Boardman Bikes’ 2011 range goes on sale from today, including new Elite frames which will help Alistair Brownlee in his Olympic qualification campaign this year.
The extended range of bikes includes two new Elite AiR models, SRAM eqiupped and with new Boardman wheels, as well as brand new entry-level bikes starting at £649.99. The Performance road range has been updated across the board, and a new high-end Road Pro sharing the same frame as the Elite AiR bikes tops out the Halfords-stocked collection (you can read a review in the new issue of Triathlon Plus magazine, on sale 8th March, and see a sneak preview here).
The man behind the bikes, British cycling legend Chris Boardman, says the new Elite AiR frame should help Brownlee save his running legs. “The moment it’ll make a difference in a race is when you’re on the front of the pack. When you’re in somebody’s slipstream, you’re in turbulent air and going through the small low pressure area they’ve made, so it’s not really important what shape your frame is, but it is when you hit the front. So we optimise it for when you hit the front in relatively clean air.”
The Elite frames will be available online and through selected Halfords stores, while Halfords continue to be the exclusive retailer for Boardman’s Performance range. Don’t expect updates in 2012, though; Boardman work to a two-year development cycle, saying they’re against “change for change’s sake”, but new ideas are already in progress for 2013. “Making new things is fun,” says Boardman. “We’ve got a month before we have to decide what we’re doing for 2013, that’s what we’re starting work on in the next couple of weeks. It’s great, there’s no point in just making products, it’d be boring.”
Take a closer look at some of the new models:
It’s not yet available to buy (watch this space for details and price), but the AiR 9.8 is built on the same frame as the more accessible models (the 9.4 and 9.2, below) and comes SRAM Red equipped with Zipp 404 Firecrest tubs. The new frame is designed to be as aero as possible in ‘real conditions’, tested in crosswinds at up to 20 degrees which, according to Boardman himself, is “quite a strong crosswind”. “We don’t do straight-line testing in the wind tunnel,” he says. “This is a really nice bike that performs well in a decent range of conditions.”
The current retail range-topping Elite AiR 9.4 (£3,299.99) has a frame weight of 1.2kg and has a tapered head-tube and internal cable routing to keep airflow clean. The fork and seat stays are designed to work best with aero wheels, and the bike comes equipped with new Boardman deep-rim wheels and Shimano Dura-Ace/Ultegra gearing and brakes. The AiR 9.2 (£2,299.99) shares the same frame but is fully Ultegra equipped with Mavic Cosmic wheels; and you can have the same frame on the Road Pro (£1,799.99) in the Performance range – the eagle-eyed among you will have spotted this on the Triathlon Plus stand at the TCR Show in February…
Those watching their weight will be pleased to see the addition of two new Super Light Road (SLR) bikes to Boardman’s Elite collection. With a frame weight of 900g (size large), the top-end, SRAM Red-equipped SLR 9.4 (£3,299.99) has a complete bike weight of 6.4kg, including new Boardman light wheels (weighing in at 1.1kg the set). For a few quid less (£2,499.99) and a pound more weight, the SLR 9.2 comes with SRAM Force and Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels.
At the other end of the range in Boardman’s Performance category, the new entry-level Road Race bike (£649.99) has a slightly more relaxed, ‘sportive/race’ geometry with a taller headtube for comfort. The smooth-welded frame has mudguard clearance built in and comes equipped with new Boardman finishing kit and Shimano Sora shifters and rear mech.