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Is BMC’s new Teammachine R really “the ultimate race bike”?

Swiss brand has worked with Red Bull Advanced Technologies on design that’s intended to balance weight, aerodynamics and power transfer – BMC’s entry in the “one bike to rule them all” genre

BMC has officially launched the new Teammachine R “all-purpose race weapon”, developed with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT) and intended to balance weight, aerodynamics and power transfer. BMC says that the collaboration with RBAT goes beyond aero concerns and helps “create a bike which inspires confidence to be ridden at speed”.

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 24.jpeg

The BMC Teammachine R is the bike we first spotted being used by Team AG2R Citroen in the Criterium du Dauphine back in June – and ridden extensively since then. BMC calls it “one bike to rule them all” – echoing the language used by Specialized to describe its Tarmac models and subsequently by other brands keen to push a single road bike for multiple applications – although the existing Teammachine SLR remains in the range (more on that below).

> BMC prototype aero superbike spotted at Dauphine 

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 13.jpeg

We told you last month that BMC had worked with RBAT, the engineering company that developed from the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, on its new Speedmachine. It describes the Speedmachine as “the fastest time trial and triathlon bike in the world” – although, to be fair, that’s a clam that’s often made. The relationship with RBAT continues with the new Teammachine R.

> BMC and Red Bull Advanced Technologies launch new Speedmachine as “the fastest time trial and triathlon bike in the world” 

What’s the point of the collaboration?

“A strategic, long-term partnership between the BMC Impec Lab [the brand’s research and development centre] and RBAT has seen the sharing of engineering expertise and intellectual knowledge with the goal of challenging what is possible,” says BMC.

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“Mass material and structural simulations, computational fluid dynamics analysis and wind tunnel validation aided the production of Teammachine R. Taking research from the world of F1 and applying this to bicycle innovation has resulted in developments never seen before within the world of cycling.’

Let’s get the weight out of the way to start with because that’s relatively easy to quantify. BMC claims the Teammachine R’s frame (size 54) weighs 910g while the fork is 395g. Complete bikes weigh as little as 7kg – that's for a Teammachine R 01 LTD, size 54, without bottle cages. 

Specialized claims that in a size 56cm, its new Tarmac SL8 frame weighs just 685g in the lightest colourway, and that the fork is 358g. The new Ridley Falcn has claimed weights of 825g and 380g for the frame (size medium) and fork, so the BMC Teammachine R is light, but not as feathery as some key competitors (although we all know that manufacturers’ figures often need to be taken with a pinch of salt).

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 12.jpeg

In terms of aerodynamics, BMC says that working with RBAT has resulted in entirely new features, such as the distinctive new Halo fork.

“The ultra-wide parallel fork legs are unlike anything else in the peloton,” says BMC. That’s true. The width isn’t up there with that of the fork on the Lotus/Hope British Olympic track bike, for example, but it’s pretty damn large.

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 23.jpeg

“When rotating at speed, the front wheel produces a significant amount of turbulent air,” says BMC. “We increased the inner fork spacing to allow that turbulent air to be shuttered away from the frame and reduce aero stall. The result is cleaner air that hugs the frame longer resulting in a significant drag reduction.”

BMC says that the Teammachine R is optimised for 25-25mm tyres although there's enough space to fit a 30mm measured width (it's the height of the fork crown that's the limiting factor).

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 4.jpeg

BMC says that key tube shapes have been completely redesigned over those of the Teammachine SLR “to reduce frontal exposure while still maintaining a perfect balance of stiffness and compliance”. The central section of the head tube is cinched in, for example, although it’s incredibly deep front to rear (the picture below is of the prototype we saw at the Dauphine).

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 5 (1)BMC says, “To ensure absolutely nothing was lost in performance or compliance, unique carbon weave patterns and layup protocols were enacted to ensure a blend of aero and performance. 

“Borrowing lessons we learned from the Speedmachine, we expanded the horizontal profile in key locations like the head tube, bottom bracket, and seatstay junction. The resulting shapes not only look fast but enable the Teammachine R to respond more effectively across a wider range of yaw angles.”

BMC hasn’t, though, provided detailed aero data to support that claim.

The bike features proprietary bottle cages – something we’ve seen on Giant’s latest Propel aero road bikes, for example, as well as on BMC’s existing Timemachine Road, for a claimed aero benefit. There’s a pronounced depression where the bottle on the down tube sits, similar to the Pinarello Dogma F's design. BMC says that the Teammachine R is faster with bottles onboard than without.

> Read our review of the Giant Propel Advanced Pro 1 

The dropouts are also designed to “keep airflow tidy”, being fully enclosed on the driveside.2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 8 (1)

The surface area around the bottom bracket has been revised to take advantage of the UCI’s recently updated equipment rules. As you can see, the shaping is really unusual in this area (again, the pic below is from the Dauphine).2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 1 (2).jpeg

“We took deep to a new level,” says BMC. “By pushing the boundaries of the design we’ve been able to completely reimagine the bottom bracket flow and architecture.

“Deeper tube shapes better optimise the surface area for cleaner airflow while the down tube now melds more seamlessly into the bottom bracket shoulders to reduce turbulence. Additionally, the bigger bottom bracket area reduces the distance between the frame and the rear wheel, helping to keep airflow attached to the rim as opposed to being separated by the tyre.”

