Boardman CX Team £999.99
As a club rider who enjoys cyclo cross I was very pleased to be given the Boardman CX Team to test out.
Having done a few cyclo-cross races and cycling randonées on the North Downs, the South Downs and in the Chiltern Hills I have had the chance to get a good appreciation of the bike. So, based on my rides and races here are my impressions of the 2012 Boardman CX Team.
Overall, it is a stylish, sturdy steed which handles well, and is a comfortable ride.
When I first set eyes on the Boardman CX Team I instantly fell for its cool metallic storm grey and black colour scheme. To some, the design may seem too neutral to make the bike distinguishable from others in the market.
In actual fact, the yellow highlights on the frame, fork and chainstay make it quite recognisable, even among a crowd of racers on the start line. In the darkness of the Rollapaluza Muddy Hell the Boardman CX Team was still easily identifiable.
The SRAM Apex Double Tap gear shifters threw me a little since I had not previously encountered this type of gear changing system. This was quickly mastered and I did not even Andy Schlek up my gears during the heat of a race! Everything changed very smoothly.
This latest Boardman offering is part of the new generation of cyclo cross bikes with UCI approved disc brakes. While this new trend may be a burning issue I am more than happy to twiddle around with the new style brakes on my bike. Boardman CX Team’s Avid BB5 road brakes give me so much more confidence when going round twisty corners or when braking at the bottom of a steep descent. There is a lot more forgiveness if you like to leave your braking late.
The Boardman CX Team has coped well through varying amounts of mud, including the odd mini bog in the Surrey Hills - though I have yet to experience the fun of a true mudfest with it. Given the dry conditions enjoyed so far this season it is hard to know if the Boardman CX Team will get stuck into the glorious stuff any time soon!
So, on the cloggability discussion there is no real conclusion. Whatever the verdict, I feel more comfortable and safer being slowed down by discs than by levers.
Having a lightweight alloy frame and superlight full carbon fork, as well as a BB30 bottom bracket helps to keep the weight down to 10kg. This makes it a lighter cyclo cross bike than previous ones I have had. I was able to carry the bike 8 times up the flight of steps during the London Rapha Super Cross race at Alexandra Palace, and I still had the energy to race round the rest of course!
What else do I like about the Boardman CX Team?
The bottle cage mount - not always present on cyclo cross bikes - is fortunately on the Boardman CX Team. Not being a cyclo cross purist I can see this as a good addition. With no pit-boy to hand me a bottle during a race on these mild autumn days, this is the next best thing.
The good news for non-climbers and twiddlers like me is that my Boardman CX Team is blessed with a 10-speed 11-32T SRAM PowerGlide PG-1050 cassette to complement the 34-50T compact chain ring. Thankfully, there should be no worries about hills.
Secondary brake levers at the top of the handlebars are handy when riding in a more upright position, or for those who don’t ride on the drops.
Very usefully, there are mounts for mudguards and a rear rack - not your typical fare for a cyclo cross race, but this is great news for cycle tourists or those wanting a good winter road bike.
Once the cyclo-cross season is over I look forward to using this bike for cycle touring. Disc brakes will definitely come into their own here. Braking will certainly be more efficient if descending Alpe d'Huez in the wet - or any hill closer to home.
I rode the Boardman CX Team for 4 hours on a recent ride through the Chilterns. The bike had to cope with loose chippings on gravel tracks, forest trails, and rutted single track across farm fields. The route went up and down like a yoyo across the rolling terrain, and the bike performed royally. The bottom bracket and the carbon fork with tapered steerer gave the bike stiffness which helped me hold my line on the trails. I felt quite comfortable on my steed thanks to the curved wishbone seat stays and the CBoardman saddle. Of course, women may prefer a more feminine shaped saddle.
In summary, the Boardman CX Team is a great all-round bike for doing cyclo-cross races, off-road trails and road cycling. In particular, if you are doing a long ride in hilly terrain its sturdiness, gearing and brakes help to make for an enjoyable ride.