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Groupset: Ultegra Di2 6770
Wheels: Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL
As you can probably tell by the build, this bike was from the 2013 press circuit. I have been wanting to test this bike for a while, so I wasn't going to complain too loudly at 'only' having 10 speeds. Fantastic looking bike in pictures and in person. I don't know what the wind tunnel says, but my brain tells me that it is fast. How does it ride? Click past the jump to find out.
The overall shape is very similar to the recently reviewed Giant Propel, but the TMR01 has a cleaner, more polished look. BMC did a much better job with the little things, like hiding the cables from the wind. Having the rear brake under the chain stays looks nicer, but only further complicates adjustment. Personally, I have always liked the sharp angled design that BMC has had over the past few years.
The Ultegra Di2 performed flawlessly, as it tends to do. I appreciate that the bike came equipped with a standard crank (53/39). Many bikes have today have either compact or mid-compact cranks, but a bike that is concerned with pure speed, such as this, should have the larger rings. If you can't push the 53, then you should be looking at a different bike (grin).
That 53 rings does feel a little easier thanks to a very stiff bottom bracket. While it is usually best to ignore much of the brand rep propaganda, we do believe BMC when they say that this is their stiffest bike to date. The bike really came alive when putting the power down.
However, you had better know where you are headed when you make that jump. True to its look and intended purpose, the TMR01 handles on a razors edge. Steering is quick and direct with very little wasted energy. Not 'track bike' twitchy, but it definitely requires your full attention when things get tight. I am sure that is something that the racers will appreciate more than the rest of us.
As with most aero bikes, the ride was less than compliant, though not quite as harsh as the recently reviewed Giant Propel. Again, while that is not this bikes intent, we would like a smoother ride. To each his (or her) own, but it is still a little firm to enjoy daily on our roads.
Wheels performed well, stiff like Mavic's tend to be. The Carbone SL is definitely a no non-sense aero wheel that you can ride everyday, and the aluminum brake tracks provided a consistent feel no matter the conditions. However, they are a little long in the tooth: I prefer a modern, wide profile rim. The braking overall was acceptable. The BMC units are on the better than some of the integrated brakes we have tried, though not the best. Take that statement with a bit of salt, because decent for integrated is still not close with a good set of calipers.
The brakes aside, the thing I liked least about the TMR01 was the price. This bike is expensive. For 2014 the TMR01 Di2 build is $8000, compare that to a S5 at $5750. Mind you the BMC comes with better wheels, but even taking them into account at retail ($1500), the Cervelo is still $750 less, and the Zipp 60 wheels are too narrow to be high on my list of preferred aero wheels (I have drank the 'wide rim' kool-aid and am a believer, grin). The mechanical Ultegra is $6000, over $1000 more than similarly spec'd S5 and Propel ($4500 and $4900 respectively).
In our opinion, the Ultegra build TMR02 is the better option for BMC aero models. The slightly lower modulus carbon in the TMR02 results in a 100g weight gain in the frame, and a stated difference of 380g overall. More importantly, the standard caliper front brake has greater performance and serviceability, though at an aero cost no doubt. But at $2000 less, that trade off seems well worth it, and the $4000 list price of the TMR02 is more in line with the competition.
To sum up, the TMR01 is very similar to the Propel. It has a few differences that we feel make it a little better, but at a price that probably isn't worth it for most riders.
: +1 Beautiful, aggressive looking bike. Very clean lines.
: -1 Expensive