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Boardman Road Pro Carbon Disc review

18 Jul 2017
Verdict:

A disc-equipped carbon endurance bike that will keep you entertained and cosseted in equal measure

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,500

Boardman says the Road Pro Carbon sets a new benchmark for disc-equipped road bikes.

Using the firm’s SLR Endurance frame platform constructed from C7 carbon, it’s aiming for a balance between stiffness and low weight, with maximised handling, power transfer and ride quality.

Crucially for those of us concerned with boosting our fitness, Boardman claims the bike ‘allows you to push your limits time and again on any course profile, in any weather, at any time of year’.

Frameset

Pictures don’t necessarily do justice to just how classy the grey-on-black ‘colour’ scheme of the bike looks in the flesh.

The box-section top tube – fairly rangy, at 540mm for our size small frameset – tapers from the head tube to meet a rounded profile seat tube that gradually morphs into a square-profile near to the bottom bracket, thus adding stiffness at this crucial area.

A similar trick is used in the oversized down tube. Flatter-section chainstays are contrasted by curved and flared seatstays, which are formed in this way to soak up vibrations from the road.

The gear cables and brake hoses are all internally routed through the frame, making one of the neatest disc-equipped set-ups we’ve seen in some time.

Although our test bike is running 25c tyres, we’d say there is easily clearance to run 28s, for an even more comfortable set-up.

Geometry is just on the sharper side of ‘endurance’ at the front end, at a measured head angle of 72.7°, but the steering feels planted and predictable.

Groupset

A good mix of components ensures you’re getting decent quality at a keen price. A 52/36 FSA Gossamer chainset gives a sound compromise between a 50/34 compact chainset and 53/39 racer’s chainrings, and combines well with the 11-28 Shimano 105 cassette.

Brakes are Shimano’s 105-comparable hydraulic shifters, with 160mm rotors. On a purely aesthetic note, the black groupset flatters the bike’s stealthy paint job nicely.

Finishing kit

Boardman’s own-brand finishing kit keeps the price down, but also works very well. Short-drop compact handlebars and a 100mm alloy stem make this frameset a comfy place for your average 5ft 8in rider.

A 31.6mm carbon Boardman seatpost dials out vibration and is topped by a Prologo Nago Evo saddle – a minimalist perch that supports and flexes more than its looks suggest.

Wheels

Boardman’s own-brand hoops feature aero-profile alloy rims. They’re solid, 28/32-spoke wheels that may offer some aerodynamic benefits thanks to their 30mm profile.

Vittoria’s excellent Zaffiro Pro tyres offer decent comfort and puncture protection, not to mention agreeable levels of grip in most conditions.

On the road

There’s nothing daunting about this bike – everything is laid out in an ergonomically pleasing way and the first miles of our ride reveal it to be a particularly stable machine on which to take your first pedal strokes to fitness.

Shimano’s 105-level hydraulic disc set-up is fast becoming ubiquitous; it helps us scrub off speed on an early high-speed descent in our test loop to make way for an oncoming speeding car with no fuss.

It doesn’t take long for this bike’s character to shine through. The Boardman really does excel in the comfort stakes; a 140mm head tube and ample stem spacers allow us to get a comfortable riding position that does us proud for a good three hours of riding.

The majority of road vibration is kept away from our hands and backside thanks to seatstays that are designed to soak up the vibes in conjunction with a carbon seatpost.

Not only are the 400mm alloy bars of easy drop but they also offer a good combination of flex at their extremities and stiffness for uphill efforts.

The 25c Vittoria rubber also makes short work of pitted roads, running at 90psi. The direct chainstays do a good job of transferring power from the FSA cranks, but when the road starts to ramp upwards there are some shortcomings revealed.

Although the Road Pro is running an 11-28 cassette, it’s still nudging 9kg in our size S build. OK, so that’s not particularly heavyweight in the road bike world, but still requires some heaving to get up steeper climbs.

It’s here that the solid front end and taut feeling at the rear helps. If you fitted a cassette with a 32-tooth sprocket, life would be much easier, especially with this bike’s 52/36 chainset.

A relatively relaxed steering head angle ensures that corners are taken with the utmost confidence, while also turning more rapidly than you might expect of an endurance bike.

Either way, there’s nothing to daunt newer riders here – it’s simply a case of point and shoot, with no sudden dropping into corners. This process is assisted greatly by the choice of rubber Boardman has made to equip the Road Pro.

Vittoria’s Zaffiro Rubino Pro tyres have a narrow strip of slick rubber at their crown for rapid progress on the flat, with deep siping at their edges for notional extra grip on badly surfaced roads and in the wet.

Point this bike at a long, sweeping downhill corner and it all gels to create a solid, stable, surprisingly rapid experience that keeps you entertained and cosseted in equal measure.

Shimano’s RS505 hydraulic brake levers are an ergonomic success story, while the calipers they operate offer enough control at the merest squeeze that you can’t help but make efficient progress.

It wrings the best out of you, and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you put it near the top of your list if you’re yearning for a bike that will grow with you as your fitness improves.

Ratings

Frame: Designed for predictable handling and comfort. 8/10
Components: Shimano's excellent hydraulic 105 setup. 8/10 
Wheels: Sturdy own-brand wheels with excellent Vittoria rubber. 7/10 
The Ride: Fast and assured, this is a bike that is very user-friendly. 8/10

VERDICT

The Boardman Road Pro Carbon Disc is a disc-equipped carbon endurance bike that will keep you entertained and cosseted in equal measure. 

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 540mm 540mm
Seat Tube (ST) 515mm 520mm
Down Tube (DT) N/A 610mm
Fork Length (FL) N/A 378mm
Head Tube (HT) 140mm 140mm
Head Angle (HA) 72.5 72.7
Seat Angle (SA) 73 73.1
Wheelbase (WB) N/A 985mm
BB drop (BB) 68mm 68mm

Spec

Boardman Road Pro Carbon Disc
Frame C7 carbon frame. carbon fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano BRR-S505 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors front and rear
Chainset FSA Gossamer Pro, 52/36
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-28
Bars Boardman, alloy
Stem Boardman, alloy
Seatpost Boardman, 31.6mm, carbon
Wheels Boardman Aero Profile, Vittoria Zaffiro Pro, 25c
Saddle Prologo Nago Evo
Weight 8.76kg (size S)
Contact boardmanbikes.com

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