Pro bike: Taylor Phinney's BMC GF01 for Paris-Roubaix

A closer look at Phinney's pavé buster

Rising American cycling superstar Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) had an impressive 15th place finish at his Paris-Roubaix pro debut in 2012. Phinney is hoping for a podium spot this time around – provided team leader Thor Hushovd doesn't require his services – and he's hoping this BMC GranFondo GF01 is what will take him there.

BMC launched the GF01 endurance bike almost exactly a year ago with a radical 'Tuned Compliance Concept' shape that the company said provided increased comfort over the brutal Paris-Roubaix pavé. Various kinks and bends littered throughout the top half of the frame supposedly act as pseudo pivots under impact while the lower half of the frame is tremendously oversized – even more so than BMC's SLR01 road racing flagship – for precise handling and efficient power transfer.

It's an unusual aesthetic for sure but it seems to work, although it's perhaps not the buttery smooth magic carpet ride one might expect. Instead, the GF01's TCC shaping is at its best when hitting obstacles hard and fast – which is perfect in this application since that's exactly what Phinney plans to do. That sort of riding is notorious for dropping chains, too, but the GF01's integrated chain catcher should help in that respect as well.

Given the intended consumer audience, BMC builds the GF01 with a taller front end and more relaxed positioning. Phinney – who stands 1.97m (6ft 6in) tall – therefore resorts to a 58cm frame and its shorter head tube and then compensates with a 150mm x -17-degree 3T ARX II Team stem to more closely replicate his normal fit. Like the frame itself, the position perhaps looks a bit strange and it definitely isn't something most riders Phinney's height can handle but then again, the 23-year-old son of American cycling legends Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney isn't your average Joe, either.

The build kit is straightforward and mostly in-line (at least in concept) with what most riders here at Paris-Roubaix will use tomorrow. Among the highlights are a Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 mechanical group (Shimano-sponsored riders apparently prefer the longer lever throws' reduced sensitivity on the pavé), 50mm-deep Shimano Dura-Ace carbon wheels wrapped in 28mm-wide Continental tires, 175mm-long SRM cranks with 53/45T chainrings, and a 44cm-wide 3T Ergosum Team carbon fiber handlebar double-wrapped with fi'zi:k tape and padded with gel.

The 3t ergosum team handlebars are double-wrapped with fi'zi:k tape. there's also fi'z:k gel padding underneath, too: the 3t ergosum team handlebars are double-wrapped with fi'zi:k tape. there's also fi'z:k gel padding underneath, too

The team was decidedly coy about Phinney's planned tire pressure at first: "Less than 8 bar," said mechanic Jürgen Landrie, "but definitely more than 4," added chief mechanic Ian Sherburne. We eventually coaxed a "ballpark" figure of 5.5 bar (80psi).

Phinney hasn't earned a fully customized paint job yet but SRM has treated him to a custom anodized and laser-etched PowerControl 7 computer, emblazoned with the USA Cycling logo and his name up front. Phinney has taped over the power field on the display, however, apparently deciding to race Paris-Roubaix on feel instead of numbers.

Taylor phinney (bmc) has the 'power' field taped over on his srm powercontrol 7 computer. phinney is apparently going to go by feel on sunday: taylor phinney (bmc) has the 'power' field taped over on his srm powercontrol 7 computer. phinney is apparently going to go by feel on sunday

Total weight as pictured is 7.98kg (17.59lb).

Complete bike specifications

FrameBMC GranFondo GF01, 58cm
ForkBMC GranFondo GF01
HeadsetIntegrated, tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2"
Stem3T ARX II Team, 150mm x -17°
Handlebars3T Ergosum Team, 44cm (center-to-center)
Tape/gripsfi'zi:k bar:gel, double-wrapped
Front brakeShimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 w/ Shimano blue-compound carbon-specific pads
Rear brakeShimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 w/ Shimano blue-compound carbon-specific pads
Brake leversShimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
Front derailleurShimano Dura-Ace FD-7900
Rear derailleurShimano Dura-Ace RD-7900
Shift leversShimano Dura-Ace STI Dual Control ST-7900
CassetteShimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-25T
ChainShimano Dura-Ace CN-7901
CranksetSRM Wireless PowerMeter Dura-Ace 7900 Compatible, 175mm, 53/45T
Bottom bracketShimano SM-BB91 press-fit
PedalsShimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7900
WheelsetShimano Dura-Ace WH-9000-C50-TU
Front tireContinental Competition tubular, 28mm
Rear tireContinental Competition tubular, 28mm
SaddleSpecialized Romin
Seat postBMC CompliancePost, 30mm offset
Bottle cagesElite Ciussi (2)
ComputerSRM PowerControl 7, custom anodized and etched
Other accessoriesGore Ride-On sealed cables and housing
Critical measurements
Rider's height1.97m (6' 6")
Rider's weight82kg (180lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t)820mm
Saddle setback (ask mechanic)96mm
Seat tube length, c-t530mm
Seat tube length, c-c500mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem)656mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical)142mm
Head tube length196mm
Top tube length572mm (horizontal)
Total bicycle weight7.98kg (17.59lb) with computer
James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

Related Articles

Back to top