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.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.