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 its bikes were used by athletes whilst Boardman headed up R&D at British Cycling, in his role as Director. On the Olympic stage, both Nicole Cooke and Sarah Storey have raced them to victory in 2008 and 2016 respectively.
In 2018, the brand opened its Eversham based ‘Boardman Performance Centre‘ – which includes a wind tunnel available for public use, demonstrating its genuine grounding in research and aims to bring its application to the people.
Useful links for road bike shoppers…
For 2019, a few new ranges have been added whilst some have disappeared. Others, like the ever popular ‘Team Carbon’, have been enveloped into an existing moniker.
The labelling system has been simplified, too: bikes are now split into ‘8 series’ and ‘9 series’ models, with the higher number being the more performance orientated creations and the lower more value focused.
The brand was acquired by Halfords in 2014, and the bikes can be tested and purchased at Cycle Republic stores or the retailer Tredz, whilst 8 series bikes can be bought at Halfords. Here’s a look at the complete range…
Boardman road bikes
Boardman AIR: aero road bike, £1750 to £6000
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.
Notably, they’re not disc brake yet – something that we’d expect to see change in the near future.
Across the range, you’ll find semi compact 52-36 chainsets, with 11-28 cassettes. The semi-compact is probably the most popular option at present, offering enough help on the hills, and the 11-28 will aid those who need to climb, too. Racers might want to swap to a closer ratio 11-25 for crits or flatter events, as this will reduce the spacing between shifts.
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.
Models start at £1,750 for the AIR 9.0, with Shimano 105 groupset and Vision 35mm wheels. The top model comes in at £6,000 with SRAM Red eTap, and Zipp 404 Firecrest hoops, boasting rather plush 25mm Vittoria Corsa G+tyres.
Boardman SLR range: endurance road bikes, £550 to £5900
The Boardman SLR range in 2019 has grown substantially, now encompassing the once hugely popular ‘Team Carbon’ model.
Prices start at £550, for an aluminium SLR, but shoot up to £5,900 for a carbon bodied model with all the top spec.
Whilst obviously the riding experience is going to change throughout the spectrum, the lifeblood remains the same.
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. The top 9 series models use high grade C10 carbon, plunging the weight down to 6.8kg for a medium sized SLR 9.8 (7.4kg if you add disc brakes). This sinks to C8 carbon for lower end models, which is still a lightweight and responsive material.
The 9 series SLR range is also available with disc brakes – a great addition if you plan on all weather riding, as the stopping power is greatly improved. All disc brakes used are hydraulic – offering greater stopping power than mechanical discs, with bolt thru-axles which maintain stiffness and optimum handling.
In the 8 series collection, there’s the ‘Boardman SLR 8.9 Carbon’ – which is the model that replaces the hugely popular Boardman Team Carbon. At bang on £1,000, the frame is constructed from C7 carbon, and you’ll get shifting from Shimano’s Tiagra groupset plus Boardman’s own tubeless ready alloy wheels. The weight comes in at 9.05kg for a size medium.
The SLR Alloy models enter the range at £550, with a smooth welded aluminium frame and Shimano Claris shifting. The top alloy model costs £1,000, with the crisp shifting of Shimano 105. Weights vary from 10kg to 8.9kg depending upon the build spec you choose.
Across the range, you’ll find 50-34 compact chainsets, wide ration 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 ASR: winter road bike, £849 to £1299.99
You could create a winter bike by resigning your old machine when you upgrade – or you could buy a purpose designed off-season hack.
The ASR is designed for those who choose the latter. There’s just two options, and both use a steel frame (Reynolds 725 for the higher end model, 4130 CroMo on the lower end).
Both models come with 28c tyres for grip and comfort, fitted mudguards that will keep the spray from destroying the drivechain and your kit (whilst also protecting the face of the rider behind you, and disc brakes. The gearing is light for easy winter spinning – at a 50/34 with an 11-32 cassette.
Splash out and for £1299.99 you get Shimano 105 with hydraulic disc brakes, whilst the £849 model uses Shimano Sora and TRP Spyre cable discs.
Boardman ATT and TTE: time trial bikes from £1900 to £4950
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.
The Boardman ATT is the more affordable of the two, with built models starting from £1900. 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.
If you buy the ATT 9.4, for £2500, you’ll get a free wind tunnel experience to help you set the bike up for optimum aerodynamics.
The TTE is the most expensive of the available options and built frames start at £3500. The tubing has been redesigned for 2019, with more aerodynamic profiles and a fully integrated cockpit, which is highly adjustable to ensure the optimum position is achieved – and with these models you’ll get the wind tunnel experience, too.
The £3500 model comes with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and the same Vision Team Comp 35 wheels seen on the ATT models, whilst the £4950 version boasts deep Knight Composites clincher wheels and Dura Ace.
Boardman CXR: cyclocross bikes from £1000 to £2560
At a recent launch, Boardman himself said he was most enjoying exploring paths less travelled on the cyclocross bikes within the range. However, since then the drop bar off-road collection has been split into CXR and ADV – the former being more aggressive and designed for those planning on pinning a number on.
The CXR is available with an aluminium or carbon frame, and across the collected features a race ready geometry with single chainring and hydraulic disc brakes.
The £1000 CXR 8.9 uses a smooth welded alloy frame with SRAM Apex 1x shifting plus hydraulic brakes. The wheels are Boardman’s own, with Donnelly PDX 33c tyres and a built weight of around 11kg.
Carbon models start at £1400 for the 9.0, with the top end version coming in at £2560 and made form C10 carbon, with Shimano Ultegra Di2 shifting, Boardman CXR Elite Seven wheels with 33mm Clement MXP tubeless tyres and a built weight of 8.5kg.
Boardman ADV: adventure bikes, £750 to £1650
A fairly new introduction to Boardman’s stable, the ADV is an adventure bike that can be used as a do-it-all if you want to go on and off-road, or just want total comfort on the tarmac.
All three spec options use an aluminium frame, and offer an ‘adventure geometry’, which will be relaxed and more upright than the more road going options.
Notable features of the 8 series models are the 38c tyres, in this case Schwalbe’s G-One Speed rubber, with disc brakes throughout, 50-34 compact cassettes paired with wide ratio 11-32 cassettes that will ensure even the steepest hills can be tackled whilst still spinning an easy gear. The 9 series bikes come with 650b tubeless ready wheelsets, bolstered with 50mm tyres.
Aluminium models start at £750, for the ADV 8.8, which uses Shimano Sora and Tektro Spyre mechanical disc brakes. The 8.9 costs £1000 and uses Shimano Tiagra plus hydraulic disc brakes.
The top model, at £1,650, is the 9.0 which swaps to a 1x system with SRAM Rival 1, boasting a 40T chainring paired with 11-42 cassette.
Boardman Hybrid bikes: URB, HYB and MTX
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’s 2019 range includes a line-up of ‘URB’ urban bikes. These are designed for those who want to be quick footed around town, and feature belt drives and incredibly Di2 shifting at the sharp end. Prices will start from £699, peaking at £1999 – there’s more information here.
Elsewhere, there is the HYB collection or rigid fork hybrid bikes, and the MTX series which offers suspension and is a little closer to a mountain bike.
HYB models start at £550, for an aluminium frame, with Shimano Acera, 9 speed shifting, and rather impressive hydraulic brakes. For £1000 you’ll enjoy the simplicity of a single chainring set up with SRAM Apex. These are road going, but won’t be quite so nimble as the likes of the new URB.
Within the ‘MTX’ series, you’ll find a 63mm travel Suntour suspension fork which means the bike is more suited to those who want to travel off-road – prices start from £500 and top out at £650.
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.