Swiss bike brand BMC announces a completely new version of the Teammachine SLR, with both rim and disc brake versions
Having been ridden by the likes of Cadel Evans, Phillipe Gilbert and Greg Van Avermert, the BMC Teammachine has a palmarès that includes victory in the Tour de France, a World Championship, an Olympic road race, many Grand Tour stages and several Classics.
For the new version, BMC wanted to evolve and refine the design yet further by focussing several key design objectives, setting out to increase stiffness, reduce weight and improve compliance.
The engineers also wanted to have increased levels of integration and create a design that could make use of new brake technology.
The new BMC Teammachine SLR will be available in both a rim and disc brake versions, with the rim brake model, utilising direct mount calipers over the single mount brakes used on the previous model. Direct mount brake calipers were favoured for offering superior stiffness and modulation.
To develop the new Teammachine, BMC employed its proprietary ACE Technology, which stands for Accelerated Composites Evolution.
This approach differs from many other bike brands and involves the use of a super computer to analyse a huge number of different frame shapes and carbon layups. BMC believes “this is what makes our Teammachine better than other race bikes” but why?
Utilising the immense processing power of a super computer enabled BMC’s engineers to test a whopping 34 thousand prototype iterations analysing over 247 different variables. These variables included different frame shapes, different types of carbon and resins and placement of those materials.
While some other brands may use intuition and tradition to design their frames, BMC has employed science and maths and the result is a geometric bike with an industrial, geometric aesthetic.
Once the super computer has identified the best frame designs, a small selection are rapidly prototyped in the IMPEC lab for real world testing, with input from jigs and pro riders (including Cadel Evans).
This process has lead to the new BMC Teammachine SLR01 and SLR02 which employs and optimised but less expensive layup.
The new BMC Teammachine shares a very similar geometry to the previous version, but with many new features.
The new integrated cockpit is the same as that found on the Roadmachine, which was launched last year. It has a modular design resulting in tidy, aero cable management, good adjustability and a clean look.
The split spacer design is useful as it allows you to adjust the stack height without disconnecting brake lines – particularly important with hydro brakes!
The seat tube is ‘D’ shaped, to improve compliance, a design feature retained from the previous Teammachine SLR, however the seat tube clamp is significantly different.
BMC has integrated it into the top tube and the bolt to tighten it is on the underside of the top tube.
This creates a neater look, but also creates a longer effective seat tube, which BMC claims increases compliance.
Adding disc brakes to a road bike frame has resulted in in a significant weight increase for many designs and BMC wanted to minimise this.
BMC has managed to keep the weight of the disc brake fork low, through use of asymmetric design, than is intended to cope with the added forces.
In addition to this BMC has created a ‘Direct Frontal Flat Mount’ for the calipers. Instead of the usual direct mount standard, BMC’s proprietary design bolts through the fork.
The result is a disc brake specific fork that weighs just 18g more than the non disc version, which is impressive considering we have often seen disc brake forks typically come out at 40-50g heavier.
The new BMC Teammachine SLR01 also makes use of a new thru-axel, which has been machined down to save weight, while still retaining strength. Similar to those used by DT-Swiss it is leverless, making the drop outs look much tidier.
The frame has also been designed with an asymmetric profile, from the fork, to the rear stays. This is important because the loads on a bike are asymmetric as the graphic below shows.
Other neat touches include the mech hanger, which has been cleverly machined, shaped and engineered to retain strength yet reduce weight. It is also the first bike we are aware of to make use of Shimano’s new direct mount rear mech capability too.
The Di2 junction box is neatly concealed in the top tube too, for easy access and a clutter free cockpit.
With regards to frame weight, according to BMC the disc brake frame hits the scales at 815g for a 56cm, while the non disc is slightly lighter at 790g.
I headed to the French Alps to ride the new BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc.
The testing ground would be what will be stage 17 of the Tour de France. The 187km queen stage that features over 5000m of elevation, taking in the Col de Ornon, the Croix de Fer, Telegraph and Galibier.
Needless to say, it was a big day out, but there is probably no better testing ground for a bike like the Teammachine.
Immediately obvious, after just a handful of pedal strokes out the saddle, was the bottom bracket stiffness. There is a discernible increase in stiffness over the previous BMC Teammachine, which was already a very stiff bike.
Heading up the mountains I didn’t feel at a disadvantage being on a disc brake equipped machine that was ever so slightly heavier than its non-disc sibling.
The BMC team has been able to build this bike to 6.85kg, including an SRM in a full race build. It’s impressively light for a disc machine, something thanked in part by Shimano’s superb new Dura-Ace R9170.
BMC wanted to retain the handling of the previous version, as this was something the professionals really liked.
The chainstays had to be lengthened to 410mm, to accommodate disc brakes while maintaining an optimum chain line, but this hasn’t adversely affected handling.
Longer chainstays can result in a bike feeling sluggish in the rear, however the BMC Teammachine accelerates very well, thanks in part to the unyielding stiffness of the BB.
Despite the stiffness of the fork and bottom bracket, I am convinced the D-shaped seat post works. After 180km of riding, I remained comfortable, and barely noticed road buzz or vibration.
I really liked the D-Shape post and comfort offered in the Roadmachine (launched last year) and first impressions suggest the Teammachine is similar.
When descending the BMC Teammachine shines. It feels well balanced front to rear and very torsionally stiff.
I deliberately braked very hard into several tight hairpins, but detected no shuddering or torque steer, with the bike holding up well to high braking forces.
In wet or dry, I would be faster down a col on the disc version, than the standard rim brake version, I am in no doubt.
My only criticism of the new bike is the lack of aero design. The bike does include higher levels of integration, a leverless thru-axel and hidden cables, however, BMC informed me that no Computational Fluid Dynamics or wind tunnel testing had been part the design process.
This is somewhat offset by the great handling, comfort and stiffness, but ultimately, I want it all and no doubt the likes of Specialized and Trek will be hot on its heels.
Overall, BMC has taken a great bike and made it better. If you were a fan of the previous version, you will love the update.
Initial pricing in euros and availability is as follows. Pricing in Pounds Sterling is yet to be confirmed.
Teammachine SLR01 Team; 8499 Euro, late June
Teammachine SLR 01 Team Disc; 11499 Euro, late July
Teammachine SLR02 TWO; 2599 Euro, June
Teammachine SLR02 TWO Disc: 3699 Euro, December