The carbon Roadmachine is BMC’s endurance road bike, designed for riders looking to go longer with more comfort, and perhaps get a little creative with their route choice. The Roadmachine X is BMC’s aluminium road bike, which starts where the carbon Roadmachine has to stop…
The BMC Roadmachine X is one of our Bike of the Year bikes for 2019. To read reviews of the other contenders and the categories tested across road, mountain and women’s bikes, visit our Bike of the Year hub.
BMC Roadmachine X frame and kit
The bike’s triple-butted, hydroformed aluminium frame benefits from BMC’s Smooth Weld process, and looks neat and tidy, with a profile that closely resembles its carbon brethren.
The top and down tubes are the most heavily hydroformed, adding structural, angular elements and tube profiles that are practical as well as good looking.
The top tube has a flat top and integrated buttresses beneath, increasing the tube’s circumference at each end, while the down tube is six-sided and widens before the PF86 bottom-bracket shell.
As on the earlier BMC GF01 and CX01, the fork legs slim by half, about a third of the way below the crown for compliance, as do the chainstays, which are generously beefy where they meet the bottom bracket, and narrow soon after.
The seatstays are slim and triangular, with the narrow edge facing forward. They’re heavily dropped below the top-tube junction, and there’s no need for a bridge because they’re so short. Claimed weight for a 54cm frame is an impressive 1,270g, with 420g for an uncut fork.
Overall frame clearance is sufficient for the 34mm tyres fitted (they measure 36mm), with around 5mm clearance on each side of the seatstays, similar at the chainstays, and a little more in the fork.
The right chainstay is crimped for tyre clearance, and there’s no scope for even bigger tyres, but this is a Roadmachine after all. With full mudguards, the maximum tyre size decreases to 30mm.
For versatility, there are neat mudguard and rack mounts, helping the Roadmachine X turn its wheels to more practical tasks.
Tidy internal cable routing, two bottle mounts and an upper chain guide complete the housekeeping, ready for riding to begin.
BMC Roadmachine X ride impressions
Lifting the bike through a doorway, there’s obviously a rear weight bias thanks to SRAM’s 11-42 cassette, but what it adds in localised grams, is easily compensated for in usability.
The ride feel on tarmac, with 40psi in the tyres, is initially firm through the Selle Royal 2075 HRN saddle, which I mistook for a Fizik Aliante at first glance. That’s no bad thing, and they’re similarly comfortable, but I found the BMC’s Selle Royal saddle a little flatter and more to my liking.
What surprises though is the immediate speed the Roadmachine X has on tap. That tight rear triangle, laterally stiff aluminium frame and positive feel give it only mildly dulled road bike-like responses. When out of the saddle or climbing, every downstroke results in an addictive seat-of-the-pants shove forwards.
BMC’s own bar and stem are well-shaped and well-suited to the tasks at hand too, helping drive power through SRAM’s Rival 1 groupset to the Mavic wheels.
The Allroad Disc UST wheelset is a great choice, with rims 23mm tall and 22mm internally, and designed for a maximum of 65psi.
They aren’t the lightest, with a claimed weight of 1,890g, but their 24 plain gauge straight-pull spokes are built with a softly sprung tension that complements the Roadmachine X’s character. A taut wheelset might eke out a little more performance, but at the cost of ride quality.
WTB’s Exposure tyres have a slick, narrow central band with angled file tread on each side, and raised diamond pattern shoulders edged with rectangular blocks. They feel like a plush road tyre most of the time, but take care if you encounter slick mud because the shoulder grip is only really up to gravel and not much more than damp, firm conditions.
My test bike came with inner tubes, but tubeless valves are supplied, and converting the wheelset would ensure lower pressure confidence. My mixed test routes weren’t a problem, and seriously rough gravel was dispatched with composed speed.
With a single 40-tooth chainring and the 11-42 cassette, the gearing is focused away from tarmac, but it’ll still hammer along at 30mph on it when required.
The lower than 1:1 bottom gear can take you up most things and the Roadmachine X climbs so well I didn’t even need the three largest sprockets on a 15 percent climb.
The 71.5-degree head angle, 71mm bottom-bracket drop and 1,024mm wheelbase keep it planted, stable and quick on the way down again too, with predictably progressive disc brakes for fine-speed control.
BMC Roadmachine X verdict
There’s an all-day endurance feel about the Roadmachine X’s ride, and I almost didn’t notice the aluminium seatpost, which I thought might be harsh.
For anyone adding bikepacking bags, and after maximum practicality, it’s the right choice, but a carbon seatpost upgrade could improve seated comfort a little — although I wouldn’t say it’s essential.
I returned from each ride relishing the next one because this BMC has the sort of sturdy feel that makes you want to go further and explore more routes.
BMC Roadmachine X specification
- Sizes (*tested): 47, 51, 54, 56*, 58, 61cm
- Weight: 9.35kg
- Frame: Roadmachine X, AL13 triple butted, hydroformed, smooth weld, TCC
- Fork: Roadmachine X Carbon, TCC Endurance
- Chainset: SRAM Rival 1, 40t X-Sync ring
- Bottom bracket: PF86
- Cassette: SRAM Apex 11-42
- Chain: KMC X11-1
- Derailleur: SRAM Rival
- Shifter: SRAM Rival
- Wheels: Mavic Allroad Disc UST
- Tyres: WTB Exposure 34mm
- Stem: BMC RSM 01 alloy
- Handlebar: BMC RAB 03 alloy
- Headset: 1 1/8in–1 1/4in
- Saddle: Selle Royal 2075 HRN
- Seatpost: BMC RSP 03 alloy
- Brakes: SRAM Rival hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors
- Price: £2000 / US$2299 / AU$2899 / €2199
BMC Roadmachine X geometry
- Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
- Head angle: 71.5 degrees
- Chainstay: 42cm
- Seat tube: 54.8cm
- Top tube: 56.4cm
- Head tube: 18.7cm
- Fork offset: 4.5cm
- Trail: 6.6cm
- Bottom bracket drop: 7.1cm
- Wheelbase: 1,024mm
- Stack: 58.5cm
- Reach: 39.1cm