Product launch: Boardman’s first ever junior bikes
17 June 2014
Boardman Bikes entered the children’s market today with the launch of its first ever junior bikes: a road bike, a hybrid, and an MTB. With the huge success of Boardman’s senior bikes and the power of its retailer Halfords, the arrival of these new bikes will make a big impact. We’ve had all three bikes for several weeks and have been testing them thoroughly. So let’s look at what Boardman is offering and see how the new models fit into the market.
When we first learned that Boardman would be selling a youth range, we assumed that it might produce bikes to compete head-to-head with the high-end, superlight models sold by Islabikes and a small but growing number of other specialist companies. But when we saw some pre-production examples a few months ago, though, we realised that Boardman is actually targeting a quite different market instead by selling less expensive bikes with a more modest specification. They appeal to a much broader community than the specialist brands. While we’re sure that Boardman will be delighted to see the new bikes used for youth racing & training, we expect that most of them sold will be for leisure use, day-rides, family holidays, school runs, and simply for fun.
Boardman’s adult bikes have always represented unbeatable value for money, with a higher level of spec than other brands for the same money. A note about pricing though: Halfords offers special deals and discounts on bikes very frequently, and you can often combine a “spend and save” offer with a model-specific discount too. On top of this, many Youth Cycle Sport readers are also British Cycling members who receive a further 10% discount on any Halfords purchase. So bear in mind that you will probably be able to buy one of these bikes at a significant discount on the standard retail price.
Note also that Boardman has decided not to offer the new bikes in a range of sizes – there’s a single size of each model. In our view the new bikes typically suit children aged nine to twelve, but this depends very much upon the size of the individual child of course. So the road bike has full-size 700c wheels, for example. Children who are too tall for the new Junior range will often fit the XS or S sizes of senior bikes anyway.
Chris Boardman himself told us that the junior bikes have been specifically designed to carry through the styling of the senior models. There’s certainly nothing childish about the bikes’ appearance – they really do look like mini versions of adult Boardman bikes, with a sophisticated, grown-up look about them and the presence of Boardman’s trademark smooth frame welds. In fact we think the junior bikes might become popular with very short adults too, for whom the smallest sizes of senior bikes are still too big.
It’s interesting that all three new bikes are designated “Sport” in line with the budget models in Boardman’s senior range. So perhaps we might see higher-spec “Comp” and “Team” models in the future too? There’s no dual-purpose road/cyclocross bike in the range yet either. Given how many kids want to ride both on- and off-road, and given how much Chris Boardman himself likes such versatile bikes these days, a Boardman junior CX bike would be a welcome addition.
Our experienced young riders have been testing each of the three new bikes and riding them hard. Watch our action video above then check out what we thought of them here:-
Review: Boardman SPORT/e Road – £350
Review: Boardman SPORT/e Hybrid – £300
Review: Boardman SPORT/e MTB – £300