BMC’s new Teammachine offers disc or rim brakes and greater integration

Five new disc bikes, six new rim bikes

With the unveiling of the third generation Teammachine SLR01, BMC join the growing list of manufacturers to offer a premium race bike with rim and disc brake options. BMC’s most important model has defined the company’s progress – the first generation in 2011 was BMC’s first carbon monocoque, and helped Cadel Evans to his 2011 Tour win, and Philippe Gilbert to his 2012 world championship title. Generation two in 2013 was first to employ ACE (Accelerated Composite Evolution) Technology, and carried Greg Van Avermaet to the 2016 Olympic title and some great one-day results in 2017 so far.

Even though the existing SLR01 is hardly being outgunned on the road, BMC’s head of R & D, Stefan Christ explained that, “Improving the existing Teammachine was no mean feat, and people have asked us why even change a wining formula? The answer is simple – we knew we could create a new, more competitive one! Besides, if you don’t keep on innovating, you get left behind.”

BMC had three primary goals with the new bike: keep the bike's balance of stiffness, weight and compliance; add integration; and add discs.

Development feedback and input came from BMC Racing Team professionals such as Van Avermaet and Richie Porte, and the now-retired Evans, who has an ongoing development and ambassadorial role with the company. Evans said that he’s raced and trained for around 150,000km on successive generations of the SLR01.

The 2018 BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc Team
The 2018 BMC Teammachine SLR01 Disc Team

The third generation SLR01 project began with known design targets and loads (such as braking force), but also had to conform to UCI rules and existing frame geometry. Conventional methods start with a shape calculation – allowing room for moving parts and so on, then a laminate calculation to decide on carbon materials and layup, and finally comes prototype testing.

BMC’s ACE Technology combines the shape and laminate calculations to simplify the process. It’s a supercomputer-based algorithm, co-developed between BMC and two other companies, one of whom has access to such a computer. BMC had 247 parameters to consider when creating a carbon frame. The second generation SLR01’s ACE Technology design passed through 34,000 iterations before arriving at the final one, adding disc brakes to the mix for the new bike increased that number by another 18,000.

New Teammachine Disc

BMC built the Shimano Di2 junction box into the frame
BMC built the Shimano Di2 junction box into the frame

At first glance, the new SLR01’s profile is very similar to the outgoing model. But look closer and the differences emerge, especially on the disc model. Asymmetry is key, with a shallow, almost squared non-drive side chain stay, opposing a taller, slimmer drive side, a wide PF86 bottom bracket shell, asymmetric seat tube and BMC’s customary, but slightly less angular down tube.

The disc fork is all new, and to account for the stress that is created above the front disc caliper, BMC ignored the convention of simply beefing it up with additional material, often around 50-60g, instead, they maintained the same tube thicknesses and altered the individual profiles of each leg, making them quite asymmetric. The fork is optimised for a 160mm rotor, and to avoid unnecessary mounting hardware, BMC created what they call a Direct Frontal Flat Mount for the disc caliper, with the bolts piercing the fork leg from front to rear, with no need for aluminium adaptors. The result is a disc-specific fork that’s only 18g heavier than its rim-braked equivalent, weighing a claimed 355g, including headset compression device.

Following the lead of last year’s Roadmachine, the Teammachine SLR01 has reduced the Crosslock brace inside the top tube and seat tube junction to a buttress. Hidden within is the 'No-Gap' seatpost clamp, which has an internal wedge, and eliminates any gaps between the seatpost and frame with its floating top cap. It’s adjusted from below with an angled 4mm hex bolt. The 195g D-shaped Compliance Post seatpost continues (15mm offset standard; 0mm option available), its flattened rear side allowing it to flex, and the lowered seatclamp extends its active length by 46mm.

Another Roadmachine feature is the ICS (Integrated Cockpit System) stem, which comes fitted to the top three SLR01 Disc models. The stem's lower cover channels the hydraulic hoses and Di2 cables in to the frame for a clean look. The cockpit is as adjustable as any other, but sleeker, using proprietary two-part spacers with interlocking halves, allowing front end adjustment without removing hydraulic brake lines. The stem’s open faceplate accepts a slot-in mount for a Garmin and a GoPro or light.

