Road Bike of the Yr 2021 | Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS normally takes top rated prize

Freda Walters

Previous thirty day period, we unveiled our 2021 Path and Enduro Bike of the 12 months winners. Now it’s time to swap trails for tarmac, and celebrate all things highway (with some multi-terrain gravel driving thrown in the combine, of system). Which is correct, it’s time to announce our Highway […]

Previous thirty day period, we unveiled our 2021 Path and Enduro Bike of the 12 months winners. Now it’s time to swap trails for tarmac, and celebrate all things highway (with some multi-terrain gravel driving thrown in the combine, of system).

Which is correct, it’s time to announce our Highway Bicycle of the Year… the Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS.

Extra than 30 bikes (scroll down for the whole checklist of contenders) had been put by means of their paces as section of our 2021 Bike of the 12 months exam, against the backdrop of winter screening disorders, Covid-19 limits and unparalleled bike shortages.

And it was Boardman’s £2,700 SLR 9.4 that arrived out on major, blowing absent our chief tester, Warren Rossiter, many thanks to its blend of race bike exhilaration and stamina bicycle ease and comfort.

Toss in a value-for-dollars spec, with SRAM’s new Rival eTap AXS groupset getting centre stage to present wi-fi shifting at the form of rate we have by no means witnessed right before, and the Boardman is the standout street bike of 2021.

The Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS, 2021 beat Cannondale, Big and Rondo to the prime spot.
Russell Burton / Speedy Media

“The Boardman hits the mark on each and every entrance,” claims Warren. “Its journey is easy and comfy, yet it handles with the swiftness of a professional bicycle.

“Combine that with a course-top low excess weight from the frameset and a spec list unmatched at this value, and you’ve bought a worthy winner of the 2021 Bike of the Calendar year title.”

We’ll be asserting our sub-class winners above the coming times – with awards for overall performance, endurance and gravel bikes, along with superbikes and the ideal £1,000 street bicycle – so observe out for a good deal extra from our 2021 Bicycle of the 12 months examination.

For now, go through on for the within tale on how we put alongside one another this year’s exam.

Bike of the Year | The honours board

This is the 13th edition of our annual Bike of the Year test. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of bikes to find out what’s really worth your money. Here’s how the honours board looks.

2020

Cannondale SuperSix EVO

2019

Rondo HVRT CF0

2018

Giant TCR Advanced 2

2017

Specialized Roubaix

2016

Cannondale CAAD12 105

2015

BMC GF01 Disc 105

2014

Cannondale Synapse 5 105

2013

Giant Defy Advanced 2

2012

Focus Izalco Pro 3.0

2011

Storck Scenero

2010

Cannondale Six Carbon 105

2009

Giant TCR


The inside story on Bike of the Year 2021

Words: Warren Rossiter, chief Bike of the Year tester

Every year I say that Bike of the Year gets tougher for us to come up with a shortlist and a winner because the standard of bikes keeps on rising. And in 2021 we’ve seen an outstanding display of machines across the road and gravel genres.

It’s a nice problem to have, admittedly, but compiling this shortlist and picking an overall winner has never been so hard.

Unrivalled access

Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS, 2021 Road Bike of the Year winner

Our top four bikes were tested head-to-head before picking an overall winner.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The 2021 edition has, unsurprisingly, been far from normal with the backdrop of a global pandemic, unprecedented shortages, and pricing pressures from a mix of global factors and political decisions.

We’re lucky that our unrivalled industry contacts and the historic legacy of Bike of the Year has ensured that we’ve had a steady influx of bikes reaching our south-west testing grounds at a time when bikes are in short supply (or stuck in the Suez Canal).

Although I’ll admit that I’ve missed the group-riding ventures, cake stops and post-ride chats over a cold drink (and, yes, continental sunshine and roads) that often provide the greatest memories of previous Bike of the Year tests, restrictions were beginning to ease as testing came to a close, ensuring that we were able to ride our final four bikes together.

What we’ve tested

Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS, 2021 Road Bike of the Year winner

It was great to finally be able to get out and test in a small group.
Russell Burton / Immediate Media

The prices of this year’s bikes range from £1,775 to £11,750, with categories for endurance, performance, gravel and superbike. We’ll be announcing winners for each category in the coming days, alongside the Boardman as our overall winner.

On top of that, we’re also running a £1,000 Bike of the Year test to show you don’t have to spend superbike money to get a great ride. If you’re wondering about aero bikes, this year’s shortages mean we’re running a four-bike aero shoot-out as a separate test, with contenders from Cannnodale, Felt, Merida and Scott.

Anyway, back to Bike of the Year. Some of the bikes in this year’s main test are already bonafide classics or refined versions of previous winners, with the latest BMC Teammachine, Specialized Tarmac and Roubaix, and Cannondale SuperSix all present.

Innovation is also here in spades, notably in the striking Cannondale Topstone and the Rondo HVRT, but also in the app-based tech of the Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS.

Gravel has captured the imagination of riders and the industry alike and that’s reflected in this year’s Bike of the Year, with do-it-all machines from Boardman, Cannondale, Cinelli and Pearson especially hungry for multi-terrain adventures in 2021.

You should find something to inspire your next bike purchase, whether that’s one of the exact models we’ve tested or lower-priced models with trickle-down tech from the classy contenders on display.

I hope you enjoy Bike of the Year 2021 as much as I’ve relished creating it.

Bike of the Year 2020 | The contenders

Performance 

  • Basso Venta 105 Disc
  • BMC Teammachine SLR Two 
  • Cannondale SuperSix Evo Carbon Disc Ultegra
  • Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1
  • Lapierre Xelius SL 5.0 Disc
  • Orbea Orca M20
  • Rondo HVRT CF1

Endurance 

  • BMC Roadmachine Two
  • Boardman SLR 9.4 AXS Disc Carbon
  • Cervélo Caledonia-5 Ultegra Di2
  • Ribble Endurance Ti Disc
  • Sensa Guilia GF Ultegra Di2
  • Specialized Roubaix Sport
  • Trek Domane AL5

Gravel 

  • Boardman ADV 9.0
  • Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 1
  • Cinelli King Zydeco GRX
  • Pearson Off Grid
  • Ribble CGR Ti Pro 

Superbikes 

  • ARC8 Escapee DB
  • Giant TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc
  • Specialized S-Works Aethos Dura-Ace Di2
  • Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 Red eTap

£1,000

  • Boardman ADV 8.9
  • Boardman SLR 8.9 105
  • Genesis CDA 30
  • Giant Contend AR 3
  • Orbea Avant H60-D
  • Planet X London Road SRAM Apex 1 Disc
  • Ribble Endurance 725 Base
  • Van Rysel EDR AF
  • Vitus Zenium Tiagra

Thanks to…

A massive thank-you to Q36.5 for sorting the kit for the photo and video shoots, Lazer for keeping our heads protected, and 100{a248e5b80c230eadd21ddb63dd84d82fc59867695094f52c900e1818e1ed19f8} for shielding our eyes from the elements on the roads and trails.

And not forgetting Muc-Off, for its help keeping the bikes washed and lubed throughout testing.

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