Halfords launched the 2009 Boardman road and mountain bike range at the Manchester Velodrome on Monday in the company of Olympic champions Chris Hoy, Victoria Pendleton, Nicole Cooke and Chris Boardman himself. What Mountain Bike’s Steve Worland gives us his take on the new range.
It’s hard to concentrate on absorbing the detail of bikes and lunch with Victoria Pendleton and Chris Hoy doing interval sessions a few metres away.
Halfords could not have chosen a better scenario for launching a substantially improved range of bikes bearing the name of British cycling legend Chris Boardman. As we stood in the track centre of Manchester Velodrome trying to assess the six road, seven mountain and four hybrid bikes, the British Olympic team were doing motorpaced training sessions around us.
PRO Race Prepared as ridden by Nicole Cooke
For enthusiasts, highlights of the new range include the PRO Race Prepared. Selling for a penny under £3,000, it has the same spec as Cooke’s Olympic bike - a unidirectional carbon monocoque frame and fork, SRAM Red groupset, Zipp carbon fibre wheelset and full Ritchey WCS finishing kit.
A slightly more down to earth version, the £1,500 ROAD PRO, shares the same frameset but comes with a SRAM Force gearset, carbon fibre cranks and Ritchey WCS/PRO finishing kit.
It’s said to weigh 16.2lb. But the real range stars as far as we were concerned were the ‘budget’ models that really looked and felt the part. Suddenly it’s feasible to get an almost race-ready sub-20lb road bike for £500! Or, if you’re really not into the dropped bar thing, there’s also a superb range of disc-braked, high-performance, flat bar hybrids.
MTB PRO hardtail
On the mountain bike side, the new £1,000 MTB PRO hardtail has a Rock Shox Reba Team fork, SRAM X0/X9 gearing, Avid Elixir R Carbon hydraulic disc brakes and Ritchey Pro finishing kit.
Oh, and there’s an all-new full suspension range that looks remarkably good value for money, starting at well under £1,000. We’ll be getting test bikes in the next few weeks.
Chris Boardman said: “I believe that for '09 we’ve produced a range that will perform at the highest level across all disciplines and at all levels and offers excellent value. Don’t just take my word for it - I’m happy to let you be the judge.”