Boardman offers a vast array of bikes, catering for everyone from full-on pros to first-ride beginners. Which is right for you?
The brand was launched in 2007 and bikes were used by athletes whilst Boardman headed up R&D at British Cycling, in his role as Director. Indeed, the Boardman Team Carbon frame that ferried Nicole Cooke to an Olympic Gold medal in 2008 has seen little change since her historic win.
The growth of the brand means that the roster has been split into two clear tiers: Performance and Elite. The bikes are renowned for offering exceptional value for money, with the Performance models being the more price conscious of the two. Though many models in the range boast an endurance geometry, they’re not sugar coated – with stiff frames that offer punchy acceleration and in some cases you’ll find more race-orientated gearing than elsewhere.
In 2015, the brand was acquired by Halfords, and the lower rung Performance models are available in their stores and via the Boardman website. The Elite bikes – available with custom colour schemes – are available direct via the Boardman website, though some models can also be tested and purchased at Cycle Republic stores.
Discussing the increasingly popular direct sales method, marketing manager Marthe Jansen commented: “By Boardman Bikes becoming an online retailer in the UK it has enabled Boardman Bikes to significantly reduce the price on our Elite range, giving our customers the best performing bike at any price point for their level and budget.”
In 2016, Boardman branched into wheels and clothing – the former being fitted to almost all bikes and therefore offering an even greater value offering. Exceptions are on top end models, where the very best Zipp or Enve wheels are used.
Here’s a look at the complete range.
Boardman road bikes
Boardman AIR (Elite range)
The bike for riders looking to go fast, the AIR is all about aerodynamics. Boardman having been an incredible time triallist and hour record holder, he knows a thing or two about beating drag – and will be the first to tell you that 90 per cent of the work you put into the bike goes on overcoming it.
These bikes feature aero tube profiles, integrated brakes and cables, and have been wind tunnel tested. Handling and comfort remain high on the agenda, with a tapered steerer, and power transfer has been maximised through the use of a one-piece bottom bracket and chain-stay creation that aims to make sure every watt is utilised.
Aside from the women’s model (which features a compact 50-34 chainset) you’ll find semi compact 52-36 chainsets, with 11-25 or 12-25 cassettes – though this leaves more room for help on the climbs than a standard double, the narrow cassette offers a ratio that will suit racers who want to be able to slip into the perfect gear.
There’s one model with a women’s bike finishing kit. The frame remains identical, but handlebars and saddle have been altered to suit a female rider – a theme that you’ll see across several frame families in the Boardman stable.
Boardman AIR Models:
AIR 9.8 Frameset: £1399.99 (Signature Framset: £1499.99)
AIR 9.0: £1,899.99, Shimano Ultegra, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
AIR 9.2 £2,299.99, Shimano Dura Ace, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
AIR 9.4 £3,299.99 Shimano Ultegra Di2, Boardman Air Elite Seven wheels
AIR 9.8 £3,799.99 Shimano Dura Ace Di2, Boardman Air Elite Seven wheels
AIR Women £2,299.99 Shimano Dura-Ace, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
AIR Signature: £5999.99, Shimano Dura Ace Di2, ENVE SES 6.7 wheels
Boardman SLR Endurance and SLR Endurance Disc (Elite range)
A shorter top tube and taller head tube combine to take the riding position down a notch when compared to the more aggressive AIR, and skinny seat stays offer compliance and dampen out road buzz. This said, the SLR is far from a slouch – indeed, during our last review, we commented: “The 56cm stack and 39cm reach on our medium bike didn’t make for an aggressive stance, but it was no sit-up-and-beg shopper either.”
SLR by name and SLR by nature too – high grade C10 carbon has been used, plunging the weight down to 850g for a medium size frame.
The Endurance bike range is also available with disc brakes – a great addition if you plan on all weather riding, as the stopping power is greatly improved. However, disc brakes are still not legal in amateur races held under British Cycling regulations, a consideration racers should bear in mind. All disc brakes used are Shimano hydraulic – offering greater stopping power than mechanical discs, with bolt thru-axles which maintain stiffness and optimum handling.
Across the range, you’ll find 50-34 compact chainsets, with 11-28 cassettes – more than enough gears for most riders to get over the hills, but not as big a spread as you’ll find on beginner-focused endurance bikes.
