The BMC TMR01 as raced by Danilo Wyss in 2013 boasts a range of features that, frankly, haven’t stood the test of time. That doesn’t mean it is not an intriguing creation…
– This article first appeared in RIDE Cycling Review #59 (published in February 2013) as part of our annual team bike overview –
– See more of the TimeMachine of 2013: click the YouTube link (above) –
Interview Rolf Singenberger (Designer, BMC)
A healthy pessimism is understandable, really. These are – afterall – athletes who entrust not only their chances for success but their lives to a sporting goods item.
Professional cyclists are naturally extremely suspicious of new equipment and unlikely to race on anything they haven’t tested exhaustively. In light of this, the BMC Racing Team’s decision to use the timemachine TMR01 in the Tour de France last year is quite exceptional.
Quick show of hands please: who among you would start a club race on a brand new bike? Okay, what about the toughest race in the world?
Rolf Singenberger, CEO of the BMC arm of the BMC Group of brands (which, in 2013, also included Stromer and Bergamont), was pleasantly surprised when key team riders decided to race the Tour de France on the TMR01.
A few rides around the prologue city of Liège at the end of June 2012 comprised the familiarisation period. Then it was race time!“We were a bit late with the production of the bikes,” recalls Singenberger.
“Usually we let the riders race at the Critérium du Dauphiné just before the Tour to confirm the product. Some of the riders just started for the first time two days before the Tour and they went with it.”
|Danilo Wyss’ Frame & Fit-up|
|Saddle Height (from BB)||722mm|
|Reach (nose to bar)||570mm|
|Saddle Height (from ground)||968mm|
|Handlebar Height (from ground)||849mm|
Absolute consistency in a rider’s contact points (ie. all the measurements from one BMC bike to the next are the same) allowed for the transition period between bikes to be so brief – the TMR01 shares its geometry with the workhorse SLR01 preferred by the road race world champion of 2012, Philippe Gilbert.
From a fitting perspective, there is no change, though the two models are aimed at two very different markets.
The Tour de France-winning SLR01 was designed to offer an ideal compromise between stiffness and comfort at the lightest possible weight. Aerodynamics were not a consideration.
On the TMR01 it would appear aerodynamics were the only consideration but that’s an oversimplification.“Many aero road bikes – due to the cross sections they use – are quite weak,” explains Singenberger. “This bike is made for the rouleurs, right? Big guys: lot of power. Stiffness is key.”
At this stage an earlier point on Singenberger’s résumé bears noting: as a former head of technical development at BMC he has a more intimate understanding of R&D than your typical executive officer with a pure sales background. “On a time trial platform like the TM01 your development targets are not really concerned with weight, so you use up to the 80mm cross section that is allowed by UCI.
“In the end you still have enough cross-sectional area to make a stiff bike.
“On a road bike you want to lower the weight which means using a cross section with less height to reduce the amount of material but you have to go wider to gain stiffness in the bottom bracket and the front end.”What of the most obvious question: how ‘aero’ is it?
“That is always a bit difficult to answer,” says Singenberger.
“We can’t optimise the frameset to work with every wheelset on the market. We have to make a choice so we go for optimisation towards our technical partners in the team. If you put this bike in a wind tunnel with the same 80mm Dura-Ace wheelset there is a 28 watt difference over the SLR01.”
|Shifters||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2||7900 series|
|Front Derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2|
|Rear Derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2|
|Crankset||Shimano Dura-Ace||172.5mm, 53/39|
|Bottom Bracket||Shimano Dura-Ace||BB86 PressFit|
|Cassette||Shimano Dura-Ace||11 to 23|
|Handlebar||3T Ergosum Team||420mm, compact|
|Stem||3T ARX Team||130mm, -17 degree|
|Saddle||Fi’zi:k Aliante||Braided carbon|
|Wheels||Shimano Dura-Ace C75||9000 series, tubulars|
|Tyres||Continental Comp. Pro Ltd||25mm|
|Bar Tape||3T Team|
|Misc: SRM power meter|