Friday, 4 March 2011
New 2011 Boardman Road Bikes
Biking supremo Chris Boardman has unveiled his new range of 2011 bikes in London this week. Comprising of five bikes, ranging from £649.99 to £1799.99, Boardman is moving up the market, to take on the mid-market, with his latest Pro-Carbon bike.
Having a quick review of the specs (see table below), you can see that Boardman has focussed around groupsets and wheels to create the step-ups in the range (yellow shaded boxes indicate step-up from the previous model).
The cycle to work crew won't be able to obtain a sub £1000 carbon bike in the new line-up with the team carbon moving up to £1299.99 (although it may go on sale at key periods).
Comparison Chart of Boardman 2011 Bike Range
Geometry is shared between the Race & Comp, slightly smaller head tube on the Team and Team Carbon and the shortest head tube and integrated cabling on the Pro-Carbon with Ultegra components most of the way round.
What's most striking is a line-up of a further nine bikes in the new elite series, so there should be a good range of bikes to choose from. Boardman is clearly keen to press into the top end of the market. It will be interesting to see what the distribution strategy will be for elite range. Will they stick with Halfords stores or will we see a Planet X style web operation pop up?
Talking of which, the upper end of the market is quite crowded. Once you're talking over two grand for a bike, you have a lot of choice and quite a bit of bike snobbery, so we'll see whether the strength of the new range will stand up for itself in amongst some of the pedigree brands.
On-line brands like Planet-X and Ribble are raising the game, with good bikes equipped with high end groupsets under two grand, so they are capturing a good part of the market. The Planet-X SL Pro Carbon with SRAM Red stands out as good value at the minute, coming in at £1299.99. Arguably, that's a lot more bike for your money than the Boardman Team Carbon. Ribble's new Stealth bike with Ultegra starts around £1499, also worth consideration.
However, the Pro Carbon looks a decent bike. Good racing geometry, Shimano Ultegra groupset most of the way round, integrated cabling and dropping in at 17/6Ibs. I think they'll be quite a few riders who've owned the previous Team Carbon bikes that may well consider upgrading.
Boardman clearly has ambition to grow its share in the premium sector of the market and the new 2011 range is signalling a clear intent to get serious.