Boardman launch 2014 Elite Series

High-end lineup includes new models and major revisions

by Mat Brett   November 8, 2013  

Boardman Bikes have just launched their 2014 Elite Series, the six platform lineup now including a new endurance road bike and new cyclocross designs. It’s a really exciting looking range.

We showed you the brand new AiR/TTE time trial/triathlon bike last month, so head back to that story for all the details on that distinctive machine, including a video. We’ve also shown you Boardman’s more affordable 2014 Performance range. But yesterday evening Boardman showed us the rest of the Elite bikes, and there are a whole bunch of interesting models…

Let’s start with the all-new SLS bikes – SLS being the Superlight Endurance Series. These bikes are designed to combine comfort and performance for sportive riders, or just for getting in the big miles quickly.

Boardman claim an SLS frame weight of 850g, making a sub 6.8kg complete bike weight (the minimum weight limit for UCI-sanctioned racing) perfectly possible.

The SLS frame is full high modulus carbon fibre with a PF30 bottom bracket and oversized box section chainstays, the idea being to provide highly efficient power transfer. The head tube is tapered, the cabling is fully internal and, like that of the rest of the range, it’s compatible with both mechanical and Di2 systems. The fork is full carbon too, weighing in at a claimed 360g.

In terms of geometry, the medium model comes with a 555mm top tube and a 160mm head tube. That compares to a 555mm top tube (the same) and a 140mm head tube on Boardman’s SLR frame (see below). The medium SLS’s stack height is 562mm and the reach is 390mm. The equivalent figures for the SLR are 543mm and 394mm. In other words, the ride position of the SLS is slightly shorter and quite a bit higher at the front end; it’s less extreme.

The SLS is available in five options, a frameset only (£1,299.99) and four different complete builds ranging from £1,899.99 up to £3,999.99. The model that immediately took our eye is the 9.4 Di2 at £3,199.99. This one comes with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and wheels, with Di2 electronic  shifting (obviously!). It looks like you’re getting a whole lot for your money here.

We’ll stick with the road bikes and head to the AiR bikes next: AiR being Aerodynamic Racing. You get the idea of what these bikes are about from the name: they’re designed to be slippery through the air.

The new AiR frame, which is full high modulus carbon fibre, has aero tube profiles and fully internal cable routing. You also get a PF30 bottom bracket, oversized chainstays, and a tapered steerer, like you do on the SLS bikes.

The top level AiR/9.8 also comes with a front brake that’s integrated within the fork to further improve the aerodynamics, while rear brakes are mounted underneath the chainstays across the board.

The AiR bikes feature a four-position seat post clamp so that you can effectively alter your seat angle. Rather than flipping the seatpost, you move the position of the clamp forward/backward on top of the post. It looks like a pretty neat design. This will be particularly useful if you want to fit clip-on tri-bars, for example, and need to get your riding position dialled.

The AiR is available in six different builds, the most affordable being the Shimano 105-equipped £1,999.99 9.0. This one comes with Mavic Aksium wheels.

The AiR/9.2 Di2 looks interesting at £2,999.99 too. That’s Di2 of the Ultegra variety with Mavic Cosmic Elite wheels.

The Air/9.8 – the one with the brake integrated into the fork, remember – is available with a SRAM Red build for £5.999.99, or with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 components for £7,999.99, the latter coming with Zipp’s 404 Firecrest clinchers. You can get 9.8 as a frameset too. That’s £1,599.99.

Where next on this whistle stop tour? Let’s head over to the SLR bikes, SLR being – have a guess – Superlight Racing. I say ‘bikes’ but the SLR is actually only available as the SLR/9.8 frameset in the UK. There are a couple of built-up models but you can only get them overseas so we won’t go into any depth on those (I know this is the worldwide web but time is precious this morning).

So, the SLR/9.8 frameset… Clearly, the SLR is designed to be the light one in the range (when it comes to road bikes, you’ll have noticed that loads of brands now have the light one, the aero one, and the endurance one, and Boardman are no different). Boardman claim a frame weight of just 798g with 360g for the fork. Those are some seriously light figures.

As with the other road bikes we’ve mentioned, the SLR frame is full high modulus carbon fibre with a tapered head tube and a PF30 bottom bracket, and all of the cabling is internal. The fork is full carbon too. The SLR/9.8 frameset is priced at £1,399.99.

Next up, the CXR bikes… CXR being Cyclocross Racing (you’re getting the hang of this now, right?). The CXR range includes two carbon fibre models and one aluminium model, all of them disc-brake equipped.

So, let’s start at the top. The CXR/9.8 is a full carbon monocoque with a PF30 bottom bracket and oversized box section chainstays. Those chainstays are asymmetric to handle the disc brake. The cabling is internal and the front fork is carbon too.

Boardman reckon the CXR bikes are fully race capable although each of the bikes is compatible with mudguards and a rear rack to keep your options open.

