BMC Teammachine SLR01 Review

Swiss racing technology comes at a pedigree price 

BMC is no stranger to top-tier success in the road racing world. Over the years the Swiss company has won the Tour de France, the Olympics and many major Classics throughout Europe. Highlighting the passion and pride of the brand’s owner, Andy Rihs, the factory race team has remained a standout in the pro peloton for never taking on a title sponsor to compete on the jersey with the bike brand itself.

The all-new Teammachine started from scratch by gathering data from their professional riders, as well as their bank of engineers who ride for their team and Cadel Evans 2011 Tour de France champion himself. With this new race bike, BMC also offers this machine in a disc brake version with the same geometry.

THE FRAME

The new Teammachine has a completely new and updated frame. BMC went to the drawing board by using ACE (Accelerated Composite Evolution) technology, which calculates thousands of different virtual frame geometries, ending up with a new frame that is said to be 10 percent stiffer in the bottom bracket combined with more vertical compliance. Also worth noting is that the rim brake frame and disc brake frame use the same geometry.

To help aid the vertical compliance, BMC lowered the seat clamp, which lengthened the seatpost by 20 percent. Speaking of the seatpost, the clamp is an internal wedge design that is hidden under the top tube triangle against the seatpost. The removable cap used to cover the wedge  had a habit of coming off.

The Teammachine has a very clean look with all the cables routed internally. The rear triangle has been shortened, bringing the wheelbase length to a short 98.6cm. The Mavic wheels come with 25mm tires, and the frame has room for 28mm tires but nothing larger.

THE PARTS

Shimano’s Dura-Ace 9100 mechanical drivetrain filled out the rest of the bike’s component spec and has proven itself more than capable on every test bike it’s appeared on. Thanks to the 52/36 mid-compact chainrings and a 11-30 rear spread, there was plenty of gearing for the steeper climbs.

For the handlebars BMC chose the 3T Ergonova, which offered a nice drop bend. Mavic took care of the wheels with their Cosmic Pro Carbon SL C WTS hoops. The 40mm rim height of the wheels offered a good middle ground for speed, but still provided a light and nimble feel once we were climbing. Fizik took care of the saddle with their carbon Antares R3. BMC handled both the stem and seatpost duties with their own branded carbon parts, which the former includes a computer and camera-mount-friendly faceplate.

THE RIDE

The Teammachine proved to be one of the nicest bikes we’ve tested in a while. The frame offers up more than adequate stiffness, but never to a point where it becomes uncomfortable. Over the months we’ve ridden some bikes that exhibit a slight lull in response when putting the power down and accelerating, which is usually the result of a less-than-stiff bottom bracket. With the new BMC, the power and acceleration were always at the ready.

There was never a lag when having to stand up and accelerate, either from the sitting position to standing on a climb or closing down a gap on the local group ride. Smooth and stiff best sum up the BMC’s ride.

Given the direction of pro racing, we would’ve liked to test out the disc brake version even though it costs a wopping $11,999, but we still came away impressed with the performance of the Mavic carbon rim/Shimano dual-mount brake combo.

THE VERDICT

If you are in the market for a (very) high-end race bike, the BMC should join your list of contenders. This bike doesn’t rely on any amount of outlandish bells or whistles to gain attention. Outside of the bright red frame with an obvious downtube logo, the frame is distinct and exudes a sense of Swiss personality with great geometry and a very purposeful ride.

No doubt the fancy parts add to the price, but at almost 10 large for a bike with mechanical shifting, the bike’s biggest hit is the price. We do like the look of the SLR02 model, which hits a lower price of $3299. A frameset is also available for $4299. Still one suspicious test rider couldn’t help but comment, “$10,000?! Maybe that’s how they afford the race team!”

PUNCH LINES

  • Smooth-handling ride
  • Very stiff but not uncomfortable
  • High price lacks electronic shifting

STATS

Price: $9499

Weight: 15.06 pounds

Sizes: 47, 51, 54 (tested), 56, 58, 61cm

www.bmc-switzerland.com

THE GEAR

  • Helmet: Oakley ARO5
  • Jersey: SMMC by Champion Systems
  • Bibs: Giro
  • Shoes: LG Course Air Lite
  • Socks: Defeet
    Glasses: Tifosi Davos
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