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