Chris Boardman is a big name when it comes to track cycling – so much so that for years after his retirement from racing, he’s been a major player in the success of Team GB.
While my own track career is somewhat less distinguished, a return to racing has changed my track bike from a ‘training toy’ to a bit more of a serious tool. Unfortunately, this means that my old bike and I have outgrown each other, and it’s time to go separate ways.
The replacement I’ve chosen is a Boardman TRK 9.8 frameset. Carbon, chunky, and with a similar length and drop to my time trial setup, it has the added bonus of being a less common sight at the velodrome. Red Cervélos and black Dolans are great, but it’s nice to be different.
The Boardman comes in black and silver, or ‘platinum’ if you prefer. It’s a really interesting colourway, and the whole bike is pleasingly free of logos. This really helps the look of the bike, with only a couple of tasteful logos on the frame.
The downtube and seat tube are skinny and elongated airfoil shapes, with a flattened top tube. At the rear, however, huge oversized and rectangular chainstays make a real statement that we’re not messing around.
At the front, the fork gets progressively more beefy from the dropouts to the crown, which is drilled for a brake. I like this – it gives the option of doing some fixed gear TTs or training away from the track. Again, if looks are anything to go by, stiffness isn’t going to be an issue.
A rubber cover keeps everything very neat around the seat clamp, and the airfoil seat post in bare carbon looks great. Saddle position is adjustable back and forth via a bolt at the top of the post. The seat stays are dropped, presumably for aerodynamic reasons.
The bottom bracket is an interesting design – the frame is made for PF30, and includes an eccentric bottom bracket and a selection of spacers. The idea here is that you use smaller spindle cranks (I’ll be running SRAM Omniums), using the extra space to allow you to tune your geometry and bottom bracket height. As eccentric bottom brackets are quite expensive, I was happy to find one included with the frameset.
Also included was a little wooden multi-tool engraved with the Boardman logo and their slogan, ‘out there with you’. Nice touch.
We cut down the steerer and threw in some wheels to see how everything looked. So far, I’m really pleased. Once the bike is built up and been ridden, I’ll be able to do a full write-up and share what I think of the Boardman.
For now, it’s time to get to work building and back to training. With this, I can no longer use my bike as an excuse on the track, and I’m really looking forward to being able to ride it.