Boardman CX Team £899.99

Budget-friendly all-rounder

BikeRadar score 4/5

We’ve come to expect keen pricing from Boardman, so the CX Team's modest tag comes as no surprise. Matched to a tapered full carbon fork, its triple butted alloy frame has smooth welds at the head tube and seat cluster, set off by the shiny metallic finish.

A straight seat tube contrasts with a fat, tapering down tube and a top-tube that’s rounded underneath – making shouldering this outwardly racy machine a bruising affair. The cables run along the down tube and under the BB shell though, so they’re well out of your way.

  • Highs: A stiff, racy feel and a frame that looks fabulous
  • Lows: Lack of fork eyelets, relatively harsh ride and a lack of attention to detail on our build
  • Buy if: You want a ’cross racer, winter trainer and commuter rolled into one

Out back, curved wishbone seatstays keep things tidy looking and the rear dropouts have mudguard and rack eyelets to complement the bosses on the seatstay and chainstay bridge. The fork is drilled for mudguards but lacks eyelets, meaning some ingenuity would be required to fit proper rain protection.

The CX Team has the fittings for a rear mudguard and rack

The CX Team comes with SRAM’s entry-level Apex shifters and rear derailleur, and a Microshift front derailleur. Shifting is positive, and riders with small hands will appreciate the short reach to the brake levers, and the 50/34 chainset and 11-32 cassette offer ample range on and off road. The Avid BB5 disc brakes provide plenty of power and we were pleased to see inline adjusters, making tuning the anchors a breeze. Boardman has also supplied inline brake levers which work fine, though we’re not sure they’re worth the bar space they occupy.

The first thing we noticed, jumping on the Boardman, was how aggressive it feels. The relatively stretched position will be familiar to road racers and under power the frame yields very little, feeling direct and positive. It’s also distinctly firm, not helped by the fat 31.6mm seatpost; 35mm Schwalbe cyclocross boots notwithstanding, it’s not a plush ride.

The second thing we noticed was a furious clicking from the bottom bracket area, caused by a lack of grease on the crank spindle and bearings. We asked Boardman Bikes about this and were assured it was an aberration, and that measures would be taken to ensure sale bikes are properly assembled. Once rectified, we went back to enjoying the CX Team’s exciting ride.

Provided the riding position suits you, the CX Team will make an excellent commuting machine

The knobbly Schwalbe Rapid Robs look like mud pluggers but in real slop they tend to load up; on the road they’re reasonably quick for rubber with so much tread, although for proper road training we’d switch to slicks. The Mavic XM319 rims on nameless cup and cone hubs are basic and a little weighty, but well suited to the everyday. The narrow bar adds to the responsive handling and roadie feel, but does make off-road handling less confidence-inspiring.

The CX Team is brilliant fun on smooth bridleways and swooping country lanes, where its road geometry shines. If the racy position suits you, it excels as a fast, versatile commuter.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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