Boardman are known for their almost ridiculous value for money when it comes to spec level, and we’re glad to report that the HT Team is no disappointment on that score. We gave it a hard and unforgiving ﬁrst ride, and it managed to do it all. It did feel a bit out of its depth at speed on more testing terrain, though.
Ride & handling: Great fun on less technical trails
The 90mm stem coupled with the 680mm wide bar felt good on the less technical trails but when things got really fast or complicated it wasn’t so spot-on, probably not helped by the 69-degree head angle. More general, less fast paced riding was great though. And we did ﬁnd that the bike could be rewarding when things got technical, as long as it could be kept under control.
The Continental Mountain King tyres roll convincingly fast but aren’t particularly predictable when the conditions get wet or even slightly slippery. The RockShox Recon fork with its old-faithful Turnkey damping works surprisingly well and feels amazingly smooth. But the quick-release axle was a deﬁnite source of flex when it came to hammering over or steering through rough roots or riding off-camber terrain.
Also, the short (1,090mm) wheelbase became obvious when we were hitting tight corners and was quite unstable at times, really giving the feeling of being on top of the bike rather than sitting into it. We loved the 2x10 gearing setup though, which didn’t skip a beat. And the lowest of the gears was more than low enough when it came to gaining some height.
Frame & equipment: Good-looking chassis with amazing spec for the cash
The 6061 aluminium frame is well ﬁnished and the hydroformed tubing connected with smoothed welds really makes the Boardman look the part. Out on the trails we’ve been asked whether it’s carbon, simply because of the high-end smoothness and clean lines of the frame.
The rear brake mounting between the chainstay and seatstay is a neat touch too. Getting down to the nitty gritty, the medium size frame has a pretty spacious 560mm (22in, actual) top tube, which makes it feel somewhat on the large side.
The spec is where the Boardman really shines. A 2x10 setup with an FSA chainset and SRAM X7 shifters and mechs brings a top-quality look and feel straight to the table. Avid’s super-dependable Elixir 3 brakes take care of the stopping and the Boardman ﬁnishing kit is great too. The wheels are Mavic XM317 rims and unbranded hubs shod with Continental Mountain King 2.2in tyres, and they’re still relatively lightweight and look the part.
This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.