BMC Roadmachine: Master of Both

Despite its name, the new Roadmachine is as capable on the road as it is off it

Words Jack Lynch

BMC has introduced a new Roadmachine that is sure to fire up anyone looking for a comfort road bike dually billed as a gravel bike.

Instead of developing a new gravel bike to sit alongside its adventure-oriented URS, the third generation of the Roadmachine (fourth if you include its predecessor, the BMC Granfondo) has been designed for road and gravel rides, with tyres optimised for 32-35mm (but capable of fitting up to 40mm), mounts on the top tube for a small bag and even a downtube storage hatch on the premier 01 models.

The bike can be built as either a racy gravel rig or a relatively relaxed road bike, and its lightweight frame with comparatively tall stack means it could play well in both arenas.

Each BMC Roadmachine to date has been designed with comfort prioritised instead of speed and this version is no different.

In fact, in a 25-page brochure about the bike, the word ‘watts’ is absent, and ‘aerodynamic’ is only found when discussing a bidon cage – all quite the anomaly in this day and age.

The Roadmachine’s kinked frame design is synonymous with the bike and BMC’s engineering team has made it even more pronounced with the latest rendition.

The kinks are said to add compliance and comfort, and when paired with the seatpost and seat tube flex, BMC believes it’s a winning formula.

Of course, when the Granfondo was first released in 2012, it was specced with 28mm tyres, which were monstrously larger than the industry standard of 23mm at the time.

Now fitted with 32mm as standard, the rider will notice the tyre’s increased comfort more than the vibration dampening kinks in the frame, so it becomes an aesthetic selection as much as a functional one.

An area that plays no bearing on aesthetics but makes marked improvements on function is the downtube storage hatch on the Roadmachine 01 models.

Accessible by twisting a dial above the bidon cage, the downtube storage is perfect to carry spare tubes, Co2 cannisters and tyre levers, meaning you won’t need to carry a saddle bag.

This feature has become commonplace on mountain bikes and is creeping into the gravel world.

It’s known as a great way to keep your bike looking clean and storing spares in a place you’ll never forget them.

Safe and dry

Another interesting design feature of the new Roadmachine (01 models only) is its integrated rearlight.

It sits on the seatpost, fitting neatly into a small hole and protruding about three inches.

BMC made a relatively bold move here by essentially making a rear light mandatory, reading the room that many riders use lights throughout the day, never leaving home without them.

Riding the Roadmachine without the rear light leaves a sizeable hole in the frame behind the seatpost, leaving the possibility of rain and grit to get into the frame, so safety fi rst also means looking after your bike in this instance.

BMC claims it set out to develop the most winterproof bike with the new Roadmachine.

Along with the fixed rear light, the company has added full-fender compatibility across the base models.

All models can take its D-fender saddlemounted mudguard, which is a neat solution to road spray (it resembles the famous plastic guard from Ass Savers, though a little more refined).

One to rule them all?

The Roadmachine does a great job at being a bike for all occasions.

At 154mm, its head tube on a size 54cm frame is quite tall; by comparison, it’s 6mm shorter than a Trek Domane, 4mm taller than a Giant Defy, and 8mm taller than BMC’s hardcore gravel bike, the URS.

Its 415mm chainstay length would be suitable for an aero race bike and its seat tube length is on the lower end of the scale, allowing for more saddle flex and extra comfort.

The head tube and seat tube angles too are slacker than a traditional road bike, but nowhere near the degrees of some of the more adventurous gravel bikes out there.

BMC says the Roadmachine is for road and gravel, and this rings true when looking at the numbers – it sits between its Racemachine and URS bikes across most key lines on the geometry chart.

Australians will be able to purchase the new BMC Roadmachine in six different models.

That includes three in the premium Roadmachine 01 frameset including the 01 Two ($17,499), the 01 Three ($11,499) and the 01 Four ($10,999); and three in the standard Roadmachine, including the Two ($7,499), the Four ($5,999) and the Five ($4,799).

The differences between the 01 and standard Roadmachine models include the 01 having greater cable integration as well as the downtube storage, the integrated rear light and what BMC calls the Stealth Dropout Design, meaning you can’t see thru-axles when looking at the bike’s drive side.

Aussies do miss out on a handful of models, including the Roadmachine 01 X and the Roadmachine X, which is specced as a gravel machine, as well as the e-bike version, the Roadmachine Amp.

BMC Roadmachine
01 Two
Price $17,499

Cyclist Australia/NZ