BMC has produced the ultimate track machine, which saw Rohan Dennis break the hour record. It certainly lives up to the billing – but it'll cost you
If you have a keen eye for bikes designed purely by technology then BMC’s latest and most aerodynamic track machine is definitely worth a look. Created for the Swiss national track team, it has broken the Hour record with Rohan Dennis and won gold in the individual pursuit with Stefan Küng. But is this high-priced time-slashing bike worth the money?
The frameset is designed to be as aerodynamic as possible and was derived largely from the BMC Timemachine, which is the company’s roadgoing aero time trial bike. BMC says it followed a simple formula, P2p x subA, which is the formula for high performance cycling, apparently. “Position to Perform maximizes adjustability of rider position while subA innovation creates an incredibly fast frame profile.”
This basically means the Track TR01 is highly adjustable with its incredibly slender seatpost allowing for a large range of layback adjustment. Four main attachment points, along with the usual forward or backward moment at each attachment, means it’s great for the TT position. The intricate integrated stem that comes with the frame looks complicated, but is very easy to use. The stem height can be altered, the length too (with stem shims supplied) as well as the angle. This means you should easily find the right position for you.
BMC’s track bike came as a frameset only, so I was free to build as I’d like. So I didn’t look any further than the Shimano Dura-Ace chainset and Izumi chain, fairly typical among trackies. I chose a Ritchey Superlogic Evo Curve handlebar and a Fizik Arione saddle mainly for personal preference, but both keep the aesthetic appeal of the bike.
The wheelset is Fast Forward’s ceramic five spoke at the front and disc at the rear. These offer great all-round performance and make the bike look amazing. This brings the total build up to a staggering £6,844 (at the time of testing).
I wasn’t a huge fan of the hinged headset design. I kept checking the bolts were all tight as it’s an unusual design– some of the bolts are hidden! Once that is out of your head though, this frame is incredibly rigid and an amazing ride. As soon as you set off you notice how stiff the whole bike is, even the front end with that hinged head tube feature. With the steering part of the frameset itself it’s next level stiff and for the first few laps felt as though the headset was overly tight. This makes for a reactive ride, though it was planted in flat out sprints, something you need to get used to, especially off the line or from slow speeds.
This is the only Achilles heel in the BMC’s otherwise perfect armoury. Even though I can’t fault its performance, on all fronts, it’s hard to say this is a value spend, especially as bikes half the price aren’t too much of a step down in terms of performance. Essentially, you pay top dollar for the technology that goes into this frameset, which does work, but on the track at local level racing you probably don’t need this type of bike. BMC’s cheaper aluminium track bike would give you the same amount of joy, for example. The air-cheating detail and the high adjustability are absolutely as good as promised, although whether this is affordable for you is a personal decision – at least you won’t see many others around!
It has to be said again, this is an amazing frameset and if you get the chance to ride one, do it! Of course it is an astronomical amount to spend on a bike, let alone ‘just’ a track bike but I’ve enjoyed my time with the BMC. It does everything you need and more on the velodrome. It doesn’t feel out of place in any situation, which I guess is why it’s a favourite among the Swiss track team. We all talk about marginal gains in cycling; you certainly get more than that with the TR01 track bike.