2014 Boardman CX Team... Does it do what it says on the tin?

by Jack Osbourne snr   April 10, 2014  

Okay... Having decided pretty much within minutes of the launch of the 2014 range of Boardmans that the CX team was the next Cycle2Work commuter bike for me, the time has come to put the thought into action... Nearly.

So... for those that have bought one, what do you think?
Is it the great all-rounder it promised to be?
Is it the perfect fast commuter?
Are there any parts that need swapped out immediately?
Are those wheels truly crap?

and... most importantly...how did you get round the mudguard issue at the front? I think I have a couple of viable solutions, but these, like my assessment of the bike itself, are purely on paper at the moment.

22 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

It's very good value for money
Yes - I have commuted with a rack and laptop as well as raced CX and done the flanders sportive on mine.
Wouldn't say it's a perfect fast commuter; I am quicke on my shiny (best) bike but with 28mm conti gatorskin slicks I am within a km/hr or so or good bike.
I haven't swapped anything yet (2 years and going strong)
No - I have raced in hub deep mud for 2 winters and now need a new rear minial trueing required in that time.
Crud race pack guards front and rear - work fine

posted by _Tim_ [14 posts]
10th April 2014 - 13:14

6 Likes

I've had mine for 18 months, and I've only just really started tinkering with it. after wearing out the original tyres I've put 32mm Gatorskins on it and it's miles faster. Not as fast as my road bike, but it's definitely very quick.

I swapped out the Microshift front mech, which wasn't very good, for a 10 speed Sram Force one. It wasn't exactly urgent, but I'm glad I did it. I think it was £30 from my LBS. I've also changed the brakes to Hayes CX because I found it too hard adjust the BB5s that came on it. Again, that was after well over a year and I wouldn't rush to do either.

The wheels aren't great, but they're very tough, so they do the job for me through the winter in Glasgow. I'm toying with something new for the summer and for CX racing in the autumn though.

I would also suggest you don't let Halfords within a million miles of building the thing. They did almost everything wrong on mine, and it's taken a good few trips to the bike shop to unpick all the damage and get it working like it should. Paying someone who knows what they are doing it put it together will save you a lot of hassle down the line.

posted by bollandinho [58 posts]
10th April 2014 - 13:38

8 Likes

Thanks guys.

You both have the old version, which is basically the drop bar version of the Team Hybrid that I am replacing. My questions are specific to the 2014 version. Ive edited the thread title so that its more obvious.

Bollandinho... I put 32mm Marathon Supremes on - they're great commuting tyres. I also changed the front mech to Ultegra after a few hundred miles... the microshift ones are gash.
My hybrid has done about 8000 miles through Glasgow - it needs a new rear hub and after recent crash damage needs brakes (levers smashed but they're hydraulics so its a full replacement).

All in all I'd say the old Hybrid/CX bikes were a bargain... is the 2014 version the same?

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
10th April 2014 - 14:49

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Hi there, I've been riding the 2014 CX Team since it came out.

I've put 28mm Gatorskin Hardshells on mine and got around the front mudguard issue by using Elite Bottle Cage mounts on the forks, just above the front brake mount, to provide a mounting point for the mudguard stays. I also wrapped a zip tie around it to make it doubly secure. No issues so far.

(http://www.halfords.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product_storeId_10001_...)

I've had two of these bikes now, the first one had the cracked seatpost cluster and to be honest, the front mech action was incredibly stiff, changing back down gear was horrible due to the tension that seemed to be in the cable/mech.

In complete contrast, the first time I changed gear on the second bike I thought Halfords hadn't fastened the cable. The front mech was completely different and had no weight behind the shift at all.

My front brake, BB5-R, has a strange thing going on, in that it grumbles/gurgles or possibly rumbles when braking and almost coming to a stand still. Halfords have had it in but can't identify what the noise is. It doesn't detract from braking, but it's not confidence inspiring.

I find the frame sizing to be not right for me, Medium was too small, but Large feels too large, even though I have the bike set up as close as I can to my road bike, there's something just not right, but I can't put my finger on it.

The bottom bracket is now clicking, but this seems to be inherent with the BB30/PF30 bottom bracket. Again Halfords have had the bike in and replaced a "faulty" bearing, but the clicking is still there. I need to take a look at this myself as the bearing that they replaced feels fine to me.

I'm not sure what would make the wheels "truly crap", they're definitely not light, but they're solid.

