Discs go pro.
With the arrival of disc brakes in the peloton, the era of road disc is firmly upon us. Boardman Bikes wasted no time embracing the new technology, releasing several race-ready models last year, and it's expanding the range to include the more budget-minded Road Pro Carbon Disc Brake Complete Road Bike for 2018. The Road Pro Carbon is essentially the same frameset as the SLR model with two differences: the fork uses a more conventional quick-release skewer rather than a thru-axle, and it's slightly heavier.
If you were shopping at a big-box, "budget-minded" might translate to "throw-away"; however, this is still a Boardman, so it means that the Road Pro Carbon uses a composite mix called C7 (consisting mostly of Toray T700 carbon) instead of the SLR range's C10 (mostly T800). The difference is that Boardman uses a bit more material to achieve the same level of stiffness, so the bike's a little heavier. And that's it. Militant gram-counters might be thrown off by that added weight, but cyclists more interested in the confident braking of hydraulic discs and ride quality—which the bike retains in spades—will happily save $1,000 in exchange for a few grams.
As mentioned above, the Carbon Road Pro features the same geometry as the SLR Endurance, which itself mirrors the outgoing SLS. Compared to the standard Boardman models, the Road Pro has a shorter head tube and longer chainstays (by about 20 and 5mm, respectively), which net a longer, more stable wheelbase across less than ideal surfaces. Given that you can fit 30mm tires on this thing, stability matters. Given those dimensions (and the high spoke count of the wheels), it begs to be tested on gravel roads and manicured dirt; however, we should note that there are no bosses to mount a rear fender, so expect a muddy racing stripe if things get damp.
On the road, the longer wheelbase and tapered steerer keep tracking clean and on point through sweeping descents, letting you glide rather than fight the bike through corners. It's also got a higher stack and shorter reach, dimensions that benefit the recreational cyclist or the racer who recognizes the value of a comfortable ride position in races longer than 50 minutes.
- An endurance road bike with a racing pedigree
- Longer, less aggressive geometry is comfortable on gravel
- Toray carbon construction spares some expense but no stiffness
- Disc brakes keep stopping on-point in poor conditions
- Generous tire clearance allows for 30mm rubber
- Shimano and FSA build kit complemented with Boardman's own 2x, high spoke-count wheels