Boardman Road Sport review

Part of Boardman's range of cheap road bikes

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £599.99 RRP
Boardman Road Sport

Our review

Great finish and a sportive-friendly ride but slightly weighty and without a carbon fork
Skip to view product specifications

Should red really be quickest, then the Boardman Road Sport ought to fly. It’s a brilliant bright red, none of your namby-pamby burgundy. This is a bike that screams rather than whispers, that turns heads, whose looks belie its modest price.

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It was introduced in late 2012, sneaking in at £499.99. But it’s £100 dearer now, putting it up against the likes of Giant’s Defy 4 and Merida’s Race Lite 900, both of which have carbon forks rather than aluminium. Boardman describe the geometry as ‘sportive’, but it’s actually pretty racy, and even the 16cm head tube is far from extreme for a medium-size bike.

As with most £600 bikes it’s Shimano’s 8-speed 2300 with FSA’s Tempo compact chainset. It’s functional, though you can’t shift easily on descents and we’d have specced an 11-28 cassette rather than 12-26. The higher top gear and lower bottom would help you to crank it up on the flat and stay seated longer on climbs.

We do appreciate the mudguard clearance and ’guard and rear rack mounts. Entry-level bikes are likely to be used for fitness, day-to-day riding and commuting as well as longer days out. And the beautifully finished smooth-welded  frame – with internal rear brake routing – is certainly comfortable enough for long rides and sportives. 

We found it more rewarding riding in the saddle than out, where its heavyish weight and slightly shorter top tube don’t do the handling any favours. But go with the hills rather than fight them and you’ll be riding comfortably all day; it copes with descents with aplomb. The Boardman branded bar and saddle are all decent contact points and 25mm is a good width for the tyres.

Mavic CXP rims are rare at £600, though the Vittoria tyres and non-cartridge brake blocks are ripe for an upgrade once worn. But overall the wheels still weigh 200g more than the Defy 4’s. 

Boardman – as you’d expect – have delivered a good bike, but the £100 it’s gained since its launch hasn’t helped it against the opposition. It looks a million dollars and won’t let you down as the miles mount up, but unusually for a Boardman it’s not the best equipped or lightest bike at its price. 

However, with Halfords having regular sales, there’s a very good chance this will dip below the half-grand mark again, where it really would shine. Good? Yes. Best at its price? Not this time, Chris.

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

Product Specifications

Product

Name Road Sport (13)
Brand Boardman

Available Colours RED
Headset Type semi integrated
Weight (kg) 10.37
Stem cboardman
Shifters 2300
Seatpost cboardman
Saddle cboardman
Rims CXP22
Rear Tyre VITTORIA ZAFFIRO
Rear Hub 32 hole QR
Rear Derailleur 2300
Handlebar cboardman
Available Sizes XS
Front Tyre VITTORIA ZAFFIRO
Front Hub 32 hole QR
Front Derailleur 2300
Frame Material Lightweight alloy double butted, full smooth welding with mudguard clearance
Fork Lightweight alloy with mudguard clearance
Cranks Tempo Compact - 50/34T
Chain Z72
Cassette SRAM PG850 12-26T
Brakes R359
Bottom Bracket cartridge bearing
Weight (lb) 22.86