BMC partners with Red Bull’s Formula One team ‘to develop the world’s fastest race bike’

Prototype triathlon bike will be given its race debut at the 2022 Ironman World Championships

BMC Speedmachine

BMC has announced the Speedmachine, a prototype triathlon bike that is the result of a joint research project with Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

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Having first partnered with Red Bull in 2018, BMC has since looked to leverage the Formula One team’s capacity for performance modelling and race simulation, to improve the performance of its bikes.

This latest project also saw involvement from former WorldTour pro, Fabian Cancellara.

The revered four-time world time trial champion, and now BMC ambassador, is said to have been “involved at every stage of the development, providing invaluable feedback on ride quality and performance”.

The BMC Speedmachine is a prototype triathlon bike designed in collaboration with Red Bull’s Formula One team.
BMC

Red Bull gives bikes wings?

Andy Damerum, Red Bull Advanced Technologies’ commercial development officer, said: “We started out with the ambition to design the fastest bike in the world.

“We took our Formula One methodologies in aerodynamics and CFD (computational fluid dynamics) and applied it to bike design, resulting in a bike that we believe has the potential to be a game changer,” he added.

The BMC Speedmachine’s design is a result of CFd modelling.
BMC

The Speedmachine, which was produced at BMC’s Impec research and development lab in Grenchen, Switzerland, uses deep truncated aerofoil tube shapes and a wide-stance fork.

Above the bottom bracket, a removable storage box is integrated into the frameset, with the down tube and seat tube both widening to improve the airflow over this area.

While the basic design is fairly conventional at first glance, using a traditional double-triangle frame, the customised Red Bull paint job, complete with matching wheels and a custom 1x chainring, is anything but.

Rather than the relatively complicated front end seen on the BMC Timemachine 01 Disc, the new bike uses a simpler arrangement.

The armrests and extension clamps sit atop standard riser blocks, on a base bar which integrates into the stem.

This specific build also uses Drag2Zero carbon extensions, which fit standard 22.2mm clamps but have an aero-optimised shape beyond the clamping area, designed to better integrate with the rider’s forearms.

The build is completed with a SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset, in 1x form and with road disc brakes.

The BMC Speedmachine uses a more conventional front end design, compared to the BMC Timemachine 01 Disc.
BMC

The wheelset appears to be a set of DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT 80, with custom rim graphics designed to mimic the look of Formula 1 tyres.

As Pirelli is the current manufacturer of those tyres, the bike is also suitably specced with the Italian brand’s P Zero Race TLR tyres.

Red Bull logos adorn the frameset and wheels.
BMC

Can I buy one?

At this point, no.

In fact, despite its finished appearance, BMC says the Speedmachine is a prototype and won’t be made commercially available. This suggests it might not be a finished replacement for the BMC Timemachine 01 Disc.

BMC also tested the Speedmachine out in a road bike setup during development.
BMC

The Speedmachine will, however, get its competition debut at the upcoming 2022 Ironman world championships in St George, Utah on 07 May 2022.

It will be ridden by Patrik Nilsson, a Red Bull and BMC-sponsored athlete.

Patrik Nilsson and Fabian Cancellara with prototype BMC Speedmachine bikes.
BMC

Is this the first Formula One bike?

According to David Zurcher, CEO of BMC Switzerland, the BMC Speedmachine is “the first Formula One bike”.

There are a few who might challenge that claim, however, as car manufacturers have a long history of creating special edition bikes.

Lotus famously provided Chris Boardman with its iconic 108 and 110 track and time trial bikes, and partnered with Hope to create the Hope Lotus HB.T track bike for the Great Britain team.

Specialized also previously collaborated with the Formula One team McLaren, in 2011 and 2014, for example, to produce the Specialized McLaren Venge and Specialized McLaren S-Works Tarmac.

Bianchi, meanwhile, partnered with Ferrari in 2017 to produce a special edition version of the Bianchi Specialissima, the SF01.

Bike brands collaborating with Formula One brands isn’t new, but the results tend to be exciting.
BMC

Motorsport engineering specialists BERU f1systems also applied its expertise to produce the Factor001 back in 2009.

On top of its radical frameset design and ahead-of-its-time features such as an electronic groupset with hydraulic disc brakes and an integrated power meter, it also employed an array of sensors and accelerometers to measure things such as cornering force and rider lean angle.

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Our 2011 feature on the Factor001 is well worth revisiting.