BMC TeamMachine SLR02 First ride review

I’ve recently been sent a BMC TeamMachine SLR02 and this is the first ride review. To cut to the chase, this striking bike has made a very positive first impression and is already proving fun and fast to ride. To find out more read on….

BMC’s TeamMachine line is the Swiss company’s race bike range. The TeamMachine SLR01 is the bike of choice for the pro-team bearing the company’s name, with a top of the range price to match. The TeamMachine SLR02 uses the same moulds for the smaller sized frames[1] as the top of the range model but has a different carbon layup that uses less individual pieces of carbon, which makes it simpler and cheaper to build. This also reflects in the weight, with the SLR02 coming in around 200 gms heavier as a frame than the SLR01.

A great looking bike straight out of the box

A great looking bike straight out of the box

This means that the TeamMachine SLR02 should be a pro-tour level bike engineered for more real world budgets and riding. It still boasts much of the expertise that BMC can bring including the ACE technology that uses computer simulation in the design process and modelled 34,000 different layup options before settling on the optimum combination of weight, stiffness and comfort (vertical compliance).  You can see BMC explanation of that process here:

https://youtu.be/Q2VCXYiw77Q

Ultimately BMC’s design and engineering approach results in three levels of TeamMachine – SLR01 at the top, SLR02 in the mid-range and the SLR03 as the entry point into BMC race designed platform. At each of those levels there is a range of build options for your budget using a range of Shimano groupsets. So if you want a mechanical Ultegra bike you can have that on a TeamMachine SLR01, SLR02 or SLR03 frameset depending on the depth of your pockets.

Chunky top tube also looks like it means business

Chunky top tube also looks like it means business

The bike I have in for review is the TeamMachine SLR02 in Ultegra, which retails in the UK for £2499 (although it’s on special at the time of writing). If you want to step up to a top of the range SLR01 Ultegra build, you’ll need to find an extra £1,000 (£3,499 retail) or if you’re budget won’t stretch as far there’s the SLR03 Ultegra at £1,999.

The SLR range is part of BMC's Altitude line of bikes for climbing and racing

The SLR range is part of BMC’s Altitude line of bikes for climbing and racing

In my mind, the TeamMachine SLR02 should be the “Ultegra” of the range – most of the performance for a bunch less money that the top of the range SLR01 “Dura Ace” level. Real world high performance for those of us who want a fantastic bike but don’t want to, or simply can’t justify spending pro-tour level money.

BMC TeamMachine SLR02 - non drive side view

BMC TeamMachine SLR02 – non drive side view

So what do you get for your money with the TeamMachine SLR02? Well it starts with BMC’s distinctive and chunky frame design in a striking glossy white finish, built into a bike with a complete Ultegra groupset, Fizik saddle, BMC branded finishing kit (including a carbon seatpost), a pair of fairly basic Shimano RS21, 23mm Continental tyres. BMC’s trade mark dropped rear seatstay design looks great and helps the bike stand out, as do the enormously chunky downtube and chainstays, which help the SLR02 look very purposeful.

Big chainstays do help deliver great power transfer

Big chainstays do help deliver great power transfer

It’s a bike that looks like it means business – the downtube has to be one of the biggest on any bike I’ve reviewed and the chainstays look massive too. It’s a bike that looks like it’s going to be a fast, stiff race bike – it doesn’t look like it’s going to take any prisoners, or enjoy relaxed social riding.

Huge downtube merges into equally chunky bottom bracket area

Huge downtube merges into equally chunky bottom bracket area

Sizing for me was interesting. I normally ride a 56cm bike but looking at the stack and reach measurements on the BMC site, the 54cm reach was much closer to my usual NeilPryde Nazare geometry, so I’ve “sized down” to the 54 for this bike. The stack height is helped by the spacers that come with the bike, so all I had to do was run a bit more seatpost and the fit is great.

This generous stack of spacers helped me instantly feel comfortable but can easily be lowered

This generous stack of spacers helped me instantly feel comfortable but can easily be lowered

The wheels and tyres are the “weak” point in terms of they’re not on the same level as the rest of the bike but they’re strong reliable and will make an excellent set of training or travel wheels. For most of us, I think we’d assume that we’d be putting better wheels on this bike, either that we have already or once we’ve saved some money. I’ve already done that as you’ll see below.

So how does it ride?

I always note my first impressions on any new bike. The first ride on this bike was an hour after work with a friend and we rode pretty hard (well I was riding hard to keep up with him). The TeamMachine SLR02 responded to my efforts really well and liked to accelerate on the climbs – I mean change up gears as you accelerate on climbs, which was great fun. Power transfer seemed excellent with the boxy tubes delivering the goods.

Good own brand finishing kit including nice short reach bars (70mm)

Good own brand finishing kit including nice short reach bars (70mm)

The BMC also struck me as being a very smooth bike and a comfortable one too. On the first ride, I was really surprised at how well it muted out a lot of the road buzz and I felt the fork was particularly good with respect to ride quality.

Very impressed with the fork on the first rides

Very impressed with the fork on the first rides

I followed this up with a 100km social ride with friends but I swapped out the stock wheels for a set of Reynolds 58 Aero wheels. The first thing was how fantastic the bike looked with the deep wheels – really fantastic. On the ride itself, the bike impressed me even more. It was a 4-5 hour ride on a chunky tubed race bike and I felt really comfortable for the whole ride. The bike was happy hammering it along or attacking the climbs or cruising along chatting. Once again the ride quality impressed and it’s a bike that got lots of admiring comments and interest.

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

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

The geometry is nimble and fun to ride with the responsiveness to steering input that you’d expect on a race bike and the fun that goes with that.

The BMC TeamMachine has made an excellent first impression and I look forward to spending more time on it before sharing a final verdict.

You can find out more about the bike here: http://www.bmc-switzerland.com/int-en/bikes/road/altitude-teammachine-slr02-ultegra/

You can order them from Evans Cycles here: http://tidd.ly/6ab9eda6

At the time of posting you can buy this bike for under £2,000 which is a terrific buy. Even on the first ride basis, I’d have no problem recommending this bike as being a great choice for someone who wants a fast, fun, comfortable and distinctive bike.

[1] The sizes larger than 54cm are different on the SLR02 and SLR03 than the SLR01 as the later has 6 size choices while the former only 5.

Thanks for reading.

If you’ve found this post useful, please consider subscribing to girodilento premium today to help us produce more great content. Subscribers also get access to our pro cycling coverage, premium interviews and the ability to give suggestions for future posts.

You can subscribe now for less than 3p per day by clicking on the green button below: