The BMC Roadmachine 01 has had its very own fan base for a very long time. In our group test in Issue #005 it stood up against a very fierce competition and bagged the coveted test victory. But what’s behind the new BMC Roadmachine X? We sensed a strong spirit of adventure hanging in the air so we decided to jump on the new Roadmachine and test it for you.
Many of our previous tests have already demonstrated how well the engineers of the highend Swiss brand BMC understand the concept of building bikes. In our big Endurance Bike Test 2017 the BMC Roadmachine 01 claimed a well-deserved test victory which paved its way to the spring classics. In our first 2018 race-bike test the BMC Teammachine SLR 01 Disc missed the victory by a whisker. However the BMC team in the headquarter in Grenchen (Switzerland) are by no means resting on their laurels. The new BMC Roadmachine X is the first of many innovations of the 2019 model range.
What stands behind the mysterious X? A muscle-packed cousin of the Roadmachine? Not quite! ‘One for All’ is the concept that best describes the new all-road bike. The Roadmachine X is the Swiss idea of adventure — a bike that’s designed for those who won’t stop where the tarmac ends: this means endless gravel roads, epic multi-day trips or even just your daily commute to work.
The biggest difference between the Roadmachine X and the strict road model becomes clear once you get closer: the X version features an aluminium frame. Thanks to the high quality finish of the frame bulging aluminium welds are a thing of the past. And the matt black stealth look is extremely sexy too.
Spec of the BMC Roadmachine X
As the name suggests the Roadmachine X has a lot in common with its road cousin. Apart from the frame material the biggest difference is the tire clearance of up to 34 mm. The frame features removable state-of-the-art quick release axles and flatmount brake mounts.
Fork Roadmachine X Carbon
Drivetrain Sram Rival
Brakes Sram Rival HRD
Handlebar BMC RAB 03
Stem BMC RSM 01
Wheels Mavic Allroad Disc
Tires WTB Exposure 700x34C
The geometry is based on the Roadmachine’s pure road version. The slightly longer front end is designed to give you more control on different types of terrain and the short chainstays are designed to improve the agility and manoeuvrability of the bike.
All cables disappear neatly into the frame and make for a clean look in combination with the 1×11 drivetrain. The Roadmachine X features a SRAM Rival HRD groupset and a friction clutch in the rear derailleur which keeps the chain under tension and prevents it from slapping especially when riding on rough terrain. The combination of a 40 t chainring and a 10-42 cassette will get you up steep technical climbs but eventually runs out of steam when riding at top speed. Thanks to 160 mm brake discs at the front and rear even long descents should feel like an easy task.
The Roadmachine X features a front derailleur mount which allows you to run a 2-speed chainset if you wanted. However BMC’s all-rounder comes with a chain guide as standard which in combination with the narrow-wide chainring guarantees a safe ride.
TCC Endurance Technology is the name of BMC’s compliance concept which is designed to provide comfort especially on rough surfaces. An integrating part of this concept are the offset seat stays which have been placed low down the seat tube to absorb vibrations and dampen hard knocks. Another crucial component is the especially developed carbon fork which is designed to combine comfort and precision.
The well-hidden pannier rack and mudguard mounts will please all-weather riders and adventurers. Unlike many other adventure bikes the Roadmachine X isn’t exactly a packhorse but still offers a great basis for all ‘Pack light, travel far’ worshippers.
The Roadmachine X comes with a Mavic Allroad Disc UST wheelset, WTB Exposure 34c tires and comes set up as tubeless straight from the factory.
The geometry of the BMC Roadmachine X
|Seat tube||465 mm||460 mm||533 mm||548 mm||564 mm||600 mm|
|Top tube||532 mm||539 mm||554 mm||564 mm||579 mm||594 mm|
|Head tube||128 mm||154 mm||172 mm||187 mm||205 mm||228 mm|
|Chainstay||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm|
|BB Drop||71 mm||71 mm||71 mm||71 mm||71 mm||71 mm|
|Wheelbase||998 mm||1007 mm||1016 mm||1024 mm||1034 mm||1044 mm|
|Reach||376 mm||376 mm||385 mm||391 mm||400 mm||408 mm|
|Stack||525 mm||550 mm||571 mm||585 mm||604 mm||628 mm|
With the Eiger-Norwand behind us and the Jungfrau right in front of us the Kleine Scheidegg is just the right place to test the BMC Roadmachine X and push it right to its limit. With an average gradient of over 10% and a total length of 10.7 km the ascent from Grindelwald (1,034 m) to the Kleine Scheidegg (2,061 m) is no walk in the park. A number of steep ramps on the last gravel section will push you and your bike to the limits. Still it’s fair to say that the breathtaking panorama and the nearly car-free roads are the ultimate dream for every climber.
The Roadmachine X is a nimble climber and its stiff aluminium frame makes it extremely efficient too. Compared to the Roadmachine 01 the front end is slightly longer and allows for a smooth and very stable ride on any sort of terrain.
On descents you notice the distinctive Roadmachine genes. The Roadmachine X really impressed us with its agile yet confidence-inspiring handling which reminds us more of a purebred racer than an all-road rig. The sporty yet comfortable riding position combined with the overall smoothness of the bike and the low bottom bracket typical of racing bikes is great fun and still makes you feel in control even in steep sections.
Despite the aluminium handlebars and seat post the comfort is superb. The 34mm tires interact beautifully with BMC’s compliance package which consists of a carbon fork and a rear suspension concept. This combination works incredibly well and swallows even the nastiest of hits. Trail descents are not exactly the natural habitat of the BMC Roadmachine X and still the bike mastered them incredibly well in our test. However it’s important to stay switched on at all times because the 34 mm tires don’t offer as much dampening as chunkier tires do.
The SRAM Rival groupset is reliable and works faultlessly but lacks precision when compared to a SRAM Force. We often criticized the shape of the slightly outward-bent hoods which in this case seem to harmonise with the compact handlebar design but clearly lack in ergonomics.
On the way up we didn’t really get a chance to use the brakes while mastering the steep climb. But on our way down the steep descent via Wengen to Lauterbrunnen was the ultimate test for the bike’s braking performance. With gradients in excess of 30% we literally shot down the hill but always felt safe and in control thanks to the brake’s good modulation and biting point. Compared to a SRAM Force version you’ll miss some precision but you’ll still get a solid braking performance. And after smashing 1,200 vertical metres over 12 km safely and always in control of the bike the tempering marks on the rotors weren’t too bad either.
The combination of the tubeless Mavic Allroad wheelset and the WTB Exposure 34c tires works perfectly on the road as well as on gravel and on the trails of the Swiss Alps. Only on some wet gravel ramps which were literally soaked in meltwater things got a little slippery. But we can happily live with this considering the bike’s superb road performance.
With the BMC Roadmachine X Swiss manufacturer BMC is delivering a perfect compromise between all-road fun and road bike performance. With € 2,199 you’ll get a harmonious package with lots of fun for a very wide field of applications. Thanks to confidence inspiring handling on and off-road as well as the many clever details such as mounting points for rear rack and mudguards the Roadmachine X should definitely be on your list of options when buying your next adventure bike.
– Super nimble and agile at start-up
– Great on- and off-road performance
– Mounting points for mud guards and racks
– Affordable price
– Average shifting performance
– Max. 34C tires
For more information head to bmc-switzerland.com
Words: Manuel Buck Photos: Manuel Buck, BMC PR