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If we were to choose three hot buzzwords to define the last three generations of new road technology, they might be: electronic shifting, endurance geometries, and disc brakes. We love each of them for what they bring to our rides every time we throw a leg over the top tube, whether it's for an interval session, an 80-mile race, or long, winter base miles. Boardman Bikes manages to package all three in the SLR Endurance Disc 9.4 Ultegra Di2 Complete Road Bike.
The new SLR Endurance frame at the bike's heart is actually a re-branded version of Boardman's SLS frame. For us, this act of renaming serves to highlight the fact that the SLS was never just a weekend noodle. Instead, it's a proper race frame that allows for in-saddle posture less extreme than a track bike. It's eagerness for speed is evident in the fact that it uses the same T1000 and T700 carbon featured in the standard SLR race frame, which balances considerations of stiffness, price, and the ability to erase road noise, chip-seal chatter, pavé, and even feedback from gravel roads for a ride that's not just limited to well-groomed roads.
The SLR Endurance Disc's post-tarmac pedigree also owes a debt to the frame's geometry, which mirrors the outgoing SLS. Compared to the standard SLR, the endurance model 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. 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.
The new aesthetic treatment is another shakeup for 2016, presenting a marked departure from the staid, monochromatic offerings of previous generations. There's no doubt that some might associate Boardman's simple, former palette — predominantly composed of black, yellow, and silver — with the phlegmatic stoicism that Brits celebrate as a national treasure; however, more than a few of us in the former colonies around the world might simply refer to it as, well, boring. Silver and black still abound, of course (this is cycling, after all), but the vivid blue detailing that fades cleanly across the length of the 9.4 Ultegra Disc build's frameset is a notable addition to Boardman's typically understated stable.
- Item #BMB001E