When BMC released the new RoadMachine, we wondered where it fit. Its dual-height-headset cap makes it similar to the TeamMachine’s fit in low mode, while in high mode it almost matches the endurance-focused GranFondo. It took us halfway up the diabolical Kitzbu¨heler Horn mountain in Austria to realize BMC doesn’t expect you to add this bike to your quiver. It replaces your quiver—and does it very well. Whether this is good practice for a company that makes lots of bikes we’ll leave for another day….
The Dual Cap is a beautifully clean solution to raising and lowering bars. It’s a sort-of-glorified spacer, but it looks much better, and in tall mode does not affect handling as negatively as a stack of spacers do. Cables run through a RoadMachine- specific stem, then down the head tube and out to the components. Is the endurance rider ready for the service headaches an integrated cockpit can cause? We’ll find out, but it sure does look good.
The RoadMachine is a disc-brake road bike with flat mounts and through-axles. The bike’s ride quality and handling characteristics have been designed to split the TeamMachine and the GranFondo. BMC used all its tricks to give the bike real comfort including a new, thin seat post. With clearance for 32mm tires, the RoadMachine can be extremely comfortable, yet with the influence of the TeamMachine the bike can also handle wattage.
Now, back to the Kitzbuheler Horn…
We found the bike to be extremely lively and reactive, with a race feel at the pedals and bars when required, yet extremely comfortable. This should come as no surprise—the TeamMachine is one of the most comfortable race bikes in the peloton and the RoadMachine takes this to the next level.
The platform is beautifully balanced laterally, taking high-speed sweepers with amazing confidence. The longer, more relaxed position takes nothing away from this experience, but that changes when speed needs to be scrubbed to tackle a tight apex. This is what disc brakes excel at, but not the RoadMachine.
BMC has given the fork a touch too much flex, front to back, in the name of comfort, and under heavy braking loads the fork shudders slightly and the front end shortens noticeably. Ninety-nine percent of the time the balance front to back is perfection, but the Kitzbuheler Horn highlighted the 1 percent where it fell short. We still proclaim the bike a wonderful endurance frame, because you shouldn’t be white knuckling unfamiliar descents at a Gran Fondo anyway.
Why it Works for Endurance
With sportives and gran fondos quickly replacing centuries, an element of competition has been added to distance riding. The race-inspired feel at the pedals of the BMC RoadMachine, on one of the most comfortable bikes we have ever ridden, is a wonderful combination. $7,499; bmc-switzerland.com
Read the full review at PelotonMagazine.com