Sunday
Mar162014

Boardman CX Comp Bike Review

So you're an avid road cyclist, but your current entry level road bike isn't cutting the mustard and you want to step up to a more competent and immersive ride, and you also want to venture off-road. Well this 2014 Boardman CX Comp bike could be within the price range you had in mind, and also have exceedingly better performance and hybrid abilities than you anticipated. Available from Halfords in-store and online in April; and mobile users can conveniently purchase the bike via the new Halfords App, download it here. Meanwhile the bigger brother to the CX Comp, the CX Team is available from Halfords today.

The Boardman CX Comp has a confident build, with a lightweight triple butted alloy frame and alloy forks specifically designed for the disc brakes, and all over smooth welds. The CX geometry frame is tube styled and looks propositionally well balanced and slender. The primary colour of the frame is black, which does a good job at camouflaging the city dust. Blue and silver colours balance out the black frame and we'd say that the Boardman CX Comp is definitely a bike which you will be proud to ride. The CX Comp is a light hybrid, weighing in at 11.5KG, which makes it not too heavy to carry up and down stairs on your commute. The front wheel can also be quickly removed for more convenience when taking the CX Comp in the car.

The CX geometry frame has custom tubes purposely designed to tackle the roughness of the off-road and we agree that this design works well. Boardman opted for larger tyres than you'd traditionally find on a road bike and they're pumped up to 65psi pressure. This means rough dirt paths and cobbled lanes weren't knee shattering on the Boardman CX Comp, instead the harsh surface feedback distilled itself before reaching the rider. The tyres are Schwalbe Tyrago Kevlar Guard 700c's with Mavic XM319 rims (stainless steel butted spokes) and are good climbing tyres, conveying excellent grip and an anchored agenda on slippery steep ground, staring off dedicated mountain bikes at their own profession. A lot of fun can be had on the CX Comp in woodlands and the like, the ride is just so effortless and fast. Mudguards are probably best added for this though.

When we steered the bike on-road, we were immediately impressed. One of the stand-out things about the Boardman CX Comp bike is its lack of operational noise; it's crisp and calm, even at speeds of 30-40mph+. This demonstrates the exceptionally high detailed quality that Boardman have presented us with. That slender setup glides in a city area, with very nippy take offs that will no doubt turn the heads of other cyclists. The Boardman CX Comp is highly suited for serious road racers, but it's also the bike to use when you want to whizz to the shops, cycle to work or even use on a long distance commute. The drop handlebars will be appreciated, and the rider can choose to ride pleasantly upright if wished, with ease of reach separate braking incorporated which we found very useful in some riding scenarios. However, the drops allow you to ride in an extremely aerodynamic manner with comfortable access to brake and gear changers.

Easy to shift Shimano Sora gears drive the FSA Velo Compact 50/34t chain, with two front chainrings and nine rear chainrings. This is a great setup which allows riders to find the right gear in any particular situation. The gear shifting is via inward movement of paddles under the brake handles and inward movement of the brake handles themselves. This is a very good and simple system and works very smoothly using just your fingers, with no twisting or fiddling around.

Bringing the Boardman CX Comp to a stop on wet, dry and sludgy terrains is done with fast and stable response thanks to the Tektro Lyra 160mm disc brakes. The tyres don't shutter or skid whilst breaking and there's certainly no wheel wobble, so you don't need to worry about pressing hard on those brakes in an emergency.

We had no complaints to make about comfort on and off road. The ride is silky smooth and the Boardman (Engineered for Performance) E4P kit, which includes the handlebars, stem, seat post and, very importantly, the saddle, were high quality trimmings. The saddle remained comfortable after hours of heavy usage and, as we've already mentioned, the handlebars were exceptionally functional, with the covering being pleasant to hold and breathing well; thus avoiding sweating hands.

The Boardman CX Comp brings the off and on road worlds together in a lightweight and durable fashion, without losing the unique and enjoyable characteristics of each. And when all this is wrapped up with some top specifications and great engineering it delivers phenomenal value for money.

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