Olympic Gold Medal winner Chris Boardman is ready to launch his new Elite range of bikes and this time to a worldwide audience.
“It’s quite scary”, says Chris Boardman about how much is hanging on his new 20-bike range, badged as Elite SLR and Elite Air, which go public for the first time this spring.
Offered the chance of an exclusive first peek at the Elite road bikes we jumped at the chance of some face time yesterday (Tuesday) with the Olympic champion, Tour de France yellow jersey and world hour record holder.
And the cold drizzle that fell on a midland car park as we got our hands on these new, incredibly light and innovative carbon fibre rigs did nothing to dampen Boardman and his Operations Director Andy Smallwood’s obvious pride in their latest project.
Make no mistake, in the seven years that Boardman bikes have been in existence, 2011 is set to be one of their biggest yet, with the Elite range spearheading a big push into markets beyond the UK and bike sponsorship of the US based United Healthcare team putting Boardman bikes in the spotlight as never before.
“We’re really excited about the new range,” says Boardman, “it’s a big step for us but we are the fastest growing bike brand ever and we’ve got to do it. For me it’s like the next race.
“The next 12 months will be a massive learning curve. Going with the UHC team has opened up the US market to us and the team bikes (recently debuted at the Tour of San Luis) received a good response in the USA. We will also be looking at markets in Australia, western Europe and Japan.”
Yeah, yeah but what about the bikes? For the full specs and photos you will have to grab next week’s Cycling Weekly (on sale Thursday, February 3), but here are some of the tasty details:
* SLR road bike frame is seriously light at 900 grams (without fork)
* Air models are super aero and aimed at road and TT riders
* A standard SLR bike with SRAM components easily ducks under the UCI weight limit of 6.8kg (just under 15lbs)
* New solution to internal cable routing keeps weight down and makes cable replacement easier
* Tapered head tubes and BB30 bottom bracket
* Carbon fibre monocoque forks
* Top SLR model comes with Boardman carbon aero sprint wheels weighing 1.1kg pair
* Elite road bike prices from about £2,000, topping out at £5k
* 20 bike Elite range will include road, tt and mtb models
See Cycling Weekly Feb 3 issue for more exclusive details and photos