This month we’re reviewing bikes that started life on British drawing boards and, having already brought you the Forme Thorpe Elite and Pearson Hammer and Tongs, the Boardman SLR 9.2 completes the trio.
Chris Boardman is a name entwined with British cycling history. He made front page news in 1992 after winning individual pursuit gold at the Barcelona Olympic Games.
Constantly seeking the latest technical innovation during a long career in which he won three stages of the Tour de France, Boardman is now at the forefront of bicycle design. Nicknamed The Professor, the 43-year-old is a member of the Secret Squirrel Club which designed Bradley Wiggins’ Olympic time trial-winning machine, while Boardman Bikes is his commercial operation, where the former Gan and Crédit Agricole rider has a hands-on role in each bike’s development as director of research and development.
Three collections make up Boardman Bikes’ Elite Series, based around three frames: the AiR, the AiR TT and the SLR. The AiR is the aero road range, while the AiR TT is the time trial range, leaving the SLR as the lightweight road range.
The SLR 9.2, which comes with a retail price tag of £2,599.99, was the entry point to the range when it was unveiled in 2011, but the 9.0, which will leave you with a penny change from £2,000, now occupies that spot.
SLR stands for Superlight Racing and an impressively low claimed weight of 7.1kg substantiates that moniker. The SLR frame is at the heart of the 9.2, with our size medium test model having a 555mm top tube and compact 140mm head tube. That, and the frame’s boxy profile, particularly on the huge, squared-off downtube, plus the large chainstays, suggest the design brief for the SLR was to make a fast, uncomprimising machine. A tapered headtube and internal cable routing complete the look.
It’s a well-specced package for the price. The frame is equipped with a Force groupset, which sits second behind the top-of-the-range Red group in SRAM’s pecking order, accompanied by a BB30 bottom bracket. The 9.2 is fitted with a standard chainset (53-39t), which gives a further indication of its racing pedigree.
Mavic’s Ksyrium Elite wheels are paired with Vittoria Open Corsa CX tyres, while the handlebars, stem and seatpost are all from Ritchey’s WCS Carbon range. The saddle is the popular Fizik Arione perch with titanium rails.
Boardman machines have become synonymous with Halfords but it is, in fact, only bikes from the Performance Series (the Comp and Team Carbon, for example) which are available through the high street retailer. Elite Series bikes, like the SLR 9.2, are sold through Boardman’s independent dealer network.