A pro level bike for a mere three and a half grand!! Alright it may not have the same level of kit as Cadel's did in his little ride around France but it won't be any heavier as our Team Machine weighs in just 10 grams over the UCI's minimum weight limit of 6.8kg.
As you may have read in the 'Just in' piece our test bike is a UK special, a bit of a stop gap before the new 2012 models arrive. Not only is the weight impressive but so is the price for a top end frame, Dura Ace groupset, Ksyrium Elite wheels and Easton finishing kit. On paper it looks a good deal and if you want to know whether the ride backs it up, read on.
The only other BMC I've ridden was the Streetracer SR01 which roadcc reviewed back at the beginning of the year. I rated it highly due to a mix of stiffness and comfort. With the use of their TTC (Tuned Compliance Concept) design and ISC (Integrated Skeleton Concept) that is obviously the intention with the Team Machine as well. One of the real benefits of carbon fibre is the ability (if you know what you are doing) to create varying profiles and fibre layups to control exactly what each part of the tube is expected to see in terms of loads and stresses. Using this knowledge, and no doubt a bit of CAD software, is what the TCC and ISC are all about. Differing carbon fibres, playing about with their alignment and including stepped tube profiles allows a certain amount of 'give' in the vertical plane while keeping things tight in the other direction, in theory that's your comfort sorted. The TCC is found at the fork blades, seatstays and the square section BMC seatpost.
Another bonus of the TCC in the seatstays is that it allows a really tight rear triangle without the associated teeth rattling. The ISC is used at the main junction points like along the top tube at the seat top tube cluster arrangement, in between the TCC sections if you like while up front there is now the almost de riguer tapered headtube from 1.25' at the top to 1.125' at the fork end which along with higher fork thickness allowed should created a stiffer front end. My favourite bit though, the cam operated seatpost. A quick quarter of a turn with an allen key, move the seatpost as desired, tighten. It looks cool and I thought it worked well but for some reason it isn't going to be on the 2012 models - something about it being an over-engineered solution apparently, I like it though.
A full Dura Ace groupset adorns the Team Machine which makes it the first bike I've seen without an FSA chainset in ages. Due to some longevity issue negative feedback BB30 is being dropped on the 2012 models to be replaced with BB86. Mind you, as BMC are moving towards Shimano for 2012 the BB30 would have had to go anyway. Our frame is fitted with adaptors to allow standard Shimano outboard bearing cups to be fitted to the BB30 'hole'. This means a slightly larger Q factor compared to the press fit BB30 & 86 versions though.
The Ksyrium Elite's look smart with black aero spokes and the machined rim sections between the nipples. At 1550g they are a sensible weight and I can say from personal experience they are virtually indestructible.
The rest of the kit is the same as the original 2011 Team Machine. Easton provides the EA90 stem and the EC70 aero bars while Selle Italia supply a carbon railed Flite to finish things off. I've got one of these and once bedded in it is comfortable, supportive and light. The only downside is virtually no adjustment on the rails though.
The shock absorbency of that TCC does the job once you are out on the corrugated road surface that seems to be prevalent in this area. It is a very plush ride in fact which certainly benefits the rider as the amount of hours in the saddle increase. It is the mixture of comfort, lightness and stiffness though that really makes the BMC such a joy to ride. You can feel that huge downtube, bottom bracket area and square chainstays all working together keeping the power down while the flex in both the seatpost and seatstays takes the sting out before it reaches you. The front end responding in much the same way thanks to the relationship between the forks and headtube.
Get it up to speed and the Team Machine is easy to keep there thanks to that 15lb weight. The slightest input has it surging forward and making up gaps (the rest of the group put the hammer down when I was slurping on a gel, honest) requires very little effort. It's the hills, as you'd expect, where the BMC really comes alive both ascending and descending.
Going up the riding position was spot on allowing me to climb in the saddle for long periods of time without suffering backache or any other discomfort. Coming down the other side is great fun, with the frame absorbing the bumps you can have total faith that you're going to stay on your chosen route without being bounced off line. With stopping power like that offered by the Dura Ace calipers you can hold off braking unless you really need to, allowing 100% commitment, while knowing you've got the ability to scrub off speed quickly if necessary.
