Boardman Hybrid Pro review£849.99

Long, low and aggressive urban ride

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Boardman's ‘can do’ Hybrid Pro isn’t perfect, but it’s a real bargain for those after a fast commuting bike that’ll also tackle winter training miles or even the odd cyclo-cross race with relish.

Ride & handling: Low and aggressive all-rounder

Weighing in at 9.45kg (20.83lb), we expected the Boardman to be quick off the mark. Fast tyres, stiff chainset, broad bar leverage and stout power transmission path through the frame means it leaps away from stop lines the second red turns to amber.

The positive-feeling gears encourage you to click through until you top out your speed, too. Add the long, low and aggressive position – for a hybrid at least – and this is definitely in pole position for the traffic light grand prix.

It stays encouragingly quick if you head out into the country for a couple of hours' training too and we never felt out of our depth in mixed road bike group rides. The bar ends come into their own on longer climbs or cruising sections too.

Race-bike-style steep steering angles are tamed by the extra power assistance from the broad bar, so while the Hybrid Pro changes direction fast, it’s never worryingly nervous. Low weight makes it easy to hop and chop around if the potholes and kerbs are coming fast and furious.

The carefully metered control of the Avid disc brakes also means rapid, reassuring braking if changing traffic situations threaten to catch you out. Thanks to recent rule changes they’re a boost rather than a bar to cyclo-cross racing too.

In fact, the Hybrid Pro is probably better suited to more technical 'cross courses than a conventional cyclo-cross bike.  Despite the sharp feel under power and through the steering, it’s not overly punishing on rough tracks either, and we regularly took bridlepath shortcuts during our test runs without suffering too much.

Chassis: Light, smooth-welded frame, but extra-big or extra-small riders aren’t catered for

We’re used to slick, sensible frame designs from Boardman now and the Hybrid Pro is no exception. The short tapered head tube uses an inset headset so there’s plenty of scope to get down low if you take out the carbon fibre stem spacers.

Full-carbon construction means the fork is seriously light, even with disc tabs on the tips. However, the steerer tapers from 1.5in to 1.125in so early it’s hard to believe that it's offering the full stiffness advantage.

Back to the frame, the diamond-to-round hydroformed top tube, teardrop down tube and conventional round seat tube form the custom-butted mainframe. Oval-to-rectangle seatstays and square chainstays complete the back end via machined dropouts.

All the tubes are joined with slick-looking smoothed welds and the frame is disc-specific, so there are no redundant brake posts to spoil its lines. There’s plenty of room for cyclo-cross tyres if you fancy racing, and low frame (1,740g) and fork weight (540g) give a clear chassis mass advantage.

You might struggle to fit a rack around the rear disc brake, and while there are bosses for rear mudguards you’ll have to use P-clips on the front. There are no XS or XL sizes either, although the S, M and L frames should cater for most riders.

Equipment: Mix of mountain bike and road components keep control high and weight low

While many manufacturers give their high-performance hybrids a road-based transmission, Boardman have gone for a road/mountain bike mix, and we have to say it works really well. The Truvativ Elita is a lightweight compact crank designed for 'cross racing, but the Pro teams it with a wide-range rear block for a very usable spread of gears.

The SRAM X9 rear mech and X7 mountain bike shifters give a much more positive, accurate shift than the Shimano road shifters on other bikes at this price. The Avid Elixir hydraulic disc brakes are controlled and powerful, whatever the weather, and a big advantage if you want to go 'cross racing this winter.

Lightweight road training tyres from Continental add a fast feel and decent dirty-weather grip to the wheels. They’re also durable enough for multi-surface use. Long-established low weight component suppliers Ritchey provide most of the finishing kit for the Pro.

Decent width flat bars sport short stubby bar ends for an extra hand position when cruising or climbing, and the skinny 27.2mm seatpost takes some sting out from under the long, multi-position road saddle. Carbon spacers under the stem are a nice touch too.

Boardman hybrid pro: boardman hybrid pro
Boardman hybrid pro: boardman hybrid pro

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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