hate bikes this cheap. I think these bikes will become a regular sight in Oxford.

The most expensive bike is online presumably to order for collection. It is a cross country mountain bike at £2,700, an ugly bug if ever I saw one.

One difference that was apparent to its Oxford competitors is that they only sell their own brand called B’Twin. We are already trying to figure out how you pronounce it bearing in mind the company is French. I prefer “B, Twin” while some of my friends suggest “between”. Either way if you are a brand junky this is not the shop for you as B’Twin is all you get. And the main crux with their bikes is they all encompass the same design that is obviously the vision of one French man in some grey office in Calais.

But when price is the only worry, French conservative design is not the be all and end all.

Unsurprisingly I didn’t buy a bike. I was just window shopping. There were plenty of people discussing the relative merits of one cheap bike over the other, with bike sellers habitually replying “different brakes”.

I bought something from the camping section, a windup LED camping lantern, for £17.99. It was small and light with 4 LEDs, great for emergency lighting when other power devices pack up.

Unfortunately for Decathlon it got returned after 10 minutes as I popped into Homebase next door for something completely unrelated only to find a similar model with 12 LEDs for £2 more.

Well sometimes it pays to spend a little bit more, bikes included and in my case extra LEDs worth of light.

Comments (8)

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10:48am Tue 20 May 14

xenarthra says...

For someone apparently so savvy when it comes to seeing through the marketing gimmicks used on bicycles, I'm suprised that you were fooled into thinking a lamp with 12 LEDs must automatically be better than one with 4 LEDs. Hint: try looking at the capacity of the battery and the wattage of the LEDs.
For someone apparently so savvy when it comes to seeing through the marketing gimmicks used on bicycles, I'm suprised that you were fooled into thinking a lamp with 12 LEDs must automatically be better than one with 4 LEDs. Hint: try looking at the capacity of the battery and the wattage of the LEDs. xenarthra
  • Score: 2

11:49am Tue 20 May 14

aresidentexpert says...

What a xenophobic, clueless snob! Decathlon's B'Twin bikes get excellent reviews, even from more hardcore corners of cycling press.

http://www.cyclingwe
ekly.co.uk/reviews/r
oad-bikes/btwin-trib
an-3-299-99
http://road.cc/conte
nt/news/113951-just-
btwin-triban-500-se
http://www.cyclingac
tive.com/bikesgear/f
irst-ride-btwin-trib
an-7-599-99
What a xenophobic, clueless snob! Decathlon's B'Twin bikes get excellent reviews, even from more hardcore corners of cycling press. http://www.cyclingwe ekly.co.uk/reviews/r oad-bikes/btwin-trib an-3-299-99 http://road.cc/conte nt/news/113951-just- btwin-triban-500-se http://www.cyclingac tive.com/bikesgear/f irst-ride-btwin-trib an-7-599-99 aresidentexpert
  • Score: 1

1:59pm Tue 20 May 14

Sid Hunt says...

aresidentexpert says...
What a xenophobic, clueless snob!

I couldn't agree with you more. What a load of pointless drivel.
aresidentexpert says... What a xenophobic, clueless snob! I couldn't agree with you more. What a load of pointless drivel. Sid Hunt
  • Score: 1

2:47pm Tue 20 May 14

King Joke says...

aresidentexpert wrote:
What a xenophobic, clueless snob! Decathlon's B'Twin bikes get excellent reviews, even from more hardcore corners of cycling press.

http://www.cyclingwe

ekly.co.uk/reviews/r

oad-bikes/btwin-trib

an-3-299-99
http://road.cc/conte

nt/news/113951-just-

btwin-triban-500-se
http://www.cyclingac

tive.com/bikesgear/f

irst-ride-btwin-trib

an-7-599-99
It wasn't the £370 bike she was turning her nose up at, it was a £170 one. Anything under £200 will be pretty ropey, it will ride great for a few months before bits start to snap, wear out and rust.

Why do you suggest she is xenophobic? Calais is a dump whichever way you look at it; the most ardent Francophile wouldn't love it.
[quote][p][bold]aresidentexpert[/bold] wrote: What a xenophobic, clueless snob! Decathlon's B'Twin bikes get excellent reviews, even from more hardcore corners of cycling press. http://www.cyclingwe ekly.co.uk/reviews/r oad-bikes/btwin-trib an-3-299-99 http://road.cc/conte nt/news/113951-just- btwin-triban-500-se http://www.cyclingac tive.com/bikesgear/f irst-ride-btwin-trib an-7-599-99[/p][/quote]It wasn't the £370 bike she was turning her nose up at, it was a £170 one. Anything under £200 will be pretty ropey, it will ride great for a few months before bits start to snap, wear out and rust. Why do you suggest she is xenophobic? Calais is a dump whichever way you look at it; the most ardent Francophile wouldn't love it. King Joke
  • Score: 2

4:06pm Tue 20 May 14

xenarthra says...

I'm pretty shocked that the Oxford Mail willing provides space for the owner of one bike shop (Walton Street Cycles) to bad-mouth any new rival bike shops that dares to open up in the city.
I'm pretty shocked that the Oxford Mail willing provides space for the owner of one bike shop (Walton Street Cycles) to bad-mouth any new rival bike shops that dares to open up in the city. xenarthra
  • Score: 6

4:09pm Tue 20 May 14

King Joke says...

It does seem that a favoured circle of local traders are allowed thinly-veiled adverts in the OM in the form of 'news' or columns like this - Clint Pugh, Jeremy Mogford, the bloke out of the Big Bang etc.
It does seem that a favoured circle of local traders are allowed thinly-veiled adverts in the OM in the form of 'news' or columns like this - Clint Pugh, Jeremy Mogford, the bloke out of the Big Bang etc. King Joke
  • Score: 3

8:54pm Tue 20 May 14

Andrew:Oxford says...

xenarthra wrote:
I'm pretty shocked that the Oxford Mail willing provides space for the owner of one bike shop (Walton Street Cycles) to bad-mouth any new rival bike shops that dares to open up in the city.
It's not in the city...

It's across the border in Vale of the White Horse.

Interesting that she misses out Sports Direct which has 2 stores in the city selling bikes, as does Argos with 2 stores and Halfords with 2 stores.
[quote][p][bold]xenarthra[/bold] wrote: I'm pretty shocked that the Oxford Mail willing provides space for the owner of one bike shop (Walton Street Cycles) to bad-mouth any new rival bike shops that dares to open up in the city.[/p][/quote]It's not in the city... It's across the border in Vale of the White Horse. Interesting that she misses out Sports Direct which has 2 stores in the city selling bikes, as does Argos with 2 stores and Halfords with 2 stores. Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: -1

7:48am Wed 21 May 14

King Joke says...

They've been there a while though, this is a new shop so she's reviewing it.
They've been there a while though, this is a new shop [a store is a warehouse] so she's reviewing it. King Joke
  • Score: 1

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