Boardman launches 2016 range

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Boardman chose a low-contrast January day in darkest Wales to launch their 2016 Performance bikes range. Established in 2007, although they’re synonymous with a certain mega-size bike retailer, not many people realise that Boardman were an independent brand for much of their life. Even after becoming part of Halfords in 2014, they still retain complete creative control – a phrase that, if they were a band,  might indicate that a “difficult” album was on its way. But this being Boardman, rather than going off into the bike equivalent of a free jazz odyssey, they’ve kept things sensible, while still managing to squeeze in a few surprises.

The test loop provided plenty of UK Slop and Grime (TM)
A very muddy test ride

The 2016 range features five mountain bikes, plus two cyclocross bikes. “I actually do around 70% of my riding off-road these days” Chris says. “With living on a peninsula, I just got sick of riding the same bits of road all the time”. He rates the range’s cross bikes and 29er hardtail as his personal favourites, but the bike they’re keenest to show off is the MTB Pro FS.

Coming in at a door-busting £1499, this features thoroughly modern geometry with a roomy top tube, short stem and 67.5 degree head angle. The showstopper of the spec is the 140mm travel Rock Shox Pike RC fork, but it also features an SRAM GX 1×11 drivetrain, Avid Guide brakes and a Mavic-rimmed 650b wheelset with front and rear thru-axles. Marketing manager Jamie told me he’d been smashing a destickered version round the trails at Laggan, where it not only performed well, but also attracted some completely inaccurate guesses at its true identity. With its highlighter-yellow flashes, it even looks ready to E*d*ro.

The launch featured a bit of riding, and not being a media big shot I ended up as the only one on a hardtail, an MTB Pro 29er. After taking the bikes out for a run round a steep and extremely muddy test loop though, I was impressed by its well-mannered handling, helped along by a plushty 120mm Rock Shox Reba fork: yet another “how do they do that for the money?” spec highlight.

Both the Pro FS and the Pro 29er are also available in more affordable incarnations, with a 650b hardtail rounding out the range at £649.

Aside from the mountain bikes, road bikes and hybrids, the range features the CX Team, a versatile ‘crosser offering 1×11 shifting, hydraulic road discs and a full carbon fork for £999. Or for £649 you get the CX Comp, which has an alloy fork, a 2×9 Shimano drivetrain and mechanical discs. Both come with rack and guard mounts for conversion into a supercommuter.

The new range is landing at a retail megapark near you from 29 January, and will also be available online.

Antony de Heveningham

Singletrack Contributor

Antony was a latecomer to the joys of riding off-road, and he’s continued to be a late adopter of many of his favourite things, including full suspension, dropper posts, 29ers, and adult responsibility. At some point he decided to compensate for his lack of natural riding talent by organising maintenance days on his local trails. This led, inadvertently, to writing for Singletrack, after one of his online rants about lazy, spoilt mountain bikers who never fix trails was spotted and reprinted on this website during a particularly slow news week.

Now based just up the road from the magazine in West Yorkshire, he’s expanded his remit to include reviews and features as well as rants. He’s also moved on from filling holes in the woods to campaigning for changes to the UK’s antiquated land access laws, and probing the relationship between mountain biking and the places we ride.

He’s a firm believer in bringing mountain biking to the people, whether that’s through affordable bikes, accessible trails, enabling technology, or supportive networks. He’s also studied sustainable transport, and will happily explain to anyone who’ll listen why the UK is a terrible place for everyday utility cycling, even though it shouldn’t be.

If that all sounds a bit worthy, he’s also happy to share tales of rides gone awry, or delicate bike parts burst asunder by ham-fisted maintenance. Because ultimately, there are enough talented professionals in mountain bike journalism, and it needs more rank amateurs.

Comments (17)

    Any idea how much the Pro 29er HT will be?

    Been umming and ahhing about getting one for a bit of light touring duties while still having a bike that’s fun to ride on trails but the current Pro doesn’t have rack mounts oat the top, only the dropouts.

    I have a Boardman FS Pro from 2014/15 and they have done just what I said they should with the new one, the new one looks so right, I am going to have to consider my options!

    Yep, £999 for the Pro 29er.

    The 2014/15 and 2016 frames look very similar, but the new one is slacker, 10mm longer, and has square chainstays for better heel clearance.

    Sounds ideal.

    Now all I need is clearance from the Financial Controller.

    Well that and getting a wedding out of the way….

    Any idea of the weights? i.e. what is the weight of the new FS Pro so I can compare it to the old one! They’ve changed the frame a little so its a pertinent question.

    Oh why, oh why a bloody Fsa chainset with a 3 arm spider. It’ll make more sense throwing it away when the ring is worn. They must be really cheap for brands to spec them.

    @slofox – I didn’t take the luggage scales, but apparently it’s a whisker under 30 lb without pedals. Supposedly stiffer than the previous model too.

    @johnnystorm – FSA 3-bolt chainrings are easy to get hold of, they’ve been making cranks in the same pattern for a few years now. Not sure about the availability of narrow/wide ones though.

    Yep, they’re out there – just search for “Megatooth” (FSA’s name for narrow/wide).

    Ok, not too bad from zee Germans it seems. Still rather have a 104 bcd and a bsa bb, assuming this is pf from the axle hollow. It does look nice enough to help me forget these imperfections…

    Glad to see they’ve toned down the paint jobs. It was very nasty before. They fashion of labelling every part of a frame seems to be going.

    According to Bikeradar, the FS pro in large weighs 28.79 lb.

    Thats neat they’ve lightened it a little too!

    …stupid phone

    I take it all back, it’s got a threaded BB

    Now I’m confused. Bike Radar made a point of saying it had a threaded BB that would be squeak free but the Boardman spec lists an FSA PF30. But then their pic also shows the bike with a front mech mount and the one above hasn’t got one…

    I’ve just taken delivery of a test bike and it has a threaded BB and no front mech mount. So hopefully that clears things up!

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