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Just In: Boardman Road Pro SLR

A very lightweight SRAM Force-equipped road bike for £1,800

We’ve just taken delivery of Boardman’s Road Pro SLR, a lightweight race bike that’s built up with a SRAM Force 22 groupset for £1,799.99.

The Road Pro SLR C8 is built around a full carbon-fibre frame, the carbon in question being T800 (or equivalent). It comes with an oversized PF30 bottom bracket designed to provide extra stiffness for the efficient transfer of power, and a tapered head tube for more rigidity at the front end. That head tube houses a 1 1/8in upper bearing and a 1 1/2in bearing at the bottom. The fork that slots in there is full carbon too.

We have the small (54cm) model in for review – Stu Kerton’s size. It comes with a seat tube that’s just 490mm, shortened due to the fact that 540mm top tube slopes considerably downwards from front to rear, and a 120mm head tube. 

Boardman Road Pro SLR - fork.jpg

The stack height (the vertical distance from the centre of the bottom bracket to the top of the head tube) is 527mm and the reach (the horizontal distance between those points) is 388mm. That’s an aggressive, race-orientated setup that’s the same across all of Boardman’s SLR Race bikes. Buy the £8,499.99 SLR Race Signature and you’ll get exactly the same geometry.

If this low and stretched design isn’t for you, the SLR range also includes SLR Endurance bikes which have a more upright riding position courtesy of a taller head tube. Go for the small version of one of these bikes and you’ll get a stack of 545mm (18mm taller) and a reach of 385mm (3mm shorter). Those differences aren’t massive but you will notice that the setup is more relaxed. The SLR Endurance bikes also have longer chainstays (410mm rather than 405mm), the idea being to provide more stability.

Boardman Road Pro SLR - seat tube junction.jpg

The Road Pro SLR is built up with a SRAM Force 22 groupset. Force is SRAM’s second tier group, sitting below Red in the hierarchy. It takes a lot of Red’s functionality and it’s a lot more affordable.

Read our review of SRAM Force 22 here. 

Boardman Road Pro SLR - chainset.jpg

The complete groupset is Force – Boardman hasn’t cut corners on the spec here to save a few quid. The chainset is a highlight with crank arms made from unidirectional carbon fibre. The chainrings fitted are 52/36-tooth matched up to an 11-28-tooth cassette. We’re big fans of a setup like this for providing small gears for when the going gets tough and large ones for driving the pace on straight descents.

Boardman Road Pro SLR - tyre and rim.jpg

The wheels are Mavic Ksyrium Equipes. We’ve always got on very well with Ksyriums over many, many years. They’re generally lightweight and very strong with good sealed cartridge bearings. For daily use they’re hard to beat. 

The tyres fitted are Mavic’s own Yksion Elites in a 25mm width. In the past we’ve found these to be hard-wearing and to provide good traction in a range of condtions. They’re also lightweight.

Check out our guide to Mavic 2016 road wheels guide here. 

Boardman Road Pro SLR - saddle.jpg

The seatpost is Boardman’s own unidirectional carbon-fibre design while the saddle is a Prologo Nago Evo with a semi-round side to side profile.

Boardman Road Pro SLR - stem.jpg

The handlebar and stem are both alloy options from Boardman.

Our complete Boardman Road Pro SLR  weighs 7.04kg (15.5lb, without pedals), according to the Scales of Truth. That’s seriously light for a bike of this price. Bear in mind that the minimum bike weight limit for UCI-sanctioned racing is 6.8kg, and what's a couple of hundred grams between friends?

Of the road bikes that we’ve reviewed here on recently, the closest in price to the Road Pro SLR is the Merida Reacto 5000 at £1,999.99. That’s an aero road bike so, not surprisingly, it's heavier than the Boardman: 8.37kg (18.5lb). 

Boardman Road Pro SLR - rear brake.jpg

Like the Road Pro SLR, the Reacto 5000 is built around a carbon-fibre frame and fork but it contains flax fibres that are designed to damp vibrations from the road and the groupset is Shimano Ultegra, the shifting of which operates in a completely different way from SRAM Force. 

Check out our Head to head: Shimano Ultegra v SRAM Force. 

The Boardman Road Pro SLR looks like it offers a lot for the money but you can’t judge a bike by simply looking at the spec sheet, we need to get it out on the road. Stu will be back with his review on once he’s got the miles in.

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 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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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antigee | 8 years ago

weeds! and grass needs cutting - might reduce the green tinge

Bob's Bikes | 8 years ago

Here's a thought you could buy the bike and respray it to your own colour scheme I did with one of my bikes ie good bike good price shame about the colour scheme & Co. branding.

Goes into mockney I tell you what, bring it to me I'll only charge you £150.

userfriendly | 8 years ago

Sorry to add another negative comment, but I have agree with the above. I've never seen a Boardman that wasn't ugly.

I realise that off-the-peg bikes will never be exactly to anyone's taste, but ... come on. It's like they're not even trying!

mpdouglas | 8 years ago
1 like
mcvittees73 replied to mpdouglas | 8 years ago

mpdouglas wrote:

Much better picture here:


Yes it does look much better in that photo...pretty 'meh' in these pics. Shame really as I like Boardmans - I own an alloy road team from 2012 which I still think looks great, but there has been some dodgy looking bikes in their last two model refreshes.

Fifth Gear | 8 years ago

I think the red is what spoils the otherwise muted effect.

BeatPoet | 8 years ago

I feel sorry for Boardman. I can't believe he had control over the mess that is this bike's colour scheme?! It looks like a C grade effort by a 15 year old art student. I'd be interested in this bike if it wasn't so hideous. Such a waste.

fukawitribe replied to BeatPoet | 8 years ago

BeatPoet wrote:

I feel sorry for Boardman. I can't believe he had control over the mess that is this bike's colour scheme?! It looks like a C grade effort by a 15 year old art student. I'd be interested in this bike if it wasn't so hideous. Such a waste.

Each to their own, not my favourite either, but it's not much of a colour scheme either - you know it's not green, right ?

belgravedave | 8 years ago

What is going on at Halfords, how can a brand asthetically regress so much?

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