BMC Teammachine SLR02 1,000km review

The BMC Teammachine SLR02 is a taste of superbike quality at a more real world price point. Highly recommended – a bike you’ll look forward to every ride on.

It’s not often a bike review allows the time to cover a much longer distance for a more fully informed write up. Usually you have anywhere from a day for a first ride review or up to 3 to 4 weeks to ride as time allows to prepare your thoughts. However as much as you can make some useful judgements over a handful of rides, it’s over the longer term that we consumers care the most about. When we choose to spend our hard earned cash on a new bike, it’s in the anticipation of thousands if not 10s of thousands of kilometres over many years.

A great looking bike straight out of the box

So I’ve been very lucky that the good people at Evans Cycles have let me have the BMC for an extended period of time and I’m grateful to them for the opportunity – especially on a bike that’s as good as this.

If you’ve spent any time at all reading reviews on the Teammachine SLR02, you’ve probably struggled to find a review that’s less than glowing. This one is also going to follow that pattern.

I’ve been hugely impressed by this bike and the opportunity to spend much more time riding it hasn’t changed this view, rather it’s further cemented my admiration for the Teammachine SLR02.

What’s been most interesting for me is that over time it became my first bike of choice on most rides. In that respect it’s surpassed my benchmark NeilPryde Alize (Nazare). The only odd thing compared to my NeilPryde is that the BMC doesn’t “feel” as fast. I think that’s due to the smoothness of the ride. It’s a quick bike and I set plenty of personal best on Strava with it. You know a bike is making a strong impression on you when it “replaces” your best bike as the one you’d rather ride.

The Tacx Neo Smart in it’s natural environment – my cluttered garage!

The BMC Teammachine range is made up of 3 tiers. At the top end we have the Teammachine SLR01 range that the BMC pro team race. This is the lightest level at around 800 gms for a frame weight. It also has the highest quality carbon in the layup, which helps reduce the weight and apparently improve the ride quality a little more. The SLR01 also has full internal cabling. For a cleaner looking bike – although most mechanics say you can get better shifting with external cabling. Stepping down to the Teammachine SLR02 range that I’ve been testing, you effectively “sacrifice” the internal routing and you get a heavier frame at around 1,000 gms. From there you step down to the entry level Teammachine SLR03 range, which is heavier again by around 200gms for the frame.

The TeamMachine SLR02 looks even better out in the wild with Reynolds 58 Aero Wheels

Whilst there are a few changes to keep the costs lower, compared to the SLR01, the Teammachine SLR02 delivers a terrific riding experience for any kind of road riding. The Ultegra model I had to review is to me the best option to go for. Ultegra is a bit lighter and nicer to use than 105 or if you wish there’s a Di2 option if you have the extra budget. Of course on the mechanical Ultegra version I had to review you can still upgrade to Di2/Electronic groupsets if you wish, as the frame will run either configuration.

BMC’s dropped rear seatstays have become a signature brand flourish that many companies have since copied. As a race bike the Teammachine boast very chunky carbon tubing to aid stiffness and power transfer. The geometry is reasonably but not excessively aggressive. For me, I sized down to a 54cm frame, which kept the reach manageable. On paper the 54cm BMC has a stack and reach very close to Cannondale’s race bikes, so if you fit a CAAD or a Supersix, you’ll easily transfer across to the BMC.

The Teammachine’s chunky tube profiles also no doubt contribute to it’s climbing prowess. It has to be one of the best climbing bikes I’ve ridden. Those big tubes mean that when you jump on the pedals riding up event steep climbs, this bike responds and goes. It’s very satisfying to be to accelerate and change up gears on the climbs on this bike.

Huge downtube merges into equally chunky bottom bracket area

Another factor for the comfort and ride quality of the Teammachine is the success of the fork, which has a lovely tapered shape to the legs from a chunky tapered steerer down to the quick release. The fork delivers a terrific ride quality but still gives strong dependable cornering. Combined with the frame, the BMC Team Machine offers a terrifically composed and balanced ride. Those 34,000 computer models used to develop the ideal frame layups have culminated in a fantastic all round race bike with great acceleration and handling as well as all the smoothness you’d expect from a high quality design. It’s a striking looking bike, those large squared of tubes look like you’re going to experience a very stiff ride but the beauty of it is that you get the benefit of the big tubes for performance but with a smooth and comfortable ride.

As a race bike and one that was conceived before the shift to wider tyres, the Teammachine SLR02 won’t run wide tyres. It ships with 23mm tyres and you can get 25s in – even on a wide rim but you’ve no chance of going wider. Because the bikes so comfortable, this isn’t a big issue for me as I’m very happy on 25mm tyres but it might be a problem for some of you. It’s something to be aware of.

The BMC branded finishing kit, which I understand is made by 3T is all great and has been a pleasure to use but the bars are smaller diameter compared to most other options, so it feels like you’re riding on a thinner bar. It’s different but I thought was a good finishing kit, there’s a full carbon seatpost too which may add a touch to the smoothness of the ride. I personally didn’t get on at all with the Fizik saddle and that was off the bike after a ride or two, but saddles are a very personal thing.

The Shimano RS21 wheels on the bike I had to review are heavy and don’t allow you to get the best of the bike but they’re cheap and reliable. I’m not a big fan of the Continental Grandsport tyres either. For me after a couple of rides, they came off the bike. The wheels and tyres are competent but don’t do the bike justice. In the 2017 model the wheels have been upgraded to a set of DT Swiss R23 Spline wheels, which is an improvement. You should consider the stock wheels, training wheels, but I’d upgrade them as soon as you have the money for something better.

I was lucky to have two other wheelsets to use on this bike – the fantastic Reynolds 58 Aero and the also excellent Hunt Race Season Aero – riding either of these brought the bike alive as well as dropped the weight. Better tyres helped a lot too.

I’ve loved riding this bike. It’s a comfortable, fast, fun race bike that’s a blast to ride. Whether you’re heading out for short fast rides or all day sportives, this is a bike I don’t think you’ll tire of. I positively looked forward to every ride. I’ve done all kinds of rides on this bike, from short flat out blasts over an hour or so, to 5-6 hour sportives and have never other than thoroughly enjoyed being on this bike. I also love the look of the frameset and even when not riding it, I’d find myself admiring the design and shaping of the frame. BMC have done a really terrific job with the Teammachine.

The BMC TeamMachine SLR02 is a terrific bike, that gives you a great deal of performance, comfort and fun for your money. The BMC Teammachine is available in a range of builds and price points giving you plenty of choices to find the best combination for your money. In my view pick the best frameset you can afford and then choose the groupset your budget will stretch to. In case you’ve not seen it before, I liked the BMC Teammachine so much, I put it in my 2016 products of the year post

This week BMC announced the 2018 models with an updated design. From the early reports, they’ve made small improvements to the ride quality of the bike, added a disc brake option and may allow you to get a 28mm tyre in (may). Normally when a new model comes out, we’d think that the new model is the must have. With the Teammachine, I don’t think it necessarily does. Yes, if you must have the latest and greatest, then go for it but I think this 2016 model is still an absolutely fantastic bike and stands up with anything else I’ve ridden in the last couple of years. I think you can buy any new BMC Teammachine regardless of year and be confident you’ve bought an absolutely terrific bike.

If you’re lucky, you might also find one on special offer here: https://www.evanscycles.com/kmlp/BMC-teammachine

If you’d like to read my initial thoughts on this bike, please click here

Thanks for reading