BOARDMAN Team, £999.99, www.boardmanbikes.com
Like other Boardman road bikes we’ve tested, the 2011 Team defies logic: the sum of the parts adds up to considerably more than the retail price, while the technology and finishing is usually only found on bikes twice as expensive. Not that we’re complaining.
Many friends mistook the smooth welds and detailing on the lightweight aluminium frame for carbon; indeed the fork is carbon. But what’s amazing — and noticeable on back-to-back comparisons — are the top-drawer ‘hidden’ features: the tapered head-tube and steerer for added strength, and the BB30 bottom bracket for increased stiffness. Having ridden the bike on several Alpine passes, you definitely notice how solid your pedalling action feels, particularly when stomping on the gas (boxy chainstays aid this further); descending is far more stable and reassuring.
Shimano 105 shifters and mechs are paired with FSA compact chainset; all worked flawlessly. The Tektro brakes were only left wanting on the longest descents and Mavic's Aksium wheelset ran fine, but the Vittoria Zaffiro tyres lacked grip in the wet. Impressive own-brand finishing kit too.
At just 18.5lbs this bike is rapid, only your legs will hold you back. Again our main issue regards sizing – our small sample, with 54cm top-tube, would be classed as medium in many companies’ line-ups, so shorter riders may need to swap stem/seatpost. JK
PROS Incredible value and ride
CONS Sizing issues