Planned upgrades... Possibly get rid of the BB5 brakes, maybe a carbon seatpost as I find the ride very harsh and my saddle is as far forward as it will go with the massive amount of set back, probably will upgrade the FD to a SRAM one to make it match, but honestly, so far, nothing is causing me problems.... Except for those bl**dy interrupter brake levers and trying to get my lights mounted... In fact that might be my first change!

posted by newtonuk [33 posts]
10th April 2014 - 15:27

5 Likes

I wouldn't say that a click is inherent to the BB30, given that my Cannondale Synapse has a BB30 and is silent. It's more inherent to Halfords. My Boardman became far better once I took it to someone who knows there way around those components, and that really isn't the case at Halfords in my experience.

posted by bollandinho [58 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:45

5 Likes

Oh, and I've found that a Cat Eye mounting is so flat on the bars that you can fit it on around the extra levers very easily. I know a lot of people hate them, but I find them really useful when I'm sitting at lights, especially on a hill.

posted by bollandinho [58 posts]
10th April 2014 - 16:46

9 Likes

bollandinho wrote:
I wouldn't say that a click is inherent to the BB30, given that my Cannondale Synapse has a BB30 and is silent.

Strange that, my Cannondale Synapse had a BB30 too and that clicked, and it took several attempts by the LBS to resolve the issue, but eventually they did.

Unfortunately, my Synapse 6 found it's way under the front of a car whilst I was on it. Fortunately the Synapse Carbon 6 that replaced it, which also has a BB30 (BB30A), hasn't shown any BB issues.

I'm running a Cateye Volt 300 at the moment and yes, it sits above the interrupter levers so it doesn't interfere with them.

However, how about contributing an answer to the OPs question?

posted by newtonuk [33 posts]
10th April 2014 - 17:35

7 Likes

Interesting differences in opinion on the interrupter levers. It's my plan to run with them initially, at least until I get used to the doubletap levers - my other drop bar bikes are Campagnolo equipped.

I've had test runs with bb5 flat bar brakes, so I suspect they may be the first thing to get swapped out. I'm pretty certain the double whammy of dropping from hydraulics and moving to road levers will make me want more stopping power. I ride from one side of Glasgow to the other, at peak times and straight through the city centre, so powerful braking is essential. BB7 or TRP Spyre being the likely replacements.

Great suggestion with the bottle cage mounts... Wasn't on my list of solutions for the front fork/ mudguard issue... It's now no.1! Mudguards are a year-round essential in this part of the world.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
11th April 2014 - 9:44

7 Likes

You're welcome to the mudguard solution Big Grin I've fed it back to my local Halfords as well, as I am sure that this will be a contentious issue for other potential purchasers. One thing to add though, I had a little exchange of emails with Boardman at the beginning of March who advised that they are currently reviewing an upgraded fork for the CX which includes mudguard eyelets. They couldn't offer any sort of lead time (other than saying they're expecting to sign it off soon), but they did say that it would be available to current owners under warranty.

I'm considering the TRP Spyres as well, but I'm torn with just how much I want to put into the bike given its role as my year round commuter this year and then my bad weather commuter next. When it comes to replacing the brake pads, I might consider a brake upgrade with a bit more thought. My LBS suggested that removing the interrupters would improve brake feel immediately, so I think that will be the first job.

For your consideration, I'm running 28mm Gatorskin Hardshells and I find that stopping quickly is not hindered by the BB5s, but the rear wheel locking up, especially on a wet road, so the brakes have enough power, but they are faffy to set up and keep set up.

Other than that, one absolute positive that this bike does have is that when I get on my "nice" bike, it feels like a "very nice" bike in comparison (not that there is anything terribly wrong with the CX, it gets far more use than any of my other bikes).

My commute is a 17 mile round trip 3 or 4 days a week and I've been within seconds of my best time on the CX which I had set on a Cannondale Synapse previously, so it's not a bad fast commuter on balance.

posted by newtonuk [33 posts]
11th April 2014 - 10:11

5 Likes

Email to Boardman duly sent!

I've set up loads of bb5 brakes for other people, so know what a faff they are... Which I would class as 'occasionally irritating'. It's gonna be my grab and go bike so faffing about dialling them in and reducing rub every few days is not a welcome feature.

The bike will be doing 15 miles every weekday so I don't mind spending a bit on justifiable upgrades and modifications, particularly if it can be spread. It's my car!

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
11th April 2014 - 14:19

7 Likes

Let us know how you get on.

posted by newtonuk [33 posts]
11th April 2014 - 15:13

5 Likes

Bump.

I know there's another couple of CX owners out there...

