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The BMC Teammachine SLR Two is a proper road race bike: nippy, stiff, and hugely responsive, begging to be ridden hard. It even manages to temper the firm ride enough that comfort doesn't become an issue on any but the roughest of roads.
The Teammachine has been in BMC's line-up for over 10 years, and the SLR Two highlights why it has stood the test of time. It's an absolute blast to ride. I never had a mundane outing on it, no matter how tired I was feeling.
The moment I got on it and rode off out of the estate, everything just felt absolutely spot on. The geometry allowed me a decent saddle to bar drop, and once into the lanes my body position just felt bang on for threading the SLR Two through the bends.
The BMC just wants to go, too, all of the time. You can cruise along on it, and it's a pleasurable place to be, but this thing really comes alive when you give it a kick.
It's just so responsive to your inputs; there is no feeling of waste, just efficiency. I always seemed to be riding just a touch harder than I needed to, the Teammachine goading me on a little bit more for just a little bit further.
The paybacks are big, too, and not just from the screen on the computer – it's just a fun bike to ride.
On the flat sections, the small amount of aero touches in the design come into play, and I could really cover the miles in relative ease. As I said, the geometry was spot on for me and I could make full use of the drops or the hoods for long rides without any effect on comfort.
While on the subject of comfort, it's worth pointing out that the Teammachine doesn't have the most supple ride quality – in fact it is firm by today's standards. That never translated as harshness, though, even with the 25mm Vittoria Rubino tyres pumped up to 100psi. It's exactly how I like my bikes to feel: tight and stiff, with comfort being a secondary concern without becoming an issue.
If you prefer a little more compliance, the SLR Two will take up to a 30mm tyre.
Hitting the climbs, or when sprinting, the rear end of the frame feels exceptionally tight. The use of a press-fit bottom bracket allows for a wider shell without affecting the q-factor (the distance between the cranks) which means the junction of tubes can also be bigger, ensuring more stiffness under power transfer.
The shortness of the wheelbase (989mm) gives a nimble feel to the Teammachine under these hard efforts, all adding to the feel of efficiency.
The 54cm model I was riding has a 72.3-degree head angle, which wasn't quite as steep as I was expecting considering how quick the steering feels – but it works. Descending on the SLR Two is an absolute thrill.
The amount of feedback you get from the frame and fork is incredible. Every tiny detail of how this bike is interacting with the tarmac is transferred through to your hands, and when you pair that to the nimbleness and quick handling, any tweak you have to make while carving your way through a technical bend at speed is dealt with instantaneously.
When it comes to designing its bikes, BMC developed what it calls ACE+. The original ACE concept was a design software that was used to calculate cross-sections of the frame, carbon layup and geometrical structure, to create thousands of virtual prototypes to achieve the perfect balance based on three key parameters: stiffness, weight and compliance.
The newer ACE+ now used includes aerodynamics.
According to BMC, all of the tube shapes have been chosen to improve how efficiently the Teammachine cuts through the air – things like the kamm-tail down tube and the D-shaped seat tube and associated seatpost.
The fork has also been redesigned, including things like an integrated thru-axle nut inside the leg at the dropout.
Even the bottle cages have been designed to work with the frame profile.
The D-shaped seatpost also adds comfort, allowing some flex in the same way it does on some of the Giant frames I've ridden. That, and the very slender seatstays, take the sting out of the tail.
The Teammachine is available in six sizes ranging from a top tube length of 517mm through to 589mm. This 54cm model has a 549mm top tube, 145mm head tube and a seat tube length of 504mm.
Angles-wise, it's 73 degrees for the seat and, as mentioned earlier, 72.3 for the head. Stack and reach are 550mm and 386mm respectively; nothing too out of the ordinary there.
Overall quality of the frame and fork looks and feels to be very good. There were no horrible rattles or creaks when riding on a multitude of road surfaces, and if I clipped a pothole the frame responded with a solid feeling response.
The SLR Two comes fitted with a Shimano Ultegra Di2 groupset, which, quite frankly, is one of the best electronic gear systems out there.
The gear shifts have been refined over each iteration, to the point now where they are fast and precise regardless of how much load you are applying to the pedals.
Gearing-wise, the BMC comes with a 52/36-tooth semi-compact chainset and an 11-30t 11-speed cassette.
It's the right ratios for the riding style of the SLR Two, giving you plenty of gears for top-end speed work (while some might query the need for an 11-tooth sprocket, I actually use it quite a bit) along with the 30-tooth sprocket to bail you out on the climbs.
As you'd expect, the brakes are also Ultegra: full hydraulic units clamping onto a 160mm rotor on the front and a 140mm rotor on the rear.
Like the gear shifting, the braking is top notch. Ultegra hydraulics have got me out of some tricky situations over the years thanks to their great levels of power and modulation regardless of the conditions.
BMC provides its own Rab 02 ergo top shape compact handlebar and RSM01 stem. I got on well with both, and they do the job, though they're not exactly flash for this kind of money.
The addition of an out-front computer mount on the stem is a nice touch, though.
The D-shaped seatpost is BMC's own and comes with a 15mm offset. Sat atop it is a Fizik Antares R7 saddle, one of my favourites, and I got on with it very well indeed.
Its length gives plenty of room to move around on, if that's how you ride, and I like its firmness. Just like the Teammachine, it's firm without being overly so.
BMC has specced DT Swiss P 1800 Spline wheels. These are popular wheels we're seeing on a wide range of builds from many manufacturers.
With 32mm-deep aluminium alloy rims mated to DT Swiss hubs by DT Aero Comp spokes, they're a good all-round choice. At around 1,600g they are light enough to not hamper performance too much, and they'll take plenty of abuse.
