As as become the popular trend for bike companies racing prototype bikes, but trying to downplay their existence, is the flat black paint scheme. With BMC, rolling on new bikes without attracting much attention is easier since the team bikes are mostly all black to begin with.
And so it was at the Tour with the soft launch of the new BMC TMR01
. Word leaked out early that a few team riders were riding a new pre-production bike, and so the hunt was on to not only find it, but to find out about it.
In the end I ended up only half successful. We found the bike at the team hotel following stage 2 just outside of Tournai, Belgium. And despite team mechanic Ian Sherburne doing his best to be helpful, there was a shortage of information available (as in none). Not helping matters was when some team higher-up strolled by and scolded us for our inquiries saying that they weren't there to talk about the bike and that we should stop bothering the mechanics. Fair enough. The following is what we saw, heard and learned - undoubtedly there will be more official info coming out of the Eurobike show.
With its integrated front and rear brakes and aero shaped frame tubes, it's fair to say that the profile of the TMR01 speaks to the concept of a wind cheating road bike better than any other bike on the market.
From Storck to Ridley to Trek, we've already seen various approaches of brake integration. What makes the BMC wholly unique is the quasi external steerer tube section (similar to what many current TT bikes now use) which seems to act more as a fairing for the brake cable.
The fit of the frame/fork and brake combo epitomizes the notion of Swiss precision.
So far, the bane of every bike we've ridden with integrated brakes has been diminished braking power. It will be interesting to see how the BMC rates in the stopping department.
This was the only shot we could get off the TMR01 underside with the side-pull brakes. Very integrated, but how powerful is the big question.
As with the new Trek Madone that also runs brakes on the underside of the chainstays, taking the wheel on and off might be a tad trickier than what most of us are used to with traditional rear brake placement.
BMC's head mechanic, Ian Sherburne was hands down the friendliest mechanic we've ever met at the Tour. He wanted to be helpful, but got quashed from above on providing any tangible info on the bike.
Maybe you might be wondering, "Wait, I saw one of those top tube plates on the other side of the frame a few photos up...what's the deal?!" Welcome to what BMC called Dual Transmission Integration - opposing entry ports for either mechanical or electrical drivetrain cable routing. It goes without mention that the ample use of electrical tape to hold the number plates in place was about as "non-Swiss" as could be imagined.
Internal cables exit just where they should and the end of the chainstays have a slight upward kink at the dropout, but nowhere near as radical has the new compliant design used on the 2013 BMC Gran Fondo
bike that was raced at Paris-Roubaix.
Ah yes, the vaunted UCI approved frame sticker...sure, it gets the frame into the race, but it has virtually no bearing on 99% of the potential customer base for the bike. The shape of the seatstays bear a striking resemblance to those found on BMC's Time Machine TT bike.
The carbon aero seatpost looks pretty simple and straightforward. Team riders run with a variety of Fizik saddles.
The new TMR01 was actually first raced in the Tour de Swiss a few weeks prior to the Tour de France.
WHAT ABOUT GEORGE'S SPECIAL BIKE?
In recognition of George Hincapie riding in his final Tour de France, the BMC team painted up a special Paris bike for him.
The 2012 Tour marked the record breaking 17th (and last) time that George Hincapie rode into Paris.
WORDS WITH GEORGE
RBA: Your career has spanned decades, teams and all the greatest races – a special moment of them all?
I’d have to say being on a winning team at the Tour de France nine times rates above all the others. Coming onto to the Champs each time gave me a special feeling, not only for the number of times I did it, but just knowing that it was capping off three weeks of suffering.
RBA: What advice would you give to the next George Hincapie?
Do it and do it at 100%! Living the life of a cyclist is no easy task and talent will only get you so far. The bottom line is that is you want to be a racer, you have to live for the bicycle.
THE BMC SCHWAG CONTEST
George Hincapie has served the both the sport, and America, well for over two decades of cycling and racing. All we're looking for from you is a proper send-off, a farewell card of sorts. Post your comments on Facebook or send them in to Road Bike Action
and we'll pick a random winner who will receive a complete BMC team kit...what, is that like a $300 value?! Such are the benefits are of being a friend of RBA!!