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BMC Teammachine SLR: Launch and first ride review

1 Jun 2017

Page 1 of 2BMC Teammachine SLR: Launch and first ride review

Verdict:

The flagship BMC Teammachine SLR gets an overhaul and gains disc brakes in the process

The BMC Teammachine SLR won the Tour de France on its first attempt in 2011. Yes, one Cadel Evans was of course the presiding factor, but as the man himself was only too keen to point out at the Teammachine’s launch in the French Alps recently, ‘the SLR ticked all the boxes for a GC bike: great at descending, good compliance and superb handling.’

Cadel Evans on the final stage of the 2011 Tour de France. Photo: Offside / L'Equipe

That is a recipe that BMC engineers say they have stuck to with this latest incarnation, the first new BMC Teammachine SLR in three years.

The last bike was designed by a super-computer that crunched data on around 34,000 virtual frames before settling on the Teammachine’s design, so you could be forgiven for wondering how BMC could improve upon it given the UCI hasn’t changed its diamond, 3-1 tube ratio frame construction rules.

However, you’d be forgetting two things: disc brakes, and that BMC engineers are rather clever people.

What’s new on the BMC Teammachine SLR?

The headline here is that Teammachine has got disc brakes (there is an updated rim brake bike too, but we’ll come to that later).

It’s a move virtually every company has adopted – disc-o-fy your flagship racer – yet it’s a move that hasn’t always been successful.

Often discs have meant compromises. Yet not, it seems, for the BMC Teammachine SLR.

First, the Teammachine SLR Disc frame only weighs a claimed 25g more than the previous generation rim-brake bike – 815g up from 790g (size 54cm).

The resultant 56cm size bike we tested was right on the 6.8kg money, built up with the latest Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 hydraulic disc Di2 groupset and as yet unreleased DT Swiss clincher wheels (watch this space). High-end spec but not outlandish.

Second, the geometry, which won plaudits across the board for providing sharp, stable handling, is virtually identical to the previous generation.

The introduction of disc brakes hasn’t suddenly meant an elongated wheelbase, lengthy stays or increased fork trail.

BMC engineer Tobias Habegger explained that the main triangle and fork geometry is unchanged, the only difference has been to ‘increase the chainstays by 8mm to 410mm, in order to correct the chainline for the wider hub-spacing’.

That spacing is now the 142x12mm thru-axle design at the rear, a 100x12mm at the front.

Integration

The other name of the game has been integration. BMC demonstrated an aptitude for clean lines with its Roadmachine, released earlier this year, and the Teammachine follows suit.

Top-spec models borrow the 3T carbon bar and BMC alloy stem that neatly handles routing duties thanks to a large underside recess that allows cables to disappear into the headtube from the bars, and travel down the sides of the fork steerer and into the frame (the fork steerer has squared-off sides to alloy the cables to run past it without fouling the steering).

There are some cables on show, however. The bar and stem are not one piece a la Trek or Canyon, so cables exit the bar just before the stem clamp before diving back into the stem and being covered over by a removable plate, but the rationale is the extra adjustability a round bar and traditional clamp affords is worth the partially exposed cables.

The seatpost is the same D-Shape post as before, albeit with a more compliant layup, but the clamping mechanism is new, and very neat.

A bolt comes up through a hole on the underside of the top tube and screws into a wedge-shaped piece of alloy that inserts between seatpost and frame from the top of the top tube.

The ensemble is therefore nicely recessed, but moreover, remove the post and the clamp won’t fall down the seat tube because the bolt holds it to the frame.

It’s rounded off with a polymer cap that sits satisfyingly flush to the frame.

As with the Roadmachine, the overall appearance is supremely clean. Oh, and BMC has also filled in its trademark gusset between seat tube and top tube, again giving the bike a cleaner appearance, and added integrated out-front mounting hardware for bike computers.

The BMC Teammachine is, at time of writing as far as we can make out, the only mass-production road bike that uses a direct mount mech hanger too, taking advantage of Shimano’s latest groupset innovations.

Other interchangeable hangers are available too.

It is also only the second frame we’ve seen, after the Pinarello Dogma F10, to integrate Shimano’s new Di2 junction box/charge port into the down tube.

Disc brakes

The Teammachine’s disc brakes come courtesy of the flat-mount standard, and BMC has pinned its colours firmly to the 160mm front rotor mast.

The fork cannot fit a 140mm because of the flat-mount position, a deliberate move say engineers to keep front braking powerful and safe.

The frame default is for a 140mm rotor, but this could be increased to 160mm with an adaptor mount.

To cope with the extra braking forces the fork has been shored up not with extra material (which would significantly increase weight) but by an overtly asymmetric design; the left leg is so much wider than the right that look from certain angles and the whole thing looks bent.

Again, it’s clever stuff, as the fork weighs just 18g more than the previous rim calliper version, where most manufacturers, says BMC, would tend to see 40-50g increases.

Torsional stiffness is quoted to be the same as before – apparently to preserve the Teammachine’s handling characteristics – but bottom bracket stiffness is up 10%.

This factor is largely down to lay-up shapes and schedules, with the carbon fibre sheets cut and orientated in different ways.

This also brings us back to the original question, how can BMC have improved a bike that was already the best of 34,000 computer generated iterations?

Well, by adding another 18,000 virtual iterations on top by introducing the parameter of disc brakes and by getting the super computer and algorithm to design the tube shape and the lay-up schedule concurrently.

BMC Teammachine SLR: UK Prices

BMC Teammachine SLR02 DISC TWO 18  -  £3,300 
BMC Teammachine SLR01 FRMS MOD 18  -  £3,300 
BMC Teammachine SLR01 DISC FRMS MOD 18  -  £3,450 
BMC Teammachine SLR02 DISC ONE 18  -  £4,300 
BMC Teammachine SLR01 DISC ONE 18  -  £6,400 
BMC Teammachine SLR01 ONE 18  -  £7,000 
BMC Teammachine SLR01 DISC TEAM 18  -  £10,000 

BMC Teammachine SLR: Euro Prices

So far we only have prices for the top and bottom tiers (below), but expect more to follow, with BMC offering a large range of specs for both disc and rim brake Teammachine's as well as a frameset

Teammachine SLR01 Team  -  €8499
Teammachine SLR 01 Team Disc  -  €11499
Teammachine SLR02  -  €2599
Teammachine SLR02 Disc  -  €3699

See bmc-switzerland.com and evanscycles.com for more information

Click through to page two to read about our first impressions of the BMC Teammachine SLR

Page 1 of 2BMC Teammachine SLR: Launch and first ride review

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