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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 road.cc 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 road.cc 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).
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.
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 road.cc once he’s got the miles in.
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.