Looking like a futuristic, stylised bike concept drawing with clean lines and no cables, BMC’s new three-model range is topped by the integrated and gloriously sleek Roadmachine 01, designed to split the difference between the altitude-friendly SLR01 all-rounder and cobble-taming GF01 endurance bike.
The frame is compatible with mechanical shifting, but in this Shimano Di2 guise there’s barely a wire or hose to be seen, as integration was top of BMC’s development list. Available on this model only, the ICS (Integrated Cockpit System) stem conceals the hydraulic brake hoses and shift wires. They then pass either side of BMC’s patented flat steeer into the frame or fork leg.
The seat-tube has a Kamm Tail profile, extending to the D-shaped seatpost, whose flattened rear edge incites flex for comfort. The fork crown is partly enveloped in the dropped down tube, and the rear wheel tucks into a seat tube recess. Aerodynamics have been considered within the unfussy, neat design.
Just as 25mm road tyres have become the new normal, many new bikes can take even fatter rubber. The Roadmachine 01 comes with 25mm tyres, but my early test example had 28mm Continentals, with room for 30mm. With the ability to go large, 12mm thru-axles at both ends, hydraulic discs, and carbon clinchers, plus a race-ready frame, BMC may have started another trend, and I like it.
The sub-1,500g DT Swiss RC38c Spline wheels are lively performers, with a good balance of acceleration, weight and aerodynamics. At 21mm externally, they’re not as wide or as blunt-profiled as even DT’s latest design, so do feel a little less stable in some conditions.
There’s no shortage of grunt, with enormous lateral rigidity from the head tube backwards that channels your efforts through the steering and drivetrain. On steep climbs, every pedal revolution creates an incredibly positive mini-surge of acceleration, and at speed, the Roadmachine is composed, just waiting for the chance to unleash its kick.
Compact chainrings wouldn’t be a racer’s choice, but until mere mortals can race with discs, the Dura-Ace Di2 gearing is perfect for all but the brawniest rider.
The Roadmachine’s crisp steering and stability is perfect for racing and cruising. Even with larger tyres, it’s lively, with a rapid change of pace and an easy ability to sustain speed.
That beefy but refined front end has great torsional rigidity, and when sprinting, climbing or flicking through bends at impressive lean angles, control is never less than certain, and mid-corner line changes are intuitively simple.
Ride quality is excellent, supple enough to conform to road corrugations or cobbles without ever compromising steering control or forcing you from the saddle.
The Roadmachine makes an impressive array of ability, versatility, ride quality and fit accessible to any rider. It’s not cheap in this spec, but pro-level machinery rarely is, and the only things that prevented a faultless score are the wheels. They’re light, smooth and ride well, but in design terms, a generation behind DT Swiss’s latest wheels, which doesn’t make the most of this brilliant frame.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.