Pocket-lint recently undertook a fairly meaty 175km cycle with our bum firmly planted on its fairly comfortable seat. The Boardman Team Carbon was so good, we figured we'd give it a review.
So what do you get with a £1499 bike? In most cases, more than any amateur cyclist will ever need. Boardman, however, has gone that little bit further, creating a package so good that virtually no other bike at this price range can compete.
First up on the parts list is a full-carbon Boardman-designed frame. We personally didn't like the previous iteration of this bike, it felt very stiff and fairly dead in the corners. Not a particularly exciting ride. This has all changed with the 2012 model, which features an oversized downtube and bottom bracket. The result is a decent power transfer from pedal to wheel and plenty of torque in the lower gears. Perfect for long rides.
The frame also provides plenty of feedback to the rider and is exciting in the turns and when ridden at speed. Downhill, there was very little flex and uphill the bike steamed along nicely, staying stiff as anything, but comfortable all the same.
This emphasis on comfort and speed is helped along by the likes of a Fizik Arione saddle, something normally included in slightly more expensive bikes. Mavic Aksium rims also add to an already impressive parts package and remove the need to upgrade wheels later should your cycling get more serious.
Shimano 105 brakes stop the bike nicely and a FSA gossamer crankset with BB30 bearings keeps pedalling smooth, while not adding too much weight. The own-brand Boardman bars and seat post would be the first thing to go, should you think about any possible upgrading, but for most they won't pose any problems.
Bikes around this price point form the core of all entry level "serious" cycling. Most will be looking at this Boardman as well as the likes of Focus, Bianchi, Felt and others as a possible commuter and weekend ride bike. Having ridden most of its competitors, we have to say, it's the best of the bunch by quite a way.
The whole thing is finished nicely and just feels slightly more high-quality than its opposition. It also gives you a ride with a bit more finesse than others. Quick in the turns, yet confident on the straight, a very balanced ride indeed. It is a frame that might lose out when racing against some of the stiffer and sharper cycles from competition, but for those considering sportives and the like, it is absolutely perfect.
In fact the only disappointment of the Boardman is that, for its cost, it just doesn't turn any heads. Dishing out this kind of money on a cycle, you want it to feel special. The need for branding all over the frame and the decision to opt for white bar tape and saddle as opposed to yellow seems and odd one to us. It breaks up the look of the thing and takes some of the wow factor out of what is a nicely designed carbon frame.
Still though, a brilliant cycle at a fairly affordable price. Those not so keen on carbon or without the budget could always look at the non-"pro" model. It comes with virtually the same parts and frame geometry and we are told, rides nearly just as well.
Halfords is currently the exclusive retailer of Boardman bikes in the UK so grab them here.
Those keen to get into the world of sportives, charity rides and amateur cycling can't go wrong with the Boardman. It gives unparalleled value and quality as well as keeping riding exciting. A big change over last year's disappointment.