BMC has launched a radical-looking new Speedmachine, the culmination of a five-year project with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), which it describes as “the fastest time-trial and triathlon bike in the world”. It even features a new ‘SharkFin’ that’s designed to make the bike faster and more efficient. All will be revealed…
This is the bike that we first told you about last year when a prototype was raced for the first time. Now BMC has finalised the design and released full details.
The new BMC Speedmachine has some really interesting features. Check out the fork, for example. The crown is angular and the legs sit very wide of the wheel, as they do on the BMC prototype aero road bike that we first spotted at this year’s Critérium du Dauphiné (although the two forks are clearly different). Widely spaced fork legs have been seen on many speed-orientated bikes over the past few years – everything from the Lotus/Hope track bike to the Ribble Ultra Road – and are designed to help with the through-flow of air.
Look carefully and you can see that a small part of the fork extends downwards from the crown towards the top of the front wheel/tyre. This is an airflow spoiler called the SharkFin, and it’s a result of BMC’s work with RBAT, the engineering company that developed from the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team. The idea is that RBAT takes the design, technology, simulation and production capabilities to various other industries – including cycling.
BMC says, “Partnering with the RBAT team has allowed us to completely reimagine how we design bikes. Our engineers are able to take their class-leading creations to the team at Red Bull and harness the full power of their R&D capabilities for complete validation. Mass simulations, computational fluid dynamics analysis, and wind tunnel validation are now tools at our disposal in our combined quest for speed.”
As you’d expect, a key part of BMC’s work with RBAT has surrounded aero efficiency.
“Separating and disrupting airflow produces downward force – as with rear wings on racing cars – once again improving handling. Particular attention has been paid to controlling airflow via tube shapes, the head tube leading edge and the unique airflow spoiler beneath the fork crown designed to control airflow from the front wheel.
“The SharkFin is our secret weapon. It’s inspired by Formula 1 cars and is a crucial piece of the speed puzzle. It guides dirty air away from the down tube, reducing resistance and – ultimately enhancing you to go faster.”
By the way, there was no sign of a SharkFin – or any other fin, come to that – on BMC's aero road bike at this year’s Dauphiné. The two bikes do share similar thru-axle fairing caps, though. The idea is that they keep the design smooth for maximum aero benefit.
BMC says that work with RBAT has also focused on the feel of the bike in the real world.
“RBAT engineers have years of experience exploring ‘driver feel’ and how the driver is connected and feels at one with the car in top-level motorsport. Through the partnership with RBAT, we were able to take this research and apply it to the bike to explore the connection with ‘rider feel’. Feeling a connection with the bike and understanding how it is going to react on the road leads to fundamentally better predictability and handling for the rider, resulting in more confidence in speed.
You can see that the Speedmachine’s frame angles are very steep and BMC is keen to highlight the geometry.
“Thanks to a revolutionary new steering geometry, the Speedmachine provides confidence and predictability previously unheard of in its class,” says BMC. “By optimising the weight distribution while in the extensions, you can maintain your aero position longer, go faster, and arrive fresher.”
BMC talks about a “radical head tube angle, rake and trail dimensions”, although it doesn't disclose exactly what those details are.
BMC reckons you can ride in the Speedmachine’s aero position with the same level of confidence you have on a road bike. It also says that Speedmachine is about half a kilogram lighter than BMC’s previous Timemachine TT/tri bike while providing the same level of stiffness,
The Speedmachine comes with loads of fuel and hydration storage for triathletes. The Speedmachine Fueltank 1200 in the centre of the bike – between the down tube and the seat tube – holds up to 1,200ml of fluid. It’s designed to be aerodynamically efficient – naturally – while its low position is intended to leave handling unaffected. An integrated hydration tube – a long straw with a bite valve on the end, essentially – runs from the Fueltank 1200 and internally through the head tube, providing easy access from the cockpit.
The Speedmachine Rear Storage 260 that sits behind the seat tube can hold accessories like a pump, spare tube, and multitool, and it comes with an integrated rear light. You get mounts on the top tube for additional storage.
Whereas the Timemachine was optimised for 25mm tyres and had space to take 27mm, the Speedmachine has greater clearance. BMC says that it’s optimised for 28mm tyres and can handle up to 30mm.
Another change is the switch from a pressed-in PF86 bottom bracket to a threaded T47. Several other brands, including Trek and Specialized, have been moving back towards threaded BBs recently.
BMC says that undoing four bolts allows you to turn the bar assembly for bagging or boxing and that the seatpost is simple to remove and pack.
The BMC Speedmachine will be available from November in the following options:
Speedmachine 01 LTD, €16,999
Groupset SRAM Red eTap AXS
Wheels Zipp 858 NSW
Speedmachine 01 TWO, €10,999
Groupset SRAM Force eTap AXS
Wheels DT Swiss ARC 1650
Speedmachine 01 Module, €6,999
Includes frame, fork, headset, cockpit, seatpost, Fuel Tank 1200, Rear Storage 260
BMC hasn’t yet released the aero road bike that we first saw as a prototype at the Dauphiné and we have no timescale on that one.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.