BMC set themselves the goal of perfection, and the new Teammachine R is out to push the boundaries as an aero all-rounder. With the help of innovative Formula 1 technology and aero features, the bike embarks on a self-declared revolution, promising to turn the road bike world upside down. But what is the new BMC Teammachine R really capable of?
What do Red Bull Engineering and Formula 1 technology have to do with BMC? The new Teammachine R is the result of this unique partnership, not just promising the perfect combination of aerodynamics and power transfer, but also to push the limits. We travelled to Lake Como with BMC and Tudor Cycling to put the bike through its paces on the foothills of the Alps. Of course, we also seized the opportunity to revel in the atmosphere of Italy’s road season finale at the classic Il Lombardia. But how does the bike fare, and does it live up to all the big claims?
Formula 1 technology on a road bike with the help of Red Bull?
With the new Teammachine R, BMC are bringing Formula 1 technology to cycling. The Swiss brand have entered into a cooperation with Red Bull Advanced Technologies to mop up the bike market. What originally started as a research project to exchange know-how and information has resulted in a cooperation to develop new, lightning-fast road bikes. Both of the speed obsessed companies specialise in carbon fibre and aerodynamics – a perfect fit! Formula 1 dominance coupled with Swiss precision is said to have produced the fastest BMC road bike yet. It’s a bold claim, but the necessary ingredients are there.
Flying under the banner “Create Speed”, BMC are looking to create the world’s fastest bikes and push the limits of what’s currently possible. And so, in addition to the fascinating Speedmachine time trial and triathlon bike, we’re introduced to the first road bike to come from the cooperation.
The result is the aerodynamically optimised Teammachine R, which BMC are calling the “most complete race bike” that they’ve ever made. Is it all just marketing hype and hot air, or can it deliver on that promise? At first glance, it looks as though a lot has changed compared to the aero Timemachine Road and Teammachine SLR, backing the uncompromising approach behind these boastful claims.
Details and features – What’s new on the 2024 BMC Teammachine R?
Now that Red Bull has given it wings, the new Teammachine R isn’t a bike that wants to fly under radar, and that would be hard to do considering the striking styling. The first prototypes of the AG2R-Citroen and Tudor Cycling pro teams have already caused quite a stir – the new BMC is definitely not a bike like any other, it’s and arguably the most eye-catching drop-bar bike of 2023.
Just looking at the silhouette, there’s no denying what it’s all about. The low, skinny head tube, the clean, aerodynamic down tube, and the curved seat tube that flows organically around the rear wheel all scream maximum speed. That said, the seat post isn’t quite as narrow as the latest models from Cannondale or Specialized, so it still has space to accommodate a Di2 battery.
The massive area around the bottom bracket, lovingly named the “Mariana bottom bracket”, is intended to ensure maximum stiffness for efficient propulsion and minimal losses, while also optimising aerodynamics.
The top tube and rear end are strikingly slender, almost classic looking. According to BMC, there are little to no aero gains to be made here, but valuable grams can be saved, which is crucial, allowing the new Teammachine R to weigh just 50 grams more than its lightweight twin, the SLR. In size 54, the complete bike weighs just 7.00 kg, which is astounding considering the respective frame and fork weights of 910 g and 345 g.
But that’s not what makes the bike so special, because sooner or later, everyone’s eyes are drawn to the fork. The Halo fork was developed to integrate perfectly into the frame. The minimum vertical distance between the tire and the fork crown is somewhat surprising, with a seemingly tiny gap between paint and rubber, with other manufacturers taking more conventional routes. By making the fork wider, it should create less turbulence around the front wheel, and channel the airflow past the frame. And if that’s not enough, they’ve also increased lateral stiffness by 10% compared to the SLR, making it even more precise. On the more conservative side, the fork is optimised for 25–28 mm tires and can accommodate a maximum width of just 30 mm. And they only offer that much clearance to make the bike suitable for muddy spring classics – old-school!
The Teammachine R is finished off with BMCs typical integrated bottle cages and stealth dropouts, adding the finishing touches to both the aesthetics, and also the aero optimisation. The aggressive looking bike makes quite the impression and looks like a winner even when it’s stationary. But BMC don’t hold back with stats to back it up either: The complete system of the rider and the Teammachine R is said to be 3.5% faster than the lightweight SLR, and at least 1.9% faster than the absolute full-on aero Timemachine Road. A clear statement, making it the fastest BMC drop bar bike ever.
Improved and refined – The geometry of the new BMC Teammachine R
As the name suggests, the new BMC is a Teammachine at heart, and the geometry has remained largely untouched. The stack and reach values have changed by one to two millimetres, depending on the size. But the biggest change is in the seat tube angle. Sizes 47 and 51 have a 74° seat tube angle, 54 and 56 have a classic 73.5° seat tube angle, and sizes 58 and 61 have a slacker 73° seat tube. This is to ensure a better fit for riders of all sizes, and the size optimised seat tube angle should allow most riders to mount and align the saddle centrally on the seat post of the Teammachine R.