The new Teammachine gets the clean ICS cockpit first introduced on the Roadmachine
The new Teammachine gets the clean ICS cockpit first introduced on the Roadmachine

BMC incorporated the Di2 junction box within the upper portion of the down tube, behind the head tube, where its controls and LEDs are easily visible and accessible, and it’s well protected from damage in transit or accidents.

Deciding that the current thru-axle options available were heavy, BMC its own, which weigh 55g for the pair. They’re a conventional 12mm diameter with 6mm hex required for fitting and removal – one DT Swiss removable hex lever is provided. The racing team’s disc bikes will use an 8mm hex to save a fraction more weight, and because service will always be on hand. The 8mm thru axle socket wasn’t considered appropriate for the consumer market as not every rider carries an 8mm tool.

Designed around 25mm rubber, the new Teammachine SLR01 has clearance for tyres with a measured width of 28mm too. The rear disc brake uses a 140mm rotor as standard, but it’s possible to alter it to 160mm of necessary, and in a weight saving masterclass, BMC designed an ultra light replaceable sandwich-style rear derailleur hanger, with a completely open skeleton design, and frame mounting that bolts through the carbon dropout.

The D-shaped seatpost carries forward for 2018, but with a lowered clamp for more seatpost flex
The D-shaped seatpost carries forward for 2018, but with a lowered clamp for more seatpost flex

All that weight saving effort has resulted in a 54cm 2018 model SLR01 disc frame weighing 815g, which compares impressively to the 2017 rim braked SLR01 frame, which weighs 790g in the same size.

BMC’s performance figures show the new bike delivers around 10% more bottom bracket stiffness, and around 10% more vertical compliance, largely thanks to the lowered seat clamp. The torsional stiffness values are said to be the same. All frame sizes from 47cm to 61cm have a unique carbon layup, to give a consistent ride feel that’s well within a +/- 5% tolerance.

Pricing and availability

There are five bike models with disc brakes in the SLR01 and SLR02 ranges, the difference being the carbon used for each. The SLR01 Team comes with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 only, and the bikes with either Ultegra Di2 or Ultegra mechanical. Two SLR01 Disc frameset modules in black or red will also be offered. At this time we only have limited pricing and availability of complete bikes.

Teammachine SLR01 Disc Team                            €11,499         Late July

Teammachine SLR01 Disc One

Teammachine SLR01 Disc Two

Teammachine SLR02 Disc One

Teammachine SLR02 Disc Two                              €3,699           December

New Teammachine SLR01

The 2018 BMC Teammachine SLR01 Team
The 2018 BMC Teammachine SLR01 Team

Alongside the disc model sits a brand new rim braked version, giving professionals and consumers alike the choice of brake systems with equal performance. The BMC Racing Team’s riders are already training on this model and will be racing it at the Dauphine in June.

This SLR01 shares much of the evolution of the disc model, but has a direct mount brakes, widened seatstays and a clever dynamic cable stop at the top of the head tube. This entry point for the rear brake cable contains a mini ball joint, allowing the housing to pivot as the bars turn, and prevent it from cracking.

Dressed in the latest Shimano mechanical Dura-Ace, the Teammachine SLR01 has the same geometry as the disc bike
Dressed in the latest Shimano mechanical Dura-Ace, the Teammachine SLR01 has the same geometry as the disc bike

Six rim brake models will be available, with four SLR01-based options, plus two SLR02 bikes. From the top down, the range features Shimano Dura-Ace mechanical, SRAM Red eTap, SRAM Red, Shimano Ultegra and Shimano 105. Since SRAM don’t yet have a direct mount brake, TRP’s direct mount brakes are fitted to the SRAM-equipped bikes. 

A pair of SLR01 frameset modules will be available, also in black or red. Again, we only have very limited pricing and availability at this time, but will update with more information very soon.

Teammachine SLR01 Team                                     €8,499                        Late June

Teammachine SLR01 One

Teammachine SLR01 Two

Teammachine SLR01 Three

Teammachine SLR02 One

Teammachine SLR02 Two                                       €2,599                        June

The 2018 BMC Teammachine SLR01 One
The 2018 BMC Teammachine SLR01 One

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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