BMC is about to launch a road bike, possibly an updated Timemachine Road or maybe even an entirely new model, and it's being raced by Team AG2R Citroen in the Criterium du Dauphine ahead of a full release later in the year. We have spy shots to show you...
You wouldn’t usually expect to find an unreleased superbike next to the bins at the back of a French car park but this is no ordinary week. Oh no, this is the Dauphine, one of the main warm up races for the world’s best before the Tour de France – which for many teams, riders and sponsors is the make or break of the season.
It would seem that AG2R Citroen is set to have the busiest Dauphine out of anyone as not only are their team bikes fitted with the brand new wireless Campagnolo Super Record but there’s also new frames lurking about.
Despite being stickered up with #createspeed, we know this is a BMC – it's a hashtag that the Swiss brand has used before – and we wouldn’t mind betting it’s the latest generation Timemachine Road, the out-and-out aero bike in the range. On the other hand, there's always the chance that it's an entirely new platform, but we'll just have to wait and see on that. It's hardly the sort of information that BMC is going to divulge.
A UCI prototype sticker on the seat tube confirms that this is indeed an unreleased frame so you can’t currently buy this but we reckon we’ll see an official launch before the Tour de France Grand Depart on the 1st July in Bilbao.
The current Timemachine Road was released five years ago in July 2018 so it’s well due an upgrade to keep it in the fight against competitors' wind-cheating machines such as the Cervelo S5, Scott Foil and Trek Madone.
So let’s take a closer look at this prototype frame. Arguably, the biggest difference from the existing Timemachine is the flared fork that wouldn’t look out of place on a gravel or all-road bike. We’ve seen plenty of brands opting for the same philosophy ever since that Lotus Hope track bike decided that going narrower isn’t always the fastest.
We obviously don’t have an official tyre clearance figure for you but the rear of the frame also looks spacious so we can’t imagine it will be less than 32mm, a trend we’ve seen from other brands as pro teams and amateurs alike demand clearance for wider rubber.
BMC was one of the first to take advantage of the relaxation of the UCI’s 3:1 ruling (where the depth of frame elements couldn't be more than three times with width) and has kept the super deep head tube and bulky bottom bracket areas (shown below) that we’ve seen become more and more popular on aero bikes of late. Just look at the size of this bottom bracket shell and the flared chainstays.
Kammtail tube shapes – aerofoil profiles with the rear end chopped off – have also been used throughout so we can look forward to plenty of claims of how slippery this frame is compared with its rivals. Place your watt saving bets in the comments section below!
The seatpost clamps from the rear of the seat tube, a style akin to what we’ve seen on the current Canyon Aeroad. Some bikes – like the Wilier Zero SLR, Canyon Ultimate and indeed the unreleased Aeroad that Mathieu van der Poel has been seen riding this season – move the seat clamp into the main frame triangle. However, this supposedly makes it more difficult to build compliance into the frame as more material in this area usually makes things stiffer.
Talking of compliance, like nearly all bikes released in the last few years, this one features dropped seatstays. No surprises there! Bike brands also sometimes say that they drop the seatsays to reduce the frontal area presented to the wind and reduce drag.
At the Dauphine, it would appear that only two members of Team AG2R Citroen will have access to the new BMC: Ben O’Connor and Greg Van Avermaet. At least, we only saw bikes stickered up with those riders' names. We’re bound to see more riders using the bike in future races, including the Tour de France.
Both O’Connor and Van Avermaet's bikes have integrated cockpits but with the limited time with the bike that we’ve had it’s hard to say whether this is all new or the same as the current BMC integrated cockpit as found on the Teammachine.
Oh, and another interesting feature is that BMC has taken its integrated bottle and storage idea one step further. On the current generation Timemachine Road the bottle cages are proprietary, meaning that they conform to the curves of the down tube and seat tube for a claimed aero benefit. This new frame, though, has a pronounced depression where the bottle on the down tube sits, similar to the Pinarello Dogma F's design.
BMC has made plenty of radical bikes in the past but it has never quite had that one that's blown the competition out the water. Could this be the one? What do you think of the new bike? Is it everything you’ve been waiting for, or have the Swiss done too little too late?
Edit: We took more pics of the new BMC just before the start of the first stage of the Dauphine...
"Red Bull Advanced Technologies" is the high-performance vehicle engineering division of Red Bull Racing...
The driveside dropouts are covered on both the fork and the frame.
The head tube is super-deep and the fork crown is integrated...
Ben O'Connor and Greg Van Avermaet have two of the new bikes each.
Let us know what you think of the new bike in the comments section below.
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...