If this is an ‘entry level’ carbon bike then I can only dream of how one of the high-end, top spec carbon machines must perform. I could be dreaming for some time too, as truth be told this new Boardman was my first taste of a true modern carbon road bike. For the past few years I have been mostly riding fixed-wheel machines, ranging from a Cinelli Vigorelli track bike to much heavier steel “fixed” rides, so clipping into the Boardman for the first time was a real eye opener, to say the least.
On first inspection the Team Pro certainly isn’t lacking in the looks department, the oversized aero profile downtube and full carbon forks forming clean lines while the splash of colour on the inside of the forks and the chainstays provides and interesting contrast against the matt black finish.
Aside from the obvious differences with anything else I have ever ridden in the past (i.e. 20 gears and a freewheel), the bike feels so responsive in comparison and, although at 18.2 lbs it may not be the lightest bike of its kind, it’s certainly more than light enough for anyone looking for an ‘out of the box’ entry level carbon ride in this price range.
Despite my minimal road bike experience, after a few laps of Regent’s Park and with growing confidence, the sheer speed that’s so easily achievable on this type of modern bike was revealed and that’s something that I could happily get used to. The Boardman feels solid and very stable even at full pace and for such a light bike the ride quality is simply superb. This is made even more of a pleasure by the smooth Shimano 105 groupset, which stood out in my mind as a joy to use.
One of the greatest pleasures of riding fixed for me in the past has been the simplicity and smoothness you get from a single-geared bike and this is something that has put me off riding what in comparison seemed like fairly complicated road bikes in the past. However, my experience on the Boardman has been nothing of the clattering cassette and cables that I feared; instead it’s still super smooth and quiet, no rattles or snags to be heard whatsoever. In fact I’m starting to get used to the confident brakes and changing gear with what feels like the flick of a switch. Riding clipless, however, is another matter. Although I haven’t made the graceful sideways descent to the tarmac at the lights as yet, I have had a couple of close calls that evoke that hot feeling you get before you’re about to make a complete idiot of yourself in front of a crowded pedestrian crossing.
Overall, in my opinion this is a superb bike. It has made my transition from fixie skidder to a road bike afficionado a breeze and I have truly enjoyed every mile of it. The only real negative point worth mentioning has to be the £300 price increase on last year’s model, which unfortunately places the Team Carbon firmly out of reach of the Cycle to Work scheme at £1,299.99. It is a shame if the bike is aimed at the entry level market. Is it worth the extra money? I would have to say yes; you end up with a lot of bike for your cash and for someone like myself who is still building experience on a modern road bike I feel that the Boardman Team Carbon would be an ideal companion.
Next stop, the RCUK Double Centurion weekend.