Triathlon Bike Review - BMC TM02 TimemachineJuly 24, 2012By -KM
It’s hard to imagine how we could have picked a more appropriate bike to review in this, our long distance special. BMC’s timemachine TM02 is, according to the company, “aimed at long-distance bikers.” If that was the goal, the Swiss company has achieved that and more - the TM02 is one of the most comfortable bikes to ride in an aero position we’ve come across. If you’re looking for a bike that will get you through a 70.3 or an Ironman and allow you to stay down on your drops for most of the way, this is well worth a look.
That comfort hasn’t come at the cost of any aerodynamic qualities, mind you. While the TM02 is a more affordable version of the TM01 that Andreas Raelert used to set a new Ironman world record last year (and Cadel Evans used to win last year’s Tour de France), it retains many of the super-aerodynamic qualities of it’s more expensive counterpart in the BMC TT/Triatlon line up. The subA Carbon frame is sleek to the extreme. Internal cable routing and a hidden rear brake are just a couple of the facets on this bike designed to help cheat the wind. Even the bolt for the carbon fibre post is hidden - sitting on the top tube,it is recessed and covered with an aerodynamic rubber stopper.
Like the TM01 there’s a cut out in the seat tube to hide the rear wheel from the wind. The seat stays join the seat tube in a lower position than most bikes, providing both an aerodynamic effect and helping to improve the lateral stiffness of the bike. The front end is equally as aero, stiff and comfortable thanks to BMC’s carbon aero fork.
Where the TM02 really stands out is in the comfort and stability of the ride. It is truly designed for riding in the aero position. The cockpit includes an Easton EA30 stem and Profile Design’s Ozero and T2+ aero bars, which allow for an extremely aerodynamic set up with lots of adjustment so you can dial in just the right position. The ride is so smooth and comfortable that you’ll be able to spend lots of time in the aero position, which will get you to T2 in the least amount of time. “Stable” is the word that just kept coming to mind during our test rides.
Shimano’s Ultegra components are used throughout the bike, providing rock solid performance. Braking is surprisingly good, too, despite the rear brake’s placement behind the bottom bracket. (Hidden rear brakes don’t seem to offer quite the same braking power as regular options. The TM02 falls into that category, as well, but not to the same extent as some of the other bikes we’ve reviewed in years past.)
The wheelset choice, Mavic’s Aksium, is a popular and reliable training wheel option. More serious athletes will want to invest in some more aero race wheels to really get the full advantage out of this bike.
It’s hard to figure out how BMC has managed to do what they’ve done with the TM02. The bike remains stiff enough to perform like a much more expensive machine. While it’s not designed to climb, the TM02 did just fine on even the steepest ascents we embarked on and then managed to excel heading down. It is one of the best handling tri-bikes on speedy descents that we’ve reviewed, too, making it a reasonable all-rounder if you like to train on hilly terrain.
While the TM02 might not have quite the bells and whistles of the TM01, it has more than enough to satisfy all but the most elite triathlete, especially one gearing up for a long-distance race.-KM