The CXR/9.8 comes as a frameset only for £1,299.99. If you want a complete bike, the cheaper carbon option is the 9.2 (£2,299.99; all of the pics here are of the 9.2). This is equipped with SRAM Force 22 shifters/mechs/chainset and Avid BB7R disc brakes. The wheels are Mavic TN319 rims on Formula hubs.

The CXR/9.4 Di2 comes with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and Shimano’s new hydraulic disc brakes, and the same wheels as the 9.2. The chainset is a 50/34-tooth compact. This bike is priced at £2,299.99.

The CXR/9.0 (£1,599.99) is the aluminium model although you’d do well to spot that immediately because it features Boardman’s signature smooth welds. That frame is triple butted while the Boardman Elite CXR fork is full carbon.

The CXR/9.0’s fork, components and geometry are exactly the same as those of the 9.2, it’s just the frame material – and the price – that are different.

The first SLS, SLR and CXR models from the 2014 Elite Series will be available in December, with further models added early in the New Year. The AiR/TTE will be available in Spring 2014.

Finally, we have the time trial/triathlon bikes… The big news here is the AiR/TTE that we’ve already shown you.

Boardman say that this bike, “Has been designed using the latest Computational Fluid Dynamics technology and wind tunnel testing, resulting in an incredibly fast, super aerodynamic frame platform which has a 5% increase over the Kona winning AiR/TT."

That Kona reference is to Pete Jacobs’ win at Ironman Hawaii in 2012. The team have been back in the wind tunnel at Southampton earlier this week and they say that the results are actually a little better than they initially thought.

At a 20° angle of yaw, they actually reckon the drag is 24% lower, and at 8° it's 14% lower. Chris Boardman himself was keen to point out that taking the bike and the rider as a whole, it's the rider that accounts for about 80% of the drag, so the bike improvements will account for only around a 4% reduction in the drag of the complete package. Once you take frictional loses into account, the figure is about 3.3%. Refreshingly honest!

The AiR/TTE will be available as a frameset for £3,499.99, or completely built up with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, TRP integrated brakes and Shimano RS31 wheels for £4,999.99. The super-duper high-end Dura-Ace Di2 version with a Zipp 404/808 wheel combo will set you back nine grand… okay, £8,999.99, if you want to get picky.

 

The previous time trial model has been modified for 2014 although the frame is essentially the one that Pete Jacobs won Hawaii on with slightly altered shaping around the seat tube/top tube junction to incorporate an internal wedge-type seatpost clamp, rather than an external one. The fork has been redesigned and now comes with deeper legs.

The AiR/TT/9.8 frameset is priced at £1,799.99 while the first of the complete bikes, the 9.0, is £2,299.99. That comes with a real mix of Shimano components – 105, Tiagra, 4500 – along with TRP brakes.

The Ultegra level model, the 9.2, is £2,799.99, while the 9.4 Di2 (£3,499.99) comes with Ultegra Di2. The Shimano RS31 wheels specced on both are perfectly serviceable, but it looks like Boardman really expect you to have your own preferred race wheels already.

We had the chance to speak to Chris Boardman himself about the range and a few other tech matters, so stay tuned for that interview. In the meantime, you can get more details on the Boardman Elite range from www.boardmanbikes.com.

23 user comments

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Typo patrol: "fork integrated into the fork"

posted by Al__S [496 posts]
8th November 2013 - 12:16

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Ta.

posted by Mat Brett [1823 posts]
8th November 2013 - 12:48

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Those CX bikes look lovely

posted by othello [279 posts]
8th November 2013 - 13:17

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bikes look really good in terms of design & spec, but i just cant get past that massive logo on the downtube. Why does there have to be so much writing all over them? Must be quite an easy life being the guy in charge of colours & logos for boardman bikes!!

posted by rockfield [68 posts]
8th November 2013 - 15:36

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For the TT9.x, has Chris moved the front brake wire routing inside the frame or does it still stick out as per the second photo here:
http://traumfahrrad.com/2012/04/13/boardman-air-tt-9-0-full-review/

Wondering if there has been much change between the more affordable TT 2013 & 2014 bikes.

posted by kitkat [193 posts]
8th November 2013 - 15:48

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kitkat, from memory, I think that it does remain external, yes. I can't do it this second but I'll upload Boardman's own catalogue-style shots later that should show the arrangement (edit: they're up now).

And, yes, comparing the 2013 AiR TT and the 2014 one: that's on my 'to do' list too (edit: but Chris Boardman himself tells you below... so that's a win!).

posted by Mat Brett [1823 posts]
8th November 2013 - 17:27

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rockfield wrote:
bikes look really good in terms of design & spec, but i just cant get past that massive logo on the downtube. Why does there have to be so much writing all over them? Must be quite an easy life being the guy in charge of colours & logos for boardman bikes!!

