Just In: Boardman Road Sport

A sub-£500 bike designed for everything from commuting to sportives

by Mat Brett   January 11, 2013  

The Boardman Road Sport is a brand new model that’s designed as an all-rounder that’ll handle everything from commuting to riding sportives, and it comes in at just under £500.

If you cast your mind back through the mists of time… Way, way back to November 2012, you might remember an article on road.cc headlined Boardman launch three sub-£500 bikes. An excellent piece, it was. Laughter, tears, intrigue, excitement and a fabulous plot, there was something in there for everyone to enjoy. Anyway, that’s when we first met the Boardman Road Sport, and now here it is, in for review at road.cc.

So, first things first… One of the key talking points on the Road Sport is the price. It’s £499.99. That’s cheaper than Boardman have ever gone before.

You’ll probably know about Cycle to Work schemes, right? Your employer sets up a scheme that allows you to get a bike that you first hire and then it can eventually become yours. The bottom line is that you end up with a bike cheaply via some tax-avoiding jiggery pokery (apologies if you’re not familiar with the financial terminology but sometimes it’s unavoidable).

Most Cycle to Work schemes allow you to get a bike that’s priced up to £1,000 (this story is going somewhere, by the way). But sometimes the employer sets a different maximum, often £500. Boardman Bikes wanted to cater for those schemes (told you), so they’ve come up with three sub-£500 bikes – the MX Race disc-equipped hardtail (£499.99), the Hybrid Race (£429.99), and this Road Sport.

That’s quite a lengthy preamble, isn’t it? I’d better crack on with some actual information. So, what we’ve got here is a bike that’s built around a double-butted alloy frame. There’s plenty going on with the frame design. That down tube, for example, is teardrop profiled up at the top end before ovalising (of course it’s a word; it comes from the verb: to ovalise) towards the bottom bracket.

The rear brake cable runs internally through the sloping top tube, and you get highly sculpted wishbone seatstays out the back. The chainstays are oversized and box section, designed to keep things stiff back there, and the double pass welds are filled so all the tube junctions are super smooth.

You’re hopefully getting the impression that this isn’t just a bunch of plain gauge tubes welded together and slung out the door as quickly as possible. We’ve not ridden the bike yet but it looks like a good quality piece of work. There’s certainly a lot of thought gone into it.

You get mudguard eyelets at the back along with rack mounts on the seatstays. You also get mudguard eyelets on the alloy fork and plenty of clearance, showing that the guys at Boardman are serious about the Road Sport being used for commuting.

They also reckon it’ll make a good sportive bike and they’ve designed the geometry accordingly. We have the large model here (there are five sizes to choose from), with a 55.5cm seat tube (bear in mind that it’s a compact), a 57cm top tube and parallel 73° frame angles. The head tube is 18cm so the ride position is certainly sportive-friendly – a little more upright than you’ll get with an out-and-out race geometry. That position is also a decent compromise for riding in traffic when having your head up slightly is a definite advantage.

In terms of spec, the shifters and mechs come from Shimano’s 8-speed 2300 range. It’s budget stuff, of course, with the thumb shifter sitting on the side of the lever body and the gear cables running externally rather than under the handlebar tape. But, you know, this is a £499.99 bike.

The chainset is a compact FSA option (with 50/34-tooth chainrings) while the cassette is 12-26 tooth, so you get a decent range of ratios to get you up the hills and keep you moving fast down them. The brakes are Tektro R359 dual pivot callipers while the wheels are Mavic’s popular CXP22 rims laced up to Formula hubs. The only own-branded components are the alloy bars, stem and seatpost and the cromo-railed saddle.

Right, that’s yer lot for now. We’ll just tell you that the complete bike weighs in at 10.78kg (23.7lb) and that we’ll have a full review coming your way shortly.

For more info go to www.boardmanbikes.com or the Halfords website.

