This is the new top-of-the-range BMC road machine for 2011, the Impec. More than anything else, it represents a whole new way of making bikes.
BMC say the impec is 'handmade by machines', which is to say it's made by robots in an all-new factory set up in the pursuit of perfection, with no possibility for error or variation.
The Impec is made from carbon tubes woven on site to a precise specification which are then joined using injection moulded composite parts that BMC dub Shell Node Concept – don't even think about calling them lugs.
Total weight is around 6.8kg (15lb) for each of the four build options, consisting of Easton EC90 or 2011 Mavic Cosmic Carbone SLR wheelsets, and SRAM Red, Campagnolo Super Record, Shimano Dura-Ace or Di2 groupsets. The frame itself isn't superlight; BMC only give a 'frame system' weight for the frame, post, fork and headset, and this is 1,790g (3.95lb) – some 200g more than their team machine.
However, they say this allows them to build the frame with optimum stiffness and then cut the weight from arguably more important areas such as the wheels in order to hit the UCI minimum of 6.8kg. The difference is only likely to matter for weight obsessives waving blank cheques who are looking to build the lightest bike possible.
There are two colours: laquered carbon with either red shells in the Team Version or matt black shells in the Noble Version. There are five frame sizes and a choice of race or performance fit. Prices start at €6,499 with SRAM Red and go up to €9,999 with Dura-Ace Di2. Full details, UK pricing and riding impressions to follow.