Boardman Hybrid-Comp 2013 redux

As you can tell from my review of the 2013 Boardman Hybrid-Comp the component level does not have the quality to withstand minimal club level mileage of 100 to 150 miles per week.

Five weeks in and the components were showing their weaknesses; this amounts to just under 50 hours ride time with twice weekly washes and re-lubes.

The FSA Vero compact 50×34 chain-set was too warped from new and flexing too much, causes chain rub on the front-mech.

The chain had suffered enough in one of our wettest January’s for years and its performance was seriously degraded under load.

In a phrase, the transmission wasn’t up to the task.

Boardman Hybrid-Comp 2013 redux – Tiagra 10 speed transmission

Shimano Tiagra 10 speed transmission upgrade

Shimano Tiagra 10 speed transmission upgrade

A transmission upgrade to Shimano Tiagra 10 speed from the 9 speed SRAM x-5 is straightforward and with the benefit of January sales not as costly as one would expect.

Items changed:

  1. Tiagra 4600 double Chainset – 50 x 34 compact
  2. Tiagra BB
  3. Tiagra short cage rear mech
  4. Tiagra chain
  5. Tiagra 10 speed cassette – 11 to 25
  6. Right Hand Tiagra 10 speed shifter

The rear wheel free-hub supports a Shimano 10 speed cassette upgrade as a simple swap out of the cassette. The excellent and informative Sheldon Brown has documented detailed information on Shimano freehub compatibility.

Performance Improvement

All the transmission problems with the chain rubbing the front-mech when on the smallest two or the biggest three sprockets whilst on the big ring are gone. This is down to the stiffness of the Tiagra chainset and bottom bracket.  The result being there is no need to swap out the left hand SRAM 3 speed shifter designed for triple chainsets.

Tiagra upgrades

Tiagra upgrades

Remaining Issues

Headset leakage

The FSA No.11 Headset can be bought online for under £5 and is an obvious upgrade for a sealed item; the FSA No. 11 is detailed as follows:

  • SKU / Manufacturers Part No: 141-2281
  • 1-1/8″ semi-cartridge type headset
  • For 49mm OD headtube
  • 1-1/8″ steerer
  • Alloy top cover
  • Chromoly cups
  • Semi-cartridge bearings

Frameset Flex

The frameset and wheels do have some flex under load which can cause the brakes to rub – this should be alleviated with better wheels and adjustment of the brakes to dial the pads so that there is sufficient clearance between the pad and the disc whilst the brakes are not actuated.  This is very easy with the adjuster dial on the AVID BB5 calipers.


Its not light but thinking about any course of action to make this lighter would be like trying to pass a donkey for a race horse; there’s only so much you can do to train a donkey, its still a donkey.  Better to accept this bike for what it is and that is an ideal ride for the worst of the winter and commuting.  I enjoy the stability in frosty or windy conditions and the freedom to take to dirty badly surfaced roads or tracks to avoid cars on those Sundays you just want to chill out.  Riding the Boardman sets the tone for the day with the training dial set to base and yet it remains nimble and responsive, encouraging you to change your plans and add some extra base miles before you call it a day.

8 responses to “Boardman Hybrid-Comp 2013 redux

  1. Really nice upgrades, my drivetrain is now giving up its ghost and was wondering if you could go more in-depth for the headset. Thanks

  2. @Kasimir – what ‘in-depth’ information about the headset are you looking for? For example, do you want to know what the problem with it is, or are you looking to find out how to fix it?

  3. @cyclesportdundee thanks for the reply. My headset makes really bad noises when i put and force down on the front while turning. Do I only need to purchase the bearings or the whole head set? the cheapest I found was 17 quid (complete). The other thing is that I am planning on touring with this bike and need to change the chain set. The stock FSA ‘vero’ is so flexible and flimsy it feels like the crank arm will break any second. (my left crank arm is already slightly bent) Any ideas on a reasonably priced 2×10 set up. Im thinking about the Ultra 6700. Regards

  4. @Kasimir, regarding the headset, you’d be better replacing the whole thing and try to get one with cartridge bearings. The left crank arm may appear bent but this is likely by-design unless you’ve fallen off and actually bent it.

    I’ve recently seen Tiagra 10 chainsets (2014 models) go for £36, You could go for Ultegra but you’ll struggle to get 10 speed these days as its been 11 for some years. Ultegra is overkill for touring, anyway – Tiagra is good enough. I’ve seen these Tiagra sale prices recently – cassette’s as low as £11, chains for £8, rear mech for £15 – all good enough for Touring. Admittedly it is a bit soft if you are doing large volumes of mileage on a regular basis, YMMV as they say.

  5. Thanks for that. I meant to say Tiagra. Is there anyway around the new shifters or should i be prepared to wack another 55 quid down for flat bar shifters.

  6. Hi thanks for all your help and the upgrade is going well so far. I bought a replacement headset but seems to need a couple of shims inside at the top to stop the top ring from hitting the frame.. did you have the same problem ? thanks

    • That doesn’t sound right; I didn’t have that problem. I’d recommend getting it off to your local bike shop if you are not sure. This sort of thing is hands on and too difficult to accurately describe on the web.

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