BMC Racing, makers of carbon and carbon/aluminium road and mountain bikes raced around the world, are taking a unique approach to the soft market in the high-end road segment by re-releasing the 2009 Race Master and Pro Machine road models for 2010, as seen at the recent Press Camp in Sun Valley, Idaho.
Additionally, the Race Master SLX01 with a 2009 SRAM Force kit is now US$2,999, down from $3,800. With Shimano Ultegra SL, $2,849. The Pro Machine SLC01 with Shimano Ultegra SL is now $3,849; with SRAM Force, $3,999. I tested a Campagnolo Chorus-equipped Race Master on the roads of Sun Valley, and found the lightweight racer to be a good fit, a steady handler and stiff as promised.
As a boutique brand, BMC benefits greatly from its affiliation with American distribution powerhouse Quality Bicycle Products (QBP), by far the strongest provider of components and accessories to independent dealers in the U.S.
According to BMC USA's product manager Derrick Lewis, this relationship has its advantages.
The BMC SLC01 Pro Machine with Ultegra SL, now $3,849
"By eliminating model year designations, we can continue to sell through our SLX01 and SLC01 inventory, kitted out with all the Campagnolo, SRAM and Shimano gruppos, be they 2009 or 2010," he said. "Being under the same roof as QBP helps us stay competitive, and offer great value as well."
"The all-carbon BMC Pro Machine was developed four years ago for Floyd Landis and his Phonak team," Lewis said. "It was purely for a three-week stage race.
One of BMC's signature design stylings: squared and tapered carbon mated to hydro-formed aluminium
"The Race Master is the all-rounder complimentary bike to that," he added. "Ride quality, efficiency and comfort are key, and we choose a hydro-formed, triple-butted aluminium base bonded to a carbon spine.
"Every aspect of BMC bikes have a down tube and seat tube as wide as the bottom bracket, with chain stays as tall as the bottom bracket."
Of course, massive chainstays are only possible with an oversized bottom bracket
BMC currently relies on Easton Carbon Nanotech Technology (CNT) for compressed carbon tubing and head tubes, ideal for all-carbon use without aluminium, which saves grams wherever possible without losing strength. The Swiss company has some new carbon technology up its sleeve for 2011.
"BMC (Bicycle Manufacturing Company) as a company is looking to build a manufacturing powerhouse in Switzerland," Lewis said. "Andy recently required the Bergamount brand, and owns Swiss Manufacturing Technologies (SMT), which we're hoping to use in the future."
As a Swiss brand, BMC achieved international popularity with Landis's 2006 Tour de France victory with Team Phonak, only to see it erode after the American's positive testosterone result. BMC is owned by Swiss businessman Andy Rihs, who also owns Phonak Hearing systems.
Rihs, who loves competitive bike racing, sponsors the BMC Racing Team out of his own pocket. Landis's fall from grace, while a disappointment, didn't stop Rihs from supporting an international racing team which includes Alexander Moos, Jeff Louder, Scott Nydam, Markus Zberg, Danilo Wyss, and Tony Cruz.
Look for some new BMC model news later this summer from BikeRadar.