The low weight is ap­pre­cia­ble thanks to the SLR01’S in­cred­i­ble stiff­ness

Cyclist - - Bikes -

com­puter-se­lected, shaped and ori­ented to give the Team­ma­chine its de­sired char­ac­ter­is­tics. To that end, the frame and fork are ac­tu­ally heav­ier than the last Team­ma­chine, a claimed 815g (size 54cm) for the frame, up from 790g, and 350g for the fork, up from 330g.

That might seem odd, but it was a nec­es­sary pay­off to re­tain the struc­tural in­tegrity of an even box­ier frame that prom­ises 10% more stiff­ness at the bot­tom bracket than be­fore, as well as in­creased tyre clear­ance and a ‘far stiffer’ fork.

‘One of my col­leagues had an ear­lier, lighter it­er­a­tion, which we built to test ride. The prob­lem was the tube walls were so thin that when he ac­ci­den­tally knocked it over onto his vac­uum cleaner it cracked the top tube. And peo­ple re­ally like to sit on top tubes,’ says Habeg­ger.

Also cu­ri­ously, while this is the top-tier cal­liper brake Team­ma­chine (there’s also a disc ver­sion), it’s not the light­est. That dis­tinc­tion goes to the frame­set-only ver­sion, which has less paint to the tune of around 20g. Still, all this needn’t bother the weight-wee­nies – the SLR01 still comes in at an im­pres­sive 6.87kg.

Speed supreme

The low weight is ap­pre­cia­ble, but it’s only able to man­i­fest it­self out on the road thanks to the bike’s in­cred­i­ble stiff­ness. The chain­stays are about as asym­met­ric as they come, the PF86 bot­tom bracket is hoof­in­gly big and the stocky head tube and widened fork legs are supremely rigid. Thus I found that climb­ing or sprint­ing felt more like trail­ing a feather through the air than mov­ing sev­eral ki­los of bike in pen­du­lum fash­ion, and ac­cel­er­a­tion was as in­tense as it was im­me­di­ate.

All the usual fac­tors help. The Vit­to­ria Corsa G tyres in 25mm – and yes, there’s room for 28mm – are ex­cel­lent, and DT Swiss’s lat­est 1400 Spline wheels felt stiff and quick, which they should at a claimed 1,434g with a 35mm deep aero-op­ti­mised rim. The frame ig­nores any aero com­pli­ca­tions, but within it lies an­other as­pect of the BMC’S speedy rub. It’s ac­tu­ally pretty com­fort­able.

Com­fort is an odd thing in bi­cy­cles. We talk about it as a de­sir­able char­ac­ter­is­tic in terms of bod­ily sen­sa­tions, which is valid, but I think the true ben­e­fit is that com­fort breeds per­for­mance as the bike moves be­neath you, ad­just­ing minutely to im­per­fec­tions in the road and so lim­it­ing rolling re­sis­tance and in­creas­ing grip. It’s the rea­son cars have sus­pen­sion and it makes for a faster, bet­ter han­dling road bike.

Habeg­ger says BMC was wise to this, so one of the spec­i­fied pa­ram­e­ters for the up­dated Team­ma­chine was to have the same tor­sional stiff­ness as its pre­de­ces­sor, which BMC felt han­dled so well that it didn’t want to mess with it. It was also mind­ful of cus­tomer feed­back that the pre­vi­ous Team­ma­chine was on the harsh side, so it has done what a lot of man­u­fac­tur­ers have re­cently and

HEAD TUBE The head tube on the BMC is supremely stiff, as is the fork, mak­ing for ex­cep­tion­ally ag­ile han­dling. Sadly the same can­not be said of the TRP di­rect-mount cal­lipers, which lack stiff­ness and de­tract from brak­ing per­for­mance.

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