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Gallery: Boardman unveils 2016 range

Highs include expanded tri line-up, women’s SLR series and new Performance Centre

Boardman has launched its exhaustive 2016 range of bikes, with seven core triathlon bikes, a new titanium range and its own-brand wheels some of the major talking points. The brand also gave early details of a Boardman Performance Centre in England, which is set to house the world’s best wind tunnel and will be open to the public.

The Shoreditch unveiling, with nary a fixie on show (although there was a sole track bike), was attended by Chris Boardman himself, the Brownlee brothers and the brand’s British Ironman stars, Joe Skipper and Lucy Gossage.

Any fears that the Halfords buy-out of Boardman Bikes may somehow dilute the appeal of the brand were allayed here, with arguably the brand’s most focused range of bikes since their inception. The design period began with, in Chris’ words, a bout of ‘corporate naval gazing’, with the company wanting a ‘change of direction’ yet one that would see Boardman ‘stick to their values’ of eminently rideable bikes at affordable prices.

“High-tech wasn’t a buzzword of the process,” said Chris at the launch. “Our key data studies involved studying how air affects the bike and how we can manipulate that air over the frame.” In testing, the new ‘Boardman Trip Section’ tubing displayed a 2% reduction in drag, equating to a 23sec saving during an hour of riding.

PERFORMANCE CENTRE

Buoyed by the influx of cash from Halfords, the brand also unveiled a new website, a new and full range of elite clothing and accessories and a custom bike configuration process, which’ll allow buyers to create their own bike in 5,202 variations.

Many of the bikes will also be ready to buy with Boardman spec, including wheels and aerobars. Chris suggested this was in the pipeline at a visit to 220 in 2014, and here was the result, with the brand touting their deep-rim wheels and hubs as being lighter and faster than their newfound competitors on the market.

Of special interest was the new Boardman Performance Centre, a project that Chris described as being ‘the most exciting thing since I’ve stop being a rider’. The centre, likely to be based in the Midlands, will house what the brand believe will be the best wind tunnel in the world, but also one built for customers and not just an industry testing ground. Riders will be able to have physiology tests, aero profiling and more at the centre.

“We came up with it over a curry!” said Chris to 220. “We were thinking, around 90% of your energy when cycling is spent pushing air out of the way, yet there’s limited wind tunnel availability at the moment. Historically they’ve been expensive to build so have been multi-purpose – ours will be just for bikes.

“Part of the process is to make the wind tunnel non-scary,” adds the British cycling legend. “You’ll be able to come here for the price of a good dinner out and find it easy to use. Athletes can decide what information they want to be displayed and once they’ve been, I reckon they’ll keep coming back. It’s addictive!”

Plans for which are likely to be announced soon, with an opening possibly for summer 2016. The range of bikes are live now at www.boardmanbikes.com.

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