Over the last few years, road bike design has seemingly been on a path to many sub-genres with endurance, race, aero, and gravel all vying for attention from potential buyers. That can become seriously tricky having to commit to one style of bike, especially if you're unsure of what exactly you want. Well, BMC with its systematic Swiss approach to design has taken note, and the new Roadmachine aims to be all the road bike you’ll need. In fact, BMC is calling the Roadmachine ‘the one bike collection’.
So how has it done it? In simple terms it’s a mash-up of its award-winning duo of the Gran Fondo and the Teammachine. The Teammachine is the pro-level race machine and the Gran Fondo the endurance special, yet like the Roadmachine these both boast UCI approval markings.
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If you take the all-important stack and reach figures it gets even more interesting – the Teammachine is the long and low rider with a 584mm stack and a 402mm reach on an equivalent 58cm with a 1003mm wheelbase. The Gran Fondo stretches taller at 599mm stack, shortens the reach at 395mm and extends the wheelbase to 1025mm. The Roadmachine sits smack bang in the middle of the two at 593mm/400mm/1022mm, though that’s not the whole story.
Should you want to get closer to the Gran Fondo’s endurance-biased shape, you can switch in a replacement (aero shaped) top cone cover for the headset, which effectively raises the front end by 16mm for a 609mm stack. BMC sees this dual stack solution as a way of suiting the bike to a wider range of riders, and for those whose position evolves one way or the other there are options to adapt the bike later.
BMC Roadmachine 02 105 highlights
- Weight: 8.83kg (58cm)
- Frame: Carbon
- Fork: Carbon
- Gears: Shimano 105 (50/34, 11-32)
- Brakes: Shimano RS505 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors
- Wheels: Novatec 30SL
- Tyres: Continental Gran Sport Race 25mm
- Stem: BMC
- Bar: BMC
- Seatpost: BMC carbon
- Saddle: Fizik Aliante gamma
BMC Roadmachine 02 105 spec overview
When it comes to spec, BMC has collected together a sensible selection of components. The 105 mechs perform just as they should and are paired with a matching 50/34 chainset and a wide-ranging 11-32 block to help the big ascent fans out there. The 505 hydraulic levers divide opinion among testers – some find the more bulbous shape and flat, squared-off platform on the hood uncomfortable, but for our large hands they fit well and the wide, flat shape at the clamp provides a decent platform for your palm. They may not look as refined and slick as the 600 and 700 series levers but we don’t have any issues performance-wise – it's really just aesthetics.
The D-shaped carbon compliance post is topped by a classy and classic Fizik Aliante saddle, one of our all-time favourite perches and a brilliant match to the ambitions of the Roadmachine chassis.
The Novatec 30SL disc wheels have a nicely shaped 30mm-deep aluminium disc-specific rim, which is reasonably wide, stiff and strong. The potential of the Roadmachine to go wider on tyres and detour off the beaten track now and again means you’ll want wheels you can rely on. The 30’s certainly seem to fit the bill –they’ve taken their fair amount of abuse through our testing and been called into a few off-road excursions and come back fighting for more. It all adds up to a bike that’s only limitations are the road in its name, as it's certainly capable of so much more.
BMC Roadmachine 02 105 frame and equipment
Everything about the Roadmachine seems to have been meticulously designed to hit the middle ground between BMC’s two existing platforms.
Weight wise it's lighter than the Gran Fondo, but heavier than the Teammachine – the top grade Teammachine frame weighs 790g, the top Gran Fondo is 1,050g, and the thru’ axle-equipped frame of the top Roadmachine tips the scales at 930g). The 02 105, however, is the second-tier frameset in the Roadmachine line-up, which is actually closer to 1,100g (the lower level Gran Fondo and Teammachine have a similar upscale on weights due to the more modest lay-up of the carbon used).
When it comes to the frame and fork compliance, this too has been designed to sit between the GF and TM on the compliance front, with stiffness figures to match the racy Teammachine. That’s potentially a great thing, as the Gran Fondo is a seriously smooth and comfy cruiser and the Teammachine is one of the smoothest and most comfortable out and out pro-level race bikes we’ve tried.
The Roadmachine has the latest take on BMC’s long-standing TCC (Tuned compliance concept) mantra. The frame is designed to offer masses of stiffness where you need it (through the drivetrain and laterally through the fork and main chassis) yet allow for high levels of compliance through the top tube, seat tube, stays and forks (fore-and-aft).
Up front is its signature stepped shape – where the fork crown is deep and solid this steps down to slender, skinny yet sculpted fork legs with 3d shaping that resist any twist (further enhanced by the solid thru’ axle connection) yet allow movement back and forth when hitting lumps, bumps and holes in the road ahead.
At the back, the seat stays have a double-kinked design, angling up from the dropouts before a kink lowers the angle on its path to the seat tube. It kinks up again at the point where a brake bridge would be on a non-disc frame. The straight section between the kinks is designed to flex, taking the sting out of road noise. The back end is further helped by the pseudo-aero seat tube cutaway that flattens the tube (again more prone to allow flex), and this is all topped off with the D-shaped compliance post adding further vibration-reducing design touches.
BMC Roadmachine 02 105 ride impression
So how does this all manifest itself when you swing a leg over the 02? Well this truly is one remarkably capable bike. On paper it’s not that light compared to some of its rivals, but it rides like a much lighter bike. Hit the hills and its solidity through the drivetrain makes the bike work with you, hanging onto your every input like an over-eager puppy playing catch.
On the descents the compliance through both ends layers confidence over your ride, encouraging pace and willing you to go faster. And you're safe in the knowledge that the excellent Shimano RS505 stoppers (paired with big 160mm rotors) offer all of the highly controllable power you need to regulate speed into every curve or corner.
The geometry of the frame is a masterpiece – if you want to ride short and fast it holds the agility of a spider monkey, while if you want to go long and cruise at a fair lick it's as stable as a noble gas. No matter how you ride you’ll always notice the smoothness created by this classy chassis. There are no tricks to the comfort here as the 02, unlike its more expensive cousins, uses standard 25mm rubber (the more expensive step up to 28s). Bigger tyres can easily add comfort to an otherwise less-so frame.
We like that the 02’s end user has been considered, as unlike the pricier models this one gets front and rear mudguard mounts. And with the frame designed to take some seriously wide rubber, that means you can get a set of dedicated mudguards onto the frame and still have room for 28mm tyres. It's just another pointer that fulfils BMC’s brief of one bike for all riders (and riding).
BMC Roadmachine 02 105 price and availability
2017 is a big year for some seriously inventive bikes, but its also the year where currency fluctuations are having a serious effect on retail prices. That means that the Roadmachine's £2,499 / $2,999 / AU$4,499 price tag with its 105 level specification seems expensive compared to previous years. Yes it's inline with some of the competition. Some of the competition have higher grade drivetrains but few have as capable a base as the remarkable Roadmachine.