Boardman's Team Carbon combines a brilliant frameset with kit that would be impressive on an aluminium frame, never mind such an accomplished carbon fibre chassis. It offers huge value with its BB30 chainset, Mavic wheels and Shimano 105 groupset.
- Highs: It’s flat-out fast but still smooths rougher road surfaces well, not forgetting its good value
- Lows: Handling is all about stability over sharpness, so it’s not ideal for bunch racing or crit style events
- Buy if: You want a bike with a class-leading specification and a ride to match
On its debut the Team Carbon crept in at a penny below the magical £1,000 – a rarity for a carbon bike – and it delivered, riding like a bike costing hundreds more. For 2012 it's had a major revamp. Up front it now has a tapered steerer arrangement, from 1-1/8 to 1-1/4in, the bottom bracket has also shifted to a BB30 design, and the price has increased to £1,499.99 with a full Shimano 105 groupset, including brakes.
The wheels have been upgraded too, from Ritcheys to Mavic Aksiums. It’s also good to see a Fizik Arione saddle included; this alone would set you back £97. It’s not all trinkets though. We’ve been massively impressed with the Boardman's ride. Its race geometry of parallel 73-degree angles, a longish 105cm wheelbase and mid height (for a 58cm frame) 185mm head tube makes for a ride that majors on stability and pace on the flat. The way the Team gets up to speed is impressive.
Like all great race bikes you can feel the bike respond underneath you, pulsing forward with each pedal stroke. It handles climbs with vigour too, and the compact chainset, a 50/34-tooth FSA Gossamer Pro rather than a 105, fitted for compatibility with BB30, is easily the equal of Shimano’s unit in both the stiffness and weight stakes. There are sharper handling options out there – the Team Carbon doesn't excel at fast direction changes or hustling through the tight stuff – but for an all-rounder with an emphasis on big rides, it’s hard to beat.
The frame and fork handle the rigours of rough roads well, smoothing coarse surfaces and meaning no tell-tale hand tingles or rear aches that you can get on longer rides. We did have the occasional moment where the Boardman got a little unsettled on bigger hits, though, and potholes and bumps meant major corrections, especially as the Team Carbon encourages you to ride faster than you might normally.
Everything about this bike, from the quality of the frame to the level of components and its sheer ride ability, would have us believe this was a machine with a pricetag of hundreds more than £1,499. The success story of Boardman is likely to continue as long as the company keep producing bikes of this calibre.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2012 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 260, on sale Friday 2 March.