I've ridden them on various bikes and never had an issue with them. As with the finishing kit, though, I'd expect to see something carbon or very high-end alloy for this kind of money.
The Vittoria Rubino tyres are also another good selection. I had no issues with reliability, and grip levels are high, as they need to be to cope with the fast handling achievable on the Teammachine.
This model comes in at £4,500. That's very similar to the Quintana Roo SRfive that I was testing alongside the BMC.
The Quintana Roo is also a semi-aero road bike that comes with an electronic groupset (FSA K-Force FE) and an alloy set of wheels. Its geometry means the steering is more 'endurance'-based than the BMC, though, and I'd say the latter also wins out on the fun factor.
One of my benchmark bikes is the Orro Venturi STC, a truly stunning take on an aero road bike, and it does well on value too. I tested the SRAM Force eTap AXS build at £4,699.99, but it is also available in an Ultegra Di2 build for £4,399.99, which includes deep-section carbon wheels and a carbon integrated cockpit.
Another bike I've riding alongside the BMC is the Vitus VX-1 (review coming soon), and it follows a similar theme to the Teammachine. It has a very similar ride feel in the way it responds, and can't be faulted when it comes to performance.
With Reynolds AR58/AR62 deep-section carbon wheels, a Vision Metron SD carbon integrated stem and handlebar plus an Ultegra Di2 groupset, it costs £3,999.
The Teammachine SLR Two is one of the most fun bikes I've ridden in a while. It's just raw performance and sweet handling, which, if you are a keen performance rider, I really don't think you'll ever tire of. Yes, it's up against some stiff competition price-wise, but not to the level where it becomes detrimental to the overall package.
A highly entertaining race bike to ride, with a performance to match
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road.cc test report
Make and model: BMC Teammachine SLR Two 2021
Size tested: 54
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Teammachine SLR Carbon with Aerocore Design
* ICS Technology, stealth cable routing
* Integrated Aerocore Bottle Cages
* Stealth Dropout Design
* TCC Race compliance level
* PF86 bottom bracket
* 12x142mm thru-axle
Teammachine SLR Carbon
* TCC Race compliance level
* Internal Cable Routing
* Flat Mount Disc
* Stealth Dropout Design
* 12x100mm thru-axle
* 48mm offset (Size 47-51), 43mm offset (Size 54-61)
Shimano Ultegra, 52-36T
Shimano Ultegra, 11-30T
Shimano Ultegra Di2
Shimano Ultegra Di2
Shimano Ultegra Di2, Hydraulic
Shimano Ultegra Di2
BMC RAB 02, ergo top shape, compact bend
BMC RSM01, w/ computer and camera mount
Teammachine Carbon D-Shape Seatpost
* 15mm offset
Fizik Antares R7
DT Swiss P 1800 Spline db 32
DT Swiss P 1800 Spline db 32
Vittoria Rubino, 25mm
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 says, 'Blending a full carbon frameset that possesses a highly advanced design with precise and dependable components, the BMC Teammachine SLR Two Ultegra Di2 Disc Road Bike gives a versatile performance that shines across any route no matter the topography.
'The full carbon frameset has been meticulously honed via BMC's ACE+ computer technology that creates perfect material layup schedules and tube profiles that offer an optimal balance of efficiency, low weight, comfort and aerodynamics. The frameset's core performance is complemented with generous clearance for broader, smoother rolling tyres and the Aerocore format that integrates the bottle cages into the silhouette of the frame to lower drag markedly.'
I think the BMC is a fun race bike that really delivers when it comes to performance and precision handling.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
There are four models in the SLR range, with the entry-level Four coming with a Shimano 105 groupset, then the Three has an Ultegra groupset. Sitting above the Two and topping out the range is the One, which has a SRAM Force eTap setup.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The build quality and the paint finish is all to a high standard.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
Both the frame and fork are full carbon fibre developed using BMC's ACE+ system.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is quite race orientated, as you can see by the figures I've mentioned in the review above. Everything works very well together and I found my position on the bike very comfortable and efficient.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stack and reach figures are in the main review and it's safe to say they are pretty typical for this style of bike.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
On the whole, yes. It does have a much firmer ride than many bikes, but that suited me. If you like a little more compliance the Teammachine will take up to 30mm tyres.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Impressive stiffness levels, especially around the bottom bracket area and lower part of the frame.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Because of the stiffness and the geometry of the BMC, I'd say that efficiency is very high.
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? Lively.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's never twitchy, but the steering feels quick and very precise.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I'm a big fan of the Fizik Antares saddle and I'd say its padding matches the ride quality of the frame and fork.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The press-fit bottom bracket allows extra width at the shell and therefore stiffness.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
A good range of ratios from the Ultegra groupset help on the speed front while the power of the discs means you can hold off using the brakes until you really need to.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
Ultegra Di2 is a good balance of performance vs value and I can find very little to fault it.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
A solid set of wheels that will work on all kinds of topography, though something deeper would benefit the aero elements of the frame.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
Good quality tyres that offer the levels of grip required to suit the BMC's capability. Rolling resistance is good, as is durability going by the winter test period.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
Good quality components that work well with the size of frame, as in bar width and stem length. The inclusion of an out-front computer mount is a nice touch too.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a similar price to the Quintana Roo, as I mention in the review, but tougher competition comes from Orro and Vitus when comparing similar builds.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The Teammachine SLR Two scores 8 because it's a very good bike all round. The frameset provides a great ride quality while the geometry delivers positive handling and a nippy short wheelbase. It is up against some tough competition on the price front, though.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 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,
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!