Boardman Bikes has changed. A lot. BikeRadar went along to see the Boardman 2016 range launch in London's Shoreditch this week to see the fruits of the brand's labours post-Halfords acquisition.
The bikes are almost unrecognisable, right down to their swish new logo. Boardman's website went live at 5pm on 12 November, redesigned to let customers buy bikes in multiple currencies, and includes a custom bike configuration tool – now you can choose any carbon frameset, size, spec, colours (primary/secondary/branding) and paint finish. In all there are 5,202 different options.
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In case that sounds like rather a lot to take in, we've broken down what we reckon to be the pick of the new Boardman stable. Click through the gallery above for more of the range highlights.
SLR Endurance Disc Titanium 9.2
In a radical departure for Boardman, the new titanium SLR looks simply stunning, and it's a wishlist of modern road cycling hardware trends. It blends polished Ti with etched logos and a sumptuous blue-fade paint scheme, while the all-new carbon fork features a 15mm thru-axle and the frame has a 12mm thru-axle at the rear.
The SLR Endurance Disc Titanium 9.2
The 9.2 features a full mechanical Ultegra groupset, with a sportive/fondo-friendly gear range (50/34, 11-28), plus Shimano RS785 hydraulic brakes and shifters, and Boardman’s new SLR Elite Five disc wheels.
The 28mm deep aero-profiled rims are disc-specific (so no brake track) and are matched to sealed cartridge bearing hubs with flanges designed for straight-pull spokes. At 1718g a pair it’s a reasonably light setup.
High-polish and neat welds on the Ti endurance bike
Boardman claims a weight of 8.95kg for a complete size medium bike; whichever size you go with it'll set you back £3,499 / $5,000. We can't wait to have a ride.
The time trial-centric TTE’s beautifully profiled design was a winner when it debuted, but we think the new livery and finish makes the bike even more attractive.
The TTE 9.8 looks seriously fast even when standing still
The new 9.8, with its blend of gloss black and chrome silver, is the range standout by our reckoning. It's equipped with Ultegra Di2, with not a cable in sight thanks to its fully integrated routing and brakes.
The 9.8 is finished with a dedicated Boardman carbon cockpit, ISM Adamo saddle Boardman’s new Air Elite Nine carbon clincher wheelset. These carbon clinchers use a 80mm deep rear rim and a shallower 55mm front – Boardman says this creates a more stable steering response in windy conditions yet you still get the advantage of a super-deep rear wheel (that’s unlikely to suffer stability wise as much in crosswinds).
The 9.8's rear wheel is 80mm deep, the front a much lower 55mm
At 1862g for the pair they’re no heavyweights either. The wheels are available separately at £1099.99 / $TBC a pair or a part of the £5499.99 / $7,000 package for the TTE 9.8.
SLR Signature Disc
The Boardman Signature series is what the brand describes as its premium chassis, adorned with the best-of-the-best componentry.
The SLR Signature Disc combines Enve carbon components, Di2 and Zipp 303 wheels
In this instance that means the new 950g endurance disc frame, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Zipp 303 Firecrest disc wheels running Vittoria Open Corsa 25c tyres. An Enve carbon compact bar, carbon Enve stem, and a carbon Enve post topped with Prologo’s range-topping Zero C3 saddle complete the build.
Such a premium spec will obviously come at a jaw-dropping price; in this case its £7999.99 / $10,000.
Elite AIR 9.4
Boardman’s aero-road bike, the AIR, has had a significant makeover for 2016, including for the first time on the 9.4 (and above) the T9 aero fork, which has an integrated brake system borrowed from the TTE time trial machine.
Even the seat clamp on the AIR gets an aero covering
The 9.4 also features Boardman's AST tape – small sections of textured tape placed in strategic places on the frame to enhance the aerodynamic credentials. Chris Boardman explained to us that under testing in the wind tunnel these tape sections save 2 percent drag, which equates to 23w saved in an hour's riding. Marginal, but a gain is a gain.
The 9.4 comes with Ultegra Di2, Boardman Elite carbon post, carbon stem, alloy bar, a Prologo Nago Evo 141 saddle and Boardman's new Elite Seven carbon clinchers. Like the Nines found on the TTE, these have a shallower front rim (45mm) paired with a deeper (55mm) rear.
These clinchers tip the scales at 1726g and are available separately for £999.99 / $TBC. The complete Elite AIR 9.4 will set you back £3999.99 / $5,200.
SLR Race Signature
The lightweight and aggressive SLR racing frame tips the scales at a scant 798g (medium). It gets the premium signature treatment in this flagship model, kitted out with Dura-Ace Di2, Enve carbon post, stem and the new SES carbon compact bar.
The SLR Race Signature combines Di2, Enve wheels and components and a 798g frame
Its rolling stock is the classy pairing of Enve’s SES 3.4 tubular carbon rims on Chris King hubs. It's finished off with a Pro Logo Zero C3 saddle and Vittoria Corsa CX tubular tyres. The SLR Race signature is priced at £8,499 / $10,400.
Dura-Ace Di2 comes as standard on the Signature SLR Race
The Endurance version of the SLR Signature (9.9) will also be available with SRAM’s Red eTap electronic gearing setup, making it one of the first production bikes we’ve seen with the wireless group. Built onto a bike that’s also running Zipp Firecrest 202 wheels, this one looks set to be something special for £6299.99 / $TBC.
CXR 9.4 Elite
Boardman’s classy cyclocross machine features a thru-axle frame and fork, while drive duties are handled by SRAM’s all-conquering Force 1 groupset with a 'cross-friendly 38t front ring and wide 11-36 gear cassette.
The CXR 9.4 Elite is equipped with SRAM Force 1 and hydraulic brakes
It's rolling on yet another new wheelset from Boardman (the team have certainly been busy). This time it’s the new CXR Elite Disc 5 – 12/15mm thru-axle hubs are at the heart of these wheels and the 28mm-deep clincher rim is widened somewhat to accommodate the Vittoria Cross XM Pro tyres.
The claimed 8.6kg weight and £2699.99 / $3,700 price tag make this one look seriously competitive.
SLR Endurance Disc Women's
Boardman says it has increased the range of women's bikes for next year on all frame platforms. The SLR Endurance Disc Womens caught our eye, with mechanical Ultegra shifting, thru-axles and hydraulic discs, and costing £2,599 / $3,700.
Beyond the bikes
Another area of renewed focus for 2016 is the 'non-bikes' side of the business: there will be a new Elite range of clothing, and the team told us they plan to be more daring in terms of designs and colours for next year.
Boardman is also stepping up the game with its own set of components, including the carbon wheels mentioned above that sit proudly on the new range of bikes. "We found that the wheels we were speccing weren't delivering enough, so we decided we could do better if we did it ourselves," said Chris Boardman.
All in all, we're impressed – and we can't wait to give these new bikes a spin.