Boardman SLR Endurance models:
SLR Endurance Frameset: £1099.99 (Signature: £1199.99)
SLR Endurance 9.0: £1699.99, Shimano Ultegra, Boardman SLR Elite Five wheels
SLR Endurance 9.2: £2099.99, Shimano Dura Ac, Boardman SLR Elite Five wheels
SLR Endurance 9.4: £2799.99, Shimano Ultegra Di2, Boardman SLR Elite Five wheels
SLR Endurance 9.9: £5299.99, SRAM Red eTap, Zipp Firecrest 202 wheels
SLR Endurance Signature: £5999.99, Campag S. Record, ENVE SES 3.4 wheels
SLR Endurance WSD: £1849.99, Shimano Ulregra, Boardman SLR Elite Five wheels
SLR Endurance Disc Frameset: £1149.99 (Signature: £1249.99)
SLR Endurance Disc 9.0: £1999.99, Ultegra, SLR Elite Five Disc wheels
SLR Endurance Disc 9.2: £2299.99, Dura Ace, SLR Elite Five disc wheels
SLR Endurance Disc 9.4: £2999.99, Ultegra Di2, SLR Elite Five disc wheels
SLR Endurance Disc 9.8: £3799.99, Dura Ace Di2, SLR Elite Seven Disc wheels
SLR Endurance Disc Signature: £5999.99, Dura Ace Di2, Firecrest 303 Carbon Disc
SLR Endurance WSD Disc: £2049.99, Ulregra, SLR Elite Five disc wheels
Boardman SLR Race (Elite range)
Perhaps you’re looking for an aggressive, race ready geometry, with a lightweight frame? Enter the SLR Race, with a medium frame as light as 798g.
A one piece PF30 bottom bracket aims to provide punchy power transfer, alongside blocky chainstays so that you can really push the pace despite the featherweight construction.
Since this is a full-on, race centered bike, the chainset is a 53/39 double – a rarity in the modern bike market, with an 11-23 cassette on the top end model and an 11-25 at the SRAM Red rung.
Boardman SLR Race models:
SLR Race 9.8 frameset: £1099.99 (Signature frameset: £1199.99)
SLR Race 9.8: £3099.99, SRAM Red Groupset 22, Boardman SLR Elite Nine wheels
SLR Race Signature: £5999.99, Shimano Dura Ace Di2, ENVE SES 3.4 Tubular wheels
Boardman SLR Titanium (Elite range)
In recent years, aluminium (harsh, fairly light, resilient) and carbon (comfortable, light, fragile) have ruled over steel (springy, heavy, resilient) and titanium (springy, light, resilient, usually expensive). But there are titanium bikes out there for those seeking a lifelong companion – and Boardman added its own offering in 2016.
The frame has been hand made and hand painted. There’s a lot of crossover from the SLR Endurance Disc, with a relaxed geometry and skinny seat stays to aid compliance. The disc brakes used are Shimano hydraulic, and thru axles offer stiffness and improved handling alongside a carbon fork to drop the weight where it matters – the cheaper model weighs 8.95kg and the more expensive is 8.87kg, both in a medium.
To suit the endurance nature of these machines, all models sport compact (50/34) chainsets, with 11-28 cassettes and 28mm tyres – allowing for all the gears you could need and comfort via a larger contact patch with the earth.
Boardman SLR Titanium models:
SLR Ti 9.8 Framest: £1699.99
SLR Ti 9.2: £2999.99, Shimano Ultegra, Boardman SLR Elite Five Disc wheels
SLR Ti 9.4: £3999.99, Shimano Ultegra Di2, Boardman SLR Elite Seven Disc
Boardman Road Pro Carbon and Road Pro Carbon SLR (Performance range)
Moving into the more affordable ‘performance range’, you’ll find the Road Pro Carbon, and Road Pro Carbon SLR.
Both come from the same mould as the SLR Endurance – that means they’ll offer a comfortable ride – with an ‘all day ride’ geometry and skinny seat stays. There’s still plenty of punch in the frame, though – thanks to a wide bottom bracket and chunky steerer.
Speaking at the launch of the bikes, back in 2016, Andy Smallwood, Managing Director of Boardman Bikes commented: “The frameset is the heart of the bike. The frame is based on the SLR model’s endurance technology and uses the same mould.”
On the Pro Carbon, Boardman have used C7 material, so the built bike with a Shimano 105 groupset, Boardman Aero Profile wheels and Shimano BRR-S505 Disc Brakes comes in at 8.3kg in a size medium.
Comparatively, the Road Pro Carbon SLR uses the more premium C8 carbon, and comes with a SRAM Force 22 groupset – including matching rim brakes – and Mavic Ksyrium Equipe hoops, with a weight of 7.3kg in the same size.
Road Pro Carbon models:
Road Pro Carbon, grey, £1500, Shimano 105, Boardman Aero Profile wheels
Road Pro Carbon, silver, £1200, Shimano 105, Boardman Aero Profile wheels
Road Pro Carbon SLR, £1619, SRAM Force 22, Macic Ksyrium Equipe
Boardman Road Team Carbon (Performance range)
If you’re shopping with a Cycle to Work voucher burning a hole in your pocket, then you might find the hairs on the back of your neck prickle at this £1000 price point.
