BLACK FRIDAY SALE! Get 15% Storewide NOW! (excl. Omega One, Styx, ends Dec 4th)

2012 Superbike Shootout

 Dec 24, 2011 article & images by Nick Salazar

(Click here to read my detailed first look at the BMC TM01 from 2011 70.3 Worlds in Las Vegas.)

With the brand new Time Machine TM01, BMC has entered the tri market in earnest. Its previous flagship, the TT01, was a machine built at a 72-degree seat tube angle, and at $12,000 for just the frameset, was out of reach for just about everyone. The new bike hits an aggressive 77-degree seat angle, and will hit price points more or less in line with the other bikes in this feature.

To some extent, the TM01 follows a trail blazed by Trek's Speed Concept: the bike uses truncated airfoils, and uses an invisible front brake of similar construction. But that's where the similarities end. What BMC has attempted to do is to take the slick, clean appearance that comes from fully-integrated front ends, and combine it with the versatility and flexibility of a modular setup. That concept is most prevalent in the stem system in the TM01. Instead of using an integrated stem/fork/bar combo as Trek did, BMC uses its "Triangle Concept" stem as the link between the aerobar of your choice and an otherwise integrated front end.

The stem is a five-piece system consisting of two different-sized wedges, two different length spacers, and the bar clamp. The wedges and the stem clamp can be flip-flopped, and spacers inserted or removed, for a total of 32 different combinations. The result is a final product that still appears super clean, yet lets you pick the aerobar of your choice based on your personal preferences, or fit requirements. The problem is that the stem combinations aren't the most straightforward in terms of dialing in your fit. If all you need is another 10mm of stack, for example, you'll have to first tweak your stem setup, and then re-adjust your bars. There's no simple way to change just one dimension.

Riders would do well to be very careful about their aerobar selection. For lower positions, you'll want to pick a corresponding aerobar like the Felt Devox, the Easton Attack TT, or the Shimano Pro Missile. Those who need more stack can pick something like the Zipp Vuka or the 3T Brezza. Cables route into the stem behind the wedges, and the front brake cable disappears into the frame as well, going straight into the integrated brake and staying out of the wind. Even Di2 is well-integrated with an internal battery compartment behind the bottom bracket.

The rear end of the bike is similarly flexible. The BB30 bottom bracket keeps things simple, and opens up a huge variety of crankset options. A thumbscrew-adjustable rear dropout keeps your wheel tucked right into the frame. And instead of using a flip-flop seatpost as other manufacturers do, BMC opted for a single post with a four-position head, for a total of 42mm of fore-aft adjustment. It's definitely a simple solution, but actually uses fairly a fairly primitive clamping mechanism that can be difficult to adjust. It requires the use of a 13mm crescent wrench that must be slotted in from the side, under your saddle's shell but above the rails. This mechanism can be a bit of a nuisance to use, and means that you can't adjust your saddle using a standard compact folding toolkit.

In the end, this bike can be thought of as something of an ode to minimal elegance, but always tempered by notes of practicality. And though it may take a bit of patience to dial in a precise fit, that's typically the price for the TM01's incredibly high level of integration.

Pros
  • Slick lines, hidden cables
  • Single frame for Di2 or cabled
  • Unique front end solution
 
Cons
  • Minor wrenching quirks
  • Difficult to dial fit precisely

Tags » blue,  felt,  frames,  shiv,  shootout,  specialized,  speedconcept,  tm01,  trek,  triadsl
  • Andreas Raelert riding his aggressive position on the BMC TM01.
  • The BMC TM01 I test rode in Las Vegas at the 70.3 World Championships.
  • Craig Alexander signed to Specialized just before the Kona World Championships, and rode it to his third Kona title, and a Kona course record.
  • The Specialized Shiv from the launch in Kona, Hawaii.
  • Dirk Bockel rode a custom-painted Blue Triad SL in Kona.
  • The Blue Triad SL is among my favorite of this batch. It's sleek, easy to wrench, and rides great.
  • With an aero brake, the Blue Triad SL has a frontal profile to rival anything in this test.
  • My position aboard the Blue Triad SL.
  • The bike with the sleekest stock profile has got to be the Trek Speed Concept.
  • Chris Lieto aboard his Kona edition Trek Speed Concept.
  • Here's my Speed Concept stripped down to the nude carbon.
  • Mirinda Carfrae aboard her Felt DA, which comes in a 650C version.
  • Rinny riding her Felt DA.
  • Andi Boecherer on the Felt DA.
  • The 2012 TriRig Superbike Shootout

Related Articles
The biggest race of the year went off with a bang. Here's our HUGE gallery of race day bike photos.
Here's a thorough survey of the top bikes in the industry, and all their individual strengths and weaknesses.
Every year, we find lovely odds and ends to share with you dear readers. The expo at Ironman Hawaii is full of fun. Enjoy!
Although Specialized has not introduced a new bike since the Shiv was launched in 2011, Tim Don's rig caught our eye getting its last-minute tuneup before tomorrow's race.
One last rig to feature before race day -- the Aussie champ known as Barny is looking lean, mean, and ready to race. Check out the video interview and gallery.