Boardman Pro Carbon review

A lot of kit for your cash

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,499.99 RRP | USD $2,465.00

Our review

A high quality all-round performer at a bargain price
Skip to view product specifications

Boardman Bikes are one of the newest brands in the market. But thanks to the name behind them – Chris Boardman is one of the few cyclists that the average Brit might actually be able to recognise – and the fact they’re sold through high street giant Halfords, they’ve achieved a good degree of brand awareness.

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This prominence was increased by a gold medal-winning ride last year, and when we tested the £999 Boardman Team Carbon we gave it the unusual accolade of a 10/10 review, describing it as “fast and exciting, setting a new standard for £1000 road bikes”.

So what does the Pro Carbon give for your extra 500 quid? The frame has an upgrade from T700 to T800 carbon fibre – the same material used in the flagship Race Prepared model, the wheels are more expensive Ritcheys, and SRAM provides its Force groupset rather than the cheaper Rival.

With that in mind we naturally had very high hopes for this better-specced big brother. After all, the frame’s lighter, the kit’s better and while the price is higher than the Team, you’re getting an awful lot of bike for your cash. Or not much bike, if you look at it another way, as the overall weight is a scant 7.4kg, or just over 16lb.

  • Frame & fork: The lightweight, unidirectional carbon monocoque with Olympic heritage and full carbon fork is made for speed more than comfort (8/10)
  • Handling: Fast on the flat, confident on the hills and a good descender. What more could you ask for? (9/10)
  • Equipment: The SRAM Force groupset is a high quality performer. The saddle and brakes are the only weak points (9/10)
  • Wheels: Ritchey wheels and Continental tyres combine to good effect (8/10)

When we first rode the Boardman Pro we didn’t love it immediately in the same way that we loved the Boardman Team. It rode well, it never let you down, and it didn’t hang around, but it didn’t offer the Eureka moment the second you put your leg over it that some bikes do. Having said that, as more of us rode it over a period of several weeks, we slowly began to fall for its charms.

It was as if we were trying too hard, cranking away in an attempt to test its mettle when in reality it suits a smoother, more controlled pedalling style. If it was good enough for Nicole Cooke riding the wet course in Beijing last year, there was no reason it wouldn’t be good enough for Cycling Plus’s assembled testers.

One of our riders – an experienced racer – used it for several weeks of hard riding over a variety of terrain. He found it stable at whatever speed he rode it, and equally capable of tackling the steep, 20 percent plus Surrey Hills and their inevitable descents. Though he reckoned it really comes into its own powering along in a straight line, he also felt it would make an excellent all-rounder, capable of tackling the occasional time trial.

The SRAM Force groupset proved popular with pretty much everybody, although if you’re used to Campag and Shimano it might take a ride or two to get used to its shifting. The Boardman saddle (made by Velo) wasn’t universally popular – though most of the testers preferred it to Specialized’s Toupe on the Tarmac – and the only part of the setup that anyone felt was a bit of a letdown was the Tektro brakes, which lacked bite.

This really is a bike aimed at racing snakes rather than those looking for an armchair-comfort ride. As an all-round package, it is very hard to beat at the price.

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Although Chris Boardman is well known, there could still be a perception problem for serious racers buying a bike sold through Halfords. It would be a shame if snobbery did come into play, as this is a bike good enough for racing, whatever the name on the frame and the place of purchase.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Pro Carbon (09)
Brand Boardman

Available Sizes L M S XL
Rear Tyre Size 700x23C
Top Tube (cm) 57
Standover Height (cm) 79
Seat Tube (cm) 49.5
Chainstays (cm) 40.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Weight (lb) 16.3
Weight (kg) 7.38
Stem Ritchey WCS forged alloy, 4-bolt oversized bar clamp, twin-bolt 1 1/8in steerer clamp, 12cm long
Shifters SRAM Force alloy 10-speed
Seatpost Ritchey WCS forged alloy with twin-bolt alloy micro adjust clamp, 31.6x300mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Boardman by Velo, Ti rails with padded vinyl, cutaway shell
Rims Ritchey DS Aero alloy machined rims
Rear Tyre Ultra Race
Bottom Bracket SRAM alloy cups external type sealed
Rear Hub Cartrige sealed bearing alloy hub
Rear Derailleur SRAM Force alloy short cage
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Ritchey Pro WCS, alloy 42cm c-c anatomic deep drop
Front Tyre Size 700x23C
Front Tyre Ultra Race
Front Hub Cartridge sealed alloy hubs
Front Derailleur SRAM Force
Frame Material Unidirectional carbon monocoque, alloy headset and BB inserts, alloy capped carbon dropouts.
Fork Full carbon, 1 1/8 x1 1/2in steerer
Cranks SRAM S900 175mm carbon arms with alloy spider, 130 bcd, 53/39 alloy rings, hollow steel spindle
Cassette Shimano HG5600 12-25 10-speed
Brakes Tektro Quartz dual pivot alloy
Wheelbase (cm) 99.8