The Teammachine R comes with a seatpost that BMC says is slimmer, deeper, and more compliant than previously. It “reduces frontal exposure without a loss in comfort or ride characteristics”, according to the brand. The seatpost clamp is new too, operated by two bolts in the back of the seat tube.

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 7.jpeg“We took feedback from our professional riders and team mechanics and engineered an entirely new seatpost clamp mechanism that is more accessible, easier to adjust, and a breeze to maintain,” says BMC. 

Overall, BMC says that the Teammachine R's drag is 19% lower than that of a Teammachine SLR 01 built up to exactly the same spec. That's measuring the bikes alone at 45km/h (28mph), with a weighted yaw sweep from -15° to +15°.

BMC says that taking the entire system (bike, rider and equipment), it measured a 3.5% drag reduction on average. This data was taken at 45km/h (28mph), on both the track and in the wind tunnel, using different riders and frame sizes.

As well as improving aerodynamics, BMC says that changes to the frame have resulted in “the most efficient power transfer [we have] ever developed”. It says its target was the Teammachine SLR 01, and it has improved stiffness by 10% at the front and rear of the bike.

One other area that BMC is keen to talk about is rider feel, by which it means “a connection between rider and bike [that] leads to better predictability and handling, and more confidence when racing”.

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 1.jpeg

“As with the recently launched Speedmachine, RBAT provided invaluable insight into the notion of ‘driver feel’ and how the driver is connected and feels at one with the car in top-level motorsport,” says BMC.

“Applying this to cycling, [we were] able to delve deeper into ‘rider feel’ and incorporate the notion that understanding how a bike will react on the roads leads to better predictability and handling for the rider, and ultimately more confidence to ride at speed.”

2023 BMC Teammachine R geometry - 1 (1)

Okay, that sounds interesting but what does it mean in terms of specific design features?

“The Teammachine R still retains the iconic BMC seatstay design which improves vertical compliance, wheel traction, and lateral stiffness,” says BMC. “From there, adjustments were made not just to improve overall handling and responsiveness, but also to accommodate a wider range of rider shapes, sizes and riding styles.

“The Teammachine R took the race-proven geometry of the Teammachine SLR and adapted the seat tube angle to achieve a better fit across all sizes.”

Whereas the seat tube angle is 73.5° across the board on the Teammachine SLR, it’s from 73° to 74° on the Teammachine R, depending on the frame size. Apart from that, the stack height is 2mm lower on the Teammachine R and the reach is 1mm longer on most sizes – so minor differences.

2023 BMC Teammachine R - 9.jpeg

“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, Technical Director of RBAT.

“In this project we added more CFD [computational fluid dynamics] 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 Teammachine R is something we’re extremely proud of.”

Teammachine SLR versus Teammachine R

Despite describing the Teammachine R as “one bike to rule them all”, BMC is keeping the Teammachine SLR in the range – the two will sit alongside one another. How should you choose between them?

“For the big mountain days and the fastest bike when the road points up, the Teammachine SLR is the clear and proven choice,” says BMC. “The climbing ability of the SLR remains supreme and can be seen as the older brother of the two.

“When aerodynamics becomes the focus, this is where Teammachine R comes in. The Teammachine R took race proven geometry formula and added an aerodynamic revolution, adapting it to modern racing, for a huge variety of racing parcours and rider types; making it the fastest race bike we have ever created.” 

BMC says that the Teammachine R is stiffer and more aero than the Teammachine SLR, but the SLR wins in terms of lightness and compliance.

Models and pricing

Here are the various options of the Teammachine R that are available:

Teammachine R 01 LTD €14,999 (£12,966*)
Groupset SRAM RED eTap AXS
Wheels DT Swiss ARC 1100 62mm 
Cockpit ICS Aero carbon
Tyres Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter Quark D-Zero 

Teammachine R 01 TWO €13,999 (12,100*)
Groupset Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Wheels DT Swiss ARC 1100 62mm 
Cockpit ICS Aero carbon
Tyres Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter 4iii Precision Pro (dual sided) 

Teammachine R 01 THREE €9,499 (£8,211*)
Groupset SRAM Force eTap AXS
Wheels Fore CRD-501 SL 50mm
Cockpit ICS Aero carbon
Tyres Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter Quark D-Zero 

Teammachine R 01 FOUR €8,999 (£7,780*)
Groupset Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels Fore CRD-501 50mm 
Cockpit ICS2 Integrated
Tyres Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR 26
Powermeter 4iii Precision (single sided) 

Teammachine R 01 MOD €5,999 (£5,186*)
Includes frameset and ICS Aero carbon cockpit

*Prices given here in British pounds are simply Euro prices converted at today’s exchange rate rather than official UK prices.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Add new comment


Simon E | 6 months ago

£5,186 just for a frameset & cockpit (and the mountains of hot air expelled by the marketing bods with their 'F1' / Red Bull-shit).

Yet it's still just a normal bicycle that you have to pedal yourself.

Cugel replied to Simon E | 6 months ago

Simon E wrote:

£5,186 just for a frameset & cockpit (and the mountains of hot air expelled by the marketing bods with their 'F1' / Red Bull-shit).

Yet it's still just a normal bicycle that you have to pedal yourself.

For the A-Z: "Cockpit" - the place within an overpriced bicycle wherein squats the cock daft enough to pay the huge wodge for a fashionable bike-frock (or the handbag version) so as to pit themselves agin' the other bike frockers in the lookitme hierarchy-of-consumer-things races.

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