The Road Team Carbon is the frame on which Nicole Cooke rode to Olympic glory. It’s a race proven performer, that now sits at a very wallet friendly level.
Based around the SLR Endurance frame, so still fairly relaxed, but with enough stiffness to yield a race ride; C7 carbon is used alongside shifting from Shimano Tiagra. The brakes are Tektro calipers, not quite as strong as the Shimano version but perfectly reliable, and the compact chainset (50/34) with 11-28 cassette will allow for plenty of assistance on the inclines. The wheels are Mavic CXP-Elite and the built weight of a medium frame is 9kg.
The bike comes in white (£1000) or black (£800) and there’s also a women’s model with a female specific handlebar, stem and saddle set up for £1000 (medium frame 8.8kg to reflect size reduction). You can upgrade components as you go – but this frame could keep a beginner going through the racing ranks whilst still making an adequate commuting machine.
Road Team Carbon Models:
Road Team Carbon, white: £1000, Shimano Tiagra, Mavic CXP-Elite wheels
Road Team Carbon, black: £800, Shimano Tiagra, Mavic CXP-Elite wheels
Road Team Carbon, WSD: £1000, Shimano Tiagra, Mavic CXP-Elite wheels
Boardman Road Comp and Road Sport (Performance range)
Those taking their first steps into cycling rarely want to be told they have to re-mortgage their home, or trade in their car, for a bicycle. Which is where the Road Comp and Road Sport come in.
The Road Sport is designed around an X7 aluminium frame, with a carbon fork and alloy steerer plus alloy seat post. Skipping the addition of carbon at the seat post will add to vibrations a little, but the carbon fork will offer smooth handling at the front end.
The shifting system is Shimano Claris, with Tektro Dual Pivot Calliper Brakes. The gearing has been designed for beginners taking on the hills, with a 50/34 compact chainset and 11-28 cassette fitted to Mavic CXP-22N wheels. The build comes in at 10.5kg.
At comp level, the key differance is the use of TRP Spyre Disc Brakes – these aren’t quite as efficient as hydraulic disc brakes, but will provide fast stopping in all weathers – which is the key victory over rim brakes. The shifting comes from Shimano Sora, and you receive the same aluminium frame, seat post, carbon fork and gearing with a built weight of 10.1kg.
Boardman Sport and Comp models:
Road Sport, grey or white: £500, Shimano Claris
Road comp, grey: £560, Shimano Sora and TRP disc brakes, DBRD-1 wheels
Road comp, red: £700, Shimano Sora and TRP disc brakes, DBRD-1 wheels
Road sport WSD, white: £400, Shimano Claris, Tektro brakes, Mavic CXP-22N wheels
Road sport WSD, teal: £500, Shimano Claris, Tektro brakes, Mavic CXP-22N wheels
Boardman Time trial bikes
With Boardman’s own time trial prowess at the head of the tree, it was only a matter of time before the range would include bikes designed to slice through the air like a sharp knife through windowsill butter. And as ever, there’s a huge range to choose from.
The level of technology that goes into the frames varies depending upon how deep your pockets are.
You can pick up aero tube profiles and a Vision base bar for just £1000 in the shape of the ‘Team TT’ – which features in the Performance range. This comes with an A7 alloy frame, SRAM Apex shifters and Tektro R540 Dual Pivot brakes (frankly, no one needs exceptional stopping power on a TT bike). The gear set up is a 53/39 double with 11-26 cassette – ideal for flat time trials, but perhaps quite chunky for often hilly triathlon courses. There’s a very thoughtful addition in the ISM Adamo saddle – which is one that many time trial riders find suits the aggressive racing position.
The ATT is the more affordable of the two, with built models starting from £1899.99. Boardman’s C10 carbon has been used, the cables are all hidden in the frame and the brakes are also integrated to avoid disruption from the wind. The wide PF30 bottom bracket shell has been used – meaning the chain stays can be more aerodynamic and power transfer is greater. Finally, the seatpost allows for four different positions, so the rider can find their ideal tuck.
The TTE is the most expensive of the available options. Built frames start at £2799.99. The key upgrades can be seen in the use of the wind tunnel tested ‘Boardman Surface Trip’ which delays the point at which airflow separates from the tube, therefore reducing drag (that’s the short version!). A fully integrated cockpit combines to offer a five per cent saving, which could translate to minutes over a 25 mile time trial.
