Modern endurance bikes should take their cues from the BMC Roadmachine 01. And, some manufacturers have done just that by putting it in their crosshairs as they have introduced new models. With that, I can attest that all the attention is warranted as the Roadmachine 01 delivers one of the most refined rides in the endurance category and represents what a modern road bike should be.
BMC Roadmachine 01 Features:
- TCC 01 Premium Carbon layup with Angle Compliance Technology
- Includes standard and tall topcaps and spacers
- Integrated seat clamp with D-shaped seatpost
- 12mm thru axles front-and-rear
- Flat mount standard brake mounts
- 30mm tire clearance
- Fully-integrated cables and stem for a streamlined look
- Frame weight: 920 grams (54cm, stated)
- Weight: 15.4 lbs complete (actual, Zipp 303 Tubeless with RT25 tires)
Going fully-custom with the Roadmachine 01
While BMC does offer an eTap build, my test bike is fully-custom. The SRAM Red eTap HRD groupset was built up and ridden primarily with a set of the new Zipp 303 Firecrest Tubeless Disc Brake wheels for the utmost in versatility and overall performance. Initially, I installed a set of Easton EC90 SLX bars, but switched to ENVE Compact road bars near the end of the review — both in 44cm aboard a 56cm silver red frame.
With the Roadmachine 01, proper fit is key to determining the right spacers to use. Since the stem and spacers are proprietary, once that choice is made, there’s not much wiggle room to change things up. I had the folks at Contender Bicycles here in Salt Lake City perform the build. With my Retul measurements, they delivered a perfect fit. The only niggle is that they used the low-profile top cap with three spacers instead of the taller cap with a single spacer. Performance and fit has been superb, but aesthetically, the taller topcap might look a little sleeker.
Again, when building up an 01, work with your shop and fitter to ensure you have the right fit because at this point — even with eTap — I’d have to disconnect the hydraulic lines and bleed the entire system just to make a change. That’s a a hard pass for now.
Everything tucks neatly inside the stem and steerer cavity with the only exposed cables being a couple of inches from where the tape ends and the lines tuck under the stem. The overall look is sleek and streamlined and makes traditional cable routing look clumsy. But, again, any maintenance can be a bit of a chore.
Speaking of maintenance, I did disassemble the stem during the test because I developed a slight squeak. A bit of carbon paste on both sides of the two outer shims and it has gone away.
A season-full of riding
The Roadmachine 01 has seen the bulk of my miles this season and has overlapped or followed a number of bikes in the process (Trek Domane SLR Disc, BH G7 Disc, Focus Paralane, Fezzari Fore CR5, Factor O2 Disc, Ridley Fenix SLX and Cannondale Synapse). Throughout those miles, each of those bikes were compared to the Roadmachine 01 and, without question, I always loved hopping back aboard the BMC. There’s something special about this bike that just feels natural and comfortable.
The usual test terrain always includes hefty amounts of climbing with several ascents and descents of the Alpine Loop in both directions — including an epic day that added a ride up South Fork Canyon as well. I called it the Two Cheeseburger Ride because that’s what I deserved (and got) afterwards. The wheelset for this ride was the Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Tubeless, set up with Zipp Tangente Course R28 tires.
A few weeks later, I tackled most of that same loop, but with Zipp 30 Course wheels mounted to Specialized Roubaix 23/25 tires. My goal was to see how alloy wheels and narrower tires (running tubeless) might affect performance. The bike felt just a bit snappier and a touch less compliant, but the differences were very subtle — the chassis deserves credit here since it delivers such a smooth ride. The resulting times with the alloy wheels and narrower tires were incrementally faster and just about a minute faster on the 8.7 mile 2641 ft ascent of the Alpine Loop from the Sundance side. The wheels may not be the only factor, but that’s what the tale of the tape showed.
Flatter or rolling terrain is another area where the Roadmachine delights. Flat-out efforts on undulating terrain were always rewarded with stability and a predictable ride. I’ve been handily crushing many of my flat-terrain best times as I can comfortably sink into the drops and just hammer. It’s hard not to giggle inside when I’m cranking out the miles on this beauty.
Comfort in spades (but it’s no La-Z-Boy)
Just where does all that comfort come from without any fancy doodads, suspension or inserts? All I can say is BMC engineers know their stuff because the Roadmachine hides its comfort well. The only visible clues are the D-shaped seatpost and dropped seatstays that allow the seat tube to flex. Compared to the Trek Domane SLR in its softest setting, the Roadmachine feels just as good or better in my book.
