Since selling its first bike in 2007, Boardman has become deservedly known for offering great-value machines that perform at a level well beyond their often modest price tags. We attended the launch of the 2016 Boardman Performance range in a chilly, damp Hay-on Wye, where Chris Boardman introduced the new models, and proved how hands-on he still is with the brand by leading us on a road test ride.
Rebranded and relaunched in November 2015, and with the might of the Halfords business behind them, the Boardman brand should only get stronger. At the launch, the company was unsurprisingly keen to stress that all frame design and engineering is carried out in the UK and that – though manufacture is carried out abroad – Boardman does own all its carbon frame moulds.
Team Carbon stays strong for 2016
The £999 Team Carbon has long been an important bike for Boardman
One of the original standout road models was the Team Carbon, and it continues at £999, usefully below the Cycle to Work scheme threshold. For your grand you get a C7 monocoque carbon frameset, which uses the same mould as the bike Nicole Cooke won the 2008 Olympic Road Race on, fitted with the much-improved 10-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset, Mavic wheels and Vittoria 25mm tyres.
Slotting in below it in the range is the Comp, with its triple-butted X7 alloy frame, carbon fork with alloy steerer, Shimano Sora nine-speed drivetrain, and TRP Spyre mechanical discs, all for just £699.
Shimano Sora nine-speed gearing with a compact FSA crankset and 11-30t cassette on the Team Comp
At the base of the range is the Sport, which shares the Comp’s frame and fork, and comes with eight-speed Shimano Claris, plus a Mavic CXP wheelset wrapped in 25mm Vittoria rubber.
Hydraulic 105 group debut on Pro Carbon
The new Pro Carbon is first in the Performance range to have hydraulic brakes
At the opposite end of Boardman's road stable is the new Pro Carbon, matching a C7 monocoque carbon frame and fork with a Shimano 105 hydraulic disc groupset – a first for Boardman at this level. Its gleaming silver livery with green flashes certainly stands out, and it rolls on Boardman’s Premium Disc wheelset, with Vittoria Zaffiro Pro 25mm tyres.
There's a 105 drivetrain, FSA Gossamer chainset and Boardman wheelset and finishing kit
We took one for a spin along with Boardman himself, and initial impressions were of a well-rounded machine with a quality feel, good response and decent level of comfort. I was impressed with the new Prologo Nago Evo saddle fitted to this bike and some models above, and the bike’s shifting and braking performance was excellent. In some very British conditions, grip and handling gave great confidence – stay tuned for for a full review in the near future.
Road Pro SLR: a near-unbeatable carbon bargain
The Road Pro SLR offers an incredible spec for £1,799
There are bargains, and then there’s the £1799 Road Pro SLR, with a spec that only a few direct retailers can match. With an ultra light frameset, Boardman claims a complete bike weight of 7kg, which is easy to believe when specced with SRAM’s Force 22 groupset, with our favourite 52/36 rings and an 11-28t cassette. Wheels are Mavic’s racy Ksyrium Equipes, with matching 25mm Mavic rubber, and it’s topped with Prologo’s Nago Evo saddle.
Road Team TT bike
Anyone looking for a first TT machine should consider the Road Team TT
For anyone looking to dip their toes in to time trialling or triathlon, the Road Team TT would make a fine starting point. For £999 you get a triple butted X7 alloy aero shaped frame with full carbon fork, and a rear wheel cutout and hidden rear brake to reduce drag and keep the rear end tight. A short head tube allows scope for a low position, and Vision Trimax TT bars offer reasonable adjustability, and low stack height. The 53/39 FSA Gossamer crankset should satisfy your speed needs, and ISM’s Adamo TT saddle is a superb inclusion.
CX Comp and Team all-rounders
If you’re looking for an all rounder, Boardman’s CX models are worth a look. The CX Comp at £649 has a triple butted X7 alloy frame, plus alloy fork with cromoly steerer. The drivetrain starts with a 50/34 compact crankset and Shimano Sora 9 speed, and Tektro Lyra mechanical disc brakes. Mavic XM319 rims and 37mm Schwalbe Tyrago tyres should give solid service.
The great value CX Team looks a fantastic package for £999
For just £999, the CX Team offers a triple butted X9 alloy frame with carbon fork, and a complete SRAM Rival 1 groupset, with the convenience and security of a single chain ring, and enough gears for almost anything. Plus, a hydraulic disc braking system, Mavic XM319 rims and Schwalbe Rapid Rob 35mm rubber that’s well suited to off road excursions.
Every bike in the range is only available in one colour, as shown, apart from the Elite range, where it’s possible to create a custom coloured machine via Boardman’s website and stores, for an additional cost.