Boardman time trial bike models:
Team TT: £1000, SRAM Apex, Boardman 32 Hole wheels
ATT 9.8 Frameset: £1399.99
ATT 9.0: £1899.99, Shimano 105, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
ATT 9.2: £2299.99, Shimano Ultegra, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
ATT 9.2 Di2 upgrade: £2999.99, Shimano Ultegra Di2, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
ATT WSD: £2299.99, Shimano Ultegra, Boardman Air Elite Five wheels
TTE Frameset: £2399.99 (TTE Signature Frameset: £2499.99 /`0
TTE 9.2: £2799, Shimano Ultegra groupset, Boardman AIR Elite Five wheels
TTE 9.2: £3499.99, Shimano Ultegra Di2, Boardman AIR Elite Five wheels
TTE 9.8: £4299.99, Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, Boardman AIR Elite Nine carbon clincher wheels
Boardman Cyclocross bikes
When the newest batch of Boardman bikes were launched, the man himself said he was most enjoying exploring paths less travelled on the cyclocross bikes within the range. There’s one Elite ‘cross bike, and two in the Performance shed.
The CXR is the Elite family – but even within the stable there’s a lot of variation. The CXR 9.0 features an aluminium frame and has been created to be a ‘do it all bike’ – more like an adventure road or gravel bike. The CXR 9.2 moves up one rung with the introduction of a C10 carbon frame – that drops the weight from 9.39 to 9.22kg in a medium size. The top end model, the 9.4, is an out-and-out cyclocross race bike with SRAM Force CX1 groupset.
Within the performance range, there’s the CX Team – which features a SRAM Rival Groupset with a 1x set up – making it an ideal cyclocross race bike. The CX Comp features the same X7 Alloy frame, but with a Shimano Sora groupset with a compact chainset and 11-30 cassette plus mechanical disc brakes – the additional gearing making it a greater winter road bike, with a tyre change.
Boardman cyclocross models:
CXR 9.0: £1299.99, Alloy, SRAM Rival 22 groupset, Boardman CXR Elite Five Disc
CXR 9.2: £1999.99, Carbon, Shimano Ultegra, Boardman CXR Elite Five Disc
CXR 9.4: £2299.99, Carbon, SRAM Force CX1, Boardman CXR Elite Five Disc
CXR 9.8 Frameset: £999.99
CX Team: £1000, Alloy, SRAM Rival 1x groupset and hydraulic dics, Mavic XM 319
CX Comp: £650, Alloy, Shimano Sora shifting and Tektro mechanical discs, Mavic XM 319
Boardman Hybrid bikes
Hybrid bikes are rough and ready road style bikes that share some characteristics with mountain bikes to varying degrees – meaning that some are capable of rutted country paths, whilst those closer to the ‘road’ end of the scale are just very resilient and comfortable. Flat bars offer a more upright position that will suit commuters for whom speed is not the number one concern.
Boardman have spit their hybrid bikes into two really clear families – the Hybrid Pro, Team and Comp – all of which are closer to the road end of the spectrum and thus offer speed with an element of comfort. The Pro bikes feature a single chainring, with 10-42T cassette – meaning there’s plenty of gears to get through but limited maintenance. The ‘Team’ models use a compact chainset with 11-32 cassette, still plenty of gears but a little more maintenance and weight added by the extra chainring.
The ‘MX’ series: Comp and Sport, you’ll find a 63mm travel Suntour suspension fork which means the bike is more suited to those who want to travel off-road. At ‘Comp’ level, these have a super-compact chainset (48-32) which will suit riders who may come across short, sharp inclines off road and the ‘Sport’ models feature a triple (48-36-24) chainset which achieves a similar offering but will weigh a tiny bit more.
Every one of the hybrid bikes in the Boardman range features disc brakes, demonstrating a commitment to their all weather stopping power, which will suit those who plan to get on the bike regardless what the weather report brings.
Boardman hybrid models:
Hyprid Pro Platinum: £800, SRAM groupset and DB3 disc brakes
Hybrid Pro Grey: £1000, SRAM groupset and DB3 disc brakes
Hybrid Team: £700, Shimano Tiagra, BR-M447 Hydraulic disc brakes
Hybrid Comp: £500, Shimano Acera, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
Hybrid Comp WSD: £500, Shimano Acera, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
Hybrid MX Comp: £480, SRAM SL- Via Centro, Avid DB-1 Hydraulic disc brakes
Hybrid MX Sport: £450, SRAM X5, Tektro HD-M290 Hydraulic disc brakes
Hybrid MX Comp WSD: £480, SRAM SL- Via Centro, Avid DB-1 Hydraulic disc brakes
Hybrid MX Sport WSD: £450, SRAM X5, Tektro HD-M290 Hydraulic disc brakes