The Roadmachine is designed with speed in mind, with the emphasis on enjoying rapid progress, and swift cornering in comfort, no matter what the road surface throws at you. How BMC deliver such a ride differs from the other two bikes here slightly, in that the compliance technology is engineered into the frame, rather than requiring the addition of a damping unit.
If the Roadmachine can combine smoothness with rapidity, we’ll be laughing. The opening miles of our route do give the impression that 28 mm is the sweet spot for tire width, and that power delivery is much more efficient than we’d expect. Progress is rapid, and it takes a good 20 minutes for us to realize that the BMC is dialling out much of the buzz this road normally transmits to hands and rump.
On the road
BMC has very nearly nailed a perfect marriage of rider comfort and optimum power delivery. The rear end in particular is ably damped by the carbon seatpost, while the short, curved seatstays soak up enough of the bumps to isolate our rump from the road vibes. We really appreciated the Selle Royal saddle’s supportive shape, and the just-so amount of padding it provides. The aero-profile tops of the handlebars, plus very pleasant bar tape, make for a decent place to rest the palms. Taking a little pressure out of the Vittoria Rubino tires is the final piece of the compliance jigsaw.
The comparatively light weight of the bike (almost600g lighter than the Domane despite being a larger frameset size) does give it the edge when the road rises. The stiffness of the bike allows a flex-free, big-gear stamp uphill, lending the Roadmachine a purposeful air. Its 105 hydraulic brakes, meanwhile, are also commendable, providing ample outright stopping power, but more importantly the ability to finely temper the bike’s speed (especially useful if you get carried away with its easy handling prowess on a series of technical downhill turns).
We had no need to venture close to the 32-tooth sprocket, and would tentatively suggest it’s reserved for the most testing climbs of Flanders. Mavic’s wheelset deserves special mention for its bombproof nature, and the way in which it broadens the BMC’s applications to include mixed terrain rides.
This bike begs to ridden hard, and when you do approach the first sharp corner, it really does surprise with its willingness to carve a tight line. For a bike from BMC’s ‘endurance’ range, little has been taken away from its handling. It comes alive in a corner, sending plenty of feedback through a frame that seems to feel all of a sudden stiffen Shaving off a little speed at the last minute with the easily finessed disc brakes causes no panic, and the speed with which you can get back on the gas is a massive bonus.
This would be especially useful on a descent of climbs such as Col de Soller or Sa Colabra in Mallorca, where 180° switchbacks have the potential to rob you of momentum, and where getting back up to speed is the key to rapid progress. On the roads of mainland Europe, on the other hand, bumpy descents on cobbles and farm roads will be adequately smoothed by the reaction of the carbon forks and lengthy seat tube/post.
When all is considered, we’d say this bike is the one to opt for if an engaging ride is more important to you than an easy ride. As an aside, given its price, you might also quite reasonably expect Shimano Ultegra equipment…
The key to the BMC’s smooth ride is the carbon lay-up of its frameset. Using the firm’s own Tuned Compliance Concept, the Roadmachine benefits from what BMC call ‘angle compliance’, whereby the forks, seatpost and seatstays are engineered in such a way that they react and move in differing patterns when subjected to vertical loads (ie, jarring from road surfaces). This is achieved with no detriment to the bike’s lateral stiffness.
The standout feature of the frame is its very compact rear triangle, aiding with the efficient generation of power; an oversized downtube (through which the front and rear mech cables, and rear brake cable are routed) further enhances the lateral rigidity. The shape of the carbon forks, too, is engineered to absorb shocks from the road.
And, what’s this? The front brake cable is actually routed through the fork leg! It makes a huge difference to the overall finish of the frame. The Roadmachine’s frame is also ready to accept Di2 cabling, should you want to upgrade it at a later date to electronic shifting. Steering geometry is moving towards the quicker steering end of the endurance spectrum, with a 72° head angle. The wheels are attached at either end by thru-axles, while a chain catcher is a useful addition, too.
The Roadmachine 02 is available in three models; this, the ‘Three’, employs a Shimano 105 groupset, while the higher spec ‘One’ and ‘Two’ variants feature Ultegra Di2 and mechanical Ultegra respectively. The chainset on the ‘Three’ is a 50/34 set-up, working with a 105 cassette with an 11-32 arrangement. The BMC uses the same fiat-mount 105 hydraulic brakes as the Trek Domane, with hoods and shifters to match.
Own-brand finishing kit supplies the lion’s share of the BMC’s contact points. A set of 420 mm compact drop alloy handlebars are affixed to the steerer by a 120 mm alloy stem (to our mind, it’s a little long for a 54 cm frame, and does contribute to a reach that’s at the limit of comfort for us). The carbon D-shaped seatpost is tuned for vibration damping, and adjusted by way of a recessed bolt in the toptube, which is covered by a rubber collar around the base of the seatpost. The Selle Royal saddle is, for our bony behind, hands-down the comfiest on test.
Mavic’s 24-spoke Allroad Disc wheelset is a sound choice for the standard build of the Roadmachine, offering a 22 mm internal rim diameter which Mavic claims will accept tires up to 40 mm wide. The 28c Vittoria Rubino Pro rubber fitted to our test bike’s rims don’t mushroom noticeably, given the diameter of the rim they’re seated on. And crucially, they’re grippy enough to provide cornering confidence and supple enough to assist in the comfort stakes.
Frame: Roadmachine02 TCC carbon, carbon forks
Brakes: Shimano105 hydraulicdiscs
Chainset: Shimano105, 50/34
Cassette: Shimano105, 11-32
Bars: BMC RAB02 ergo top tube, alloy
Stem: BMC RSM01, alloy
Saddle: Selle Royal 2075 HRN
Seatpost: Roadmachine 01’D’ premium carbon
Wheels: Mavic Allroad Disc UST
Tires: Vittoria Rubino Pro, 700×28
|Size tested: 54||Chainstays (C): 410 mm|
|Weight: 8.84 kg||Head angle (HA): 72°|
|Top tube (TT): 546 mm||Seat angle (SA): 74.2°|
|Seat tube (ST): 507 mm||Wheelbase (WB): 997 mm|
|Stacks (S): 560 mm||BB drop (BB): 71 mm|
|Reach (R): 387 mm|