The Boardman exemplifies what you can do with a bike at this price, with touches that until recently would only have been seen on much more expensive machines. It combines fast handling, great acceleration and comfort.
True, it nudges the scales just the wrong side of the 9kg mark, but it has a triple-butted aluminium frame, an aggressively tapered fork steerer and oversize BB30 bottom bracket for extra stiffness, a full-carbon fork and seatpost for reduced weight and increased comfort, and an internally routed rear brake cable for neatness and reduced maintenance.
The inside faces of the fork and the oversize chainstays have been designed with flat profiles to reduce air turbulence. More traditional touches include 73-degree parallel head and seat angles and a shortish 15cm head tube so you can get down low on the bar, though the Boardman does come with plenty of spacers if you want a slightly more upright, comfort-orientated ride
The bike oozes quality. The smooth finish of the welds is second to none – it even looks like carbon at first glance – and it has a ride quality to match its appearance. The Shimano 105 derailleurs, FSA Gossamer chainset and Mavic hubs provide a smooth and efficient drivetrain, shifting is swift and acceleration quick.
The frame is suitably stiff, and is rewarding when you put all your energy through it. The Tektro R580 brakes are decent too. They have cartridge shoes and a profile that’s similar to SRAM’s, an extra strut creating a stiffening triangle compared with Shimano 105. The Boardman-branded finishing kit is good quality, and it’s great to see a carbon seatpost.
The saddle probably has more padding than experience cyclists will appreciate, but is easily changed and perhaps a reasonable call for riders for whom this could well be a first road bike. The lack of mudguard/rack eyes and quite tight frame clearance slightly limits the Team’s all-round appeal, and we’d have preferred better tyres than the Vittoria Zaffiros – upgrade these when they wear out. But for its speed, handling, quality wheelset and generally well-considered spec this is definitely one of the very best bikes available at this price.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.