The Boardman Pro Carbon is unashamedly racy, and a real bargain flyer at this price.
Boardman has specced everything at a level above most of the competition, reducing weight and increasing performance, while still keeping the price very reasonable. With a full carbon fibre frame and fork – not even an aluminium steerer – its overall weight is below that of many more expensive rivals, and offers astonishing value.
- BUY IF... You want a well-rounded package that's ready to race
The 160mm head tube on our 53cm semi-compact frame aims to appeal more to sportive riders by not being too low, but we found it still offered scope for a racier position too. Boardman has gone heavy on acronyms – we counted seven on the frame – and two of those refer to the rear end: AWD and DPT.
The first stands for Active Wishbone Design, relating to the subtly curved design of the thin seatstays, ending in a slim wishbone at the brake mount, and the other is Direct Power Transfer, covering Boardman's trademark straight, square and chunky chainstays. Together they give the frame immediate response to accelerations, and impressive comfort levels when the going gets rough and the hours are mounting up.
A slim wishbone and curved seatstays make up the Active Wishbone Design
The front end has great lateral rigidity thanks to the flared top tube and squared down tube, helping the fork to be both stable and precise. The Pro Carbon has a lively ride, always willing to change direction with a subtle flick, and is altogether more involving than some, which we like. It's a spirited enough performance for a budding racer or sportive rider.
The frame is designed around a BB30 bottom bracket, so to specify a chainset with a 30mm axle Boardman has fitted an FSA Gossamer as Shimano doesn't make a compatible 105 unit.
The glossy black finishing kit is Boardman's own, and all well designed, offering a compact drop handlebar and UD carbon 31.6mm seatpost to save some grams and provide a little extra comfort. A colour matched Fi'zi:k Ardea saddle adds quality and makes a classy alternative to the own brand fare usually seen at this price.
The frame is easily good enough to warrant upgrades, but with such a good level of componentry from new, you really won't need to ring the changes any time soon. It's a very good bike for someone starting out on the road, whether aiming at sportives or racing, as it's a great off-the-peg package.