The compact chainset raised a few eyebrows on what is an out and out racer's machine. Personally I'm a spinner with an average cadence of around 100rpm so the 50/34 - 12/25 setup suited me on all but the longest of downhill slopes. For you big gear mashers out there a standard 53/39 might be needed. While we're on the subject of gears, as you'd expect the Dura Ace set up offers clean and crisp shifting. The gear change at the lever requires very little effort moving up or down the block which is why the option of Shimano to me is good news. I personally find Sram hard work, having to do the long swing of the double tap is noticeable after 4 or 5 hours of gear changes. Anyway horses for courses and all that and at least now there is some choice.
The Ksyriums have very little flex in them and can take a good beating so they're ideal for fast training or use on roads with less than an ideal surface. Paired up with Continental's GP4000's its a reliable package offering good levels of grip and braking plus the shiny machined bits look great in contrast to the stealth like black frame.
As for the rest of the finishing kit the Easton items follow on with the functional yet top quality mantra. The bars having a very distinct double bend on the drops allow plenty of hand positions and thanks to the flattened top section they are also comfortable when you're sat up. The Flite saddle has enough padding to be comfortable without being too squidgy and certainly maintains the theme of lightweight.
The feedback from the ride is so planted and sublime you don't really realise how good it is until you get out on another bike. The Team Machine is a true rider's bike, you get out what you put in and it'll reward you for your efforts. All the parts work well together and feel as if they've been chosen on merit rather than just looks and price. Occasionally though the TCC made the frame feel soggy especially at the front end like the stem was flexing. This mostly happened when you stepped off the gas so it certainly isn't going to be the type of bike you can pootle around on.
The kit level suits the UK's rather inclement weather and poor road surfaces and helps bring the BMC in at such a competitive price (there is also the Ultegra option for £500 quid less). The ride compares very closely to the Lapierre Xelius 900 tested way back in October 2009 and even then that would have set you back £4600.
In conclusion then the BMC is a quality package. The compact chainset might be an issue for some and for others the wheels might not to be to your liking but whatever you want to change will still leave you with a bargain in terms of a pro level frame which you can upgrade until your hearts content.
road.cc test report
Make and model: BMC Teammachine SLR01
Size tested: 52cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
Carbon throughout for the frame and fork with Dura Ace groupset, Ksyrium Elite wheels and Easton finishing kit
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?
A vision of lightweight design. Aesthetics in ProTour configuration. The BMC Team Machine SLR01 Dura Ace 2011 Road Bike incorporates the many years of experience BMC have gained from competitive cycling and BMC expertise in the development of top-quality bicycle frames.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Without welds to show the skill of the craftsman on carbon frames alot of the build quality is only shown out on the road. Thankfully the BMC shows top quality design and craftsmanship once you're aboard
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
4 monocoque sections of carbon layed up to allow for stiffness and comfort
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Size s tt ht stack reach ha sa rc drop
47 490 520 113 506 370 70.5 73.5 402 69
50 520 535 133 530 378 72 73.5 402 69
53 550 550 153 551 387 72.5 73.5 402 69
55 570 560 168 565 392 72.5 73.5 402 69
57 590 575 188 584 402 72.5 73.5 402 69
60 620 590 213 608 410 72.5 73.5 402 69
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Pretty much spot on, a good drop from saddle to bar to create an aero position
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Very thanks to the TCC
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
When you slap the pace down its one of the most power efficient bikes I've ever ridden. If you ease up the TCC can make it a little soggy at times
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
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? quick but in control, it tracked perfectly
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The handling is beautiful, balanced yet engaging. A shift in bodyweight controls road position. The Team machine is easy to ride even when fatigue is kicking in
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
Everything worked together as a package, the saddle is supportive without being soft
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Easton kit wastes no energy while the Dura Ace chainset is one of the best in the business
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
Slick shifting, good wheel and tyre combo
the TCC is a touch floppy at slower speeds
ya beauty!! this is where it shines
good shifting yet a touch muted at the shifter
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
It all works well as its Shimano mechanical flagship gruppo. I did find the shifting so precise there is very little feedback
Wheels and tyres
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?
I think the Ksyrium Elites are some of the best bang for buck wheels available. They're not the lightest for racing but for day to day, top notch
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Easton stuff is always good quality and stiff. The pistol grip bars offer plenty of hand holds
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, I think it's good value for money
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 32 Height: 180cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Genesis Flyer My best bike is: Ribble Gran Fondo
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: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.