At first look you’d be forgiven for thinking that BMC’s all new Team Machine SLR01 is very familiar. Firstly, it deliberately bears a family resemblance to the outgoing SLR01. But also, the sharp-eyed may have spotted it charging to a maiden win at the Amgen Tour of California under Tejay van Garderen, and underneath Cadel Evans en route to third overall at the Giro d’Italia.
But skin-deep similarities are just that, because the new SLR01 is the culmination of a two-year development project aimed at created an ultralight all-round road frameset. ‘Lighter, stiffer, more comfortable with peerless performance’ is surely the aim of most bike companies, but these aims aren’t always complementary, so BMC developed their new bike-specific ACE Technology software system, which they claim to be unique in the industry, to refine the design process.
A collaboration with ETH University in Switzerland, ACE Technology software is able to work with hundreds of parameters, including frame tube shapes, material used, carbon layup, ergonomic dimensions and geometry. BMC say that the software worked through 34,000 different design iterations through the year or so it took to arrive at the final SLR01 form. The result seems to be a greatest hits compilation of BMC’s successful features, a few that have been proven elsewhere, and some further refinements and innovations, that together could be very special.
We will be riding the new bike soon and will report back on its characteristics, but one design criteria we can judge now is weight. A 54cm painted (not bare carbon) frame, including seat clamp, bottle cage bolts and mech hangers weighs just 790g, and a complete frameset including fork, headset, seat post and all the hardware mentioned above is still only 1,380g. To back this up, our 56cm test machine, which is painted in team colours, with Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed, Shimano C24 clinchers with Continental GP4000 tyres, carbon bar and stem, Arione saddle, bottle cage, pedals and Garmin mount still only weighed 6.61kg/14.57lbs, which is below the UCI’s 6.8kg minimum limit. In the Giro, the team had to bolt stainless steel weights to the frame beneath the bottle cages in either 50, 100 or 250g weights, depending on the wheels Cadel chose each day, just to meet the weight limit. This is on top of the usual fare of SRM chainset, two bottle cages, pedals and Di2 transmission.
We’ll be heading off in to the Provence countryside in the morning to see just what the new SLR01 has to offer, and will report back with our views and more. In the meantime, check out the photo gallery at above right for a detailed look at the bike.