Swiss manufacturer, BMC, retained its enormous presence at Eurobike, displaying a comprehensive range of high performance road (and mountain) bikes.
Two models caught our attention, for vastly different reasons: the hydraulic disc brake-equipped Granfondo GF01, and the Lamborghini edition of the flagship Impec.
BMC Granfondo GF01 Disc
One of the few bikes at Eurobike equipped with Shimano’s new – and still very rare – non-series hydraulic disc brake, the GF01 was a machine whose wheels commanded the greater part of our attention.
The endless debate on disc brakes for road bikes has focussed almost entirely on the discs – and barely touched on the wheels needed to carry them. Disc mounts on the hubs are a non-negotiable requirement, and spoke lacings will need to withstand greater braking forces.
Rather than wait for a wheel manufacturer, BMC have built their own, uniting a low-profile carbon rim, 25mm wide and 25mm deep, with a low profile hub based around a DT unit, laced in a two-cross pattern with 28 spokes, front and rear. The Granfondo GF01 Disc is the machine on which it makes its debut.
The claimed weight is 1,550 grams, and the man making the claim is BMC’s head of development, Stefan Christ, a man whose calm demeanour makes him as undisposed to making wild and unsubstantiated claims as you would expect from a senior engineer from a Swiss brand.
“We were kind of struggling to find high-end rims with the profile that match the characteristics of the Granfondo,” he told RoadCyclingUK at Eurobike.
Each Granfondo has 28mm tyres, and Christ believes the dimensions of his disc wheel work well with the specification, providing a ‘perfect compromise’ between weight and aero efficiency.
“We were going for a wheel with high spoke count, and with crossed spokes, but with spokes that are ‘elastic’ – so light weight spokes, with which we could achieve high stiffness from the high number of spokes, but also comfort,” he said.
“You can really ride what ever looks like a road,” he joked, “whether it has tarmac or not.”
The ability to ‘tune’ the performance of carbon had been the deciding factor in selecting the material, he continued, highlighting again that comfort rather than performance is the Granfondo’s raison d’être.
The Granfondo GF01 Disc frame is a brand new design, necessarily so, to accommodate the disc mount and with chain stays to withstand the additional forces. Christ points to BMC’s hardtail mountain bikes to support the claim that the design brief was not entirely new. The fork is the carbon unit from the mechanical-disc equipped, aluminium chassis-ed GF02.
Christ is convinced that disc brakes for road bikes will become the dominant stopping technology. Its introduction at the highest price point has slowed its evolution, he believes, along with the UCI ban on its use in road racing. “We are all clear on the benefit to the rider.”
He draws a parallel with electronic shifting: a technology not strictly ‘necessary’, but one likely to be sorely missed by a rider asked to return to mechanical shifting after six months. The high price point, Christ believes, both for electronic shifting and for hydraulic disc brakes, is the only factor preventing the technology from reaching a wider audience.
“From a technical point of view, especially with carbon wheels, rim braking is something from the past; something we should get rid of as soon as possible,” he said.
If money is no object, and you want to be certain of rolling out on a Sunday morning on a machine no-one else will have, the Lamborghini-edition of BMC’s flagship Impec offers the greatest guarantee, short of having something custom made.
Most riders will find its price tag prohibitive, but it you can afford it, you’ll be purchasing a machine built by robots, uncontaminated by human hands, and whose carbon is spun on giant looms at BMC’s Swiss headquarters.
The same can be said of the production Impec, of course, so what extras can you expect should you shell out an additional €15,000 or so for the Lamborghini edition? Well, a saddle and handlebar tape upholstered with the same leather as used for in the Aventador super car. Oh, and a Lamborghini head badge. To you, sir? €25, 000.