14 user comments

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Hmmm...I was tempted to like this but thinking on it compared to my wife's new B'twin Triban 3, it has an alloy fork as opposed to carbon, double as opposed to triple rings (important for beginners around hilly hereabouts), and costs £200 more. Oh, and weighs a bit more.

Sure, an internally-routed brake cable is fruity as are CXP22 wheels as opposed to serviceable but lowly B'twin ones. FSA vs unknown cranks. But otherwise, exactly where does the extra £200 go?

I was told there would be Cake. Luckily there's http://TestValleyCC.org.uk

KiwiMike's picture

posted by KiwiMike [474 posts]
11th January 2013 - 12:48

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@kiwimike It's not always a case of the more expensive bike making more profit.

I'd wager that Decathon having outlets in 18 countries probably means they've got some pretty hefty buying power for that carbon fork etc. Granted Boardman aren't that small, but they're not on decathlon's scale. I doubt they can match the input costs of Decathlon.

posted by chris75018 [95 posts]
11th January 2013 - 13:00

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make sure the cable stops for the internal routed rear brake cable are safe, i left halfords in december but put together one of these for display and it just shattered as i tensioned the cable. replaced it with a fully run outer cable through the frame and a couple days later an internal memo came through about it. they sent out loads of replacements i gather.

people above, i reckon that carbon fork is nothing to write home about.

posted by hounslowrob [27 posts]
11th January 2013 - 13:20

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Nice looking bike with internal cable routing and decent wheels.......

Splendid and tremendous work Mr Boardman

Like it Big Grin

Brummmie's picture

posted by Brummmie [56 posts]
11th January 2013 - 13:53

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I'm tempted as a bike for next winter.

posted by sorebones [109 posts]
11th January 2013 - 13:59

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Purely from an aesthetic point of view I think this is by far the best looking £500 bike I've seen. Raleigh and (from the sneak shots of the Hoy) Evans should take note.

posted by belgravedave [169 posts]
11th January 2013 - 14:10

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I was ready to get one of these as a winter bike on thye Cycle to Work scheme then found out my employer is not an will not sign up to the one Halfords are in. Gutted as it was everything I wanted.

posted by Marauder [239 posts]
11th January 2013 - 14:14

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Absolutely nowt wrong with that.
Ive always been very snobbish about Boardman bikes - not because of the quality of the bikes but by the fact they are sold through Halfords.
But, at that price, its a nice looking non pretentious bike which will get lots of people into road cycling - and that cant be a bad thing.
The Boardman range is fast becoming pretty, pretty good. If only he would cut out the Halfords thing!

posted by Some Fella [746 posts]
11th January 2013 - 19:49

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Zaffiro tyres, really? Or have they just put those on the review model?

My Halfords bike (Carrera, granted) had **** kenda tyres, punctured repeatedly and developed a bulge / hernia. Needless to say, replaced (With some £5 Hutchinsons, going strong).

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posted by PJ McNally [586 posts]
11th January 2013 - 22:06

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there's no point being snobbish about boardman bikes, halfords or no halfords.

their TT line is amazing and their high end road bikes are impressive.

this bike is a bargain.

posted by pj [139 posts]
11th January 2013 - 22:28

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love boardmans - the only upgrade this needs is swapping the 34 ring for a 36 one

they should be sold through wiggle in the uk, like they are throughout the rest of the world (!)

posted by markymark [15 posts]
12th January 2013 - 0:06

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[[[[[ Mmmm...very natty. But why does this alloy-framed velo weigh almost 24lbs? It's a few ounces heavier than my trusty 1980 531c Raleigh Gransport.
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [277 posts]
13th January 2013 - 4:03

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I really don't see this as good value for £499.00.
The B'twin Triban 3 is superior in every way (save perhaps for wheels - and they are not brilliant on this Boardman!) and the Triban is £200.00 cheaper!

posted by Stefano1970 [11 posts]
16th January 2013 - 12:30

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Cannot believe boardman have put the price up by £100!
At £600 this bike really is not value for money in any way.

posted by Stefano1970 [11 posts]
12th May 2013 - 19:24

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