Boardman have just announced the first new models in their 2021 range, including two entry-level road bikes. While the men’s and women’s SLR 8.6 get a more refined frame - and a lower price of £500 down from £600 - the main change comes on the SLR 8.8, which moves to mechanical disc brakes while retaining the same £750 price tag as the 2020 model.
The biggest change that we’ve seen so far comes here, on the SLR 8.8 which now gets mechanical disc brakes in place of the calliper rim brakes.
Boardman sticks to the triple-butted, hidden weld 6061 aluminium frame and C7 Carbon fork with tapered steerer which features space for 28mm tyres and has mounting points for mudguards and a pannier rack.
It’s not all the same spec as last year and Boardman are keen to point out that the groupset has been upgraded to Shimano’s Tiagra 10-speed groupset with a 50/34 FSA Vero chainset paired with an 11-32T cassette at the back.
While it is slightly disappointing to see mechanical Tektro MD-C511 disc brakes in place of more powerful and easily controlled hydraulic callipers, Boardman does spec 160mm rotors front and rear to give as much power as possible.
The wheels are Boardman’s SLR tubeless-ready hoops and are shod with 28mm Vittoria Rubino tyres. Boardman say that “handlebar widths and crank lengths matched to real-world bike fit data, not industry traditions.”
With the price coming down from last year’s £600, the SLR 8.6 represents a solid entry point into road bikes. Boardman says that “the new triple-butted, hidden weld 6061 aluminium frame features a redesigned rear triangle which replaces the old wishbone seat stays with a new hourglass profile.” This is again paired with a full carbon fork.
That new seatstay design, Boardman claim, “helps improve rear-end compliance, while the rest of the frame retains the aero-inspired tube profiles and endurance friendly geometry of the 8.9.”
Like the SLR 8.8 Disc above, the new SLR 8.6 features hidden mudguard and pannier rack mounts for commuter and winter riding duties.
The groupset steps down one level to Shimano’s Claris 8 speed with the 50-34 chainset and 11-32T cassette combination again providing a good range of gears.
Boardman again offers the SLR tubeless-ready wheels, though the 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro tyres may provide less comfort than the 28mm Rubino tyres above.
Boardman says that they’re rather pleased with their SLR 8.9 and we can see why with Tech Editor Mat saying that the frameset “is an absolute winner.” The SLR 8.9 Carbon replaced the Road Team Carbon which won our Bike of the Year prize in 2018.
To celebrate, Boardman has announced a very small number of Limited Edition SLR 8.9s featuring a special paint job and a very welcome groupset upgrade to Shimano 105 11-speed.
At the heart of the bike is the same frame that Mat loved. Boardman claims a weight of under 1100g with aero-optimised tube shapes and an endurance-friendly geometry. Mat found the ride to be perfectly comfortable while still being stiff enough for hard efforts.
The gearing is climber-focussed with a 50-34T FSA Gossamer chainset paired with an 11-28T cassette. Boardman’s SLR tubeless-ready wheels again feature, this time with 25mm Vittoria Zaffiro G2.0 tyres. All of these changes have been made while keeping the original RRP of £1000.
Only 500 of these bikes will be available when they go on sale on 6th July.
We’ll be asking to test some of the new bikes and will let you know about the 9 Series, urban and hybrid models as soon as we get the details.