The TeamMachine is much-loved veteran here at BikeRadar – the flagship SLR01 still sets our hearts racing every time we remember its ride brimming with sharpness of response and balanced with a smoothness unbecoming of an out-and-out race machine.
Highs: An out-and-out race machine that works for everyone
Lows: Incredible frame at the expense of middleweight wheels
Buy if: You want all of the fun and excitement of a thoroughbred race bike blended with the comfort of a class-leading endurance machine
The SLR02 has some differences over the flagship – the frame here tips the scales at 950g, whereas the 01 takes another 160g from that total. The frame features full external routing for gears and brakes, though they are removable and the frame is routed for electronic groups should you ever wish to upgrade.
A slender fork counters the stiffness of the huge diameter down tube and chainstays: a slender fork counters the stiffness of the huge diameter down tube and chainstays Robert Smith
A slender fork counters the stiffness of the huge diameter down tube and chainstays
The modernist styled frame packs in plenty of clever details. Take the bottom bracket – the BB shell is hugely offset in relation to the down tube, and the seat tube is also shaped and curved enhancing the offset. Now, Pinarello came up with the proven concept of an asymmetric back end that balances the forces through pedaling in the rear triangle. BMC’s clever touch is that the back end is balanced in its shape and design; it’s asymmetric at the bottom bracket. The down tube meets biased towards the non-drive side and the seat tube tapers in a constant curve towards the same. This means plenty of clearance around the chainset and a straight chain line while maintaining all the rigidity needed.
The Team Machine is just so wonderfully willing. Stamp down on the pedals and it pulses with each stroke, with an aggressive 72.5-degree head angle and the seat angle half a degree from the accepted at 73.5 resulting in a bike that’s thrillingly quick to turn. The wheelbase on our 57cm test bike is just shy of the 1m mark – long enough to add stability but not so short as to become a handful.
BMC has proven with the SLR that race bikes needn’t be tough rides. The massive diameter of the down tube and chainstays promise stiffness, and that’s just what you get under power, though the slender fork, seatstays and seatpost counter it with a smoothness we’d usually associate with the likes of our previous two winners, the Synapse and Defy.
The build is based around a full Shimano Ultegra drivetrain that combines a 52/36 chainset with an 11-28 cassette. The range suits the SLR02 perfectly offering a low enough gear to hustle the BMC uphill at pace and big enough at the other end to really exploit the TeamMachine’s wanton need for speed.
The teammachine is a thrillingly responsive companion: the teammachine is a thrillingly responsive companion Robert Smith
The TeamMachine is a thrillingly responsive companion
For 2015 BMC has stepped away from using aftermarket brands, with this model using own-branded bars, stem and carbon post. The cockpit is all alloy and we were impressed with the feel. The RDB03 bar has a great compact shape that’s easy to access, and has ample wrist clearance from the drops and a clever radius meaning even the largest hands fit comfortably.
The Shimano RS21 wheels occupy the mid-range of Shimano’s sport series. With an all-up weight of 1850g a pair they aren’t the lightest around, though solid and very well-labyrinth-sealed hubs are smooth and will stay that way. The 2x construction makes for a very stiff responsive set of hoops too.
To be honest we’d be surprised not to encounter a spec downgrade or two when a bike is based around a frame that’s as good as the SLR01. RS21’s are just that, though experience tells us that these wheels will last and last and stay trouble free for many seasons. Looking to the future though, if you’re like us you’ll want to switch in something a bit more special – because the SLR02 really does deserve it.