Boardman unveils 2021 offering with limited edition £1000 carbon, Shimano 105 bargain

Upgrades and price drops for the popular bike brand

Boardman has announced its new 2021 range of road and adventure bikes. To celebrate the new collection, it’s offering a limited edition Boardman SLR 8.9 – with just 500 men’s and 500 women’s builds coming with Shimano 105 fitted to the carbon frame.

Previously at this price point the brand offered a Shimano Tiagra groupset, to keep the cost down. The Shimano 105 builds will be available from July 6, and Boardman is not expecting them to hang around long.

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“With a comfortable, fast responding, aero-optimised sub 1100g carbon frame at £1000… there was plenty to like,” the brand said. “However, to deliver such an outstanding frameset at that price, Shimano 10 speed Tiagra had to be the groupset of choice… Boardman felt compelled to upgrade the groupset to better match the quality frame. These limited editions come with Shimano’s 105, which adds a gear, drops the weight and raises the bar.”

Indeed, when we last tested a Ribble R872 with Shimano Tiagra, we loved the frame but did feel the package was let down by the braking performance, so we’re pretty on board with Boardman’s decision here – albeit a limited time offer.

The full range of bikes will be available directly from Boardman and Halfords, with the ability to pre-register interest for when the bikes land between July and August.

The new SLR and ADV models are considered phase one of the Boardman 2021 range launch. Phase two, which will feature a new mountain bike range, hybrid, multi-terrain and urban bikes, along side a new 9.0 Series SLR and ADV models, will, according to the brand, hopefully be available for a first look by the end of July.

Here’s a look at what’s soon to come from Boardman…

Boardman 2021 range highlights

Boardman SLR 8.9

Boardman SLR 8.9

The Boardman SLR 8.9 is limited to a run of 500 models.

Limited to a run of just 500 models across both the male and female versions, the new limited SLR 8.9 has been capped at the £1k mark, keeps the sub 1100g aero shaped carbon frame and fork, but gains an upgraded drive train from 10speed Shimano Tiagra to 11 speed Shimano 105, with a FSA Gossamer chainset.

Keeping the sub 1100g aero frameset, the Boardman SLR 8.9 also maintains its endurance friendly geometry.

The Bike also gains 25mm Vittoria Zaffro Pro G2.0 tyres on a Boardman SLR tubeless ready wheelset and Boardman finishing kit, which it says matches real world data sets for the male and female fits.

Boardman SLR 8.8

Boardman SLR 8.8

The Boardman SLR 8.8 gains disc brakes for 2021.

The Boardman SLR 8.8 retains it’s alloy frame and carbon fork, but sees a swap from calliper breaking to a  Tektro mechanical disc, as well as now coming equipped with 10 speed Shimano Tiagra for the same retail price as the previous version of £750.

The matt silver bike comes with 28mm Victoria Rubino tyres on Boardman SLR tubeless ready wheels, and braze-on mudguard and rack mounts, for what Boardman say is everyday, year round versatility.

Boardman 8.6

Boardman SLR 8.6

The entry level range of bikes are cheaper than ever.

The range entry level Boardman SLR 8.6 has had an impressive price drop of £100, making the male and female versions now just £500. The Aluminium fame and carbon fork has also been redesigned, for what Boardman say now delivers more rear end compliance, while the rest of the frame retains it’s ‘aero-inspired’ tubing profiles.

Equipped with 8 speed Shimano Claris, and FSA Tempo chainset, the bike also gains Vittoria Zaffro tyres on Boardman SLR tubeless ready wheels. Mudguard and rack mounts add practicality, and the bike is finished with Boardman’s own male/ female finishing kits.

Adventure bikes

The Boardman range of adventure bikes, the ADV range, also gain range updates, with, according to Boardman, the 2021 Boardman ADV 8.9 seeing the most significant changes.

Boardman ADV 8.9

Boardman ADV 8.9

The Boardman ADV 8.9 has had a geometry overhaul for better handling and a more stable ride.

The alloy frame and carbon fork has now been upgraded to a thru-axle design, which Boardman say should offer more precise handling and disc alignment. The front end has been slackened and bottom bracket dropped, when compared to Boardman road bikes, to deliver, what the brand promises, is a more confidence inspiring stability off road. The ADV 8.9 also now has a longer wheelbase and shorter stems, all of which should also help deliver a comfortable and stable rough terrain riding experience.a

The ADV 8.9 range also now feature Shimano’s gravel specific GRX drive train and hydraulic disc brakes. The 2×10 offering has been teamed with an 11-36 cassette and a 48-32 FSA Omega chainring for a range of gears that Boardman say should be big enough for hitting the tarmac fast, yet small enough to tackle slippery steep off-road gradients. .

Tubeless-ready 38mm Schwalbe G-One All Round TLE tubeless ready tyres and Boardman SLR wheels finishes off the £1k bike

Boardman ADV 8.6

Boardman ADV 8.6

2021 gains a new gravel bike range the Boardman ADV 8.6

New for the 2021 season is the entry level adventure bike, the Boardman ADV 8.6 in men’s and women’s guise. Retailing at an impressive £650 Boardman say that the bike takes design and specification cues from the previous ADV 8.8, but coming in £100 cheaper.

Boardman state that the alloy frame and carbon fork maintain the same geometry as the ADV 8.9 for stable and predictable handling off-road, but with quick release wheels. All but mirroring the gearing ratios of the ADV 8.9, the team behind the ADV 8.6 have opted for Shimano Sora drive train and FSA Velo Pro chainset, as well as mechanical Tektro disc brake to help keep the price point down.

With Boardman himself believing that tyres are one of the most important components on a bike, the ADV 8.6 sticks with the tubeless-ready 38mm Schwalbe G-One ALLround TLE tubeless ready tyres and Boardman SLR wheels.

About Boardman bikes

The Boardman bikes range is vast – models start at £500 and exceed £5k, encompassing hybrid, road, time trial, cyclocross and mountain bike disciplines.

The bikes are the product of ‘the professor’ – former Hour Record Holder, Olympic gold medallist and Tour de France yellow jersey wearer Chris Boardman.

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.

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The range saw a lot of change in 2019, with some new models in the line up and some disappearing. 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.

Boardman doesn’t follow the model year format used elsewhere, so the range continues into the 2020 season.

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, it’s worth bearing in mind that prices listed are RRP, and you’ll find reductions on a large number of models.

Boardman’s range

Boardman AIR: aero road bike

boardman bikes

Boardman AIR 9.6 road bike

The bike for riders looking to go fast, the AIR is all about aerodynamics. Boardman having been an incredible time trial rider 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.

Boardman SLR range: endurance road bikes

boardman bikes

Boardman SLR 9.2 road bike

The Boardman SLR range has grown substantially, now encompassing the once hugely popular ‘Team Carbon’ model.

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.”

Boardman ASR: winter road bike

Boardman ASR 8.8

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).

Models come with wide 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.

Boardman ATT and TTE: time trial bikes 

Boardman TTE 9.4

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. 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.

>>> Boardman ATT 9.2 review

The TTE is the most expensive of the available options. The tubing was 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.

Boardman CXR: cyclocross bikes 

boardman bikes

Boardman CXR 9.4

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.

Boardman CXR 9.0 Cyclocross bike reviewed 

Boardman ADV: adventure bikes

boardman bikes

Boardman ADV 8.9

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.

Boardman Hybrid bikes: URB, HYB and MTX

boardman bikes

Boardman URB 9.4

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 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.

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.