BMC Roadmachine01 endurance disc brake race machine
BMC’s new Roadmachine01 disc brake road bike straddles the line between endurance bike and race machine. It’s built around an endurance geometry platform with a taller head tube, longer wheelbase and chain stays, and slacker head tube angle, but the frame is tuned to feel fast and exciting like a nimble race bike. It boasts loads of integrated features for a sleek and aerodynamic look and comes with smart component specs for three different levels. Plus, the Roadmachine can fit up to 30-millimeter tires, which we love. As a versatile bike that can take on rough dirt and gravel roads while still feeling like a race-tuned machine, the Roadmachine01 impresses from top to bottom.
The bike balances a forgiving ride with responsiveness thanks to what BMC calls its Tuned Compliant Conception technology. Using carbon layups and tube shaping, BMC can beef up the bike’s stiffness in some places for optimal power transfer while adding in extra flex in other places for a smooth ride.
For compliance, the Roadmachine was designed with thin seat stays that connect lower on BMC’s specially designed seat tube. This allows the frame to flex vertically and reduce road vibrations before they reach the rider. Offset dropouts and carbon fork tips also add to the bike’s vertical compliance. But it’s the 30-millimeter tires that can actually make the biggest difference in creating a cushy ride. Drop the pressure in these down to 75 or 80psi and you’ll feel like you’re floating down the road.
To keep the bike responsive, however, BMC designed the Roadmachine with an oversized down tube, head tube, and chain stays for extra stiffness. Using high modulus carbon fiber, these bigger tube shapes help increase torsional stiffness at the head tube for more precise steering and add lateral stiffness to the frame for better power transfer. The bike’s beefy BB86 bottom bracket rounds out the total stiffness package for an efficient and responsive ride.
The Roadmachine01 also has a host of integrated features that keep the bike looking sleek and clutter-free. Guides on the underside of the stem route shift wires and brake cables internally through the stem and down through the frame and fork interface. A cable cover on the underside of the stem also keeps these wires and cables tucked away and protected from the elements. Our test bike, the Roadmachine01 Ultegra, uses mechanical shift cables and these must be routed outside of the stem for a less-stealthy look.
All three levels of the Roadmachine01 (Dura-Ace Di2, Ultegra Di2, and Ultegra) come with future-proof cable routing options. There is a port on the down tube where mechanical shift cables enter the bike for their internal routing through the frame. But this port also has a cover that easily installs if you upgrade your bike to an electronic drivetrain with or without wires. The same goes for opposite scenario for the top two spec’d bikes. If you choose to swap out the electronic drivetrains for a mechanical option, you can remove the port cover and route the cables through the down tube.
The Roadmachine01’s components package includes a smart selection of drivetrains, gearing, and wheels for the three different levels. All three come with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and are spec’d with 50/34-tooth chainrings as well as an 11-28t cassette. This compact gearing still provides plenty of gears to push the descents while making the climbs at the end of a long day feel like less of a grind.
The top spec includes Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and DT Swiss RC38 C Spline carbon wheels. The second-tier bike comes with Shimano Ultegra Di2 and 3T Discus C35 Team Stealth carbon wheels. And finally, the third tier, the bike we tested, includes Shimano Ultegra mechanical drivetrain with DT Swiss R32 Spline aluminum wheels.
We were a bit perplexed at BMC’s decision to spec the Ultegra bike with 32-millimeter deep aluminum rims, and this was really our only complaint about the bike. While the semi-aero rim looks nice on the Roadmachine01’s frame, these chunky wheels made the bike less nimble. If carbon hoops were out of the question to hit the $5,200 price point, we would have liked to see a lighter, lower-profile set of aluminum rims rather than these 1,720-gram beefcakes.
Wheels aside, the Roadmachine01 is an innovative bike that could easily replace a couple bikes in our garage. It’s the bike between the lines, merging race features and a responsive ride with a comfortable design for all-day crushing.