Pro bike: Philippe Gilbert’s BMC TeamMachine SLR01

Road world champion's custom painted team bike

Current UCI world road champion Philippe Gilbert (BMC) showed off a new rainbow accented BMC TeamMachine SLR01 to the folks of Adelaide, Australia, during the People’s Choice criterium – the traditional opener to the Tour Down Under. He didn’t win – but, then again, he wasn’t trying to – but the 30-lap ride was nonetheless a reasonable test for the Belgian’s real target, the Spring Classics.


Gilbert’s custom painted machine stood in stark contrast to the usual black-and-red BMC team livery, with big swaths of gloss white paint on the fork legs and seat cluster bracketed by the rainbow stripes he earned in September 2012. Even the traditional-bend handlebar hasn’t been spared the painter’s touch, with a matching gloss white finish and yet another set of stripes.

Lightening things up further are the white bar tape and matching Elite bottle cages. And, just in case it wasn’t sufficiently obvious whose bike this is, Gilbert’s signature is on the seat tube.

We didn’t expect to see team’s bikes resplendent in the latest kit, and despite his title Gilbert’s TeamMachine SLR01 maintains that prediction. Not only does the bike have a mostly off-the-shelf build kit, it has a previous-generation Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 7970 group instead of the new 11-speed 9070 version that Shimano announced back in May 2012.

BMC has made some equipment sponsor changes during the off-season, too, so the long-running Easton wheels and cockpits we’ve got used to seeing have been replaced with Shimano hoops – 50mm-deep Dura-Ace tubulars – and 3T bars and stems to accompany the proprietary BMC carbon fiber seatpost.

Just in case the stripes don’t provide enough of a hint:
James Huang/Future Publishing

Just in case the stripes don’t provide enough of a hint…

Another common pro trend perpetuated here is the undersized frame. Despite standing at 1.83m (6ft) tall, Gilbert rides a rather diminutive 50cm frame with a 535mm effective top tube length – something no fitter in their right mind would do for a typical cyclist of the same height.

As usual, though, it’s all about head tube length for these guys. In this case, the top of Gilbert’s bar sits more than 12cm below the top of his saddle. To get the reach he wants, Gilbert then has to run a 140mm-long stem slammed atop the headset.

Sure, the extreme position looks way cool, and the ‘SLAMYOURSTEM’ kids would worship the ground you roll on. But let’s be realistic here – you’re not Philippe Gilbert, and twice-daily Ashtanga yoga sessions and a closet full of Lululemon probably aren’t going to get you there, either. But if you’re 1.79m tall with a rockin’ Euro fauxhawk and still think you can pull this off, go on and try – we dare you. Let us know how things went after your resulting chiropractor appointment.

Complete bike specification

  • Frame: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, custom paint, 50cm
  • Fork: BMC TeamMachine SLR01, custom paint
  • Headset: FSA Orbit IS integrated, 1 1/8in to 1 1/4in tapered, 10mm carbon fiber cone
  • Stem: 3T ARX Team, 140mm x -6 degrees
  • Handlebar: 3T Rotundo Team, 42cm (c-c), custom paint
  • Tape/grips: Cork
  • Front brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
  • Rear brake: Shimano Dura-Ace BR-7900 w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
  • Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Dual Control ST-7970
  • Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
  • Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 Dual Control ST-7970
  • Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 11-25T
  • Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7900
  • Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 172.5mm, 53/39T
  • Bottom bracket: BMC BB30-to-24mm adapter
  • Pedals: Shimano Dura-Ace SPD-SL PD-7900
  • Wheelset: WH-9000-C50-TU
  • Front tire: Continental tubular, 22mm
  • Rear tire: Continental tubular, 22mm
  • Saddle: Selle Italia Flite
  • Seatpost: BMC RacePost Road
  • Bottle cages: Elite Sior Mio (2)
  • Computer: SRM PowerControl 7

Critical measurements

  • Rider’s height: 1.79m (5ft10in)
  • Rider’s weight: 69kg (152lb)
  • Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 751mm
  • Saddle setback: 59mm
  • Seat tube length, c-c: 480mm
  • Tip of saddle nose to c of bars: 581mm
  • Saddle to bar drop (vertical): 122mm
  • Head tube length: 133mm
  • Top tube length: 535mm
  • Total bicycle weight: 7.25kg (16lb)