I have been thoroughly enjoying my titanium Foundry for the last six months. (If you missed out on the original post about titanium bikes, you can read about that right here).
Not too many things have changed since I first got the bike. The external cable routing has kept my shifting and braking smooth and reliable, and my bike has not given me a single issue yet. I did end up swapping out my Mavic aluminum wheels. I opted to go for a set of Enve SES 3.4 clinchers with Enve’s brand new carbon hubs which only further improved my ride quality. Crazy, I know. If you told me when I first got the bike that it would be possible to make my bike ride even better, I wouldn’t have believed you.
Needless to say, when BMC dropped off the new 2017 BMC Roadmachine at our shop, I knew I had to try it. I came off of a carbon bike onto my titanium bike, and I wanted to hop back on a carbon frame to compare the differences after riding titanium for so long. This would also be my first time riding disc brakes, so I was curious as to how they performed in comparison to rim brakes on carbon wheels. With all of the hype surrounding disc brake road bikes, I wanted some first-hand experience on them so I could come to my own conclusions about them.
The Roadmachine is touted to be a one-bike-does-all kind of bike. I like to think that my Foundry can accomplish the same thing, but the Roadmachine actually does much more. It does so by drawing technology off the BMC Teammachine, Timemachine, and Granfondo. “On paper, the Roadmachine is a disc brake road bike with good tire clearance, officially up to 30 or 32mm tires depending on the model; an adaptable head tube designed to accommodate wide range of handlebar heights; geometry that combines short chainstays (410mm) and a high-ish bottom bracket (71mm drop), with relaxed front-end geometry (head angle varies with size, but fork offset is adjusted to maintain a long-ish 63mm trail dimension across all sizes).”
I was excited to take the Roadmachine out on this week’s Wednesday Worlds ride. This was the ideal ride to test the Roadmachine out because I have lots of Strava data from previous rides that I could use for comparison. First things first, I swapped my pedals, lights, and saddle back over to the Roadmachine which was followed up with making the necessary saddle adjustments. Once that was done, I was ready to roll. I weighed my Foundry without all the gear and pedals, and it came in at 15 lbs and 13 oz. Not too shabby considering I didn’t even build the bike out to be super light weight. However, I wanted to take the Roadmachine out for its ride first before weighing it; I didn’t want to be biased on the ride thinking about the weight difference. My initial impression rolling out on the bike was that I expected it to be a lot harsher. Instead, it seemed pretty close to the comfort that my Foundry provided, but I wanted to wait until the end of the ride before drawing any final conclusions. The post-ride soreness, or lack thereof, would dictate whether or not the bike was truly comfortable.
Once the ride really started picking up, I began to realize just how smoothly the bike rode. It was incredibly stable at speed, and handled super well. It wasn’t twitchy, and even when the bike rolled over larger cracks and bumps in the road, I didn’t feel like the bike wanted to jerk around or throw me off. Granted, I did notice that the bike was slower to get up to speed than my bike, but I also had to keep in mind that this particular build was still running aluminum wheels, and a disc brake setup in inevitably going to be heavier than its caliper brake counterpart. Funnily enough, my ride with the Roadmachine ended up being my fastest Wednesday Worlds ride. While that may or may not have to do with stopping due to someone’s flat and then furiously playing catch-up for the remainder of the ride, it shows that this bike really doesn’t hold you back in any way. As for stopping power, the brakes were great. There was plenty of brake power and modulation, and while we didn’t have any descents on the Wednesday route, I feel that they would inspire confidence. Although for someone that weighs as little as I do and doesn’t ride in super mountainous areas, traditional caliper brakes are honestly more than enough for me.
I finished the ride with no soreness in my shoulders (which is the first place I would usually start to feel uncomfortable), and I felt pretty great on it. After moving the pedals and the rest of the accessories off the bike, the Road Machine weighed in at 19 lbs and 7 oz. It made sense that it was a little slower to accelerate in, but a decent carbon wheelset could probably come close to bridging the gap. I can truly see the Roadmachine being the one bike that you could have, especially if you consider a Roadmachine 01 (which is closer in specs to my Foundry). And while I think I would still prefer the quick snappy feel of my Foundry and the classic look of titanium, the Roadmachine makes a great option.
If you happen to fit a 54cm BMC, be sure to stop by the shop and arrange a demo ride!