I had the pleasure of riding a size 57 BMC SLR02 Ultegra for a week in
Sonoma County. Unlike most of my test rides which only last for a few hours
I had the opportunity to really test the bike. I have spent some time over the
years riding in northern Marin and Sonoma Counties which are ideal places to test a
bike. There are some really rough roads and some of the best
climbing/descending you could ask for.
I spent some time to dial the bike in before I put it together in California.
With the fit dialed in it kept me from hours of tweaking on the road. I
choose to not ride the bike with the stock Shimano RS 11 wheels. The RS
11s are ok but not on par with the frame set. I installed a set of our house
built carbon 35mm clinchers to smooth out the California chip&seal.
Perhaps what surprised me most of all on my initial ride was the fact that
nothing irritated me about the bike. It was snappy on the climbs and
confident on the descents. But best of all it was comfortable in the saddle
for 3 hours. Even though the Arione cx saddle is a touch stiff for my liking
the seat post that BMC designed for the frame is magic. I rode through all
kinds of cracks and holes and it never upset the bike or my sensitive back.
Even though this is a step below the flagship model it only weighs 970
grams for the frame which is still pretty light. It handles like a race bike but
has the comfort of an all day Gran Fondo bike. I also put a bit bigger rubber
for my test ride as that has really become the norm riding in New England.
The rims that I built up are 24mm wide and with a set of Michelin pro 4 25c
tires they actually measure 27.5 mm wide. The frame I am happy to
say fits them with ease. I would not be comfortable going any wider
After riding it three or four times I found myself smiling every time I hit
different terrain. It was very competent at everything. The Ultegra 11 speed
group works flawless and the 3T cockpit parts are pretty nice as well. The
BB 86 is the best solution for a press fit that I have used and serviced.
BMC shapes the SLR with an asymmetric bb and seat tube that flares out
on the non drive side. The BB looks massive because of the rather large
down tube that it intersects. With the short seat stays and large down tube I
would expect something completely different from the ride quality that you
get from the bike.
I was hoping to spend some more time on it this spring but the first person
to take it out on a test ride said “I want it!”. Even though I was conflicted a
sale is a sale so I no longer have a demo bike. I ride a lot of different bikes
and many I can not wait to get rid of but the BMC is a ride that I would be
content for the long haul. The only real fault I could find is the stock wheel
set but that is something easily dealt with. The Ultegra bike is at a
competitive price point at $3799.If you are on a bit of a budget the 105 bike is a
great bang for your buck at $2799, but plan on upgrading the wheel set soon. If you are so inclined the Dura-Ace equipped version will run you $5299.
Drummond Custom Cycles