Boardman revamps the ADV 9.0 gravel and adventure bike

(Image credit: Boardman)

Boardman has always been a brand focused on producing high-performance bikes that don't carry the high-performance price tag, and the brand new Boardman ADV 9.0 adventure bike continues that trend.

The ADV line isn't totally new to the brand's range and, in 2018, the ADV 9.0 was an aluminium-framed 'single-track brawler', that rolled on 650b wheels and 50mm tyres. Unfortunately, the bike ran into the problem that many similarly rowdy gravel bikes do, in that, a hardtail mountain bike was simply better suited to the terrain than a small-wheeled, fat-tyre drop-bar bike.


The new bike sees a full GRX groupset, including a an 11-32T cassette and has provisions for racks and fenders too (Image credit: Boardman)

"We loved smashing round forests and MTB trail centres on the original ADV 9.0, but to be honest, our MHT hardtails are a better option for most people when things get that rough off-road. It wasn't exactly fast on the tarmac either, so for 2021 it was back to the drawing board, taking what we'd learnt with the old 9.0 to re-calibrate the new version for versatility and real-world multi-use fun," says Matt Dowler, Boardman Bikes Product Manager. 

With this change in focus, the new ADV 9.0, the bike rolls on 700c wheels shod with 38mm Panaracer Gravel King SK tyres, and the updated frame is made from the same C10 carbon you find used for the SLR performance road bikes. Boardman says a painted size medium ADV 9.0 frame weighs 990g, and the fork is claimed to weigh 420g.

By swapping from aluminium to carbon, it has allowed the designers to tune the frame characteristics of the ADV further, the most striking new design element being the flat-profiling of the heavily bowed seatstays. This, combined with the new D-shaped seatpost, allows for a bit of flex between the rear axle and saddle to take the sting out of big hits. 


Even from a distance you can see the heavily bowed seatstays (Image credit: Boardman)

While a degree or two of vertical flex between the saddle and rear end is desirable on a rough gravel ride, it can't come at the expense of pedalling efficiency. Boardman says to prevent unwanted flex it increased the size of the bottom bracket shell to ensure every watt produced at the cranks is transmitted into turning the rear wheel. 

With a 71.5-degree seat angle, 570mm stack, 381mm reach, 73mm bottom bracket drop and 425mm chainstays (size MD), the geometry of the ADV 9.0 is thoroughly modern — Boardman has even moved towards the long top tube and short stem, with a 555mm TT and 90mm stem in size MD. When you add all of this together, the brand says it should make for a bike that balances stability and control on loose surfaces, without sacrificing speed and efficiency when things smooth out.

Boardman has opted for a 2x11 Shimano GRX setup utilising a mix of the RX600 and RX8100 parts to keep the cost down. At the back, there is an 11-32T cassette paired to 46-30T chainrings at the front. When it comes time to drop the anchors, 160mm rotors and hydraulic calipers keep your speed in check. 


It would be odd to find carbon gravel bike that doesn't take advantage of thru-axles now-a-days (Image credit: Boardman)

The wheels are made in-house, pairing a 20mm internal width alloy rim to a 28-hole hub, complete with centre-lock brake mounts and thru-axles front and rear. Boardman tells us they come factory taped for tubeless tyres, and valves are included in the box — so you will only need a splash of sealant to ditch the inner tube. 

Paired to the short stems mentioned earlier are six-degree flared drop bars starting at 400mm wide on the size small frames, going up to 440mm in the XL. The seating arrangements come in the form of a Prologo Akero AGX gravel and CX saddle.

Priced at £1,700 the Boardman ADV 9.0 is available in four sizes (SM-XL) and is available one through the brand's website, as well as select retailers. 

UK readers can shop the Boardman ADV range at Halfords (opens in new tab)

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Based on the Gold Coast of Australia, Colin has written tech content for cycling publication for a decade. With hundreds of buyer's guides, reviews and how-tos published in Bike Radar, Cyclingnews, Bike Perfect and Cycling Weekly, as well as in numerous publications dedicated to his other passion, skiing. 

Colin was a key contributor to Cyclingnews between 2019 and 2021, during which time he helped build the site's tech coverage from the ground up. Nowadays he works full-time as the news and content editor of Flow MTB magazine.