Boardman ADV 8.6 review: a lot of gravel bike without the big price tag

Boardman specs its entry-level gravel bike well to handle the majority of off-road action

Boardman ADV 8.6 on a yellow background
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

Although it’s the entry into Boardman’s gravel range, the Boardman ADV 8.6 doesn’t make too many compromises to hit its sub-£1,000 price. Its taut frame can be a little jarring on rougher terrain, but leads to pedalling efficiency and the tubeless-ready wheels and tyres are a bonus. It would be nice to see fully sheathed cabling to the 9-speed groupset though to reduce cable contamination and preserve shifting performance.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Responsive frame

  • +

    Well-balanced ride position

  • +

    Tubeless-ready wheels and tyres

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Slightly bumpy ride on rougher terrain

  • -

    Exposed gear cables prone to contamination

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The Boardman ADV 8.6 extends Boardman’s expertise in designing and speccing high value, lower priced bikes to the gravel segment. It’s well kitted out, although the external cabling can be an issue if things get muddy.

The ADV 8.6 spec is the entry model of Boardman’s gravel bike range, with an alloy frame, but it still gets a decent range of low gears and tubeless-ready wheels and tyres. It’s available in men’s and women’s versions, with four sizes for the former and three for the latter. Move up the range and the ADV 8.9 adds in a gravel specific groupset with hydraulic braking, but also almost 50 per cent to the price.

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Paul Norman

Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.

He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.