With a pro road team that includes 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans on its books and now the Uplace BMC tri team as well, BMC has the athletes to provide real-world clout to match its R&D department’s efforts.
The Swiss company’s TimeMachine TM01 has delivered in the tunnel and countless times on the road, but how much of that speed has trickled down to the TM02?
The TM02 looks every inch the modern tri/TT bike, with plenty of the ground-breaking features and geometry from the TM01 apparent. The cables are internally routed and the core elements of BMC’s subA aero shaping – the 3:1 length-to-width profiling, truncated tube profiles and turbulence-reducing Tripwire edges – are all present.
The front brake sits exposed to the wind on the subA fork, but the rear is tucked away behind the bottom bracket. With an RRP around £120, the Shimano WH-R501 wheelset is a disappointing presence on such a performance-geared bike. They’re heavy at around 2kg and would probably soon be consigned to training duties. The Continental Ultra Sport 2 tyres they’re shod with are decent enough, though.
The drivetrain is predominately Shimano 105 but, although it won’t noticeably affect performance, the inclusion of a Tiagra front mech seems a little tight-fisted. Dura-Ace bar-end shifters always deliver positive shifts and, although there are fancier mechanical shifters on the market (I’m thinking Sram’s R2C shifters), there’s a reassuring feel to their operation.
Although on the heavy side, the Profile T2 Wing base bar and extensions are proven performers and their adjustability is excellent.
A Fizik Ardea Tri manganese-railed saddle is a welcome addition and sits atop a BMC seatpost, which has more trickle-down benefits from the TM01. As well as more subA aero trickery, the
p2p (position to perform) post enables a full 42mm of fore/aft adjustment.
With a great amount of adjustability from both the cockpit and the seatpost, you can match your regular TT position easily and instantly feel 100% at home on the BMC. The dead-straight tubes, hard angles and truncated profiles might not appeal to purists, but there’s a stealth aesthetic that gives you a lift before you even turn a pedal.
Once you do put some power through the cranks, though, the TM02 ticks every box of stereotyped Swiss efficiency. Even with the frankly unremarkable and hefty Shimano wheels, the quality of the frameset shines through and its willingness to accelerate is staggering. It’s no slouch though the bends either. And although it wouldn’t necessarily be your go-to bike for a twisty hilly course, it certainly handles challenging descents well for a tri bike, with no handling quirks.
On climbs, the weighty wheels deaden the ride; their effect being felt most when you’re out of the saddle. But the TM02 climbs lighter than its build weight and way above the quality of its wheels. Put it on some flat and rolling roads and it flies. The dialled-in position, its stability and sheer stubbornness to relinquish rolling speed make the TM02 an ideal long-course cruiser.
It’s amazingly compliant too and does a great job of smoothing out rough roads. You can hear the air passing over the frame, which just encourages you to keep tapping out a solid tempo. Hit a rise, drop a gear or two and, most of the time, you can power over without coming out of aero tuck. If you need a bit more oomph, want to stretch your legs or just put a grin on your face, stand up, give it the beans and enjoy that sensation of every watt of your effort being converted into speed.
Does everything a quality tri bike should.
Scores big for the R&D-backed frame, but we’re docking points for the wheels and front mech.
The value is in the frame set and its years of upgrade value.
Comfort and adjustability make it ideal for the long haul.
(All images: Jonny Gawler)
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