The BMC Impec Concept bike, as the name suggests, will never be for sale. But unlike many concept bikes, which are often little more than plastic art projects, the Impec Concept was made tip to tail, from initial idea to carbon fibre product, inside BMC’s Grenchen facility in the space of four months.
With a wealth of cutting-edge design and carbon fabrication tools at their fingertips, BMC designers and engineers jumped into the project to explore what a road bike could be. Elements of the bike, they say, could find their way into production in some form, at some point down the line.
The Impec Concept as a whole has not been ridden — the enclosed drivetrain section, for instance, is empty — but parts have, such as the handlebar, fork and seatpost.
Unlike many other companies that really on external factories to make carbon fibre prototypes, BMC can make everything in house, which speeds up the design cycle considerably, said product manager Thomas McDaniel.
“A CAD engineer can get up from his design chair, walk into another room and put his design into the machine that will cut the tool to make the carbon part from scratch,” McDaniel said. “He can then test the part within days, then fine-tune his design. This is quite different to waiting for months for a prototype to arrive.”
Modular, aerodynamic integration was a driving concept for the bike, whether with the structural parts of the bike or the add-ons like hydration, tool storage or a pump, said BMC design director Torgny Fjeldskaar.
With the integrated handlebar and stem, Fjeldskaar and his coworkers created a twin stem that stiffens up the front end. A similar seatpost design connects directly to the carbon-shelled, no-rail saddle. BMC applied for a patent for this design, regardless of whether it will see the light of day as a consumer product.
The bike is 'one-sided', in that the fork has a single leg, Cannondale Lefty style, and the stays are absent on the non-drivetrain style. The drivetrain itself is non-existent, but a concealed drivetrain cover looks beyond the standard mechanical drivetrains available today.
"We don’t know what drivetrains will be like in five years," Fjeldskaar said. "There is a gear box for mountain bikes now; maybe we will have them on road bikes, too."
Click through the gallery above for a closer look at the BMC Impec Concept.