£1000 › The bike that made the Board­man brand what it is to­day

Cycling Plus - - ROAD TEST -

Dur­ing four-and-a-bit min­utes of the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Chris Board­man changed the face of Bri­tish cy­cling. The for­mer fur­ni­ture maker has been re­spon­si­ble for our na­tion’s suc­cess on the velo­drome’s boards and, later, through his own brand of bikes and as a cy­cling ac­tivist, has pop­u­larised road cy­cling. He started his epony­mous brand more than a decade ago (flog­ging it to Hal­fords a while back), and the star has long been the Team Car­bon, a gen­uine game-changer that brought car­bon to a whole new gen­er­a­tion of wannabe road­ies. As we go to press this model is yours for just £900, too, which looks a steal…

There are in­evitable com­pro­mises to bring in a bike at this price with a qual­ity car­bon frame from To­ray. Even Hal­fords buy­ing power can’t get you 11-speed Shi­mano 105, though 10-speed Tiagra with an FSA chain­set works well and the Tek­tro car­tridge brakes are okay, though nowhere near on a par with the 105 on some bikes here. The wheels are mod­est, though Mavic’s lat­est Mavic CXP rims can cope with 28mm tyres, they rolled smoothly and we couldn’t in­duce any brake rub.

As this could be your only bike, the frame ma­jors on prac­ti­cal­ity too. There are fit­tings for a rear rack, and mount­ings and clear­ances for front and rear mud­guards, which brings year-round com­mut­ing and day-to­day rid­ing into its re­mit. Ex­ter­nal ca­ble rout­ing may be less el­e­gant than in­ter­nal, but it keeps man­u­fac­tur­ing costs down and makes DIY ser­vic­ing eas­ier.

The ge­om­e­try isn’t as ag­gres­sive as Board­man’s SLR race bike but it’s not to­tally laid­back ei­ther, tak­ing its cues from the En­durance SLR, which means a 15mm taller head-tube and 10mm more stack. This is enough to take a lit­tle strain off your lower back, but not so much to trans­late to a me­an­der­ing, sit-up-and-beg

rid­ing po­si­tion. Frame an­gles through all its sizes are based pretty much around 73-de­gree par­al­lel; very old school, very re­as­sur­ing and de­cently sharp, with chunky tubes, over­size bot­tom bracket shell and press-fit bot­tom bracket of­fer­ing great power trans­fer. The weight is very good for the price, only beaten here by the Rib­ble, it’s com­fort­able enough for crank­ing out hard miles, stiff enough for sprint­ing and climb­ing and con­trolled for safe and as­sured de­scend­ing, the ta­pered, car­bon fork han­dling im­pec­ca­bly.

It can be a close-run thing at this price whether to go for en­try-level car­bon or high-grade alu­minium, but this frame rises above the en­trylevel car­bon tag, of­fer­ing bumpsmooth­ing cush­ion­ing that alu­minium just can’t match, even with a 31.6mm seat­post. The Team Car­bon is com­fort­able, but you’d get a lit­tle more ‘give’ from a slim­mer 27.2mm seat­post. It’s far from a deal breaker and we’d be in no hurry to up­grade to car­bon, but 31.6mm is now a rare-ish sight on a bike aimed at the newer cy­clist. When the Mavic wheels and Vit­to­ria tyres reach the end of the road, we’d con­sider up­grad­ing both for an even more re­ward­ing ride. That said, as specced this Board­man makes a fan­tas­tic first road bike for sportives, fit­ness rid­ing and fast com­mut­ing, and the clear­ance for mud­guards make it a su­perb op­tion for a win­ter trainer. Un­like the other car­bon bike here, the Board­man has the ad­van­tage of a shop setup and free six-week check.

Be­low The C7 car­bon frame is light and re­spon­sive Bot­tom The Mavic wheels can cope with 28mm tyres, should you want to ex­tend your ride hori­zons

The star has long been the Team Car­bon, a gen­uine game-changer

This Board­man makes a fan­tas­tic first bike for sportives, fit­ness rid­ing and com­mut­ing

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