£1,500 can buy you an impressively specced bike, as this is one of the most competitive price points on the market. We review four
The Boardman Pro Carbon at a whisker under 16lb is the lightest on test by a long chalk.
With its T800 unidirectional carbon monocoque it was no surprise that the Boardman had a 'racy' feel. Its handling was likened by more than one rider to Scott’s CR1, which is certainly a compliment given the success of the CR1, which was a benchmark carbon frame.
The Boardman Pro Carbon gets top marks when it comes to the ups. Its sub-16lb weight is over 2lb lighter than anything else in the test, and when the difference is that marked, combined with a quality carbon frame, you’ve got a winning combination. Like the Wilier, the Boardman frame is a monocoque construction and it’s difficult to separate their climbing prowess. They’re both stiff, light and responsive, but the Ritchey WCS wheels on the Boardman are top notch and give it a competitive edge.
The Boardman was more of a handful once you were going full flight. Both it and the Wilier picked up speed well, and it was becoming apparent that these two bikes’ frames shared a number of similar traits, except the Boardman’s combination of low weight, stiff wheels and stiff frame gave it a tendency to skip around if you weren’t careful.
The equipment on all four bikes isl pretty good stuff, but what stood out was the big gap between the kit on the Wilier Mortirolo Mirage and that on the Boardman Pro Carbon. OK, so the Wilier is a couple of hundred pounds cheaper, but even so. Its Campagnolo Mirage spec, while a solid choice, is somewhat belittled by the SRAM Force and Ritchey WCS kit on the Boardman. The only small spec-related gripe was the 170mm Truvativ GXP carbon cranks that we felt were too small for the bike. Nice kit’s one thing, but it’s no good if it doesn’t fit the rider.
The Boardman Pro Carbon is a lot of bike for your cash, and stands head and shoulders above the rest. It’s the lightest by a mile, thanks in part to its top-end spec, and we struggled to find much to complain about with its performance. If we were to nit-pick then it could do with a smidgin more comfort. The 170mm crank issue was a quick fix, so not a real problem.