Boardman Team Carbon review

Boardman keeps up its benchmark bargain reputation

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£999.00 RRP

Our review

Superbly balanced, enjoyable and versatile bike that’s one of the best sub-£1000 options around
Skip to view product specifications

If there’s one brand that’s consistently scored highly in performance for price terms without resorting to direct retailing it’s Boardman. The sub-£1000 carbon bike is a massively important model for the firm – because it just sneaks into the ‘bike to work’ scheme bracket in the UK.

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Boardman has acknowledged practical commuting needs by making the Team Carbon one of only two bikes here that come with mudguard eyes front and rear for more comfortable wet weather riding. It also avoids the fashion for internally routed cables in favour of more easily serviced external wires. The ride position is equally practical. Leave all the headset spacers in and you’ve got a relatively upright, creaking-back friendly position.

  • Highs: Confident, dynamic and power friendly frame with surefooted, Continental tyre underlined handling
  • Lows: Quality frame expense means adequate not amazing componentry
  • Buy If: You want an excellent economy all rounder and arguably the best ‘ride to work’ scheme compatible bike

There’s way more to the Team Carbon than trudging into work and back though – and if you whip the those headset spacers out the long top tube will tuck you down nicely out of the wind. Classic 73-degree parallel frame angles keep steering engaged and well balanced while a generously long wheelbase creates a naturally stable, bravery boosting descending character.

There’s ample authority in the fork, frame and Mavic wheels to explore the limits of the impressively grippy, confidence swelling Continental Ultra Sport II tyres. Boardman is bang up to date in choosing a ride smoothing, easy rolling 25mm carcass rather than the 23mm size that’s still the most common.

The 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres proved to be impressive performers
The 25mm continental ultra sport tyres proved to be impressive performers:
Immediate Media

The 25mm Continental Ultra Sport tyres proved to be impressive performers

The frame has plenty of features you’d normally expect to pay more for. The Toray T700 fibre based build wraps in a BB30 bottom bracket to boost stiffness, the rectangular chainstays are usefully stout and there’s a full carbon fork inside the tapered head tube. This means the same solid frame feel is definitely on your side when it comes down to getting your power from the soles of your feet and onto your local Strava segments scoreboard.

Having been impressed with a consistently responsive and eager feeling ride we were surprised when we weighed it. We’ll go for dynamic feel over workshop data every time when drawing conclusions though, and the surprise on the scales didn’t affect the Team Carbon’s positive attitude to scaling hills whether we were spinning tempo or grunting an over ambitious gear.

Where Boardman’s skill and experience of designing and tuning affordable carbon frames really comes in though is the fact it’s stiff and responsive without being uncomfortably rigid. It’s not dead and damped like many discount carbon frames are either and there’s a real sense of vitality between the obviously Fizik-influenced saddle and chubby Continental tyres.

It's not just about the commute – take the Team Carbon out of the comfort zone and it's an authoritative ride
It’s not just about the commute – take the team carbon out of the comfort zone and it’s an authoritative ride:
Steve Behr

It’s not just about the commute – take the Team Carbon out of the comfort zone and it’s an authoritative ride

Even the super compact bend bars, which felt weird at first, were soon appreciated for the range of hand positions they packed into a small change of overall body position. Several of our testers had become real fans by the end of the process.

Even a brand with Boardman’s buying power is on an extremely tight budget to get such a good frame and fork set equipped for under £1000 – and that does show. The most obvious sacrifice to dip under the four figure mark are the 20-speed Shimano 105/Tiagra gears, as opposed to a full 22-speed 105 drivetrain.

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The Tektro brakes are also softer and less powerful than 105 SLR-EV calipers when you’re really hauling them hard heading into a downhill T junction. Spending £400 on the next model up doesn’t get you either of those upgrades anyway though – so if you’re on a strict bike to work budget what you can get for a few quid more is totally immaterial.

Sub-£1,000 road bikes grouptest

Product Specifications

Product

Name Team Carbon (15)
Brand Boardman

Available Sizes XS S M L XL
Rear Hub 9mm QR
Top Tube (cm) 55.5
Seat Tube (cm) 53
Chainstays (cm) 41
Spoke Type Stainless
Weight (kg) 8.6
Stem Boardman E4P
Shifters Shimano Tiagra
Seatpost Boardman E4P 31.6mm
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Boardman E4P - Chromoly Rails
Rims Mavic CXP-22S
Rear Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II - 25c
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105 - 10 Speed
Bottom Bracket FSA PF30
Headset Type SA Orbit C-40 ACB/Industrial
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Boardman E4P (31.8)
Front Tyre Continental Ultra Sport II - 25c
Front Hub 9mm QR
Front Derailleur Shimano Tiagra - 2 Speed
Frame Material Toray T700 Full Uni-directional Carbon Fibre
Fork Full Uni-directional Carbon Fibre - Tapered Steerer
Cranks FSA Gossamer Compact 50/34t - PF30
Chain KMC X10
Cassette Shimano Tiagra - 12-28t
Brakes Tektro R540 Dual Pivot Calliper
Frame size tested M