Boardman Bikes has revamped its range for 2018 and here are the stars of the show.
There’s lots happening at Boardman at the moment with new parts of the range becoming available all the time and its brand new Performance Centre opening in Evesham, Worcestershire on 30th April. The Performance Centre, aimed at cyclists of all levels, will offer various services including bike fitting and aerodynamic optimisation. We’re visiting next week and hopefully chatting to Mr B himself. We’ll let you know how it goes.
Anyway, back to the bikes. Previously, Boardman offered its high-end Elite lineup and its more accessible Performance bikes, the two parts being highly distinct from one another. Things have been rejigged this year to make the range more integrated, the 9 Series taking over from the Elite bikes and the 8 Series replacing the Performance bikes.
Boardman SLR 8.9 Carbon — £1,000 Buy it now
The Boardman SLR 8.9 Carbon replaces the Road Team Carbon which is road.cc Road Bike of the Year 2017-18, and on paper it looks like a lot of bike for £1,000.
It comes with a completely new frame that has been developed with the use of CFD (computational fluid dynamics), the idea being to provide improved aerodynamic efficiency. The down tube, seat tube and fork legs have truncated airfoil profiles, meaning that they’re shaped to reduce drag with the trailing edge cut off square – a design technique that's widely used in the bike industry. The tube profiles are actually the same as those of the high-end SLR 9.8.
The seatstays are now dropped (they now meet the seat tube low down) in order to improve comfort and increase side-to-side stiffness, and the clamping point for the seatpost is low too because of the integrated design (it’s a wedge-type system in the top tube/seat tube junction), allowing a little more up/down flex than you’d otherwise get.
The SLR 8.9 Carbon comes with a Shimano Tiagra 2 x 10-speed groupset aside from Tektro R315 long arm brakes which have been specced to allow the use of mudguards (you get the relevant eyelets) and 28mm tyres.
The geometry is the same as that of the Road Team Carbon, meaning that it splits the difference between a traditional race bike and an endurance bike.
Boardman says that the SLR 8.9 Carbon is stiff for a bike of this level and the ride quality is high. We’ll soon find out because they left one with us for review.
Boardman SLR 8.9 Alloy — £1,000 Buy it now
The SLR 8.9 Alloy is an interesting one in that it’s the same price as the SLR 8.9 Carbon – £1,000. The main differences are that you get an alloy frame (you worked that out for yourself, right?) – it’s triple butted 6061 aluminium alloy – and a Shimano 105 2 x 11-speed groupset, which is a level higher than the SLR 8.9 Carbon's Tiagra. You also get a Fizik Antares saddle rather than Boardman’s own.
The tube profiles aren’t exactly the same as those of the SLR 8.9 Carbon but the frames are recognisably from the same family. Smooth welding gives a carbon look.
Boardman AIR 9.6 — £3,799
The 9 Series bikes will be available to buy from the end of next week (they’ll go live on Boardman’s website at the same time). The ones pictured are pre-production samples, if they look a little rough around the edges.
The new AIR 9.6 (£3,799) builds on the existing AIR with truncated airfoil tube profiles that are deeper and narrower than those that you’ll find on most other aero road bikes. The cutaway section of the seat tube is designed to work best with 25mm-wide tyres although there’s space for 28s if you prefer.
The Air 9.6 is equipped with a full Shimano Ultegra Di2 (electronic shifting) groupset and 50mm-deep Knight TLA wheels. Knight says that it has worked to optimise airflow on the trailing edge of the wheel which is a different approach from a lot of major wheel brands. These wheels are tubeless ready, designed to be easier to setup with a standard track pump than most other tubeless wheels out there, although you’d have to swap from the standard Vittoria Corsa clinchers.
Boardman ADV 8.8 — £750 Buy it now
Boardman is launching into the adventure bike sector for the first time this year with its ADV bikes. The ADV 8.8, available in both standard and women’s versions (both £750), is built around a 7005 aluminium alloy frame and a full-carbon fork. The geometry is more upright than that of the SLR bikes (above), with a lower bottom bracket that’s designed to add stability. It comes with clearance for wide tyres (it’s fitted with 38mm-wide Schwalbe G-Ones) and eyelets for mudguards and a rack.
The ADV 8.8 comes with a Shimano Sora 2 x 9-speed groupset, including a sub-compact 48/32-tooth chainset for gearing that’s suitable for riding off the beaten track. It’s fitted with TRP Spyre mechanical disc brakes.
It looks like Boardman has packed a lot of value into this one although we can’t comment on the ride yet. We will be able to soon, though, because this is another bike that Boardman has left with us for review.
Boardman ADV 9.0 — £1,700
The 9 Series ADV bikes, which will be released in mid-May, are designed to be a little more off-road capable and a little less road-focused than the 9 Series models, built with a 71° head angle rather than 72°.
The ADV 9.0 (£1,700) is built up with a SRAM Rival 1x (single chainring) groupset, including hydraulic disc brakes. The bike is flat mount standard, as most are these days, and 12mm thru axle front and rear. As well as bottle cage mounts in the usual two positions, there’s a third set on the underside of the down tube.
The tubeless ready wheels are fitted with Clement 650b x 50mm tyres. If you switch to 700c wheels you’ll be able to fit tyres up to about 40mm wide.
The bike pictured here is a pre-production sample. The final version will have a more flared handlebar.
Boardman CXR 8.9 — £1,000 Buy it now
Whereas Boardman’s lower level cyclocross bikes were fairly road-facing previously, the introduction of the ADV adventure bikes to cover that ground means that they can now be more off-road-specific than before, the £1,000 CXR 8.9 looking like a highly credible entry-level race bike.
The 7005 aluminium alloy frame is smooth welded, doing a good impression of carbon in terms of looks, while the fork is full carbon. Boardman has stuck with quick releases front and rear for fast wheel changes.
This one is built up with a SRAM Apex 1x groupset, a 44-tooth chainset matched with an 11-42-tooth cassette.
It’s fitted with 33mm-wide tyres from Clement, although there’s plenty of space for something fatter.
If you do want to take it on the road, the CXR 8.9 is fitted with mudguard and rack mounts.
Boardman CXR 9.2 — £2,399
The CXR 9.2 (£2,399) is built around a carbon frame with more tyre clearance than previously in order to cope with typical muddy race conditions, and a new carbon fork with an increased offset. Entirely predictably, Boardman has followed industry trends by switching from post mount disc brakes to flat mount, and you now get 12mm thru axles front and rear.
This bike is fitted with a SRAM Force 1x groupset with a 42-tooth chainset and an 11-36-tooth cassette. If you decide at some time in the future that you want to switch to a double chainset, the frame is capable of taking a band-on front derailleur.
It comes with tubeless-ready wheels and tyres and, like all 9 Series bikes, it has a saddle from Fizik.
Boardman URB 8.8 — £699.99
Boardman’s new URB – as in ‘urban’ – bikes look pretty cool and they’re designed to be practical and straightforward, hence aluminium frames with mudguard and rack mounts, 1x drivetrains, hydraulic disc brakes and hard-wearing grips and saddles.
The URB 8.8 (£699.99) is the entry-level model in the range with a SRAM Apex groupset, Tektro HD-R310 brakes, and 32mm-wide Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tyres.
Boardman HYB 8.8 — £750 Buy it now
The HYB 8.8 (£750) is a more traditional-style hybrid, fitted with Shimano Deore components, hydraulic disc brakes and an FSA single ring chainset.
The 35mm-wide Schwalbe Citizen tyres come with a Kevlar puncture protection belt underneath the tread.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.