Boardman 2016 road bikes - first look

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Boardman Bikes launch 2016 range

New branding, new logo, custom paintjobs and a new titanium bike are just a few of the highlights from Boardman’s 2016 range…

Boardman bikes, the eponymous bike brand of one Chris Boardman, have made big changes for 2016. While the bikes maintain a relation to last year’s models in frame design terms, an awful lot more has changed. The branding, paintjobs, names and spec have all been altered, making for a huge and impressive range that covers pretty much every conceivable base. 

Since Boardman were bought by Halfords last year, changes have been in the works, and part of this was a new direction for the brand. The team sat down and decided that the core philosophy needed to be bikes that they themselves would want to ride, and the new tag line ‘out there with you’ is a reflection of that. Part of this re-finding of the brand’s core values has been a redesign of the logo and a different font on the downtubes of the bikes. It’s a bold move, as the Boardman brand has grown from strength to strength over the last few years, but a step away from that older branding will allow Boardman to position themselves in a slightly different section of the marketplace.

In terms of the bikes, Boardman have overhauled specs across the board, and will offer some of the first machines we’ve seen equipped with SRAM’s new-for-2016 Red eTap groupset. Also brand new for 2016 is the SLR Titanium.

Boardman have also launched a totally new website which you should check out, as it offers a host of new features including the brand’s first custom bike configurator which uses 17 different colours to offer what Boardman claim is 5,202 different colour combinations (we haven’t counted them, so we’ll take their word for it). It’ll be available on all Elite series frames and, in case you’re interested, the paintjobs are done by Enigma, who are extremely well respected in that field besides making their own steel and titanium frames.

That’s not all, as Boardman also have new clothing, accessories and a whole wheel range stemming from alloy clinchers all the way to top-end carbon, which will be available both on bikes as shop spec and as stand alone wheelsets.

Boardman have revamped their branding for model year 2016, but there’s a whole load more going on besides that

The bikes

Onto the bikes, and the biggest news is the addition of the Signature Series. This sits above the Elite range – previously the top spec Boardman offered – and sees the bikes kitted out with Enve finishing kit and wheels, and Shimano Dura-Ace, Campagnolo Record and, hopefully quite soon, SRAM Red eTap groupsets. Boardman plans on speccing eTap on it’s bikes as soon as possible, and hope that they’ll be one of the first brands to do so.

Another change is that the SLS is no more. Previously Boardman offered both the SLS and SLR models, but they’ve decided to amalgamate the two and now only the SLR remains but in two geometry options: race and endurance.

Boardman Air

As you either know, or have probably guessed now anyway, the Air is Boardman’s aero road bike. All the Air range now use the T9 fork taken from Boardman’s super-slick TTE time trial bike, and with it the integrated front brake.

Top of the Air range is the Signature. It comes in at a pricey £8,499.99 but there are no corners cut with spec as the frame and fork are joined by a full Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset, Enve SES carbon bars and matching stem, and an Enve SES 6.7 wheelset built around Chris King R45 hubs and a Prologo Zero C3 saddle. It’s as well specced as anything on the market, and is the natural evolution of an Air bike that’s been consistently praised throughout the industry for it’s fantastic performance.

The top line of Boardman’s bikes is now called the Signature series. The Signature version of the Air combines a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with Enve SES 6.7 wheels and full Enve finishing kit

One step down is the Air 9.9 which drops two grand off the price (£6,499.99) and trades the Enve components and wheels in for a set of Zipp 303s and matching Zipp finishing kit. Continuing the SRAM-based theme is the eTap groupset, making the 9.9 a really attractive option for anyone who wants to get ahead of the curve and go wireless.

The 9.8 (£5,499.99) is full Dura-Ace Di2 again, paired with Boardman’s own Air Elite Seven wheelset, while the 9.4 (£3,999.99) keeps the same wheels but drops down to Ultegra Di2. The two bottom bikes in the range are the 9.2 (£2,799.99) and 9.0 (£2,199.99). The 9.2 offers a Dura-Ace mechanical drivetrain, while the 9.0 offers Ultegra – as do all 9.0 level bikes across the range.

If you want to get your hands on SRAM Red eTap, it’ll be specced on Boardman’s Air and SLR 9.9 models

Boardman SLR

If you’re after something a little more weight-conscious, then the SLR might be a better choice – SLR does stand for Super Light Road, after all. It lacks the aero-focus of its sibling, but sheds the best part of a kilo at Signature level to come in bang on the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg.

There are two Race models in the range, based around more aggressive geometry, with the rest of the bikes being Endurance. The Race Signature combines a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 drivetrain with Enve SES 3.4 wheels and full Enve finishing kit, while the Race 9.9 (£3,999.99) features a full SRAM Red groupset and a pair of Boardman’s brand-new SLR Elite Nine wheels. You can also buy either as frameset-only, £1,599 for the Signature and £1,399 for the 9.8.

The SLR 9.9 will come with a full SRAM Red eTap groupset and a set of Zipp 202s. It’ll set you back £6,299.99 though…

The Signature Endurance bike (£8,499.99) is, again, full Enve finishing kit and wheels, this time going for the lighter 3.4 clinchers, but the groupset has shifted to a more Italian flavour, going for full Campagnolo Super Record 11 in its mechanical guise.

