*By Robin Wilmott
Three years ago, BMC launched the first Roadmachine, a bike I first rode with no advance presentation, or any sort of introduction to, until I saw it. Disc-only, with wider than average tyres, a new – at the time – endurance geometry and ground-breaking integration, it really was quite a revelation.
The market has generally caught up now, but never keen to stand still, BMC’s new Roadmachine raises the bar again. Similar geometry, an improved fit across all sizes, clearances for 33mm tyres, and even greater performance while further improving rider comfort tick and recalibrate our recognised ‘endurance bike’ boxes, and I couldn’t wait to find out what all that meant on the road.
The roads in question were centred on Solothurn, Switzerland, which is only 30 minutes from BMC’s HQ. Riding in the area where the bike was largely developed added a little extra interest, but although the Swiss road quality was predictable, the unseasonal weather wasn’t. Temperatures had dropped from 28 degrees the previous day to early spring-like single digits, and rain.
On the plus side, setting out on Vittoria 30mm Corsa Control tyres, set up tubeless, and with 70psi pressure, inspired confidence, and I was looking forward to my first ride with SRAM Red AXS.
Sadly the new Dfender seatpost-mounted guard wasn’t fitted, but with BMC staff and Cadel Evans in attendance, we headed out.
Some urban kerb hopping and technical direction finding gave a hint of the Roadmachine’s confidence-inspiring stability, and soon we were in open countryside.
Group riding in the wet adds some additional hazards, but Swiss roads are generally excellent, and I had to seek out the infrequent broken sections, holes and cobbles or corrugations to explore the Roadmachine’s comfort levels.
Ride and handling
The 30mm Vittorias measured a little more on ENVE’s AR Disc wheelset, and felt reassuringly grippy, even on mud-covered country lanes. Their easily accessible grip and the reliable power of SRAM’s hydraulic discs made unsighted, narrow descents feel more assured and controlled than they might have been.
Road joints and uneven surfaces were superbly smoothed by the bike’s overall compliance, the front-end providing constantly positive feedback and seated comfort, despite the fitted Fizik Aliante saddle not being my ideal shape, was extremely good.
With far too few miles in my legs over preceding weeks, I’d expected a 4-hour ride on an unfamiliar bike to leave me walking like a cowboy afterwards, but I ended the cold, wet day feeling remarkably fresh.
Roadmachine 01 ONE performance
As the range-topping model, my Roadmachine 01 ONE, perhaps unsurprisingly, demonstrated fantastic performance, but the same frameset can be found on bikes costing substantially less.
The days of all endurance bikes coming with performance compromises are past, and the Roadmachine has the sort of response and reactivity you’d expect on a pro-level race bike, but with sofa-like comfort to boot.
Its wheelbase is a little longer and its head angle slightly slacker, but it still feels sharp, but with the sort of relentlessly stable tracking and control many gravel bikes have become known for.
On one lengthy drag, my solo slogging was interrupted by a girl of around 15 years old, who merrily sailed by with a polite hello aboard her upright e-bike, at double my speed. If ever an event can put things in to perspective, that, and my unavoidable laughter that followed, was it.
At the top of the climb, the road entered some trees and turned to gravel, which was very interesting. Although only about 1km in length, accelerating the Roadmachine through bumpy, loose, wet turns only cemented its all-road bump absorption capabilities, and I’d have been happy to take it much further.
Drivetrain and brakes
Lunch at the original Emmentaler cheese factory was followed by a fun, if slightly bonkers audio-visual tour, which showcased the cheese’s history. Refreshed, more wet hills followed, and I explored every one of the 24 gears available, with Red AXS never missing a shift.
The only surprise was how noisy the disc rotors were at slow speed, something that applied to every bike in the group. At riding speed, they were silent, but in the wet, at near to stopping velocity, the noise was almost ear splitting.
It was possibly because all the rotors and pads were new, but the noise persisted all day. Despite the oral assault, braking performance was never less than excellent.
BMC’s new carbon handlebar is well shaped, with decent purchase on the tops, great transition in to the lever hoods, and a comfy ergonomic drop with easy reach to the levers. They’re quite stiff enough and play their part in absorbing road vibrations too.
BMC Roadmachine 01 ONE early verdict
My overriding feeling from my day aboard the new Roadmachine is that it’s an incredibly easy to like bike.
It covers ground so effectively, and with so little fuss, that long rides take on a different complexion. They’re less daunting, more achievable and less tiring. It does this without letting go of its high-performance roots, and with its tyre clearance and practical touches like the Dfender and top tube storage, the Roadmachine has redefined the endurance road market for the better.
BMC Roadmachine 01 ONE specification
- Frame: Roadmachine, PF86 bottom bracket, flat mount, 12x142mm thru-axle, premium carbon, TCC Endurance
- Sizes (*tested): 47, 51, 54, 56*, 58, 61cm
- Fork: Roadmachine Premium Carbon, TCC Endurance, Integrated Cockpit, flat mount, 12x100mm thru-axle
- Chainset: SRAM RED AXS 46/33t
- Cassette: SRAM RED XG-1290, 10-33t
- Chain: SRAM RED 12-speed
- Front derailleur: SRAM RED eTap AXS
- Rear derailleur: SRAM RED eTap AXS
- Shifters: SRAM RED eTap AXS HRD
- Brakes: SRAM RED eTap AXS HRD, Centerline XR Rotors (160/160)
- Handlebar: BMC RCB01 Carbon, ergo top shape, compact bend
- Stem: BMC ICS 01 — Integrated Cockpit Design, with computer and camera mount
- Seatpost: Roadmachine D-Shape Carbon, 15mm offset
- Saddle: Fizik Aliante R5 Kium
- Hubs: ENVE Road Disc, CL
- Rims: ENVE SES 4.5C AR Disc Carbon
- Tyres: Vittoria Corsa Control TLR G+, 28mm
- Colour: Green Sand
BMC Roadmachine 01 ONE geometry – 56cm frame
- Rider height: 178–186cm
- Stack: 586mm
- Reach: 390mm
- Seat tube: 522mm
- Top tube horizontal: 556mm
- Head tube: 181mm
- Seat tube angle: 74.2mm
- Head tube angle: 72mm
- Chainstay: 410mm
- Front centre: 609mm
- Wheelbase: 1,008mm
- Bottom bracket drop: 71mm
- Fork length: 375mm
- Fork rake: 45mm
- Trail: 63mm
- Crank length: 172.5mm
- Stem length: 110mm
- Stem angle: -12.5º
- Bar width: 420mm
- Bar drop: 125mm
- Bar reach: 70mm
- Seatpost length: 381mm
- Seatpost offset: 15mm