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The BMC Teammachine – a Story of Success

Janosch — 24. July 2015 — DesignEye
DesignEye

Fifteen years ago BMC launched the first Teammachine road bike. Since then, a lot has happened; materials, technology, geometry and design have changed significantly but BMC’s goal to provide riders with a bike that gives them an edge over their competitors, stays the same. Learn how our ultimate road race bike has evolved over the years, parallel to its success on the professional road cycling circuit.

The 2001 BMC Teammachine SLT01

The first BMC Teammachine was created in 2001 to provide the Swiss professional road team, Phonak Cycling, with the best possible bike. Composed of a mix of alloy and carbon, the Teammachine was one of very few bikes created by blending materials to influence the quality of the ride. BMC constructed its carbon seat stays with the revolutionary ‘Firefork’ wishbone construction method. Many brands adopted this design technology after BMC.

Andy Rihs at the Teammachine SLR01 launch on a cold winter’s day in the Swiss Alps – the early vision of a rider winning the Tour de France on a BMC bike

The 2001 Teammachine was equipped with a carbon fork made by Mizuno, an industry first for commercial and professional use. The rest of the bike was made from an Easton Ultralight tube set - and the ‘skeleton’ seat tube, top tube and seat stay junction. The goal of the skeleton design was to make the ride experience comfortable, without compromising the stiffness of the frame. 

The 2004 Teammachine SLR01 – a New Frame

The Teammachine SLR01 was designed by using what, for its time, was another set of revolutionary innovations; Easton CNT Carbon Nanotube Technology for the carbon parts and the “Crosslock” design. The early “crosslock” design was a unique lug at the seat tube / top tube / seat stay junction. This made it possible to significantly increase the stiffness of the rear triangle in comparison to other conventional full-carbon frames at the time.

Teammachine SLR01

The 2006 Promachine SLC01

The Promachine SLC01 was the first bike worldwide to be manufactured using entirely Easton CNT Carbon Nanotube Technology. This process involves the highest quality carbon fiber materials, requiring immense time and labor to engineer and manufacture. To reduce the weight of the frame even further BMC engineers even omitted the traditional carbon “weave” outer layer, used by every other manufacturer working with carbon, and used uni-directional carbon.

pro machine SLC01

The resulting frame was the first sub-1kg frame from BMC, and probably the first in the professional peloton. The Promachine SLC01 was described by many as a new milestone in use of carbon for high-end frames. When Oskar Pereiro won the 16th stage at the Tour de France on this bike, no-one was surprised to hear him crediting his new BMC bike.

The 2010 Teammachine SLR01

At Eurobike 2009 BMC presented the lightest Integrated Skeleton Concept (iSC) carbon frame ever built, the Teammachine SLR01.

Teammachine SLR01 with worldchampionship stripes

This new ‘super light’ frame was praised for being very comfortable to ride thanks to the ground-breaking Tuned Compliance Concept (TCC) which influenced the ride characteristics resulting in a perfect balance between stiffness and comfort. The geometry of the new Teammachine SLR01 is still pretty much the same as this original version, nearly a decade before. With this new bike “Crosslock” function at the seat stay, top tube, seat tube junction takes on a new responsibility – to increase rear-triangle stiffness and vertical compliance, engineers lowered the seat stays. To provide enough dynamic support, the top tube was ‘split’ into two pieces to provide join the seat tube in two locations, allowing a more optimal distribution of forces at the junction. The result was a lighter, stiffer, more compliant bike that stood out from the rest. From this design and technological advancement, many brands have followed BMC with lowered seat stays.

2010: Cadel Evans wins the Fleche Wallone and a stage of the Giro d’Italia Stage on the Teammachine SLR01

In 2010, the current World Champion, Cadel Evans, moved to the BMC Racing Team and started his season with a bang by winning the early-season Flèche Wallone. This was followed by one of the most heroic stage wins at the Giro d’Italia in recent cycling history when he won on the ‘Strada Bianca’ (white gravel roads) around Montalcino. He achieved all of this on his new rainbow-striped Teammachine SLR01.

Cadel Evans winning the Flèche Wallone

2011: Tour de France Win

Cadel Evans wins the Tour de France on the Teammachine SLR01 and receives a specially painted yellow Teammachine – Andy Rihs’ vision of a BMC winning the tour de France became a reality, only a decade after launching the Teammachine.

Cadel Evan wins Tour de France on his Teammachine SLR01

2012: World Championships

Philippe Gilbert wins the UCI Elite Road World Championships with a furious attack up the Cauberg with less than 3km to the finish line. According to Gilbert who has been the winningest Teammachine rider “The Teammachine SLR01 reacts perfectly in every situation; climbs, sprints and descents. Since 2012 it has been my top choice!”

Philippe Gilbert becomes World Champion

The 2013 Teammachine SLR01

Having already won the Tour de France, UCI World Championships, and many other high profile races with the Teammachine SLR01, improving its results was always going to be a tall order. But pushing the limits of engineering even further has always been BMC’s philosophy. Enter a new way of thinking, Advanced Composite Evolution (ACE) technology – a proprietary, sophisticated software package aimed at delivering tube shapes, carbon layup processes, and material choices for a new racing machine. However, creating a stiffness-to-weight champion, without compromising vertical compliance and ride comfort, would be a steep challenge.

Teammachine SLR01

After a year and more than 34,000 iterations with ACE Technology, the finished frame was a ‘super light’ weight of 790g, had record-setting stiffness-to-weight values, and impressive vertical compliance values. “Acceleration Redefined” was the tagline for the new Teammachine, and that is immediately obvious to any rider that throws a leg over the bike – it just begs for acceleration.

Ridden first by Cadel Evans at the Giro d’Italia

More comfort for the Grand Tours was one of the main requests from the BMC Racing Team riders. So it was no surprise to see Cadel Evans introducing the bike for the first time at the Giro d’Italia where he found the podium when rolling in to Milano.

Next Up; Tejay van Garderen at the Tour of California The industry standard for a carbon frame is between 200 to 300 pieces of carbon, placed in a very specific manner. For the new Teammachine SLR01, ACE Technology required approximately 490 individual carbon pieces, with each with a different role, to create the perfect ride characteristics from the frame. The smallest details can often make the biggest difference, Tejay van Garderen was at least super satisfied with his new bike when he used it for the first time at the Tour of California and came home with the overall title.

2015: a Special Present for Cadel Evans

Is there a better way to thank a former Tour de France and World Champion than with a special bike? Cadel Evans was awarded with this one-of-a-kind gift ahead of his impending retirement at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide.

This custom-painted BMC Teammachine SLR01 was designed to tell the story of his cycling life and highlight his greatest achievements – and to promote his new namesake race, the ‘Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race’.

This isn’t the end of the Teammachine’s success, BMC engineers are constantly pushing its limits further and never stop thinking about every possibility for improvement. Our rider’s thank us for this striving for innovation and improvements with the biggest wins in sport as shown by Greg van Avermaet beating the best riders in the world in a powerful uphill sprint in Stage 13 at the 2015 Tour de France.

Innovation
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