Overall, the geometry matches the bike’s intentions: it wants to race! And BMC couldn’t go wrong by relying on the proven Teammachine DNA.
|Seat tube||418 mm||463 mm||499 mm||519 mm||541 mm||570 mm|
|Head tube||108 mm||133 mm||149 mm||165 mm||185 mm||211 mm|
|Chainstays||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm|
|BB Drop||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm|
|Wheelbase||968 mm||986 mm||989 mm||999 mm||1,015 mm||1,030 mm|
|Reach||368 mm||378 mm||387 mm||393 mm||402 mm||409 mm|
|Stack||504 mm||528 mm||548 mm||563 mm||582 mm||606 mm|
An overview of the new BMC Teammachine R models
First of all, the Teammachine R is a thoroughbred racing machine, and the models are specced accordingly. As the frame is only available in their flagship 01 carbon layup, it’s also priced accordingly. The frame set costs a whopping € 5,999, though at least this includes a matching ICS Carbon Aero Cockpit. The complete builds all come with a power meter as standard, and aren’t exactly affordable either.
At the top of the range sits the € 14,999 Teammachine R 01 LTD, specced with a SRAM RED AXS eTap groupset, DT Swiss’ deepest and fastest wheelset, the 62 mm ARC 1100, and of course a colour-matched, one-piece aero cockpit.
The slightly more affordable Teammachine R 01 Four comes with an Ultegra Di2 groupset, two-piece cockpit, and an in-house BMC wheelset, available for € 8,999.
|Teammachine R 01 LTD||SRAM RED eTap AXS with Quarq D-Zero Power Meter||DT Swiss ARC 1100 (62mm)||€ 14.999|
|Teammachine R 01 TWO||Shimano Dura Ace Di2, 4iiii Power Meter||DT Swiss ARC 1100 (62mm)||€ 13,999|
|Teammachine R 01 Three||SRAM Force eTap AXS with Quarq D-Zero Power Meter||CRD-501 SL Carbon (50mm)||€ 9,499|
|Teammachine R 01 Four||Shimano Ultegra Di2, 4iiii Power Meter||CRD-501 (50mm)||€ 8,999|
|Teammachine R 01 MOD – Frameset||–||–||€ 5,999|
First ride review of the 2024 BMC Teammachine R
The handling definitely delivers what the styling and geometry promise. The flagship Teammachine R 01 LTD on test is a seriously aggressive and direct bike, and you can immediately feel the increased stiffness of the fork. There are few road bikes on the market that can keep up with the precision of the new BMC. And this makes the bike a force to be reckoned with on the descents, stable on fast straight sections, but direct and easy to steer, always remaining predictable and sharp even through the tightest corners. Coupled with the aerodynamic optimisation, it’s hard to beat, though it’s not the best choice for inexperienced riders. The incredibly stiff R also delivers when you get on the pedals, converting every milliwatt of power into propulsion. The stiff bottom bracket doesn’t budge on even the wildest sprints and steepest climbs, not giving away any power unnecessarily. Therefore, the aero all-rounder also performs well on the climbs, though it lacks the nimble handling of proven climbing specialists for those big days in the Alps or long mountain passes. But that’s what the Teammachine SLR is for.
At 36 cm, the very narrow handlebar feels a little unfamiliar, but thanks to the 420 mm wide drops, it feels stable and confidence inspiring on the descents and fast sections, nonetheless. It also forces the rider to adopt a more aerodynamic and therefore faster position even if you’re on the hoods.
What the bike lacks, however, is compliance. With such an efficient bike, nothing gives way, and every bump is transferred to the rider unmitigated. Only the 28 mm wide Pirelli P ZERO tires provide some form of comfort. If that’s not enough, you can fit up to 30 mm tires for a little more damping.
But that shouldn’t come as a surprise as the bike is designed for racing, delivering the kind of performance and direct handling that experienced riders with racing ambitions dream of and are unlikely to find elsewhere. However, considering the lack of compliance, you won’t want to ride it anywhere but on the smoothest asphalt – it’s hard to ride fast when your back hurts.
Who is the new BMC Teammachine R for?
No doubt about it, the BMC Teammachine R is a bike for ambitious racers, full stop. If you want to go really fast and turn heads, the new BMC Timemachine R should definitely be on your shortlist. It’s made for active and fit riders who don’t want to be guided by the bike, with the precise handling giving the rider complete control. However, it takes an experienced rider to handle such a direct bike. It’s only on the climbs that the bike doesn’t excel in every respect, though that isn’t required of an aero bike, and it’s surprisingly light at 7 kg, nonetheless. While the paint job is rather low-key, the bike itself isn’t discreet and won’t appeal to everyone. You should also know that if you ride a BMC Teammachine, it’s clear that you own one of the fastest and hottest bikes currently available, and you’ll have to deliver – be it a town-sign sprint or the local post-work race, you’ll have no excuses for coming in second place.
Our conclusion on the new BMC Teammachine R
With the Teammachine R, BMC present what is probably the most striking race bike of 2023, delivering a consistently aero- and racing optimised concept. Thought through down to the finest detail – whether it’s the Halo fork, stiff bottom bracket, integrated bottle cages or clean dropouts – the bike screams efficiency and performance. But it doesn’t stop there: with its incredibly precise and direct handling, the BMC is one of the most exciting and interesting bikes of 2023, even if it is somewhat lacking in terms of compliance.
- uncompromising and consistently aero concept with many small features and a very eye-catching fork
- sharp handling that’s made for speed
- fast, aerodynamic look yet lightweight
- a well thought-out package with an aero cockpit and deep DT Swiss wheels
- the narrow handlebar of the ICS Carbon Aero Cockpit limits some riders
- minimal comfort, less suitable for MAMILs
- conservative tire clearance
Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of GRAN FONDO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.
Words: Calvin Zajac Photos: Calvin Zajac, BMC