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Don’t call it a gravel bike.
Or, at least, BMC isn’t calling its new Roadmachine X a gravel bike, and perhaps rightfully so as tire clearance tops out at 33mm. Instead, BMC calls its three new Roadmachine X models all-road, a term that spans a wide expanse these days.
Still, the new Roadmachine X comes dressed in gravel groups from SRAM and Shimano and is clearly quite capable on ‘light’ gravel.
BMC launched its Roadmachine in 2016 as an endurance road bike to complement its Teammachine race line. While the original Roadmachine had a longer wheelbase and slack geometry common to endurance bikes, it had a shorter head tube than most other endurance bikes at the time, allowing for riders to get into a racier position.
BMC tweaked the Roadmachine platform in 2019 with wider tire clearance, and frame weight of 895g for a size 54cm.
Now, the Swiss company is using that platform for this new Roadmachine X family.
The fork is different — allowing for external routing and a bit more compliance — but everything else carries forward: the carbon frame with relaxed geometry, the cushioning carbon seatpost, and the cockpit with its clever routing hidden under the stem and flattened bar top. Even the top tube bag mounts — a telltale sign these days for gravel bikes — are an existing feature of the Roadmachine.
BMC product marketing manager Stefano Gennaioli said the new gravel/adventure groups from SRAM and Shimano have allowed to BMC to capitalize on how the brand initially envisioned the Roadmachine.
“This bike isn’t an afterthought, it is the culmination of years of forethought,” Gennaioli said. “We thought of the Roadmachine as all-road at the beginning. We just didn’t have the right parts at the time. For instance, 1x road bikes weren’t really a viable thing yet because of inappropriate gearing. Now with SRAM XPLR we have a great solution.”
Models, pricing, and availability
There are three models in the line. The top Roadmachine X One is available now for $6,299. A size 54cm bike weighs 7.8kg (claimed). The green bike shown at the top of this story is built with SRAM Force XPLR eTap AXS, with a 44t ring paired to a 10-44 cassette. The Two model will be available in April for $4,799. This orange bike will be built with SRAM Rival XPLR.
The aluminum model, the Roadmachine X AL One, will be available in May for $2,099. It will come dressed in a 2x Shimano GRX drivetrain.
Besides its lower price, the AL One is also notable for its greater tire clearance than the other two models. BMC recently launched an alloy version of its URS gravel bike, and the Roadmachine X Al is based on that same frame, which boasts 45mm of tire clearance to the 33mm of the carbon frames.
All the bikes will come in six sizes (47, 51, 54, 56, 58, and 61cm), and will feature WTB Expanse 32mm tubeless tires.
One bike can’t do it all, BMC says
BMC went big on its gravel bike, the URS (Unrestricted), which boasts a super-slack front end and 10mm of elastomer rear suspension. It has a relatively tall head tube, a long top tube, a short stem, and a wide, flared-out bar. It is on one far end of gravel, quite close to a rigid mountain bike in many ways.
The Roadmachine X is arguably on the other far end of gravel, and could be quite capable for dirt roads. But BMC insists that one, this is not a gravel bike, and two, the do-it-all drop-bar bike isn’t really a thing.
“The Roadmachine X is a bike made for solo riding, adventuring. The URS is for aggressive gravel. We don’t see one bike being able to do everything,” Gennaioli said. “You cannot do gravel racing, gravel bike packing, and road riding with one bike without having compromise somewhere.”
“The URS, we call it ‘gravel plus.’ We didn’t want to do a me too bike. It is designed for the type of riding we do in Switzerland. You don’t need a 2x; you are either going up or down,” he said. “The Roadmachine X is not a a gravel bike. You can put 28s on and do any road ride. We will continue to cater to the segmentation.”