Race Tech

Pro bike: Philippe Gilbert’s BMC Team Machine SLR01

The BMC Team Machine SLR01 went on a diet to get in shape for the Tour de France, dropping the frame weight to a claimed 790g – and this machine belongs to world champion Philippe Gilbert.

But you could probably guess that, thanks to the rainbow stripes on the toptube, seatpost, seatstays, chainstays, fork – well, just about everywhere.

On the face of it the new frame bears an uncanny resemblance to its predecessor (which weighed in at a claimed 950g), but BMC say their new Accelerated Composites Evolution software has allowed them to tweak the frame according to a number of parameters – including tube profiles, carbon layup and UCI regulations – before arriving at this final design after some 34,000 iterations.

That’s helped drop the weight, putting the Team Machine SLR01 on par with the likes of the Cannondale SuperSix Evo Hi-Mod and Trek Madone, but BMC also say they’ve boosted stiffness by a huge 25 per cent, while also improving comfort by ten per cent.

The downtube is huge and wraps itself around the BB86 Shimano PressFit bottom bracket, while the toptube is wider than before to improve stiffness. Up front, the headtube tapers from 1-1/8″ to 1-1/4″ and the fork weighs a claimed 340g. The new frame is now compatible with mechanical and electronic groupsets thanks to BMC’s Dual Transmission Integration internal cable routing.

As for Gilbert’s machine, pro riders often choose an undersized frame, and the 31-year-old is no different, opting for a 51cm frame (with a 53.5cm top tube) – the second smallest size in BMC’s range. That means he has two spacers below his stem, which itself is 14cm long, in order to achieve his desired position. Open the gallery above for a closer look.

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