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by James Huang
June 20, 2018
Photography by James Huang
TECH NEWS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BIKEEXCHANGE
BMC has replaced its existing Teammachine ALR aluminum road racing platform with an all-new frameset designed to more closely mimic the performance, look, and feel of its more expensive Teammachine SLR cousin. Lighter, sleeker, and more comfortable than before, the Teammachine ALR may be dubbed as a “gateway model” for more expensive versions in the BMC lineup, but many buyers will likely call it good right there.
BMC is once again using hydroformed tubing for the Teammachine ALR, although the newly refined triple-butted wall thicknesses help bring the claimed weight down to 1,190g for a painted 54cm rim-brake model — 60g lighter than before. BMC has moved to size-specific tubing this time around, too, for what should be a more consistent ride quality across the size range.
Bike companies often try to get their aluminum frames to mimic the performance of carbon fiber frames in one way or another. In the case of the Teammachine ALR, BMC says the new model is most like the upper-end Teammachines in terms of ride comfort. Bottom bracket and rear triangle stiffness are supposedly nearly identical as well, but the front triangle is said to be 7% less rigid in terms of torsion.
That ride quality should be consistently smooth, too. The dropped seatstay configuration carries over, but the stays are now flattened horizontally, and the proprietary carbon fiber seatpost gains a new D-shaped profile. Combined with the new all-carbon fork, BMC claims the Teammachine ALR’s ride comfort is now on-par with the Teammachine SLR (which is already widely regarded for its unusual cushiness).
The new Teammachine ALR is also said to get a boost in efficiency, with rear triangle and bottom bracket stiffness measurements that are supposedly identical to the Teammachine SLR. The carbon frame still is said to have a 7% advantage in front triangle torsional rigidity, however, which may be noticeable when climbing or sprinting out of the saddle, or even when just snaking the bike through faster corners.
Both the down tube and seat tube take on a wide and rounded rectangular profile down by the bottom bracket to keep the frame from swaying under power. Also note how the internally routed cables exit just ahead of the bottom bracket shell.
Other changes include a neatly hidden internal wedge-type seatpost binder, internal cable routing, and the addition of a disc-brake version with flat-mount caliper interfaces and 12mm thru-axles at both ends (claimed weight for the disc-brake frameset is 1,250g). Carrying over from the previous version are the threaded bottom bracket shell and slight head tube extensions relative to the more aggressive Teammachine SLR.
BMC will offer the updated Teammachine ALR in three complete builds: the Teammachine ALR Disc One with Shimano’s hydraulic disc-brake 105 groupset for US$2,200 / €2,000; the Teammachine ALR One with the standard rim-brake Shimano 105 groupset for US$1,600 / €1,500; and the Teammachine ALR Two with Shimano Tiagra for US$1,400 / €1,300. Australian and European Union prices are to be confirmed.
All of the new bikes will begin arriving in shops around September. More information can be found at bmc-switzerland.com.
BMC intends the new Teammachine ALR as a gateway into higher-end models. Claimed frame weight is 1,190g for a 54cm rim-brake model – 60g lighter than the previous version.
Disc brakes place asymmetrical forces on a carbon fiber fork, and one solution to keep the bike tracking straight under braking is to thicken the tube walls. BMC has kept the wall thickness the same on the new Teammachine ALR fork, but instead has increased the cross-section size on that side to stiffen things up.
D-shaped seatposts are becoming increasingly common. As compared to a conventional round shape, the flat trailing edge makes it more likely that the post will flex under load for a smoother and more comfortable ride.
BMC does without a chainstay bridge on the latest Teammachine ALR, apparently feeling that the stays’ large diameter is sufficiently rigid to keep the rear end from wagging under hard pedaling efforts.
Are threaded bottom brackets making a comeback? Granted, the previous version of the BMC Teammachine ALR used a threaded bottom bracket as well, but nevertheless, it’s good to see the practice continued here.
BMC clearly believes in the longevity of two-chainring drivetrains given that the front derailleur mount on the new Teammachine ALR is permanently affixed to the seat tube.
While rim-brake versions of the new BMC Teammachine ALR use conventional quick-release dropouts, the disc-brake version gets 12mm thru-axles at both ends.
The seatstays are relatively slim and flattened to make them more likely to flex under bump loads.
Internal wedge-type seatpost binders are becoming more common on carbon fiber frames, but it’s rare to see them on aluminum ones like the new Teammachine ALR. According to BMC, this arrangement not only looks better, but also effectively lengthens the amount of exposed seatpost for a given saddle height for more flex and comfort.
As compared to the carbon fiber Teammachine SLR 01 and 02 frames, the aluminum Teammachine ALR frame has about 10mm of additional stack for a slightly taller riding position.
Flat-mount disc-brake interfaces are used front and rear, as is essentially standard these days. Weld quality on this early Teammachine ALR sample looks rather lumpy.
The front brake hose is neatly routed through the fork blade, and the entry point is sufficiently far forward that the hose shouldn’t rub on the head tube.