We test the BMC Timemachine TM02 105 triathlon bike

BMC Timemachine TM02 105BMC Timemachine TM02 105
£2,200
bmc-racing.com / evanscycles.com (UK)

The chosen weapon of former world champions and record holders Michael and Andreas Raelert, BMC’s angular Timemachine TM01 is one of the most focused aero machines around. The TM02 delivers much of that precision performance at a fraction of the price, making it a great ready-to-race or ripe-for-upgrading choice.

Frame and fork

The TM02 loses the leading-edge fork and integrated stem and stoppers of the TM01 for a conventional front brake and ultralight aero fork. It gets a lower-grade carbon mix, too, but combined fork and frame weight is just 1,922g and the whole bike is under 9kg.

The second-tier bike gets all the SubA aero concept frame tweaks of the TM01. This includes the T-section top tube with internal routing and recessed saddle clamp wedge. The Tripwire front-ledged and truncated-tip aerofoil sections on the fork legs, down-tube, seat-tube and seatpost are also designed to smooth overall airflow.

Deep polygonal chainstays extend forwards from neat built-in wheel stop thumb dials to wrap around the BB30 bottom bracket, while the rear V-brake is set into the underside of the chainstays. The frame will take Zipp’s widest wheels, with a bit of washer juggling and brake pad shaving. Steering lock is unnecessarily limited by the way the fork syncs with the frame cutout. Di2 integration is straightforward.

The kit

As the name suggests, this entry-level TM02 gets Shimano 105 front and rear derailleurs, and a close-ratio cassette, but the rest of the equipment is a mixed bag. Dura-Ace is the only Shimano tip shifter option, which means an inevitable injection of class to the cockpit. The Shimano wheels are smooth-rolling stalwarts that’ll be great training wheels if you’re lucky enough to trade up to race wheels later, and the Continental Ultra Race tyres are light and smooth enough to feel lively. A cosmetically appropriate but underwhelming Vision Trimax chainset churns gears slightly softly through its BB30 bottom bracket to complete the transmission.

While spec tables say you should get the newly introduced Fizik Ardea Tri under your rump our sample bike came with a sharp-nosed Arione, so it’s worth checking specifics unless you’re feeling masochistic. Tilting the saddle nose-down made it tolerable for testing, and the aero seatpost has four different clamp positions. The evergreen Profile T2 Wing base bar and T2+ extensions aren’t the stiffest bars out of the saddle and the overbar extensions add height to an already tall head-tube. There’s plenty of adjustability if you don’t want to get really low but be sure to tighten the bolts up properly as the big arm rests have a tendency to droop.

The ride

Once tweaked and tightened, BMC’s P2P (Positioned 2 Perform) fit architecture makes for a much more friendly position than the angular frame suggests and all our testers found a comfortable position within minutes. While component choices and the carbon lay-up soften the inherent aggression levels of the TM02 compared to TM01s we’ve ridden, it’s still a quick bike. Healthy overall weight means it responds to acceleration and elevation changes with enthusiasm.

When it comes to tapping out tempo on longer rides, it’s in its element, too. The clean aerodynamics remain unflustered whatever the wind direction and the smooth, user-serviceable bearings of the Shimano wheels amplify speed sustain. Sharp-nosed saddle aside, the upside of the slight softness you feel when sprinting is that it spools swiftly over rough roads or extended distance with little grin-and-bear-it battering.

Despite its low weight, the fork is also precise enough for clean and confident placement at all speeds. The obviously slack head angle means the TM02 makes direction changes in a very deliberate and measured way too, without a hint of twitch even on windy days. This makes it well suited for deep-section wheels, stress-free long bike legs, getting some fuel down your neck without worry, or all three, underlining its credentials as a top Ironman choice straight from the shop floor and a worthwhile long-term upgrade investment.

+ State-of-the-art aerodynamics and rider positioning
+ Decent, durable kit as standard with masses of upgrade potential

– Slightly soft frame feel under power
– Relatively high front end, limited fork lock and incorrect saddle spec

BMC’s entry-level Timemachine loses the drag-stabbing bayonet fork of the TM01 but delivers high-speed superbike potential at a good price