Again, down one level is the 9.9 which goes full SRAM with a set of Zipp 202s and an eTap groupset setting you back £6,299.99. The next step down is al the way to 9.4 (£3,099.99) and Shimano’s first appearance on the bike with a full Ultegra Di2 groupset and a set of Boardman SLR Elite Five alloy clinchers. 9.2 (£2,699.99) is Dura-Ace mechanical again, and 9.0 (£1,899.99) is Ultegra. Just like the Race version, framesets are available for the Signature and 9.8 models at £1,599 and £1,399 respectively.

The SLR Endurance also comes in a disc version of which there are five different models available. Above is the £4,999.99 SLR Disc 9.8

There’s also a full range of disc-equipped SLR bikes, and the news here is that every model from 9.0 up are hydraulic, not a cable-actuated disc system in sight, as well as featuring thru-axles on the fork. All are based around the Endurance geometry frame rather than the Race equivalent. The disc models start at £2,299 for the 9.0 with Ultegra shifting and RS-685 hydro brakes and go all the way up to the Signature (£7,999.99) with RS-785 brakes, a Dura-Ace Di2 groupset and Zipp 303 disc-ready wheels.

Boardman SLR Titanium

The new bike in Boardman’s 2016 range is the SLR Titanium. It’s the brand’s first ever foray into the world of ti, and on first glance they’ve produced a very striking bike. There are two models, plus a frameset-only option, and all are based on the same SLR Endurance geometry as their carbon counterparts as well as being disc-brake equipped.

There are two titanium bikes in Boardman’s range for 2016. It’s the first time they’ve ever made a ti bike, and the frames are made around the same geometry as the SLR Endurance carbon model

Boardman said they wanted to make a titanium bike because of the unique ride feel the material offers, and a titanium model of the SLR can actually add something to the range rather than just a different look. They’re marketing it as a comfortable, strong endurance road bike that matches quality looks with equally impressive performance. The bike also features the same thru-axle fork as the SLR Endurance Disc.

The SLR Titanium 9.4 (£4999.99) comes with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset and RS-785 hydraulic disc brakes. Finishing kit is Boardman’s own carbon components matched to a their own SLR Elite Seven Disc wheelset. The 9.2 (£3,499.99) drops down to mechanical Ultegra shifting and RS-685 hydraulic disc brakes, and uses the SLR Elite Five Disc wheels. Frameset only will set you back £1,999.99.

Boardman CXR

The ever-popular CXR range is still going strong for 2016, too, and there are four models if you fancy a bit of off-road action.

Top-end is the 9.8 (£3,499.99). This model has a Shimano Ultegra Di2 drivetrain and uses a compact 50-34t crankset, so is focused more at a rider who dallies with a little off-road rather than someone who actually wants to race ‘cross, where 46-36t is the typical ratio. Components are all Boardman own-brand as are the wheels, which are the CXR Elite Five discs clad in a set of Vittoria’s 33mm Cross XG Pro tyres.

The CXR ‘cross bike is one of the most popular in Boardman’s range, and there are four for 2016

The 9.4 (£2,699.99) goes with a more ‘cross specific drivetrain in the form of SRAM’s Force CX1 which has a 38t front ring paired with an 11-36t cassette. Finishing kit is, again, Boardman’s own and you’ll be rolling on the same CXR Elite Five wheels as the 9.8.

The 9.2 (£2,499.99) and 9.0 (£1,599.90) are both back to double compact chainsets at the front, although the 9.2 has Shimano Ultegra with RS-685 brakes while the 9.0 using SRAM’s Rival 22 hydro setup. The CXR is also available frameset-only for £1,399.99.

Wheels

As mentioned at the top, Boardman haven’t just re-vamped their bikes for the new year, they’ve also added a range of wheels: one alloy clincher, two carbon clinchers and two disc-ready sets. It’s one thing to offer your own wheels OEM on your bikes, as a lot of brands do, but it’s quite another to believe in them enough to offer then after market as well. But that’s what Boardman are doing, and here they are.

Bottom of the range are the SLR Elite Five alloy clinchers which come in at £249.99. Claimed weight is 1,565g, and they use the same hub set as the Elite Air wheels with two sealed cartridge bearings in the front and four in the rear.

The Elite Air Nine wheels combine a 55mm-deep front wheel with an 80mm rear to offer a great compromise between stable handling and aerodynamics

Next up are the Elite Air Sevens (£999.99), full carbon clinchers that have a dual depth: front is 45mm while rear is 55mm. They’re also wide – 24mm to be exact –bringing them in line with what the top brands in the market are doing at the moment. Claimed weight for a set of these is 1,726g, but weight isn’t everything if they provide the suggested aero boost on the flat.

Top of the carbon clincher range are the £1,099 Elite Air Nine hoops. These mix a 55mm front wheel with a super-deep 80mm rear to offer what Boardman reckon is a perfect aerodynamic balance that remains stable in crosswinds but still offers plenty of speed. These drop at 1,862g for the pair, a pretty competitive weight, and have the same 24mm-wide rims as the Elite Air Sevens.

The Elite Five wheels are Boardman’s entry-level alloy clinchers, not to be confused with the SLR Elite Five Discs which are disc rather than rim brake ready

The final two wheelsets in the range are the SLR Elite Seven and Five disc wheels. They’re £999.99 and £299.99 respectively and the Sevens use a 38mm-deep carbon rim while the Fives are built with an alloy rim. The Sevens weigh in at 1,708g, and the Fives are 1,718g.

For more information on anything in the range, head over to the new Boardman website.

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