The BMC Roadmachine 02 provides all that you could wish for in an endurance bike, with a comfortable ride that’s not too upright, excellent power transfer and aero tweaks. BMC provides an excellent spec, even in this 105 version, helping to justify the Roadmachine’s elevated price tag.
Stiff frame for good power transfer
Quality, robust Mavic wheels with wide tyres
Option to fit mudguards
Pricey for a 105 bike
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BMC gives you a quality, fast endurance ride with the Roadmachine, complete with excellent power transfer and aero details. There’s bags of comfort for all day riding backing up by superb handling and a quality spec. That’s why we’ve selected it for Editor’s Choice 2018 – our select list of the best products we’ve tested in the last year.
BMC’s graceful bikes, with their sparse looks stand out in the pro peloton, where they’ve been ridden by the eponymous team, until the end of last season and will be under Dimension Data’s riders in 2019.
That’s as true of the endurance Roadmachine as the Teammachine raced by the pros, the two bikes bearing a strong familial resemblance. Both have the same top tube with triangular end sections and dropped seat stays and include aerodynamic features to give you a ride that’s fast as well as comfortable.
>>> Radical new BMC Timemachine launched
In the case of the Roadmachine, there’s more of a slope to the top tube and the rear triangle is tighter, with lower seat stays and a kink in them to add extra compliance.
The Roadmachine series actually includes three different frames: the Roadmachine 01 frameset uses higher modulus carbon fibre, the Roadmachine 02 uses a slightly lower carbon grade, while the Roadmachine X is made of alloy. Whereas the Teammachine gives you rim and disc brake options, all Roadmachines are disc brake only.
Within each frameset family, there are different component specs, with the Roadmachine 02 being available as the One with Ultegra Di2, the Two with mechanical Ultegra or the Three, as tested, with 105 spec.
The Roadmachine frameset has a chunky downtube and a PF86 bottom bracket, leading to excellent power transfer, while the seat tube has a cut-out for the rear wheel, keeping it out of the airflow while providing a long enough wheelbase for a stable but still sharp ride – 997mm in the size 54 tested. There are also hidden mounts, if you want to fit mudguards.
The fork blades are skinny for added compliance. They incorporate a metal plate behind the flat mount brake caliper, which acts as a heat sink as well as adding extra rigidity to the interface. They too have concealed mudguard mounts. The fork crown integrates neatly with the head tube, for a clean look. and there’s an aero top cap too.
BMC makes the Roadmachine in six different sizes from 47 up to 61, so there are plenty of fit options for shorter and taller riders.
The BMC Roadmachine 02 Three comes with a complete Shimano 105 groupset. It’s compact and is paired with an 11-32 cassette for lots of climbing grunt – I found it was more range than I needed with the stiff frame and reasonably light weight of the Roadmachine 02. BMC fits a small chain catcher on the down tube to help ensure that you don’t drop your chain to the inside.
Bike makers often skimp on the supplied wheels; this isn’t the case with the Roadmachine 03 Three, which comes equipped with Mavic Allroad UST wheels. They’re alloy and designed for gravel riding, so they’re super-robust, while the UST signifies that, like the majority of Mavic’s wheels, they are tubeless ready. They run on leverless thru-axles, which helps cut down on air resistance.
Their gravel orientation means that they are wide too, so the 28mm Vittoria Rubino Pro tyres come up wider, at around 30mm. This puts plenty of rubber on the road, allowing you to drop the tyre pressure for extra grip, although the tyres are not currently tubeless.
The Roadmachine’s skinny D-shaped carbon seatpost is designed to be aero and add compliance and BMC fits a quality Fizik Aliante saddle.
BMC’s alloy bars have a slightly ovalised section, providing some additional comfort. Cables run from them to enter the down tube via neat cable ports, angled to avoid sharp bends. The frame is designed for electronic as well as mechanical transmissions, with a change of entry port all that’s required. In the premium Roadmachine 01 series cabling is fully internal.
Riding the BMC Roadmachine 02 Three
BMC has really nailed the Roadmachine 02’s endurance focussed spec. The ride manages to be comfortable, without being plush or disengaged. The Roadmachine 02 frame actually feels quite rigid, without being harsh and this leads to efficient power transfer for faster riding on the flat and hill climbing ability. There’s the gear range to accommodate both too and the bike feels really planted to the road.
The ride quality feels as if it’s in no small measure due to the wide tyres and well built wheels from Mavic. These let you lower your tyre pressure and provide enough compliance to smooth out road imperfections well. A tubeless set-up should add even more comfort.
It also feels as if the D-shaped carbon seatpost, aided by the sloping geometry, helps soak up road imperfections. BMC’s decision to spec an endurance-oriented Fizik Aliante saddle is also a boon to ride comfort.
The wheel-tyre combo puts enough rubber down that it can handle light off-roading, coping just fine with muddy, leaf strewn bridleways. There’s enough grip from the sides of the tread to carry you through deeper mud and to hold on when travelling downhill on damp, gravelly trails.
We have only praise for the quality of shifting and braking offered by the latest iteration of the 105 groupset. The Shadow design leads to excellent rear shifting, while braking from the hydraulic discs is confidence inspiring on the sharpest and most technical of descents.
North of £2500 is a lot of cash for a 105-equipped road bike, even one with hydraulic braking. That’s probably a reflection of BMC’s Swiss roots, its pro team sponsorship and a significant R&D budget. But what you get is a quality ride and well thought-out spec which will carry you comfortably for many miles. It’s good to see that BMC hasn’t skimped on componentry too, with a quality Mavic wheelset and Fizik saddle.
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