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BMC prototype aero superbike spotted at Dauphine (updated with new pics)

Radical new frameset will make its race debut in France. Check out the width of those fork legs!

BMC is about to launch a road bike, possibly an updated Timemachine Road or maybe even an entirely new model, and it's being raced by Team AG2R Citroen in the Criterium du Dauphine ahead of a full release later in the year. We have spy shots to show you... 

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 9.jpeg

You wouldn’t usually expect to find an unreleased superbike next to the bins at the back of a French car park but this is no ordinary week. Oh no, this is the Dauphine, one of the main warm up races for the world’s best before the Tour de France – which for many teams, riders and sponsors is the make or break of the season. 

It would seem that AG2R Citroen is set to have the busiest Dauphine out of anyone as not only are their team bikes fitted with the brand new wireless Campagnolo Super Record but there’s also new frames lurking about.

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> Campagnolo ditches iconic thumb shifter and goes wireless with new Super Record Wireless electronic groupset... and it'll cost you £4.5k

Despite being stickered up with #createspeed, we know this is a BMC – it's a hashtag that the Swiss brand has used before – and we wouldn’t mind betting it’s the latest generation Timemachine Road, the out-and-out aero bike in the range. On the other hand, there's always the chance that it's an entirely new platform, but we'll just have to wait and see on that. It's hardly the sort of information that BMC is going to divulge.

A UCI prototype sticker on the seat tube confirms that this is indeed an unreleased frame so you can’t currently buy this but we reckon we’ll see an official launch before the Tour de France Grand Depart on the 1st July in Bilbao.

The current Timemachine Road was released five years ago in July 2018 so it’s well due an upgrade to keep it in the fight against competitors' wind-cheating machines such as the Cervelo S5, Scott Foil and Trek Madone.

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So let’s take a closer look at this prototype frame. Arguably, the biggest difference from the existing Timemachine is the flared fork that wouldn’t look out of place on a gravel or all-road bike. We’ve seen plenty of brands opting for the same philosophy ever since that Lotus Hope track bike decided that going narrower isn’t always the fastest.

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> How the new Hope/Lotus British Cycling Olympic track bike was designed and made for Team GB riders

We obviously don’t have an official tyre clearance figure for you but the rear of the frame also looks spacious so we can’t imagine it will be less than 32mm, a trend we’ve seen from other brands as pro teams and amateurs alike demand clearance for wider rubber. 

BMC was one of the first to take advantage of the relaxation of the UCI’s 3:1 ruling (where the depth of frame elements couldn't be more than three times with width) and has kept the super deep head tube and bulky bottom bracket areas (shown below) that we’ve seen become more and more popular on aero bikes of late. Just look at the size of this bottom bracket shell and the flared chainstays.

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> Check out our review of the BMC Roadmachine TWO

Kammtail tube shapes – aerofoil profiles with the rear end chopped off – have also been used throughout so we can look forward to plenty of claims of how slippery this frame is compared with its rivals. Place your watt saving bets in the comments section below!

The seatpost clamps from the rear of the seat tube, a style akin to what we’ve seen on the current Canyon Aeroad. Some bikes – like the Wilier Zero SLR, Canyon Ultimate and indeed the unreleased Aeroad that Mathieu van der Poel has been seen riding this season – move the seat clamp into the main frame triangle. However, this supposedly makes it more difficult to build compliance into the frame as more material in this area usually makes things stiffer.

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> The French Connection: AG2R Citroën to reportedly use Decathlon’s Van Rysel bikes from next season

Talking of compliance, like nearly all bikes released in the last few years, this one features dropped seatstays. No surprises there! Bike brands also sometimes say that they drop the seatsays to reduce the frontal area presented to the wind and reduce drag.

At the Dauphine, it would appear that only two members of Team AG2R Citroen will have access to the new BMC: Ben O’Connor and Greg Van Avermaet. At least, we only saw bikes stickered up with those riders' names. We’re bound to see more riders using the bike in future races, including the Tour de France.

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Both O’Connor and Van Avermaet's bikes have integrated cockpits but with the limited time with the bike that we’ve had it’s hard to say whether this is all new or the same as the current BMC integrated cockpit as found on the Teammachine.

Oh, and another interesting feature is that BMC has taken its integrated bottle and storage idea one step further. On the current generation Timemachine Road the bottle cages are proprietary, meaning that they conform to the curves of the down tube and seat tube for a claimed aero benefit. This new frame, though, has a pronounced depression where the bottle on the down tube sits, similar to the Pinarello Dogma F's design.

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BMC has made plenty of radical bikes in the past but it has never quite had that one that's blown the competition out the water. Could this be the one? What do you think of the new bike? Is it everything you’ve been waiting for, or have the Swiss done too little too late?

Edit: We took more pics of the new BMC just before the start of the first stage of the Dauphine...

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 2 (1)

"Red Bull Advanced Technologies" is the  high-performance vehicle engineering division of Red Bull Racing...

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 4 (1)

The driveside dropouts are covered on both the fork and the frame.

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 8 (1)

The head tube is super-deep and the fork crown is integrated...

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 5 (1)

Ben O'Connor and Greg Van Avermaet have two of the new bikes each.

2023 BMC Prototype Dauphine - 10 (1)

Let us know what you think of the new bike in the comments section below.

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

Add new comment


peted76 | 10 months ago
1 like

The bike looks, well.. mean. I'm not sure I produce enough testoterone to even look at it in the wrongway. #createmayhem

KDee | 10 months ago

That first pic, with the fork dropouts resting on bare concrete...makes the perfectionist in me cry 😭 

Sriracha replied to KDee | 10 months ago
1 like

Same - I get that feeling every time I see your typical online review for nice shiny things (phone, watch, camera etc) where they pose the device shiny side down on granite rocks, unfinished concrete, sand (FFS!) in the product shots.

hawkinspeter replied to Sriracha | 10 months ago

Sriracha wrote:

Same - I get that feeling every time I see your typical online review for nice shiny things (phone, watch, camera etc) where they pose the device shiny side down on granite rocks, unfinished concrete, sand (FFS!) in the product shots.

Isn't that to show how rugged and manly the devices are though?

Global Nomad | 10 months ago

always loved BMC design approach, (i've owned two) though the angular seems here to be becoming more smooth in search of aero gains...might be loosing some of its aesthetic distinctivenes..They were also very early on the dropped seatstays, it's others who emulated them. 

Looking forward to seeing and reading more about this....

ritxis replied to Global Nomad | 10 months ago

Wouldn't it be BMC who "copied" dropper seastays?  
Can't Giant (or other brands) be the pioneers? The Compact Road, having slooping, already had them lower........if we speak in traditional frames, 
at a similar time (there may be months apart) it was Felt and BMC who started it...

ubercurmudgeon | 10 months ago


Arguably, the biggest difference from the existing Timemachine is the flared fork that wouldn’t look out of place on a gravel or all-road bike.

Or a fat bike.

check12 | 10 months ago
1 like

All that work around the bottom bracket area, bottles etc and they couldn't snug the  tyres up to the frame a bit more? Because 32mm tyres 

fenix replied to check12 | 10 months ago

I think space makes it more aero ? Like the Hope GB track bike ?

check12 replied to fenix | 10 months ago

wider fork legs may be more aero, though the pinarello Ganna did his world record on was very narrow at the front. It's the gap between the tyres (front and rear) and the frame that's not aero, not the fork legs 

check12 replied to fenix | 10 months ago

The gb track bike had crazy wide front fork legs to break the air before it hit the rider's legs, but at any none track wind angles I don't think that's going to work very well as the air coming off the front forks will not be hitting the legs

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