Boardman CX Team £900

Bargain cyclocross bike

BikeRadar score 5/5

The Boardman CX Team gets a disc-specific overhaul for 2012 while dropping its price by £100 to create a phenomenal value package. It offers confident, comfortable performance off-road at a raceable weight and is rack-ready for commuting, and it looks great too.

  • Highs: Fantastic value, performance-orientated bike with BB30 and disc brake equipped frame, tapered carbon fork, full rack and mudguard mounts, and excellent spec
  • Lows: Discs add weight, but otherwise outstanding for the money. We’re gutted the even better specced Pro isn’t available in the UK though (look out for a review of that bike on BikeRadar soon)
  • Buy if: You want a bargain all-rounder that'll have a go at anything from 'cross racing to a blue rated trail centre, winter training road miles or daily commuting

With its sleek smooth-welded frame and full-carbon fork, both specifically designed for cable disc brakes, the CX Team clearly has off-road potential and we wasted no time in putting it to the test. The first bedding-in run on our local roads confirmed that although it only costs £900, Boardman clearly aren't messing about.

While it’s heavier (9.88kg) and slower than a same price road bike, the excellent oversized BB30 crankset power delivery is matched by precise and immediate handling clarity that’s great for carving through jams or traffic light drag racing.

There’s enough tyre and disc-specific Ritchey rim underneath you to let you take rough shortcuts too. That meant we didn’t bother unhooking a mountain bike for our regular afternoon singletrack session with the dog, but dropped tyre pressure down to 50psi and took the Boardman out for its second walkies of the day.

Down the hill to the first off-road section, we rapidly outstripped one of our mates who was riding a slick-tyre-shod 29er mountain bike. The Avid cable brakes also proved their worth by reining in not only the fast rolling tyres but all the lead stretching, four-paw torque of the spaniel.

The rougher the terrain got, the more we appreciated its full-carbon fork. Also, the totally honest and clearly communicated handling makes it clear when you're getting into trouble early enough to back off and get out of it, rather than leading you on, matador style.

The Boardman performed equally well at a local 'cross race, where tentative cornering on the first few laps soon turned into slithering sideways drifts and “dare we hit this brakes off?” gambling. Most impressive of all, its ride never gave any hint of its low price.

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

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