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MTB

Brand New Boardman Performance Mountain Bikes Unveiled

Here's an overview of the new 2016 mountain bike range from Boardman bikes

Chris Boardman became a household name in the UK after his gold medal win at the Olympics in 1992. He broke the 1 hour record multiple times, and secured himself a number of stage wins in the Tour de France.

In 2007, Boardman worked alongside British manufacturers to produce a range of road and track bikes which launched the brand, Boardman Bikes. In 2014, car and cycle retailer, Halfords purchased Boardman bikes, and so was born a new and exciting partnership in the British Cycling industry.

Since the sale to Halfords 18 months ago, Boardman Bikes have undergone some serious developments in an attempt to re-invent the brand name, and offer quality and affordable bikes across all disciplines.

We went to the Boardman Bike press launch to have a first peek at their new range, particularly the new mountain bikes…

Boardman MTB – Hardtails

From the extensive fleet of bikes on offer for 2016, Boardman have three hardtail mountain bikes to choose from: Comp 27.5, Team 29er and Pro 29er priced at £649, £849 and £999 respectively.

These bikes have been designed for a versatile rider of cross-country and all-mountain with each three of the models boasting a generous 120mm of travel in the front fork.

The two 29er models have been developed to save weight, whilst providing comfortable clearance over larger obstacles. A commonly favoured wheel-size for longer distance XC rides.

The Hardtail Models

Boardman MTB Hardtail Comp
Boardman Hardtail Comp 27.5

COMP 27.5 – This is the lower end hardtail model of the three. It’s equipped with Avid DB1 disc brakes, despite being considered entry level brakes, these still stand up to their parent company’s, SRAM, high standard reputation.

The front forks are Suntour Radon, and with SRAM X5 2x drive-train system, this bike is finished off well. The red and black frame is a strong, but a fairly lightweight alloy composite.

For a retail price of £649, this bike is a great for an entry level rider to get their feet dirty in the world of mountain biking. The strong durable frame will last you miles of fun, whilst being a great investment for upgrading and building upon as you ride.

Boardman MTB Hardtail Team 29
Boardman Hardtail Team 29er

TEAM 29ER – The mid-range model of the three hardtails is where you see the 29″ wheel-size introduced. For better clearance and and improved cross-county ride, Boardman has kitted this model out with some great components for the XC thrill seeker.

The £849 price tag is justified with the upgrade in the brake system to Avid’s DB3 brakes, and the drive train shaved down to a 1×11 SRAM GX, making it lighter and more efficient for XC riding.

The forks are RockShox Recon Silver with 120mm, and the bike runs on Mavic wheels with solid continental tyres.

Boardman MTB Hardtail Pro 29
Boardman Hardtail Pro 29er

PRO 29ER – This is the top model from Boardman’s hardtail range, and for £999, it’s a very good looking and impressive bike.

The lightweight alloy frame houses SRAM Guide R brakes, SRAM GX 1×11 and a pair of RockShox Reba 120mm forks.

Like the previous two models in the range, the Pro 29er is fitted with 740mm flat bars and a 60mm stem for nimble handling in those tight technical sections. Boardman have shortened the chain-stay for additional control in the rear end of the bike making it an agile and playful.

All three of the hardtail models are dropper-post ready with cable holes ready in the frame, should you choose to upgrade.

Boardman MTB – Full Suspension

If you’re looking for something a little more heavy-duty in your off-road adventures, then you’ll need a full suspension MTB, and Boardman bikes may have the one for you.

The Boardman range has two attractive full suspension bikes in their vast range: the Team FS and the Pro FS. They’ve both been designed with the trail rider in mind, ensuring that style and functionality demands are well and truly met.

The Full Suspension Models

Boardman MTB Team FS
Boardman Team FS

TEAM FS – The lower end of the two full suspension bikes from Boardman is the Team FS model. Retailing at just £999, it’s a great first investment in a quality build mountain bike.

It’s an impressive build for a Boardman bike with RockShox Sektor forks, providing 140mm of smooth travel, and an industry leading rear shock from  RockShox, with 130mm rear travel with the Monarch.

The bike is fitted with Avid DB1 brakes, and a SRAM GX 2×10 drive train to really help with those demanding climbs, offering a range of gears to get you rolling smoothly.

The frame itself is built and finished to a high standard, another great staple to begin upgrading from as you gain experience and skill.

Boardman MTB Pro FS
Boardman Pro FS

PRO FS – The top end full suspension model from Boardman is the Pro FS, and it really wow’d me at the launch.

This all-mountain steed will surely eat up anything you come across on the trails with arguably the best forks in the industry, the RockShox Pike’s. Coupled with the RockShox Monarch, the Pro FS offers a reasonable 140mm travel in the front, and 130mm in the rear.

Equipped with a SRAM GX 1×11 drive train, and SRAM Guide R hydraulic disc brakes, this bike is impressive already for the £1499 price tag.

Like the other models in the Boardman MTB range, the PRO and Team FS models are dropper post compatible with cable paths already built into the frame.

The slacker head angle of 67.5 degrees keeps the bike comfortable to climb with, but provides good body position for steeper sections of downhill also.

A 50mm stem is fitted, available through all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, and it is paired with 740mm width bars for a strong riding stance.

I took the Pro FS out for a test ride to see how it handled in the muddy forests around Hay on Wye.

Test Ride: Boardman Pro FS

jess boardman fs mtb
Photo: Steve Behr

So the Boardman Pro FS looks great, and it’s kitted out with some decent and high-quality components, but how does it ride?

The 1×11 SRAM GX drive train system has a 32T ring in the front, and a cassette of 10 – 42T in the rear. This offers a great range of gears for those steep climbs, and quick downhill sections.

The geometry of the bike was comfortable to ride and climb with without feeling too stretch out, or crumpled over the front end of the bike.

The suspension set up is really where Boardman ensured great performance with the Pro FS. With the highly acclaimed RockShox Pike and the Monarch rear shock, the suspension was strong and smooth over the rocky and rooty forest terrain.

The only drawbacks I found with this bike are the personal touches I prefer as a rider: dropper post, shorter stem and a female cut-out saddle. However, that’s what I do like about this bike…

Boardman have invested money into the right areas. The frame is solid, nicely made and finished to a great standard. The suspension set up is market leading, and better than many other entry-level, and even intermediate MTB’s on the market. I wouldn’t change the drive train either, SRAM GX is a great set-up and suitable for this style of bike.

Anything you would change or upgrade would be to make the bike lighter, i.e carbon bars and crank, or make the bike more specific to your body and riding style.

Smile for miles on the Boardman Pro FS
Smile for miles on the Boardman Pro FS

Overall, I’m really impressed with the new MTB range from Boardman bikes. It shows that the past 18 months with Halfords have allowed the company to use their valuable resources and experience to put together a great range of bikes for the beginner, and the intermediate rider.

A lot of consideration has been put into building a cost effective mountain bike which provides strong and reputable components, whilst keeping the prices down for the consumer with smaller own-brand parts. 

If this is just the starting point for the re-invented Boardman, then I think it will be an exciting venture to watch grow and evolve in time.

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