Distributed by: Swissvalley Pte Ltd
Product Courtesy of: Swissvalley Pte Ltd.

BMC Team Machine SLR01

Introduction

In 2010, BMC announced the arrival of the new Team Machine SLR01 and it became their new flagship road model in their already impressive lineup which contains the Pro Machine SLC01 and Race Master SLX01. The previous Team Machine by BMC was a full carbon frame with aluminum lugs but that has been completely transformed and replaced by the full carbon, sexy-looking bike that was tested.

The integrated Skeleton Concept, iSC that we have come to be so familiar with the rest of the BMC road models is combined with BMC’s new-fangled technology called Tuned Compliance Concept or TCC to create the Team Machine. This is a match made in heaven as the Team Machine is not only more comfortable with better road compliance, but it is also stiffer than the Pro Machine in areas where is should be. For their Team Machine, BMC has decided to do away with the use of Easton’s CNT tubing technology to recreate a frame that can improve the overall ride quality but at the same time, not losing the overall lateral stiffness of the BMC frames that they are famous about. With that in mind, the engineers in BMC, through a careful selection of different types of carbon fibers to be used in different key areas of the frame and applying stepped profiles, were not only able to create a lighter but in fact, further increase the stiffness of the frame from the Pro Machine.

First Impression

My first impression of the SLR01 was the “simplicity is class” attitude that exudes from every angle that I looked at it. The paintwork is simple and elegant with the frame’s uni-directional carbon fibers visible as the black base color. Like the Race Master SLX01, the seat post of the Team Machine has an innovative design where there is no traditional seat post clamp but a locking mechanism is found nearer to the saddle rails in order to reduce the amount of stress at the seat post and seat tube junction. The seat post is also tapered using TCC technology in order for the seat post to flex slightly to provide additional comfort but at the same time, not compromising the strength and overall stiffness of the ride

Absence of seat post clamp can reduce the amount of stress experienced at the seat post – seat tube junction

The chain stays of the Team Machine remained muscular whereas the seat stays is now thinner compared to the Pro Machine for better road dampening. The tapered head tube of the Team Machine; coupled with a new BMC designed tapered fork and an oversized BB30 bottom bracket ensure that the riders will have an added advantage in sprints as well as on climbs.

Tapered head tube (left) for added stiffness and (right): better distribution of different carbon materials allowed the engineers at BMC to create thinner seat stays to increase road dampening.

Verdict

High modulus carbon used near the bottom bracket joint for the seat and down tube, coupled with an oversized BB30 bottom bracket and the BMC’s trademark chunky seat stays ensure that the Team Machine is stiff enough even for the most powerful riders.

The new BMC tapered fork also employing their TCC technology

The test ride model is a size 47 equipped with Campagnolo Super Record-11 speed with KCNC brakes. The handle bar and stem used were from Deda – the mighty stiff Deda Zero100 white handle bar and black Deda stem which I must say, complemented the overall bike color scheme. For the saddle, it is the San Marco Mantra Carbon FX saddle which I must say, is one of the most comfortable saddle that I’ve experienced. The test bike also comes with the high end wheelset – Campagnolo Shamal Ultra 2-Way Fit installed with Hutchinson Tubeless Tires. I was very pleased to find out the weight of the bike is only 6.8kg, just within the UCI limits and we are not even talking tubular wheels, yet. This is very good news to riders who are also very weight conscious with their bikes where a bike build less than 6kg is highly achievable.

On my first ride on the Team Machine, I was immediately in love. I deliberately rode the bike over some rough roads and I was pleased to find out that the road vibrations were well soaked up by the Team Machine with the help of the TCC technology. In fact, the vibrations were so well dampened that I had to take a brief glimpse at the road to make sure I am indeed riding on uneven surfaces!
With the Team Machine touted as the lightest iSC frame ever built, I naturally thought that the bike would be less stiff than the Pro Machine but I was terribly wrong. The bike responded immediately when I stood up and pedaled, shooting forward like a black panther waiting to be cranked and pushed to the hardest. I gamely took the challenge to push its limit – and lost. Speeds over 45kmh were easily attained and maintained on the Team Machine. At higher speeds, the Team Machine remained stable and quiet and, at a certain point during the ride, I can almost feel as if it was mocking me and taunting me to go faster. I succumbed to its “tauntings” and tried a feeble attempt at sprinting for about 200m and managed to clock speeds at around 51.3kmh (not bad for someone who cannot sprint) but the bike just lapped up everything that I could throw at it as if I was only going at 20kmh.

Next, I decided to test its reputation as an excellent climber’s bike as well as a sprinter’s bike. With its lightweight, going up Mount Faber (the only “mountain” in Singapore) requires less effort, and even while doing off the saddle climbs, I could not feel any flex in the frame thanks to its massive chain stays and oversized BB, the power transfer is very efficient as the bike remained as responsive as ever. Kudos has to go to the new BMC tapered fork and tapered headtube construction as the front end of the bike is very stiff which helped translate to my faster climb. The BMC manufactured fork did not feel noodle-like.

Fast descents as speeds over 49kmh was of no problem for the Team Machine and the bike felt very stable while cornering and it instills a whole lot of confidence to the rider to go even faster but unfortunately the down slope was too short for any attempt to hit top speed but overall I was descending faster than I was able to on my personal bike.

The high end Super Record -1 1 ensured high drive train efficiency and coupled with the excellent San Marco Mantra saddle ensured that the rider will not feel like a rag doll even if the rider had done Tour De France-esque distances for the whole day.

Conclusion

The Team Machine is currently the bike that the riders from the BMC Racing Team is using, and no wonder the pros, which include riders such as Cadel Evans and George Hincapie have nothing but praises for the bike. I have to agree that this is the one bike that is not just versatile but it excels and exceeds all expectations whether if it is for climbs or for last 200m finishing line sprints, the Team Machine is a do-it-all.

(Note: Parts used on test bike is different from shown pictures)