Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

BMC Roadmachine 01 review

15 Nov 2016

Page 1 of 2BMC Roadmachine 01 review

Verdict:

Three becomes one as BMC borrows from all its other bike categories to produce this new all-rounder

Price: 
£8,799

There’s no doubt that with the Roadmachine 01 BMC has produced one of the cleanest-looking road bikes out there.

All the usual cable clutter has been neatly tucked away, with a cunningly designed cockpit that allows the cables to disappear into the stem before running down inside the head tube thanks to a fork steerer with flattened sides, which leaves space for the cables.

The frame’s tube shapes and components just seem to flow seamlessly into one another, and I especially like the way the fork tessellates with the head tube and down tube, plus the way the stem appears to grow organically from the front end.

The front brake calliper mount behind the fork leg is also one of the neatest I’ve seen and even the DT Swiss thru-axle lever can be removed, leaving the ends of the axles beautifully flush with the dropouts.

When it arrived at the Cyclist office, I was also pleased to see a 140mm disc rotor being used at the rear, although it would have really topped off the sleek look for me if this smaller size was used up front too.

It’s currently a contentious issue, but so far I’ve only ever felt like a 160mm rotor was overkill for a road bike so I find the 140mm preferable in both performance and aesthetics.

Overall though, I was feeling pretty positive about the Roadmachine 01 before I’d even swung a leg over it. 

Three-in-one

A big part of BMC’s identity is its angular-looking bikes and geometrically shaped tube profiles, but putting this stamp on its designs has meant that most of the models I’ve tested in the past have been at the stiffer end of the spectrum.

Certainly I felt that the Teammachine and Timemachine models were stiff to the point of being harsh, so I was interested to see if this latest addition was more forgiving.

The Roadmachine is BMC’s entry into the emerging sector of ‘do more’ road bikes (I stop short of ever referring to a road bike as do-it-all, as this will simply never be true).

The buzzword is ‘versatility’, and BMC’s tagline for this new Roadmachine is ‘One Bike Collection’, a nod to the fact that it has borrowed technology and ideas from all three of its main bike categories – the racing pedigree of the Teammachine, the wind-cheating features of the Timemachine and all-day comfort of the Granfondo.

‘The vertical compliance and bottom bracket stiffness of the Roadmachine 01 are much closer to the Teammachine than the Granfondo – maybe only 5-10% less than the Teammachine,’ says Mart Otten, BMC’s road product manager. ‘The fork stiffness [lateral] is on par with Teammachine too but in terms of vertical compliance, more like the Granfondo.

‘The difference though is the “in the saddle” feel, which is due to the compliant seatpost, wide tyres and more compliant seatstays. The Roadmachine is noticeably more comfortable.’

No nonsense

As I got to know the Roadmachine 01 around some of my regular routes in the North Dorset lanes it quickly became apparent that the strongest influence in its DNA was from the Teammachine.

I opted to set it up with a fairly racy stance up front, using the lower of the two headset ‘cones’ (a taller option is available allowing scope for a more relaxed riding position, without needing an unsightly stack of spacers).

Pitching myself into a fairly aggressive riding position certainly seemed to encourage some fast-paced efforts and I was impressed with the response from the bike.

It’s certainly solid at its core, as the strongest pedal strokes I could muster were met with no discernable flex or lag in terms of the way my efforts were converted into speed.

The DT Swiss Spline RC38 carbon wheels felt laterally stiff, reinforcing the rigid persona of the frame.

Climbing on the BMC, two things stood out as particularly pleasing. First off, no disc brake rub. It’s something that plagues so many of the disc brake bikes I’ve ridden, driving me to distraction on a ride.

Thankfully the BMC stood firm and silent. The second is harder to explain, but it’s almost as if the Roadmachine can, at times, feel like an extension of your body as you climb out of the saddle.

Rocking the bike with metronomic side-to-side movements on a steep gradient, it feels as though it’s hardly there. It’s a harmony I rarely find, and it suggests BMC’s premium level carbon and geometry are tuned to perfection.

The stiffness and eagerness of the 930g frame up the climbs does not translate into a twitchy, nerve-jangling descender either. In a straight line you can hunker down low and really plunge down a steep gradient with great stability.

The Shimano disc brakes gave me confidence to scrub speed with adept control before leaning into turns, and the BMC responded with dependable, predictable handling.

The bike offered the prickle of excitement but without feeling at risk of a fall.

Hard knock life

Just when it was looking like BMC had achieved everything it set out to do, there was one key element of the Roadmachine that left me disappointed. You’ve guessed it: comfort.

I think there’s just a little too much race bike left in the design for me to give it my full backside-friendly seal of approval.

It’s not painfully bad, but it falls short of the amount of comfort I would expect for an all-day endurance ride – which is what the Roadmachine sets out to be.

Even dropping the pressure in the 28mm tyres to around 85psi wasn’t sufficient to improve the comfort such that the vibrations wouldn’t eventually pester and grind me down by the end of a long ride, especially if I strayed from the tarmac.

In terms of improving the Roadmachine I think BMC could easily achieve more comfort from the seatpost.

The D-section post is not particularly forgiving, and maybe a narrower, round post might help, or perhaps a system similar to that employed by Specialized and Canyon, whereby the clamp is located down inside the seat tube (for which the Roadmachine’s seatstays are already perfectly positioned to allow this).

It would immediately facilitate more flex in the post itself, and would soften the feel of the rear significantly without loss of performance elsewhere.

What BMC has ultimately delivered is a bike that looks superb, rides incredibly well in many scenarios, and would no doubt be the perfect partner for a fast-paced Alpine sportive, as long as it was on smooth roads.

But it’s just a bit too close in ride feel to the Teammachine, an out-and-out race rig, to say that it has truly succeeded in making the ultimate bike for an all-day adventure.

Spec

BMC Roadmachine 01
Frame 56cm
Groupset Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Brakes Shimano RS805 disc brake callipers
Chainset Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Cassette Dura-Ace Di2 9070
Bars 3T Ergonova Team
Stem BMC ICS 01
Seatpost BMC D-Premium
Wheels DT Swiss Spline RC38 Carbon
Saddle Fizik Aliante R5
Weight 7.8kg
Contact evanscycles.com

Page 1 of 2BMC Roadmachine 01 review

Read more about: