Testing Decathlon’s Crazy Cheap Cycling Gear

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Decathlon, one of the biggest names in Euro sporting goods, wants to make riding more affordable with its exceedingly budget-friendly products

A new sports e-tailer is poised to put some serious pressure on the cycling industry with bargain-basement prices on gear. The list includes a short-sleeve jersey for $8, spandex shorts with pad for $11, a raincoat for $14, and thermal bib tights for $42. There’s even a complete road bike for $349.

The French sporting-goods store, called Decathlon, opened its first U.S. brick-and-mortar location in San Francisco in March and commenced web sales this week, extending its low prices nationwide. “It’s frustrating how expensive it is just to try out cycling,” says Jennifer Tetrick, head of U.S. marketing. “By the time you get kitted up, you’re looking at a thousand dollars, even two. At Decathlon, we believe that cycling, and all sport really, doesn’t have to be that expensive. You shouldn’t have to spend a small fortune to live a healthy lifestyle.”

The company keeps its prices low by designing, manufacturing, and selling all of its own gear through its own stores and website, under a range of in-house brands. On the cycling side, the company has two labels, Rockrider for mountain biking, and B’twin for road and apparel. The gear falls into three main categories: 100 level for the least expensive and most basic goods, 500 level for sport and enthusiast-tier stuff, and 900 level for the premium. Mind you, premium at Decathlon means $60 for bib shorts, $80 for a jacket, and $150 for shoes, all of which is still a fraction of what you’d pay for top-line gear from other brands.

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