Boardman SLR 8.6 review - great value but the frame outclasses the components

An affordable and dependable workhorse

Boardman SLR 8.6 road bike on a red background
(Image credit: Future)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Boardman SLR 8.6 is an excellent aluminium model which performs admirably against some of the carbon competition out there. The lack of disc brakes is noticeable on steep downhills but on the other hand, this means the SLR 8.6 is remarkably lightweight - on a par with carbon disc brake bikes six times the price! However there is a wide mix of components; some which are great, others which are less so. Then there’s the value which is great compared to the bigger bike brands, but isn’t quite as strong as other well established budget bike builds.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Mudguard mounts

  • +

    Claris front mech shifts brilliantly - on par with 105 or Ultegra

  • +

    Weight only noticeable on steeper pitches

  • +

    Frame feels plenty stiff

  • +

    Saddle surprisingly comfortable

  • +

    External cables mean easy maintenance in winter

  • +

    Welds are near invisible

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Claris rear mech is not close to a sharp as 105 or up

  • -

    Large gear jumps with an 11-32 8 speed cassette

  • -

    Ride a little uncompromising on rough roads

  • -

    Wheels are not the stiffest

  • -

    Brakes are slow to grab on steep descents

You can trust Cycling Weekly. Our team of experts put in hard miles testing cycling tech and will always share honest, unbiased advice to help you choose. Find out more about how we test.

We’ve been highly impressed by some of Boardman’s offerings in the past, delivering some of the best bikes we’ve tested around the £1,000 price point. But just what can the British brand do at the £650 mark? We put the SLR 8.6 to the test to find out how it comes to the best cheap road bikes

Boardman SLR 8.6: construction

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Andy Turner