Olympic champ Chris ‘the Professor’ Boardman was renowned for his meticulous attention to detail in his cycling career and he’s since turned his scientist’s eye to making great bikes like the Urban range.
His commuter bike has become an instant classic, combining a rock solid selection of kit with a neutral leaning towards the slightly sporty, ride position and frame geometry. The result is a winning and reliable mix of comfort, speed and handling for a price that will have the big boys crying into their bank vaults.
For commuting, you want a bike that’s nimble and simple. Gears have pros and cons – they need maintenance, but for the less sporty, they offer a quick getaway from the lights and help on steeper hills. Here a double front ring, lightweight frame and flat bars with risers combine to let you turn quickly, put on the power fast and squash down and tuck in to get out of wind or other typical British weather.
The rigid fork saves weight, but we suggest wearing padded shorts or you’ll really feel those potholes. Disc brakes too are an excellent choice for delivering reliable stopping power, even in the wet. But the cabled Tektro brakes on the bottom of the range Urban Comp will require more maintenance than the superior hydraulics on the more expensive versions.
For commuting, the 700C roadie rims and tyres will move faster than the 26in mountain bike wheels used on many “hybrid” bikes.
The use of flat bars and bar ends should also see you able to take this bike onto canal paths and bridleways without any serious issues. Again, watch out for your bits on the bounces – the bike hasn’t got loads of twang built in. But unless you’re actually looking for a mountain bike that handles day duties, this is a superb all-rounder at an unbeatable price.