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
12th April 2014 - 11:12

7 Likes

Not a Boardman CX rider but some interesting points.
Have a Kinesis Pro6 which I use for gravel trails some single track and commuting - run BB7's and think the issue for me is lack of predictability. If I've remembered to wind in and out recently and I've managed to wind the inner side without digging out a torx wrench and are set up how I like then I'm not going to panic and grab too much and lock out in traffic but sometimes the amount of movement is just not what I expect. Much better than rim brakes and simple to set up but you have to do it too often or not consistent enough. So when they are readily available I'll be fitting some spyres not an obvious design solution (cable to hydraulic) but looks very neat and reviews good. Though I suspect UCI endorsement of road discs is pretty close so might see some other options soon.
As to front mudguards Pro6 comes with eyelets and I've run full mudguards but the toe overlap (small frame) when doing "u bends" on bridges needs a lot of careful coordination - so beware you may get mudguards but if your commute has tight turns you may need to be very alert

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posted by antigee [174 posts]
12th April 2014 - 11:56

5 Likes

Interested by the thoughts on the bb7... I have no experience with them, but thought they were better. Inconsistent braking on my commute could be problematic.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
12th April 2014 - 12:46

5 Likes

Quote:
Interested by the thoughts on the bb7... I have no experience with them, but thought they were better

not used BB5's so can't compare just went with the forum consensus that BB7 better than BB5 as easier to adjust and I built up bike so had choice at not a big price difference
In theory you can turn the inner adjuster by hand on the BB7's so quick and easy to do - in practise it is hard to turn and often need to dig out torx tool - I think BB5's don't have the monkey fingers dial and you have to use the torx tool - if you keep a tool handy it is only a 30second job each wheel then they are a consistent brake - problem is single moving pad design is not for the lazy

edit not forgetting that discs are much better than rim brakes when commuting in the wet - I see the Boardman come with bar top levers - great for when sitting up in traffic - as said above downside is limited room for lights

antigee's picture

posted by antigee [174 posts]
13th April 2014 - 2:11

5 Likes

newtonuk wrote:
Let us know how you get on.

Well... It's two weeks later and nobody at Boardman has bothered their arse to reply.

So...I'm not going to bother my arse buying their bike. I've repaired my hybrid and that will now go back into full service rather than semi-retirement.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
27th April 2014 - 19:09

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Terrible! I must admit, I emailed them every week for several weeks before I got a response.

posted by newtonuk [33 posts]
27th April 2014 - 19:13

6 Likes

Ironically, my hybrid is more substantially damaged than I had first thought, so I've just arrived back from Halfords with my new CX TEAM lol.

It's going back though!!! The seattube crack issue has not been resolved.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
4th May 2014 - 18:34

4 Likes

Even though it's going back, here are my first impressions following the ferry run and the first commute:

Harsh but responsive ride
Accelerates well
Brakes not so well
Bar tape crap
Wheels needed 2 minutes in the jig of truth
Front mech poor shifting
Strange front brake cable routing. Comes right to left BEHIND the fork?
Interrupter levers too close to centre line for comfortably safe use

This is however a very good bike for the money. Some of the issues above are build related and others are a function of me having not ridden for seven weeks and still being in recovery after crashing.

When I swap this one for the non-cracked replacement it will quickly lose the Interrupters and gain an Ultegra FD and probably acquire better brakes fairly soon after that.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
5th May 2014 - 17:11

2 Likes

antigee wrote:
So when they are readily available I'll be fitting some spyres not an obvious design solution (cable to hydraulic) but looks very neat and reviews good.

Point of order - the Spyres are fully cable actuated, it's the HyRd that are cable to hydraulic on the brake mount. Running the HyRd on my Crosslight Pro 6 and they're bloody excellent - well worth the extra outlay.

posted by VeloPeo [222 posts]
5th May 2014 - 17:25

3 Likes

Back to Halfords today to swap bike for non-cracked replacement.

Bike wasn't as built as much as I expected, having called them yesterday, but they had to swap rack, guards and pedals, so a few extra minutes wasn't an issue.

Noticed a little glob of rubber under the headset as they were finishing off and thought "here we go again"...

Gave the bike a thorough once over and noted a few small bubbles in the paint... then I checked the headset...

First I see a couple of small dings on the top surface of the headtube. Steering felt quite tight, so loosened topcap... it wasn't tight, so I tightened it back up to 5nm torque and turned the bars... chunks of ground up headset seal fell out of the bottom!!!

Turns out the dings in the headtube resulted in something like a grater on the inside. It was this that was destroying the headset.

Halfords very kindly paid for my taxi home. Their customer service has been excellent. Shame that Boardmans QC is so bad.

Prior to this I have highly recommended Boardman... this experience is changing that.

I now need to finish repairing my very bashed hybrid so that I have transport tomorrow.

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

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posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
11th May 2014 - 15:31

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VeleoPeo wrote "Point of order - the Spyres are fully cable actuated, it's the HyRd that are cable to hydraulic on the brake mount. Running the HyRd on my Crosslight Pro 6 and they're bloody excellent - well worth the extra outlay."

and is completely correct I had confused the spyres with the HyRd's Sad

http://road.cc/content/review/85499-trp-hyrd-mechanical-interface-hydrau...

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posted by antigee [174 posts]
11th May 2014 - 22:11

1 Like