Boardman Bikes have been receiving quite a bit of attention as of late. When we first put together our “wish-list” of bike brands we wanted to partner with at Beyond Aero, Boardman was high on the list. First off, the company’s founder and namesake, Chris Boardman, was nicknamed the professor during his very-successful racing days. He got the nickname as a result of how meticulous he was with preparation, training, and of course his gear. A three-time Yellow Jersey winner, Boardman was perhaps best known for his Hour-Records one in which he beat a 28 year-old record held by Eddy Merckx. This attention to detail, and level of meticulousness is also what constantly drives CB to develop great bikes. Boardman has also been very involved with British Cycling as a technical adviser and continues to be a big advocate of cycling in general. In essence, Boardman is not just a name on a downtube. We like that.
We recently received our first batch of bikes and were quite impressed. A bit inspired by it, we decided to snap a few shots before getting this Air 9.8 built up and ready for the road.
The Air series is Boardman’s aero-road offering. While the entire range employs the same geometry and a bottom bracket direct-mount rear brake, it’s only the 9.8 that features an integrated front brake. Similarly to what we’ve seen used on the Air TT lineup for a couple of years. This feature, along with a slightly taller and narrower geometry are new for 2014. Aside from the Union Jack, there’s one detail in particular that won’t let you forget these bikes are from the UK. The bikes that don’t rout the cables through the top tube (SLR and SLS) have a right hand-side rear brake stop on the top tube, opposite of most bikes we’re used to. This of course, to accommodate “moto-style” brakes. As no surprise, given the intended use of this bike, its headtube is tapered, which is done to increase front-end stiffness. It also is one of the details that affects how the bike handles, though not exclusively. While the headtube is the same across the Air lineup, it does make for a better transition to the fork on the 9.8, which is a bit wider at the crown than the forks with a traditional brake mount.
The rear brake is a standard direct mount. The 9.8 frameset comes equipped with TRP brakes, though a shimano Dura-Ace 9000 or Ultegra 6800 direct mount ought to work as well.
Overall the look and finish of the bike looks the part. While we can’t quite yet comment on the quality of the ride, we’re very much looking forward to taking the Air 9.8 on the road. Aero road bikes are increasingly becoming the norm, not the exception. Tire selection can often times negate or diminish the “rough” riding properties of an aero road frame, which tends to be a big concern for cyclists who’ve never ridden one. Stay tuned for a report, and feel free to reach out if you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more about Boardman Bikes.