Bikes > Cycle

The Btwin Tilt 120 is good enough for first-timers

Decathlon’s 6-speed folding bike costs P13,490

Are you looking for your first bike? PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

While searching for my first bicycle as an adult, Decathlon Pasig was the first store I visited because of its comprehensive lineup of sporting goods. Btwin is one of its brands for cycling with the Tilt 120 being one of the entry-level models in its line of folding bicycles. It may be affordable, but is it worth recommending to beginners?

The brake levers are made of plastic. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
It’s easy to accidentally change gears with this kind of shifter. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The wheels of this folding bike don't use quick-release skewers. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The black mount is supposed to house a front light. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The frame is made of high-tensile steel, which explains the hefty weight of 15kg. But this also means the material isn’t brittle like aluminum and carbon fiber.

The 20-inch by 1.75-inch wheels aren’t skinny like road bike tires that slip through gratings, yet they also aren’t supple like those on gravel and mountain bikes that cushion bumps and potholes on the road.

With a short reach and raised handlebars, you get a riding position that’s upright and casual. While the height of the seat post is adjustable, the same can’t be said for the handlebars. The stock seat post is long enough for me (who is 5’7”), but my German colleague probably won’t have a good time with such a compact cockpit.

Compared to other folding bikes I’ve tried, the Tilt 120 is on the twitchier side due to its shorter wheelbase. While some might enjoy the lively handle, others may not feel comfortable with it.

The pedals are foldable, too. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT
The crank arm can hit the kickstand if you're not careful. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Unlike the single-speed Tilt 100, the Tilt 120 comes with a six-speed B-Twin drivetrain. This means it has six gears, which are selected by twisting the grip shifter on the handlebar. The range is limited, so you won’t be doing chill climbs or intense sprints.

Even for someone relatively fit, I had great difficulty climbing St. Martin Street (more commonly known as Ultra) and would rather walk next time. At least, descending it is much easier with the rim brakes doing a good job at stopping the bike.

As a beginner, I was led to believe that Shimano and SRAM are the be-all and end-all of bicycle components. But after gaining more experience, I realized that other brands can also work fine—provided the parts are maintained properly.

The ridges provide grip when you're rolling the folded bike. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Being a folding bike, the Tilt 120 has hinges at the frame and at the stem. There’s also a catch near the rear axle to hold the frame together when folded. The process is simple, but requires some repetition to get familiar with it.

Don’t expect to roll it as easily as a stroller since you still need to maintain balance. Though compact, it’s still heavy, and you’ll feel the weight the moment you have to lift it. And carrying it up and down the stairs unfolded is actually easier as you don’t have to worry about the thing coming apart.

Parking isn’t a problem with a folding bike. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The Tilt 120 is aimed toward beginners, so it comes with the bells and whistles that make the riding experience more convenient. These include, well, a bell to alert nearby people; a kickstand and a center stand to keep the bike upright when stationary; fenders to protect the rider from splashes; and reflectors for night riding.

One advantage is that Decathlon has its own ecosystem of accessories for its bicycles. So, if you need gear for commuting such as racks, bags, and baskets, you won’t have to look far. Strangely, even though the Tilt folding bikes have a mount at the front, the store doesn’t carry the compatible light.

The author outfitted the Tilt 120 with a handlebar bag and a stem bag for commuting. PHOTOS BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

The last and most important thing to talk about is its SRP of P13,490. The affordability of a bicycle is relative. The few who are blessed enough to own a car wouldn’t think much of spending double that amount on something more premium. But there are others who want to start bike-commuting that might not have the same budget.

You can find cheaper bikes at Japanese surplus shops. But don’t expect the same quality assurance as with a brand-new product. Also, Decathlon grants a lifetime warranty for the frame, the stem (excluding the hinge), the rigid fork, and the handlebar. If ever the bike needs service, there’s a workshop where a technician can fix it.

With all the traffic in the city, you can get around faster on the folding bike than in a Ferrari. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

Overall, the Tilt 120 is a decent first bike for those who want something affordable and compact. But it is bogged down by the heavy weight, and it isn’t the most stable ride, especially for Metro Manila’s rough roads. More important, buyers can have peace of mind with Decathlon’s after-sales support.

I’d liken this folding bike to a starter Pokémon or a first car. It may not be something you’d stick with in the long run, but at least it helps you get moving as you learn the ropes and gain more experience. And even if you have no plans for bike-commuting, it can easily be stored, ready to be used if ever you want to cycle for leisure.

Visiting Decathlon Pasig is like a trip to a toy store. PHOTO BY LEANDRO MANGUBAT

If you’d like to try out the Btwin Tilt 120 in person or get one for yourself, you can visit Decathlon Pasig in Tiendesitas.

Leandro Mangubat

Leandro is our staff writer. Although having a background in mechanical engineering, he enjoys photography and writing more.