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The Story Behind The BMC Teammachine R, Our Race Weapon

Tudor Pro Cycling's BMC Teammachine R

The bike is the most obvious element when talking about innovation in cycling. Tudor Pro Cycling is lucky to be working with Swiss premium bike brand BMC. Racing and performance are part of BMC’s DNA and the company is known for its innovative approach, its continuous way of pushing the boundaries, and ultimately creating speed. This year, the Team is racing the brand new Teammachine R. We met Stefan Christ, Head of Research & Development at BMC, to talk about the development process of their latest race machine, and of our relationship.

Stefan Christ, BMC Head of Research and Development

The Teammachine R was a very special project within BMC because it was initially not sure that we would commercialize the product. 

We were just creating a product to challenge ourselves with a set of performance targets that we had never achieved before and therefore it really started as a prototype project together with Red Bull Advanced Technologies (RBAT).

The whole project started in January 2021 and run until October 2023 when the bike was publicly launched. We went through different phases, from setting performance criteria and KPI’s to virtual prototypes, to drawings, to many rounds of prototyping and testing until to bike was raced for the first time in June 2023. Our performance targets were so high that we were sometimes wondering if we would succeed. We even adapted our production standards to meet the accuracy needed for the production. We did not want to cut any corners. It took time but it paid off.

We started from a blank sheet of paper, and it is very rare. Usually we start a new project for life cycle management. We basically want to improve an existing model with a new version of this or that, so we automatically have a reference.

In this case, and since we had the opportunity to work with an external partner, we did not want to limit the collaboration too much. So, we started from scratch with target values, with the bike geometry and the sizes. Nothing else. This way, we had complete freedom on the shapes, within the UCI rules of course, but nothing else. It was really very open.

Aerodynamics, weight, stiffness and riding comfort are the four parameters we use to characterize the performance of a bike. We knew that if we hit the aggressive KPIs we targeted in these areas, this would be big. It would really fulfill the needs of a racer and become the number one choice bike. The rider’s fit and the way we wanted the bike to handle had to be exactly the same as for the Teammachine SLR. We did not question our recipe there because it has been working so well over the years so it was a given boundary from the beginning. Also, we wanted it to be easy for riders to switch from one bike to another.

BMC Teammachine R development timeline
The BMC Teammachine R : A two and a half year project

The Teammachine R brings free speed, I mean speed for free. I think for instance if you are in a downhill, you just have to pedal less to go a certain speed. And then of course it is whenever you are challenged with the aerodynamic side that you have some energy saving. What I also like about the Teammachine R, and I think all the rider feedback we have is backing this up: the bike also feels very fast. In the end, the mental aspect is also very important. You need to feel the speed and the power transfer, otherwise you very easily start to question the numbers.

I believe that with this bike, riders are convinced that they don't need anything else. I mean, choice is good, right? But choice also means you must choose which can have an impact on the mental side. In fact, some riders are never sure and making a choice can add stress. So, I think it is a very strong point on the mental side, but then also of course in terms of logistics. This all becomes much easier for us, and for the team I assume.

Fabian’s feedback made us confident that we were going the right direction. I showed him this very first prototype which was not meant to be a commercial product. And of course, he gave feedback. He was always up to speed with the project, and it reassured us.

It is super important to work with a professional team such as Tudor Pro Cycling. It is the peak of the performance in our sports. So, to have a close collaboration with the team is fundamental to push the performance to such high levels. Then of course you can collaborate with a team in different density or different depths. From a R&D side, the exchange is always very close, sometimes it is not visible to the outside, but it is a key driver for our motivation and our ambition to make the best performing bikes. We talk to Tudor’s Innovation Team every second day. We are currently in a phase where we are mainly sharing progress. Sometimes we talk about challenges we must overcome. Sometimes about opportunities we see. What I like is that there is a lot of transparency so we can also share ideas for the future. I think it is what is needed to be successful.

Being close with Tudor Pro Cycling is really multi-level. We are close in terms of geographics and that makes things easier. Then being Swiss also makes things easier to have a common understanding. We are also close through personal relationships. This always plays a role and then of course, having kind of the same target, the same vision for the sport.

We are already working together on the future, but we also must allow ourselves some time to get all the feedback we need about the Teammachine R. It is new for everyone, and we are early in the racing season, which means the bike has raced in some racing situations but not in all of them. So, the next six months will be super interesting in terms of feedback.

More stories can be read in Musette Magazine. The Tudor Pro Cycling magazine gives an insight into the activities of Sette Sports in cycling. Musette is published three times a year and each issue focuses on a specific topic that can be discovered here.


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