Boardman’s new lower end bikes have appeared online, with a minor rebrand and several all-new models.
Previously known as ‘Boardman Performance’, it looks like Boardman have adopted the same naming conventions as their higher end bikes, using numbers and decimals to show the range. So far, all of the new bikes fall into the ‘8 series’, and roughly replace the models sold at Halfords. I’m mostly going to take a look at the top ‘8.9’ model of each bike, but it’s safe to assume you’ll find a cheaper option available if you’re less worried about which groupset you have.
Road: The SLR 8.9
Let’s start with the road bikes. The old favourite Road Pro Carbon has been replaced by the SLR 8.9a and 8.9c, which now feature some more modern design touches like dropped seat stays and much more square tube profiles.
You’ll also notice the ‘a’ and ‘c’ versions – the SLR is now available with either an aluminium or carbon frame. The aluminium version, in white, comes equipped with Shimano 105, while the carbon version downgrades to Tiagra (a great groupset nonetheless in it’s latest incarnation).
What’s especially interesting, though, is that both bikes come specced with longer drop Tektro brakes. That suggests we’re going to be seeing some room for much bigger tyres.
It’s a shame to see, then, that the mudguard mounts have disappeared this year. Correction: It’s great to see that the SLR still includes mudguard mounts, and the larger clearances stand to make these much more usable than on the previous Road Team Carbon.
Adventure/CX: The ADV and CXR 8.9
The ADV is brand new for 2018, and is a late entry from Boardman into the ‘adventure’ category. Everything looks promising here: alloy frames, mudguard mounts, and some nice Schwalbe G-One tyres. The top model comes with a bit of a mix of parts, but the derailleurs are Tiagra and the shifters and brakes are hydraulic models from Shimano.
For cyclocross, there’s the CXR 8.9, and it looks like we’re following the same formula from the previous generation, but with an updated frame. And why not? Alloy frame, full carbon fork, 1x SRAM Apex and hydraulic brakes. The old model was Rival, but you do get some nice Clement PDX (soon to be Donnelly PDX?) tyres as a consolation prize.
Mountain bikes: The MHT and MTR 8.9
Boardman’s 2018 mountain bikes also feature new frame designs. Their 29” hardtail, now the MHT, has been slackened and uses a shorter cockpit to meet modern trends for ‘fun’ bikes instead of ‘race’ bikes, and uses 1x Shimano SLX and RockShox Rebas. All fine there, then. Again, good tyres stand out – Vittoria Barzos are very well regarded, and come on tubeless-ready wheels.
The full-suspension MTR 8.9 has had a much more radical change in shape – it almost looks a bit out of place in the range. Again, slacker geometry and a shorter cockpit is the theme, and you’ll get lots of spec for your money, as you’d expect. SRAM NX, matched with RockShox Revelation RC forks and Deluxe RC shocks. Vittoria’s new(ish) mountain bike tyres appear again – a good choice, if you ask me.
Hybrids: The Boardman HYB 8.9
Finally, the new hybrids. The previous Hybrid Pro was a favourite of mine, and it looks like the new HYB 8.9 is a similar bike. Alloy frame, full carbon fork, hydraulic disc brakes, and a 1×11 Apex groupset. Super clean at the bars, and simple and quick to ride. Tyres have been swapped to Schwalbe Marathon Racers, which are probably a better choice than the old Vittoria Zaffiros.
It’s also worth noticing that the cheaper HYB models also now include 1x groupsets – a big upgrade in my opinion.