Pro bike: Jonny Clarke’s Boardman SLR 9.8T Elite

The best of British for United Healthcare

The American UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling team have racked up 21 wins this season, all on Boardman bikes. They were racing in this year’s Tour of Britain where we caught up with Australian Jonny Clarke, whose job is to support Robert Förster in bunch sprints.


A fast, punchy rider, Clarke says he chose the Boardman SLR (super light road) rather than the AiR (aero road) frame because he prefers a conventional seat post with some give in the seat mast, particularly for the early season Belgian races. The team are split almost equally by their choice of frames and appreciate the options available.

The SLR frame is dominated by the drainpipe-style square down tube, which maintains a uniform diameter, but still creates a hugely deep head tube area. From here, the triangular top tube extends to the round seat tube, from which a wishbone seat stay morphs in to stays flattened on the inside to assist airflow. A large BB30 bottom bracket and oversized deep box section chain stays, which are a constant size until stepping down abruptly before the dropout, are very purposeful. All cables are routed internally, and are almost fully protected by an internal sleeve within the tubes, although mechanic Jorge still says cable fitting can be a challenge.

Showing the underside of the large square down tube: showing the underside of the large square down tube
Robin Wilmott/

Enve wheels on Chris King hubs

The SLR fork is quite different to that on the AiR, being slimmer with a pronounced ridge to improve stiffness, but still sharing the tapered steerer. UHC are in their second season using ENVE wheels with Chris King sealed hubs, and remain very happy with them. The hubs are very low maintenance and adjustable from one side, which pleases the mechanics.

Unusually, UHC ride on clincher tyres, favouring 23c Maxxis Cormet One70 tyres for most events, and occasionally the 25c Columbiere tyres for the rougher Belgian races. Jonny Clarke says that in wet corners the Maxxis Cormets are the best tyres he’s ever used, and he’d choose them above any tubular tyre any day of the week. It seems the rest of the team agree, and when the tyres are also quick in the dry, even wearing and durable, it’s hard to question the choice.

Ritchey wcs stem: ritchey wcs stem
Robin Wilmott/

Ritchey WCS stem and bar

Ritchey supply a full WCS finishing kit of stem, bars, seat post and even a saddle with tubular titanium rails. SRAM Red takes care of the drive train and brakes, although Clarke’s bike has a Force front mech, which was a personal choice. Yellow Swisstop Flash Pro carbon specific pads are fitted to keep the ENVE wheels under control, the team all use Speedplay pedals, and Arundel carbon bottle cages. A nice touch is the blue engraved K-edge chain watcher fitted, as it has the team name etched along it, which is a task in itself.

With a listed frame weight of 895g for a medium frame, the Boardman SLR will always be a light machine, and with no real attempt to shave further grams, Clarke’s bike weighs 7kg, including pedals. UHC are making the next step in 2012 with a European base and increased programme of European races, and fittingly have a young British bike company, also trying to make a name for themselves, along for the ride.

Complete bike specifications

  • Frame: Boardman SLR 9.8T Elite, size 48.5cm (XS)
  • Fork: Boardman SLR specific carbon tapered steerer
  • Headset: Ritchey integrated, 1 1/8 upper to 1 3/8in lower bearing
  • Stem: Ritchey WCS 130mm -6 degrees
  • Handlebars: Ritchey WCS Classic, 42cm (c-c)
  • Tape/grips: SRAM
  • Front brake: SRAM Red with yellow Swisstop Flash Pro pads
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red with yellow Swisstop Flash Pro pads
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red Double Tap
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Force
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red Double Tap
  • Cassette: SRAM Red DG 1090, 11-26t
  • Chain: SRAM PC 1091
  • Crankset: SRAM Red 53/39, 172.5mm
  • Bottom bracket: SRAM BB30
  • Pedals: Speedplay
  • Wheelset: ENVE 45mm section carbon clinchers with Chris King orange anodised hubs
  • Front tyre: Maxxis Cormet One70 700x23c clincher
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis Cormet One70 700x23c clincher
  • Saddle: Ritchey WCS tubular titanium
  • Seat post: Ritchey WCS alloy
  • Bottle cages: Arundel carbon
  • Other accessories: K-Edge chain watcher engraved with team name, Gore Ride On cables

Critical measurements

  • Rider’s height: 1.78m/5ft 10in
  • Rider’s weight: 70.3kg/155lb
  • Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 720mm
  • Saddle setback: 74mm
  • Seat tube length, c-t: 490mm
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 435mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 566mm
  • Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 105mm
  • Head tube length: 125mm
  • Top tube length: 520mm actual
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.00kg (15.43lb)