A big part of the comfort story is the ability to run 30mm tires (some have squeezed 32’s). Varying tire widths and pressures (even going tubeless) will yield significant comfort. Honestly, I’ve been more than satisfied with the performance of Zipp’s Tangente Speed RT25 tires running tubeless at 80/85 psi. front/rear. At my 170 lb rider weight, those pressures have been superb across all road surfaces.
Both the front and rear of the bike deliver quality comfort here. With some bikes, there is a disparity between them, but I have found nothing of the sort here. The Roadmachine 01 is an equal-opportunity bike as small bumps are handily muted both front and rear.
All this comfort doesn’t detract from laying down power when the time comes. Standing efforts (climbs or sprints) are met with solid acceleration. It doesn’t quite have the zip that you’ll find on something like the Teammachine SLR01, but it’s darn close.
Handling and such
Many endurance bikes lack the responsiveness of race machines — as they should. This means that sometimes we’re left wanting just a touch more playfulness out of these bikes. The Roadmachine 01’s angles don’t match those of the racy Teammachine, but do feel quite quick and responsive on the road. Line adjustments, tight corners, high-speed arcs, etc. are all natural and fun.
Again, most endurance bikes excel at stability on high-speed descents. This stability is welcomed by those of us who lack the desire (or skills) to handle a race bike at 45+ mph. After many high-speed mountain descents, I’ve found the Roadmachine to be a ton of fun, but at the highest of straightline speeds, it can become just a touch of a wanderer. It’s not enough to cause issues, but it does happen.
Custom finishing kit
My custom build is similar to the Roadmachine 01 Two build you can get off-the-shelf from your local BMC dealer. At $9499, it’s a pretty penny, but there’s nothing more you could ask for in an all-day, all-road crusher.
Matched up with eTap, the Roadmachine 01 just plain looks amazing. The lack of visible wires and cables really makes this bike sing. And, SRAM Red eTap HRD is my favorite electronic drivetrain on the market — no question.
I’ve had both the Easton EC90 SLX and ENVE Compact Road Bar aboard the bike for testing. Both are great, but the ENVE is one of the finest bars I’ve tested and can’t say enough about the feel and performance it provides.
Additionally, I’ve had the Roadmachine 01 set up with a variety of Zipp wheels from the 30 Course to the 454 NSW Disc rocketships. Any of these wheels allow the bike to shine, but if you’re dead-set on unlocking superbike status, be sure to get a set of hoops.
The only downer that I’ve experienced is the flat mount adapter for the front caliper is slightly off spec for SRAM Red brakes. It’s odd, I know, but with the provided adapter, the rotors touched the inside of the caliper. I had to place a couple of washers in there to space it out while (still) waiting for the arrival of a proper adapter. Complete eTap bikes (I’m told) from BMC will come properly equipped, but if you are building it up from a frameset, double-check the clearance — particularly under heavy braking.
UPDATE 7/13/2018: After more rides and high-speed descents, I figured out the minor wandering issue at high-speeds and found it to be mostly due to arm fatigue at the end of long rides and long descents. Also, BMC sent the proper front disc adapter and everything has been trouble-free since then. And, most importantly, this bike remains my absolute favorite bike in the stable.
- Owns all types of roads
- Very comfortable without gimmicks
- Ample tire clearance for the intended purpose
- Superb handling — just how a modern “endurance” bike should feel
- Integrated stem and cable routing really looks beautiful
- Integrated stem is a hassle for the home mechanic
- Flat mount adapter for front fork is off spec for SRAM Red (replacement came and fixed the problem)
The Bottom Line: BMC Roadmachine 01 eTap
Where do I start? I absolutely love this bike. I rode the Roadmachine 02 last year and tabbed it as my bike of the year and the 01 is definitely my bike of the year this year. The BMC Roadmachine 01 feels nimble underfoot, climbs well, descends with precision and responds in spades. On top of all that, it delivers a smooth ride and clearance for wider tires to cushion the ride even more.
Buy Now: Find one at your local BMC dealer
With a slew of other bikes coming and going throughout the year, the BMC Roadmachine 01 was always a joy to hop on. Every bike was compared to this one and after every ride, I had a hard time wiping the smile off my face. This is a refined bike that checks all the boxes for an all-day, all-terrain crusher. This is the endurance bike that steals the other endurance bike's lunches and thumps them on the playground.