I totally agree, but to be fair i don't think they're any different to any of the major brands in that respect, Trek, Cannondale, Giant, Specialized etc. etc. they're all guilty of over logoing.

posted by sneakerfrfeak [67 posts]
8th November 2013 - 19:02

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No SLS frame only option......BIG MISTAKE!

posted by Ginsterdrz [18 posts]
8th November 2013 - 20:06

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Good news:

The SLS will be sold as a frameset only for £1,299.99, or in one of four complete bike builds, with Shimano 105 (SLS 9.0, claimed weight 7.9kg, £1,899.99), Shimano Ultegra (SLS 9.2, 7.4kg, £2,599.99), Shimano Ultegra Di2 (SLS 9.4 Di2, 7.5kg, £3,199.99) and SRAM Red 22 (SLS 9.8, 6.6kg, £3,999.99).

You can always depend on RCUK for the full story.

posted by Ginsterdrz [18 posts]
8th November 2013 - 20:14

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Thanks Mat. Look forward to it. Loving the 9.0 in red, I'm sure it's faster Smile

posted by kitkat [193 posts]
8th November 2013 - 23:45

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Wow, he really knows his stuff!
World beating technology designed in Britain.
Chapeau Mr B

P.s. just needs to add a chromed, lugged steel bike for afternoon spins now to complete the set Smile

posted by ajd [23 posts]
8th November 2013 - 23:57

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I would definitely go out and buy one of these, except they are sold at bloody Halfords. The level of Customer Care/expertise is questionable.

Blood, Sweat & all the Gear with no Idea.

fatbastard's picture

posted by fatbastard [23 posts]
9th November 2013 - 8:04

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^
Sigh.

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing..."

Cooks's picture

posted by Cooks [481 posts]
9th November 2013 - 12:13

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The Elite Series of bikes are sold through independent cycle shops like ourselves. I think a few Halfords stores may stock them too, but not sure. Halfords have exclusivity on the Performance Series of bikes in the UK.

I'm lucky enough to have had a go on one of the prototype SLS frames. It's a really, really nice ride. Like it so much I'm going to build myself one up for next season.

The geometry of the Air TT frame has changed for 2014. Slightly taller stack heights, but considerably shorter reach should make them a better fit for more riders.

posted by Bike Science [6 posts]
9th November 2013 - 15:19

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Hi, Just passing through Smile

We now employ 3 aero forks.

The first and second generation have the cable exiting through the side, this allows easy brake adjustment but leaves a chunk of cable in the wind…..which annoyed me!

The third generation, which is the one on the new AiR/TTE bike, is radically different in every respect apart from the steerer tube itself. The cable travels up the steerer tube straight into the stem where it's accessed tool free via a click-on cable cover.

Any fork will work on any of our bikes due sticking with a standard fork column.

Regarding changes to the AiR 9.2-9.8, these now have:

Internal seat post clamp
New 4-Point seat post
Generation 2 forks
A host of other small improvements to carbon layup and internal cable routing.

The AiR/TTE is a wholly different bike but as it uses straight lines, the ancestry is clear. Way to many differences to list here so check the website.

Hope that helps.

Chris B

posted by Chris_boardman [3 posts]
9th November 2013 - 15:19

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Black has been proven to be the fastest colour

Chris B

posted by Chris_boardman [3 posts]
9th November 2013 - 15:21

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PS That last post was a lie

Chris B

posted by Chris_boardman [3 posts]
9th November 2013 - 15:21

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Can i just say, as a 100% heterosexual man, how much i love Chris Boardman?
He is a truly exceptional human being.

Those CXR bikes are rather lovely too.

posted by Some Fella [722 posts]
9th November 2013 - 21:17

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Wasn't he some liverpudlian comedian?

If not, never heard of him

posted by allez neg [4 posts]
9th November 2013 - 21:46

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The only thing that I fall down on with Boardman bikes is the graphics... The Logos/colours etc.. I don't like mine on my Cannondale and the Boardman are worse IMO..

I think that they would get more "high level" cyclists buying these frames if they spent some more time on the colours - make the logo smaller etc... it is not a great logo - I think looks little "budget" but a good starting point to be refined into a classier premium version logo.

These things really so matter in the "package" of tech / ride / etc...

willdeath's picture

posted by willdeath [27 posts]
17th November 2013 - 22:58

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Has anyone seen any reviews of the SLS online? Google only seems to come up with links to the Boardman site, and links to sites such as Road.cc announcing the bike, but without a followup ride review.

posted by maldin [31 posts]
10th February 2014 - 15:12

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Just order my SLS 9.4 Di2 from Biketreks. Wife said I could have new new bike..... we only went in to look for a bike for the grandchildren, something half decent to get them into riding bikes. WTF Surprise ... new bike! really, ssssshe's seriously telling me to buy a new bike Party . Picked myself up off the floor... and slapped my money down Kiss .

Pick it up next Saturday Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin

I'm wetting myself with anticipation.... and yes the whole Halford's thing was putting me off, but Biketreks, well that's much more reassuring.

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [187 posts]
18th July 2014 - 19:00

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WOW my SLS 9.4 Di2 is brilliant, it goes like the starship Enterprise. It's comfortable, and doesn't beat me up on rough roads like my old carbon bike did, but goes a lot faster. You just cannot help yourself.... you have to put the hammer down everytime. Big Grin

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [187 posts]
28th July 2014 - 21:55

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