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BMC, Red Bull, Fabian Cancellara team up on ‘world’s fastest race bike’ project

Prototype BMC to be raced this week at the Ironman world championship in Utah.

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BMC and Red Bull today unveiled a prototype time trial/triathlon bike that will be raced at the Ironman world championships this weekend. This is the first public iteration of the two brands’ project to “develop the world’s fastest race bike.” Four-time world time trial champion Fabian Cancellara was also involved.

“Two worlds from different sports have come together to create something cycling has never seen before,” Cancellara said. “It has been fascinating to be involved in this project from its early stages, to continually test the athlete and machine interface. The finished prototype is incredible, and I look forward to what’s next.”

BMC-Red Bull athlete Patrik Nilsson will race the bike this week at the Ironman world championship, in St. George, Utah.

BMC and Red Bull Advanced Technologies first started working together four years ago, with the Swiss bike brand interested in using Red Bull’s Formula One simulation and modeling technology to fine-tune its bicycles.

Neither BMC nor Red Bull made any aero-drag claims to substantiate their claim on the pursuit of the world’s fastest race bike.

“The simulation know-how of Red Bull Advanced Technologies is very complementary to our in-house expertise of bicycle design and structural knowledge,” said Stefan Christ, BMC’s head of R&D. “Simulating not only the vehicle performance, but the entire performance environment, offers huge opportunities in the collaboration and finally makes BMC athletes even faster. Building the prototypes in our very own Impec Lab here in Grenchen, Switzerland helped us to be fast in development but also realizing exactly our vision of the bike.”

BMC CEO David Zurcher called the prototype “the first Formula One bike.”

Other bike brands have partnered with auto racing brands in the past. Sometimes it’s a marketing thing; sometimes there is collaborative design work. Colnago has had a long relationship with Ferrari, for instance, and Specialized partnered with McLaren on its 2012 Venge aero bike.

There was no initial word as to BMC’s intentions to pursue UCI approval of the bike so it could be raced in the WorldTour. There was not a new BMC on the latest list of UCI-approved bikes published in March.

While no front derailleur is mounted to the prototype bike, there does appear to be a hanger on the down tube.

While photos have circulated of the bike with the name Speedmachine printed on the top tube, the bike doesn’t yet officially have a name, as it isn’t yet officially a production bike, according to BMC.

“This bike is a prototype and doesn’t have a name for now,” BMC global PR manager Melanie Leveau told VeloNews.

If indeed dubbed the Speedmachine, that name would be new to the lineup of BMC bikes; the current time trial bike in the Swiss brand’s catalog is the Timemachine, which was introduced in 2012.