Boardman ATT 9.4 - BikesETC


This is the updated version of a model that won the World Ironman Championship. Built with optimum aero efficiency and maximum speed in mind, it’s also claimed to offer class-leading levels of comfort. Just the ticket? Only the ride will tell.


First impression: After years of testing road bike, the ATT took us immediately by surprise. Given that we’ve sized up to a medium frame to ensure our knees aren’t knocking the stem bolt, the wheelbase is still very short at 975mm, and the bike turns with a directness that excites. You’re right over the top of the headset when riding on the top bar.

On the road: For the purposes of this test, we’ve mixed up the test route, opting to ride to our local 10TT course. Best described as a sporting course, it’s not your average out-and-back on an A-road. Undulations proliferate, road surfaces are less than perfect, and there’s also a fair number of opportunities to smash out big watts on straighter, flatter sections. Riding the eight miles out to the course, getting out of the bike on the first short, steep hill feels almost like riding a kid’s bike; the dimensions are tiny. We ride with hands on the bar extensions until we arrive at the start line, and have the flappable seatpost in its TT-legal position (its angle ranges from 76-79 degrees). Starting in the bike ring, putting sizeable effort to get the bike rolling and (hopefully) carrying the momentum for the next 35 minutes, the ATT rockets down a short slope and we tuck in for the pain-fest. The Zipp padded armrests are a good fit, while the Di2 shifters are a godsend, taking the time-sapping faff out of minor gear ratio adjustments on the first straight into a headwind. Having a 53/39 chainset at our disposal means big gears are available, but we don’t trouble the 11-tooth cog. Changing down to the 39-tooth little ring for a hill at half-distance still gives plenty of torque. It’s only at this point that we realise how sticky the Fizik saddle is; it’s efficiently holding us in position while we perch in its cushioned tip. This bike demolishes shorter hills, positively urging you to throw more electronic gears at it once over the brow.

Handling: The most technical section of the course, a series of downhill S-bends, is taken with hands on the extensions – a test of nerve if it’s windy, but with a good vision through the turns. The steep head angle is tempered by the fact your hands are 10 inches in front of the steerer, and the quickness with which the bike devours gears makes acceleration out of tighter turns child’s play. Across a causeway and into a 90-degree right-hander we keep it in the big ring and for the first time stand out of the saddle. A short, sharp acceleration over a railway bridge drops us down into a village, following its main road as it meanders through past farmland. The ATT tracks a line with aplomb, and even with our hands on the bar-end shifters, quick changes in course to avoid broken tarmac and potholes degraded by tractors are applied with minimal concern. The burn in our thighs is here to stay as the final miles tick by, two of them gradually uphill. A final, sweeping turn towards the finish line can something require a scrub of the brakes on entry. We settle on using the rear; it barely registers – TT bikes’ rear brakes are only there as a standard requirement. If you need to brake, use the front! The Vittoria rubber grips the road as we coast and it’s an out-of-the-seat sprint to the line. We’ve ridden quicker wheels, but beyond that, this bike will take some beating.


Frameset: Boardman C10, high-modulus carbon frame had been engineered with input from the company’s in-house wind tunnel and aerodynamic research unit, and as such it’s ben put together with careful thought as to how bike and rider interact. The short wheelbase of our size M test model packs a lot between its extremities. A slim downtube meets a meaty bottom bracket area at its base and a moulded headtube at its top. The bike’s toptube slopes almost imperceptibly to become pan flat for 80% of its length, and mounts for a bottle are positioned on its top edge. The rear end of the frame is wrapped around the wheel, to maintain optimum aero efficiency. The carbon forks feature the same truncated aerofoil profile as the downtube. The cabling is entirely internally routed, although there is an awful lot of it in the cockpit area, which requires threading back through the bar extensions once you’ve positioned them at your preferred length. The wheels are fixed to the frame via traditional quick-release skewers.

Groupset: Yes, for the currently reduced price of £2299, you do get a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset; and yes, that is pretty good value for money. The shifters and both derailleurs are from the lower-end electronic groupset family, while the close-ratio 11-25 cassette is also Ultegra equipment. The 53/39 chainset is an FSA SL-K Light Carbon component. The front rim brake is standard Ultegra while the rear brake, hidden behind the bottom bracket out of the airflow, is a TRP unit.

Finishing kit: There’s some handsome kit on display here: Zipp’s alloy Vuka Alumina base bar and extensions are gripped to the steerer by Boardman’s own alloy stem. The seatmast is another component from the UK firm’s in-house finishing kit range and can be configured for wither a 46- or 49-degree seat angle. Fizik’s Mistica saddle is sumptuously padded and covered in grippy fabric which won’t tear the seat of your shorts.

Wheels: Vision’s Team Comp 35 wheels at either end somewhat let the build down. But let’s face it, something has to give… They’re perfectly decent, hand-made clinchers with bladed spokes, but they’re not what we’d call racing wheels. Lacking a little in the way in which they spin up, they’re more of an everyday training wheelset. The Vittoria Rubino Por tyres which grace their rims do, however, feel like they’re getting the best out of them – they’re grippy, confidence-inspiring, and durable, but for racing, we’d look to a brand like Challenge, for a handmade road tubulars.


8.7/10 BikesETC October 2019