Wheels, Etc: Boardman MX Race

Does Boardman win again with this hybrid of a hybrid?

A A A

Price: £499.99
Frame: Lightweight alloy
Forks: Suntour suspension with hydraulic lockout
Brakes: Avid BB5 Mechanical Disc Brakes
Gearing: Sram X5

Britain's cycling celebrities are cashing in on their heroic exploits with bikes bearing their names. Victoria Pendleton will soon launch her second range of budget women's cycles with Halfords. Evans Cycles will respond in May with its first Hoy road and city bikes developed by Sir Chris.

Both cyclists must play catch-up with Chris Boardman, however, the man credited with kick-starting Britain's bike boom. No British rider had topped the Olympic podium for 72 years before he won gold on the track in 1992. The one-time yellow-jersey wearer later applied his technical expertise as former head of what became known as Team GB's "secret squirrel club".

He now leads research and development at his own bikes company, which also has an exclusive deal with Halfords. First launched in 2007, Boardman Bikes have earned rave reviews for their looks and value, and medals for the pros who ride the elite range.

At the budget end, three new bikes launched last month include a sporty hybrid at £429.99, a red road bike at a penny under £500 and, for the same price the MX Race.

Boardman himself said the MX was his favourite of the three, "because you have the ability to go on tracks and paths and it's a great bike to go to work on." Sadly, I couldn't find time to properly test its off-road chops but went in search of cobbles, potholes and towpaths during a week or so of commuting in London.

First, the looks. A matt-black finish with shiny white forks and perfectly smooth joins in the aluminium frame give the MX the appearance of a bike worth much more than £500. A hybrid of a hybrid, it's the son of a mountain bike and a more traditional road bike. Full-size 700c wheels with relatively slim tyres pair with chunky suspension forks at the front, disc brakes and wide handlebars.

This is not an elegant bike but it is handsome. If Boardman has designed it for commuters fond of occasional off-road forays, how does it ride where it will do most of its miles? Well, compared to purer road-going bikes of a similar price, it's heavy and even with tyres inflated to their maximum it can feel plodding.

A very easy lever at the head of the right fork makes it very easy to lock out the suspension, essential to prevent energy-sapping bouncing on tarmac. The tyres then help to offer reasonable protection to one's seating area from jolts that pass easily through the white race saddle.

The Avid disc brakes are perfectly adequate and almost benefit from be- ing less responsive than those which have almost thrown me over the bars of higher-end mountain bikes.

I didn't get through all of the 27 gears but switching between them was as smooth as you would expect from the entry-level setup, which includes SRAM shifters and an FSA chainset. Despite occasionally feeling I was having to work rather hard with each pedal turn, and any aesthetic concerns about the MX bike, I've always been impressed by Boardman's offerings.

To plump for the MX, you'll want to be sure of the opportunities to take it off road to be satisfied with its on-road performance. Otherwise go for the cheaper hybrid, which has had promising reviews. Either way, there is always the satisfaction that comes with supporting a brand that symbolises so much that is good about the sport.

Suggested Topics
News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
music
Life and Style
fashion
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Travel
travel
News
people
Voices
Jules and Delaney
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

English Teacher- Manchester

£19200 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Are you a ...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes