BMC TEAMMACHINE R: THE RACERS DREAM

BMC TEAMMACHINE R: THE RACERS DREAM

Written by Isaac Boyden, on March 09, 2024

Summer of 2023, tensions are high as Jumbo-Visma and Team UAE battle out the 2023 Tour De France, back and forth and stage in and out. This caused many to look a little closer at this Tour which might have caused you to notice the AG2R Citröen team’s bikes looking very different from the standard BMC Teammachines. This “super bike” was spotted and reported on by many bike news outlets, all speculating on what it was. With weird lines, aero intent, and the hashtag #createspeed on the side, the bike made people wonder if it was the Teammachines replacement or a whole new aero model. Well, come several months later, the bike has been officially released, and the answer is, yes? It is a new model. They aren't getting rid of the current Teammachine, and they are calling this the Teammachine R. So, it looks like both are right, but what is with the hype around this bike and do those weird frame lines actually do anything? 


THE NITTY GRITTY 

Compared to the previous Teammachine, the Teammachine R remained almost identical in terms of geometry. BMC stayed tried and true with the same headtube angle, seat tube angle, and wheelbase. The reach remains virtually unchanged at 1mm longer. The stack is slightly lowered at 2mm. BMC claims this bike is the product of every race they have ever done, every result, and every course - to make the culmination of the “perfect” race bike. They say it redefines what a race bike is with the sole intent of snagging that podium. 

The Swiss (BMC is a Swiss company) have been associated with engineering perfection for decades, masters of fine details and they are best known for their scientific innovations. But they didn't do it alone, which is where the Red Bull Advanced Engineering’s team comes in. Formula 1 racing is probably the most technologically advanced and most aerodynamic sports in the world. So, what happens when you mix one of the fastest F1 teams and Swiss manufacturing? You get the BMC Teammachine R. Everything in this bike’s DNA is screaming for speed which is quite the jump from the previous Teammachine. Deep sections and aero wind tunnel testing means everything is thought out with one intent; to be the fastest across the line, every time. With F1 aero knowledge in mind, they set out and changed this bike in the wind tunnel to do just that. The first thing people notice about this bike is the large fork on the front. It looks like you could almost fit a 27.5 MTB tire in that fork! BMC calls this the Halo fork, and they look different than any other fork on superbikes across the market. At high speed and especially at yaw, the spinning of a deep sectioned front wheel causes a significant amount of air traffic and turbulence around the frame and fork. By keeping the inner legs of the fork fairly far apart, it lets this turbulent air escape the confines of the frame and fork much faster, therefore making the bike faster. Simple when you think about it. The bottom bracket was also redesigned and made much larger on the front. This lets air flow over the rear of the bike and stiffens the rear end, because even aero bikes have to climb. The bottom bracket is also tucked much closer to the rear wheel, to keep airflow over the rear wheel. BMC worked through every part of this bike, to deepen all horizontal sections of the bike as much as they can, without being UCI illegal. 

In addition to the redesign of the frame, other components and additions have been thrown on the drawing board. The seatpost is significantly thinner and longer than the normal Teammachine with an integrated number plate holder. The ICS One piece cockpit got thinner and more flared, and the bottle cages hold the frames lines over the bottle. This is all in that effort of aero. 


OUR POINTERS 

Here is a list of interesting things we noticed about that bike.

  • One Piece Cockpit 
    • All models use a 36cm wide handle bar for every size, with a flare to 42. If you have very wide shoulders, you may be out of luck. Everything for those aero gains, we guess? (These bars and that theory carries over from the BMC Kaius too). 
  • Stealth Drop Outs
    • The drop outs are completely covered and don’t change much looking super clean.
  • 30c Tire Clearance
    • Even with that massive fork, the clearance is still only labeled at 30c, narrower than some competitors. 
    • The Teammachine R we had the privilege to see here at the shop has 26c tires on it. On those, the clearance seemed very narrow in the rear. We would be curious to see a claimed 30c tire on a wider rim, (ENVE SES 4.5, Zipp 454 NSW, Syncros Capital SL 60) that all have 25mm internals (ish) and see if that 30 still clears in the rear.
  • Aero Bottle Cages
    • The section of the frame looks to thin out above the bottle cage not super far away, hinting the “aero cages” only are really aero with small bottles(sub 550ml bottles).
  • Real Life Weight Of 16 LBS/7.25 KG
    • The bike we have photos of in this article weighs in at 16 lbs/ 7.25 kg even with no pedals, BMC’s bottle cages, no AXS batteries, power meter and a Garmin mount. Mind Boggling!