R is for Racing: BMC reveals the new Teammachine R

BMC aims to be fast everywhere with its ground-up redesign of the Teammachine R

BMC’s newest bike was first spotted underneath the AG2R Citroën Team at the Critérium du Dauphiné this June. However, it wasn’t until the Tour de France in July that the unbadged bike was confirmed to have been created by BMC. Now, at the season’s final Monument, it’s shed its covert paintwork and gained an official release ahead of Il Lombardia. Finally introduced as the Teammachine R, this ground-up redesign of the firm’s all-around racing bike aims to be the ultimate machine for stage racers and has been honed in conjunction with the Red Bull Advanced Technologies unit. 

R is for racing 

Having spent the summer scrapping it out on the WorldTour circuit, the then-unnamed Teammachine R has already carved a niche among the pro peloton’s superbikes. However, given its stark-looking profile, many assumed a new version of BMC’s aero-focused Timemachine was incoming. Instead, it transpires the firm’s more versatile Teammachine was the bike that had received a makeover. In the firm’s words, it’s a race bike built for all parcours.

Built with a design brief to improve the stiffness and aerodynamics of BMC’s current Timemachine while remaining within 50g of the existing Teammachine, this best-of-both-world scenario means that the Timemachine line is now approaching extinction. This will leave the brand’s more forgiving and mountain-focused SLR as the sole remaining alternative for mass competition.

So what’s new? Well, the R in the bike’s name stands for racing, which has been the focus in creating the new Teammachine R. The result of much design and engineering work is a race-winningly stiff frame and fork that remain lightweight at 910 (size 54) and 345 grams. However, the frame’s other vital numbers are more familiar, with crucial geometry carrying over from the former machine.

Redesigned aerodynamics 

Of course, weight and stiffness are only two of the three main attributes that make a bike fast. The Teammachine R has also been radically remodelled to improve its aerodynamic performance. The bike’s profile has been extended when viewed from the side, with a colossal junction between the head tube and downtube that features a truncated aerofoil shape. This redesign has reduced the bike’s frontal areas while extending its horizontal profile. The result is supposedly an improved response across a wide range of yaw angles. 

The downtube has also borrowed from the firm’s existing research and includes proprietary cages that integrate into the frame. The idea behind these is to smooth airflow when carrying bottles, as will generally be the case during regular use. A similar idea is present in the stealth dropouts, which also aim to keep air disturbance to a minimum. 

The extremely deep bottom bracket design takes advantage of the new UCI design regulations with an optimised surface area for cleaner airflow. The gap between the frame and the rear wheel has also been closed to a minimum to help airflow further adhere to the tyre and rim as it passes beyond the frame. This design has been optimised for 28mm tyres, with a maximum space for 30mm if needed. 

Just as striking is the fork, dubbed the Halo, it features a vast stance to reduce the turbulence between it and the front wheel while ensuring that any disturbed air is diverted away from the frame. It’s a similar design to that found on Team GB’s Hope/Lotus track bikes.

Given that the rider creates around 70-80% of total drag, the new Teammachine gently prods its pilot towards adopting a better position. Its one-piece cockpit comes in a range of different stem lengths. However, the universal bar has a narrow 36cm width across the top. This should help users tuck themselves away when on the hoods. Yet when you make the short shift to the drops, you’ll find a broader 42cm stance to provide secure handling while sprinting or covering the brakes. 

BMC claims its testing suggests a 3.5% improvement over total drag when rider and bike are considered together. 

Given wings 

BMC already had a reputation for making techie bikes. Its early experiments with machined aluminium lugs and carbon composite frames helped teams including Phonak and Astana rack up wins, which now include Grand Tours, Classics, World Championships and Olympic victories. 

However, the design of the Teammachine has also been driven by the firm’s collaboration with Red Bull. An odd side effect of the world’s thirst for caffeinated beverages has been the growth of Red Bull’s sprawling media and sports empire. Through its involvement in Formula 1 racing, the drinks maker has since acquired its own high-tech design lab. 

Known as Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT), this squad of engineers has helped Red Bull’s F1 teams win six drivers’ and five constructors championships. Besides competing in Grand Prix racing, this unit has also been deployed to help other Red Bull-sponsored teams design their products, including the Alinghi America’s Cup yachting team. The new Teammachine R is another case in point, having resulted from a partnership between the Swiss bikemaker and Red Bull Advanced Technologies.

The collaboration between the two firms has been running for some time and has already seen a redesign of BMC’s Speedmachine TT bike. However, it’s only now that RBAT’s expertise in aerodynamics, modelling, and composite engineering has been applied to BMC’s flagship bike. 

“Collaborating with BMC has taught us a huge amount about bikes, and it’s been fascinating seeing the result of shared knowledge between these two industries,” says Rob Gray, RBAT’s Technical Director.

“In this project, we added more CFD simulations of different conditions than would be typically undertaken. Adding more points to analyse helped us deep-dive into the areas where performance increases are fundamental. The end result of the Teammachine R is something we’re extremely proud of.

Rider feel

Rattling around in a Formula 1 car might seem divorced from the experience of cycling. Yet the idea of driver feel, how well-connected a racer feels to their vehicle, and the feedback they receive from the road is crucial in motorsport. This more intangible metric has also supposedly benefited from BMC’s collaboration with RBAT. 

BMC claims it’s been able to incorporate a better understanding of how the bike will react on the roads, creating more predictable handling and greater confidence at speed. The AG2R Citroën and Tudor Pro Cycling teams have already used the bike at the highest levels. 

However, you’ll be able to see how well the new Teammachine R might suit riders of the more aspiring kind soon. We’re currently putting together a first ride review, having taken it for a spin around the course at Il Lombardia. 

Availability and pricing

The Teammachine line up starts with the superbike-priced €14,999 Teammachine R 01 LTD with SRAM RED eTap AXS and trickles down to the merely very expensive €8,999 Teammachine R 01 FOUR, which uses Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 groupset. 

In between, you’ll find the €13,999 Teammachine R 01 TWO with Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 and the €9,499 Teammachine R 01 THREE, which employs SRAM Force eTap AXS.

Teammachine R 01 LTD

Groupset: SRAM RED eTap AXS
Wheelset: DT Swiss ARC 1100 (62mm)
Cockpit: ICS Carbon Aero
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter: Quark D-Zero

Teammachine R 01 TWO

Groupset: Shimano Dura Ace Di2
Wheelset: DT Swiss ARC 1100 (62mm)
Cockpit: ICS Carbon Aero
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter: 4iii Precision Pro (Dual Side)

Teammachine R 01 THREE

Groupset: SRAM Force eTap AXS
Wheelset: CRD-501 SL Carbon (50mm)
Cockpit: ICS Carbon Aero
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter: Quark D-Zero

Teammachine R 01 FOUR

Groupset: Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheelset: CRD-501 (50mm)
Cockpit: ICS2 Integrated Cockpit Design
Tires: Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter: 4iii Precision (Single Sided)

Teammachine R 01 MOD (frameset)

Cockpit: ICS Carbon Aero

UK prices and availability are soon to be announced.

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