BMC Teammachine SLR03 review

Distinctive pro-inspired frame gets more affordable carbon and kit

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,599.00 RRP | USD $1,999.00

Our review

Great value bike with efficient and responsive ride and good looks
Buy if, You’re looking for your first ‘serious’ road bike and don’t want to break the bank
Pros: Pro bike-like ride, racy geometry and a very good price. Looks the part, too
Cons: Slightly heavier than the rest with some lower-level kit
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The Bicycle Manufacturing Company of Switzerland – how Harry Lime would have loved that Mitteleuropäische imagination in The Third Man! – has been present in the pro peloton for a decade now. And while its name is uninspired, its bikes show flair that belies the so-so moniker, and one of the brand’s features in particular – dropped seatstays – is appearing everywhere these days. Scott’s Foil, Colnago’s Concept, the Ridley Noah, various Giants, Wilier’s Cento1 for starters.

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Our test bike comes with the greatest raft of budget components, but at the heart of things is a frame that strongly resembles the SLR01s being ridden by Richie Porte and co in the Tour. 

This is made from lower-spec carbon and is designed for ‘enthusiast racers’. That accounts for the wide-ranging 11-32 cassette that’ll help those of us who aren’t so great on the climbs, the larger jumps being a price worth paying for the knee- and lung-friendly bottom gear.

We’d expect Shimano 105 at this price and that’s what we get, albeit with some cost-cutting components, notably the non-series compact chainset and brakes. Both are okay though we’d have preferred the real thing. 

The wheels, too, are budget items, but the Shimano RS011s are tough, well made and durable and are also specced on one of the much more expensive bikes here. 

There’s enough rear-end comfort without it ever feeling like an endurance machine

Continental’s Ultra Sport II tyres are a good choice, though we’d have much preferred the slight extra comfort of 25mm rubber that is standard on most bikes these days.

But the pro-inspired frame genuinely delivers a pro-influenced ride. The geometry is identical to the pro-level SLR01, so that means a sub-metre wheelbase, shortish head-tube and a tight rear triangle. 

The SLR03 is a fine bike for the money
The SLR03 is a fine bike for the money
Robert Smith

It’s a firm ride from the stiff frame and those tyres mean you can feel any variations in the road, but this feels efficient rather than uncomfortable, those dropped seatstays and big-is-beautiful bottom bracket shell combining well. 

There’s enough rear-end comfort without it ever feeling like an endurance machine, and plenty of ‘grunt’ when you put the hammer down, with no sensation of your energy ever being wasted. Its slight extra weight penalty is evident on climbs, but on descents and through sweeping bends your handling will probably let you down before any failings of the BMC become evident.

The SLR03 is a fine bike for the money, and if you can get it at a discount it’s an even better deal. The BMC’s more budget-flavoured kit is acceptable in this company given its very appealing price. We’d fit wider tyres when the Contis bite the dust, and might consider a carbon seatpost with some of the cash saved. 

And the frame is easily good enough to deserve better wheels. We’d wait till the RS011s are well beaten-up before swapping, and given that they’re Shimano that could be a while.

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You may not quite unleash your inner Richie Porte, but if you want a first ‘serious’ road bike for sharp days out, with precise handling and comfort for day-long rides, you’ll be able to bank on this Swiss roller.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Teammachine SLR03
Brand BMC

Available Sizes 47cm 51cm 54cm 57cm 60cm
Rear Wheel Weight 1920
Wheelbase (cm) 98
Top Tube (cm) 55.5
Standover Height (cm) 79
Seat Tube (cm) 51
Chainstays (cm) 42.5
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27.5
Wheelset Shimano RS010
Weight (kg) 8.84
Trail 5.9
Stem BMC RSM 03
Shifters Shimano 105
Seatpost BMC RSP 03, 27.2mm
Seat Angle 74
Saddle Selle Royal Seta
Rear Tyre 23mm Continental Ultra Sport II SL
Bottom Bracket BB86/92
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105
Headset Type Unbranded
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar BMC RAB 03
Front Wheel Weight 1320
Front Tyre 23mm Continental Ultra Sport II SL
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Frame Material ACE Technology, 03 Carbon
Fork Offset 4.5
Fork Teammachine SLR, 03 Carbon
Cranks Shimano FC-RS500, 50-34
Chain Shimano 105
Cassette Shimano 105, 11-32
Brakes Shimano BR-R561
Frame size tested 54cm