BMC SLC01 ProMachine Review


Chris Swainhart, Ft Thomas, KY July 2008

General comments...
I purchased the BMC ProMachine in January 2008 and I have put 2000+ miles on it so far, so I think I can give you a real world review. My advice to anyone wanting to bike is find a bike you like to ride, get a light one. If you don't like to ride it, or if it is to hard to ride, you won't ride it and will not get any benefit from it. It will just sit in your garage and gather dust. I have put my main comments up on the top of this page, and specific comments underneath the photos below.

Am I a weight weenie?
I have to admit I like carbon. It is lighter and stronger at the same time. BMC takes traditional bike carbon one step further with carbon nano tubes. When I first heard about it, I thought it was some kind of marketing gimic, but no, nano tubes infused into the frame add strength and lower the weight.

The new Boeing jets are made out of carbon using the latest in carbon nano technology. You can read about Boeing's use of nano technology here. I recommend carbon for anyone, and if you can get the nano tubes, all the better.

Does it live up to its hype?
The bike is definitely stiffer, and although I am no pro even I can tell a difference. You probably can too. As soon as you step on it, it goes. Surprisingly though it is still comfortable to ride. That is one of the first things I noticed when I got on the bike is how quiet and smooth it is.

What about the wheels?
The Mavic R-sys wheels add considerably to the overall performance of the bike. They add to stiffness, power transmission, and comfort all at the same time. I rode a BMC with some other great Mavic wheels, then with the R-sys. I do like the wheels. I wouldn't put them on a time trial bike as they perhaps are not as aerodynamic, but they are great for all-around riding, and especially for hills. I'm not too worried about the aero aspect. When I get a call to join team BMC I am sure they will provide the BMC TT01 for time trialing.

What about the components?
Campagnolo Record. As far as I am concerned, this is top notch. I have some comments below.

Service and setup
You need to get a bike from someone who will fit you. A professional bike fitting is a must. I recommend Reser Bicycle Outfitters in Newport, KY. Greg measured me, put everything into the computer, and used that as a starting point. We ordered the bike to spec, although they have most all the componenents on hand to do build or adapt anything you need. When the bike came in and they built it up, Greg put me on the bike and wouldn't send me out the door without tweaking everything.

Later, when I started pouring on the miles I was having a little knee discomfort he refitted me and tweaked a few things and my knee started to improve. Seeing the guys on our weekly rides, Greg always keeps in touch with my comfort and success. Matt in the service department makes good on their lifetime free tune-ups, not that many have been needed. Sarai fit me in the shoes and clips I needed to fit my extra-wide feet. Jason answered the 5 million questions I had. You don't get that kind of service online. (I would know, since I operate an Internet business!)

Personally speaking....
I biked everywhere as a kid. Unfortunately I never heard of racing bikes. Back in the '60s when I was a teenager I was about the only one I knew interested in healthy pursuits instead of all the other garbage going on. But without the Internet it was hard to do research, and I never knew there were others interested in bikes, particularly for racing.

Fast forward 4 decades now I am glad I stayed away from all the so-called "liberating" lifestyles as I am healthier than most my age. However, I have been pretty sedentary as I spend my work hours programming computers. A year ago my doctor said my cholesterol was too high and he was going to prescribe medication. I told him no, I would take up biking instead. After a year I have lost over 20 pounds. I will get my cholesterol checked again in September and will let you know how I do.

Editor's note: 2 years and 8000 miles after this review Mr. Swainhart has lost over 30 pounds, and his cholesterol has been lowered 30% and is within normal limits.

Here are some photos...
I have taken some photos for you to look at. Click on them for larger images. Check back in September to see how I did with my cholesterol!

BMC SLC01 ProMachine. I like carbon. Altogether it weighs about 14.5 lbs.
This massive bottom bracket gives you a rock solid platform for you to do your stuff.
Another shot of the heart of the machine.
Massive chainstays add to stiffness and give you more power. But guess what? They are light!
The "T" shape of the top bar dramatically increases rigidity. I like having the cables internally routed.
The downtube morphs 2 opposing hexagons for stiffness while preserving lightness.
Campagnolo record has a dual pull on the front and single pull brake on the back. I thought it would be better to have dual on both, but I was wrong.
Single pull on the back eliminates rear wheel skidding. I grab both brakes, squeeze hard and it brakes great. It's good to have confidence in your brakes.
Record Ultra-Torque carbon crankset transmits power with a suprisingly light crank.
Carbon bottle cage covers the "nano" graphic. Carbon nano tubes infused into the frame are an order of magnitude stronger.
FSA carbon stem is rock solid, and the aero flat bar is very comfortable. It is so much more comfortable than my previous round handlebar that I didn't feel a need to wrap the top part.
Spiffy red carbon courtesy of BMC.
No point gaining weight here, so Easton's carbon seatpost is in order.
R-sys wheels have carbon tubes for spokes. Easton carbon nano fork.
The R-sys carbon tubes are much stiffer than regular spokes (30% according to Mavic). This gives you great power as soon as you step on them. Their lightness (1355g for the set) sure makes going up the hills better.
The back has flat spokes on one side to allow for a narrower profile to accommodate the rear cog.