This review was first published on our sister site Bike Radar
Boardman has always been a brand that upsets the apple cart with a range of technically-advanced designs for triathletes that are also well-priced. The latest generation of bikes from Boardman uses knowledge learned from previous SLR designs, as well as the current cutting-edge thinking from the biggest brands – all wrapped up in a package that shouts value for money
The C10 SLR frameset blends a mix of modulus fibres. The stiffest carbon is reserved for the oversized bottom bracket and head tube to aid with power transfer and handling. The chassis has a purposeful look to it, blending a Kammtail-shaped down tube and seat tube like the Tifosi on test here.
A Kammtail shape is a tube with a truncated airfoil; its shape ‘cheats’ the air into believing that the tail is still there (which is very aerodynamic) so it acts in a controlled manner and doesn’t create a disruptive ‘wake’ – and more aero drag – as a round tube would. These aero tubes are in contrast with chunky, squared chainstays and a square profile top tube. The fork is wide legged but slender and this, along with the dramatically dropped seatstays, gives the SLR a bit of a BMC air about it. With a claimed weight of 900g for the frame, the C10 SLR is competitively light.
Boardman should be congratulated for including so much tech at this price, and applauded even more for taking all of this CFD-derived aero trickery and smart, carbon consideration while still thinking about the cyclist. You see, the SLR has a smart trick up its sleeve: hidden mudguard mounts front and rear. Chris hasn’t forgotten the pain of cycling in a British winter.
For the money, the 9.2 is extremely well equipped. When you look at bikes around the two-grand mark, it’s pretty much Shimano 105 across the board. But on the 9.2 you get full-fat, unadulterated Ultegra that even includes the premium Ice Tech disc rotors (in our preferred 160mm front, 140mm rear combination). Add into that a classy Fizik Antares saddle, Vittoria Rubino Pro 28c tyres and some decent own-brand wheels in the form of the SLR Elite 5s; both rolled smoothly and felt light during testing. We don’t doubt the sub-1,700g claimed raw weight for these hoops as the SLR tips the scales at an impressively light (for the money) 8.45kg on our large test bike, the lightest bike on test.
On the road, the SLR has plenty of character. The stack is low (584mm) and the reach long (391mm). With proven racy angles of parallel 73° and a short wheelbase of 6mm over the metre, it’s a sharp, nimble companion. Sprinting out of the saddle, the SLR gives a rigid, unforgiving response with no side-to-side flex when you’re really hammering. It also proves itself when you start to climb. Sitting in and spinning on the well-chosen gearing (50/34, 11-30) feels positive, but get out of the saddle to up your pace and cadence and the SLR responds with vigour.
Similar to the Tifosi here, the SLR is a firm ride. Over broken surfaces it can be choppy but Boardman has cleverly specced 28c tyres, which you can run race firm and reap the benefit of low rolling resistance.
We do have a few niggles. We scrubbed the heel of our shoe on the chunky box section chainstays, which are asymmetric. We also found the alloy bar a little firm and slim, with the rubbery bar tape a touch on the thin side. But these are minor. It’s a good value bike at the performance end of the endurance spectrum.
Got more money to spend?
For another £500 there’s the Boardman SLR 9.4 Disc (£2,599). It has the same C10 carbon frame but also electronic shifting, courtesy of Shimano Ultegra Di2, and upgraded SLR Elite 7 tubeless-ready wheels.
Got less to spend?
At £1,649 is the Boardman SLR 9.0 Disc with the same frame design as the 9.2 but C8, a Shimano 105 groupset and the SLR Elite 5 wheels
Verdict: The Boardman’s SLR 9.2 Disc balances everything this tester likes about a bike: it’s quick to turn and accelerate. It doesn’t beat you up over big distances and, most importantly, it’s damn good value to boot. 91%
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