Monday, February 13, 2012

The BMC Team Machine

My first race bike, a late 1970's vintage Centurion Pro (can you say "Cinelli"?) was something that came along with a deal when I bought out a guy's bike shop in 1981 from Manitowoc, WI. The Centurion was the best bike in the stock that I received, and it just happened to fit me. Over the years, I upgraded the components to Campagnolo Nuovo Record and Super Record. It served me well through the years I was participating in ultra-marathon cycling, including the 1985 "John Marino Open" (JMO),  what was then the 700-mile qualifier for "Race Across America".

A couple years ago, I picked up a slightly used 2005 Felt F65. It's been a great bike, taking me through over 7,700 miles last year, including a few 140 mile, one-day rides last summer. But I knew it was time for something else. The full carbon framesets out there these days offer incredible choices in ride quality, whether you are a sprinter like World Champion Mark Cavendish, or a Grand Tour victor like Cadel Evens (who rides a Team Machine, by the way). The things about carbon fiber, is that the frame designer/builder can do just about anything he needs, to make the frame behave a specific way a rider might want it.

Last week my new BMC Team Machine arrived. This is the first brand new race bike I've ever owned, and the first that I've ever carefully selected after spending months researching design, geometry, and handling characteristics of several brands and models. My search eventually came down to two choices, a Trek Madone 6.5 or the BMC Team Machine. Both are incredible bikes, but I decided on the BMC mostly because I preferred it's geometry over the Trek. That's not to say it has better geometry than the Trek, only that it is better for my own particular build.

Last night I had my first chance to ride the Team Machine, but it was only for 15 miles. Today I was able to get out for 40 miles, and give it a little more of a test on some hills. It's clear that this bike is a world of difference from my Felt, which is a mixture of aluminum and carbon fiber. First, it smooths the smaller road irregularities better than the Felt. The other thing that was obvious was the way it accepted whatever power I applied to the pedals while climbing, with the least amount of lateral flex.

I'm hoping to ride the first century with it sometime in March or early April, weather permitting. That's when the real test will be, as I am planning to use this bike in my record attempt across Wisconsin later this summer. I'll report more about the bike as the days and the miles get longer. Come on spring!


  1. I am also considering a bmc team machine vs race machine. How is the team machine a better fit for you compared to the madone? ( I am 6'2" with long legs and short torso). Thank you for your boldness in proclaiming Jesus Christ!

  2. Thank you for your question, Tyler. It sounds like you and I have a similar build. I am 6'1&1/2". I have long legs and a relatively short torso, but my arms kind of make up for that in their length (monkey arms ;) ). What is your weight? I am currently 177 lbs., but should be back down to 165-170 by riding season (with a little more discipline!).

    I came from riding a Felt F65. There are things on the Team Machine (like the reach and stack) that closer mimmic the Felt's dimensions. Whereas with the Madone, the H1 and H2 frame fit choices fell either on one side or the other of my Felt. The H1's offering was too agressive, and the H2 was too upright. With the steerer tube length and the head spacers that BMC provides on the Team Machine, I'm able to set the bike up with the same position that I have on my Felt, and still allows me some flexibility by changing the position of stem spacers if I desire to.

    I also liked that the Team Machine had a shallower head tube angle than the Madone. At one point I was very close to ordering the Madone.

    I'm a mechanic at a shop that sells both brands, so I was able to spend some time riding each bike. It was after the test rides that I made my final decision to purchase the Team Machine. I perferred the way the bike handled, particularly on climbs and in the turns. It's hard for me to describe, but it just felt more predictable.

    I've never actually rode a Race Machine, but I believe it will offer a somewhat similar ride to the Team Machine. Let me know what you decide. I'll be very inrerested in your impressions myself. Keep in touch!

    Thank you for your encouragement, and may God be with you. :)

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I forgot to ask you what size frame you ended up with?

  3. 60cm. But if you're familiar with BMC's sizing - at least with the Team Machine - a 60 is closer to a 62 in most other manufacturers.