Great ride and proof that aluminium is not dead yet! Deserves better finishing kit though
Weight: 8860g Contact: www.evanscycles.co.uk
BMC's Streetracer is something of a rarity these days it's a £1600 aluminium road bike and you don't see that many of them around any more. Carbon fibre frame technology is advancing so quickly that aluminium never really reached its full potential as a frame material before being side lined by the black stuff - BMC though still see the possibilities of this versatile alloy hence their Sport series bikes.
The SR01 is the range topper in the 2 bike BMC Sport series aimed at new and recreational fitness riders. BMC's website states that the range offers reliability, rider comfort and a stunning design. BMC bikes have always had a reputation for all out stiffness and while the SR01 looks overbuilt with its profiled tubes and seat tube cluster it is by far one of the most comfortable bikes I've ever ridden. While some of this is down to the wheels, tyres and other components the frame has the largest say in this.
The (very) compact frame keeps stiffness where its required using triple butting (varying wall thickness) and profile/diameter changes. Getting out of the saddle for a sprint or climbing you will notice that stiffness as there is no flex anywhere. BMC states that their seat cluster design evenly distributes the forces through the frame and on this frame at least I can see their logic. The lower sweep follows straight into the seatstays, which is a design feature seen on a lot of carbon frames these days, but this is much lower down the seat tube on the BMC allowing for a very small tight rear triangle. Without the top section of the 'T' profile top tube running through on its original path there would be a lot of exposed seat tube and seatpost leading to some flex.
Whether this can be felt through your shorts is another matter. If it wasn't for the welds you could easily mistake the frame for carbon fibre due to the differing shapes and profiles going on all over the place, the smooth blend from the seat stays into the seat tube are in complete contrast to the square and chunky looking chainstays, there certainly is a lot going on. BMC provide their own fork, the carbon straight legs follow the same theme as the frame, stiff without being uncomfortable. Finished off in an eye-catching dark metallic grey with blue highlights, the overall impression is of a very classy bike worthy of its price tag.
Apart from the brakes and the cassette everything is Ultegra. This is a great groupset and currently one of the best out there in my opinion and certainly compliments the Streetracer's frame in terms of both performance and aesthetics. The gear changes are precise from the shifters to the mechs with a solid yet light feeling through the lever. A compact 50-34 chainset is paired with an 11-28 Shimano 105 cassette giving a wide spread of gears which should cover pretty much all terrain. The brakes are downgraded to 105 but performance doesn't really suffer, the modulation is good and stopping from high speed is well controlled without being grabby. As I mentioned above the front and rear mech work well, never missing a shift over the whole test period.
As for the finishing kit BMC's own branded Scor range take care of the aluminium bars, stem and seatpost. It's pretty basic looking stuff and to be fair a bit of a disappointment. It does its job with no complaints in terms of performance but it just looks a bit bargain basement compared to the rest of the bike. The handlebars and stem increase in width and length with relation to the frame size. The saddle is also part of the Scor range and is generally a good saddle if a little soft. This was only noticed on long rides of 3 hours or more.
The wheels are taken care of by Alex A class rims and hubs. While not that exciting to look at they do perform well. The hubs ran smooth from the outset and trueness was never an issue. Other bikes that I've ridden using these wheels haven't always faired so well. They are quite heavy though and probably contribute a lot to the overall weight but once rolling its marginal. The Continental Ultra Sport tyres are high performance training / entry level racing tyre and roll well. Only one puncture was picked up over the winter test period and considering the conditions of the roads they didn't show any signs of cuts. Dry weather grip was surefooted but in the wet downright scary. I've noticed this on other test bikes in the past using these tyres, as you lean the bike over they just seem to scrabble for grip. It could just be my riding style but I've never had this issue with any other tyres.
Out on the road all this comes together to create a great rider's machine. The test period coincided with a lot of long steady base miles and the comfort really shines through. Even after 50-60 miles I found myself getting off of the Streetracer with no fatigue other than where you would expect. At 19.5lb the Streetracer is far from light at this price point but it's never noticeable, initial acceleration is a tad blunted but once up to speed its easy to maintain. Positive well balanced steering makes the bike easy to ride in a bunch and with the above comfort the SR01 will be ideal for the sportive season. Getting up the climbs is helped by the 28 tooth sprocket allowing you to stay in the saddle and keeping a good rhythm all the way to the top while coming back down the other side the 11t gives you plenty of gear to keep the speed up. Surprisingly with such a wide ratio there doesn't seem to be any big steps between gears.
The Streetracer is a great bike to ride with such a planted feel and shock absorbent its very similar to the Kona Haole we tested this time last year. bearing in mind that was steel framed it shows how good the BMC is at reducing the harshness and road buzz associated with aluminium. No matter what type of riding you do the SR01 will deal with it, yes its designed for recreational riding but there is no reason you couldn't race on it. The basic looking finishing kit is a bit of a fly in the ointment and while I understand sacrifices have to be made to meet the budget I think they cheapen the whole appearance of the bike. At £1600 quid for an aluminium bike the BMC is expensive and I think its going to get overlooked when compared to cheaper carbon models with similar spec. That would be a shame as the Streetracer is a cracking ride and ripe for upgrading. If you can get a test ride, you'll be pleasantly surprised
road.cc test report
Make and model: BMC Streetracer SR01
Size tested: 54cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame:6000 series triple butted alloy
Fork: carbon fibre
Groupset: Ultegra 10spd (105 cassette and brakes)
Wheels: Alex A-Class rims/hubs
Finishing Kit: BMC branded alloy bar/stem/post
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
BMC say "For getting away from it all - fast. For new riders and fitness riders looking for reliability, rider comfort and a stunning design."
I agree with the blurb but it is also a capable bike for the more experienced rider/racer
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
the frame is a work of art. Hydroformed tubing profiles and elegant welds finished of with a great paint colour to a high standard
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame uses 6000 series alloy custom drawn by BMC. This delivers the exact frame response required. Triple butting is used to place strength where its needed.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Size s tt ht stack reach ha sa rc drop
48 440 516 115 508 369 71 74 405 69
51 455 530 120 515 381 71.5 74 405 69
54 480 550 145 543 388 72.8 73.5 405 69
57 515 565 175 574 395 73.5 73.5 405 69
60 570 585 210 608 405 73.5 73.5 405 69
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
A good fit and with plenty of seatpost and bar adjustment easy to get things spot on.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Very comfortable, plenty of feedback without being overly harsh.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yes, the triple butting and tube profiles keep everything tight
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
yes, the wheels tended to blunt the acceleration but once moving no problem.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral side of lively
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
Descending was good as the steering was steady even at high speed plus the overall planted feel made riding in a group easy
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The lay up of the frame gave the most benefits of comfort added to by the rest of the components.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
Frame lay up again but also the stem handlebar combo were very stiff
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
love the STI levers, hardly distinguishable from Dura Ace without the price tag
Wheels and tyres
wheels would get an seven but the tyres bring them down a notch for their awful wet weather handling
Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?
Tyres and wheels worked well except for the dodgy wet weather grip of the others.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
As I've mentioned in the review I don't think the finishing kit works well with the quality of the rest of the bike in terms of quality. Saying that they all worked well and each size of bike comes with corresponding bar and stem sizes
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Ribble Winter Trainer for commuting My best bike is: Schwinn Fastback Pro
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,