Inexpensive and versatile are two words that spring to mind when summing up the Boardman Sport Fi Bike. So if you are looking for a good all rounder that won’t break the bank, you’d certainly be on to a good thing here.
I’ve been putting the Boardman Road Sport Womens Fi through its paces for a few months now and am yet to defeat it. From wizzy 30 minute commutes through the city to the steepest hills the outskirts of London has to offer, the Sport Fi seems to take it all in its stride.
This is pretty remarkable when you consider that this bike comes in at just under £500, which seems to be a bargain for what you’re getting.
The ‘Fi’ in the bike’s name is attributed to the fact that it’s one of 7 bikes in Boardman’s ‘Female Informed’ range. In a nutshell this equates to a bike built with female specific design, geometry and componentry, which in my eyes can only be a good thing.
The Sport Fi boasts the Shimano Claris 16 speed groupset aimed at entry level sportive and road riders. Despite its lower price point it features the dual control system, normally seen on Shimano’s higher end products, which certainly makes the gears comfortable to use and easy to manoeuvre.
As someone who isn’t used to having such an array of gears on offer, I particularly like that the levers feature a little window allowing you to see which gear you’re riding in. A bit like when you first start driving a car, it takes a while to get the feel of which gear you’re in and subsequently how much movement you have available when approaching a climb or descent.
Although generally smooth, the gear shifters did pick the odd moment to be a bit clunky and therefore there were moments when transitioning gears wasn’t as seamless as I’d hoped. This is forgivable when you’re cruising along the flat, but rather frustrating when you’re at that pinnacle make or break moment in a hill climb. However, I should remind myself not to expect the same exactness and smoothness that you can get with more expensive models.
With its triple butted alloy frame, the Sport Fi is said to weigh in at 10.44kg. This isn’t the lightest bike on the market, but by no means does the bike feel heavy and for its money it’s lighter than one would expect. Combine this with its efficient geometry and compact chainset, which is designed to help entry level riders cope with hill climbs, the steeps never felt too much of a struggle. A design advantage that you would never see me complaining about.
The Boardman Road Sport Women’s Fi is topped off with Boardman’s female specific E4P finishing kit, which is also designed to keep the weight down. I find the slim saddle to be fairly comfortable, even when out on longer rides. The bike is mudguard compatible, which while I haven’t opted to utilise yet, I’m sure will be particularly handy during the wet winter commutes.
Despite its price tag, there’s nothing cheap looking about this bike. With its unique mirrored platinum finish, the Sport Fi is pretty striking in appearance. It has regularly come under the admiring gaze of friends who jump to the same conclusion that I’ve splashed out on extravagant new bike. And despite being a product of Boardman’s ‘Female Informed’ range, there’s nothing overtly feminine about this bike, which not being a girly girl myself suits me to a T.
Overall the Boardman Road Womens Sport Fi is an impressive performer that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to someone looking for versatility and comfort whilst finding their confidence in road cycling or taking those first steps towards racing. And for such a reasonable price, it would be pretty hard to resist.
Price: £499.99, available from Halfords.