The BMC media event I attended included not one but two bike introductions. Yesterday I had the opportunity to ride the new Teamelite TE01, a hard-tail 29er. Don’t worry, RKP isn’t changing its editorial direction, but we’ve made the decision to start including some off-road content when it seems appropriate. And this bike was so much fun it’s worth mentioning.
That it took the frequently innovative world of mountain biking as long as it did to move to a wheel larger than 26″ is something of a mystery to me. Sure, there are times when in ultra-technical terrain the smaller wheels are the better choice, but the bigger footprint, larger rotational mass and larger air volume does so much to make bikes ride better, riding a 29er for the first time can often make for an epic riding duh.
The TE01 looks a lot like BMC’s road bikes, for good reason. First is the simple matter of the industrial design. While it’s obvious that some RKP readers don’t like the angular lines of the tubes, they are a Swiss brand with decidedly European tastes. Hyundai this is not. The other reason the look is familiar is due to BMC’s incorporation of it’s Tuned Compliance Concept (TCC) design work into the frame. The idea is that the chainstays and seatstays will flex a bit, vertically, while the seat tube will flex fore-to-aft. The seat tube’s fore-aft flex is the reason for the small reinforcement coming off the top tube. One of BMC’s engineers told me that the seat tube moves enough that without that reinforcement the top tube/seat tube junction eventually breaks.
Of course, the big challenge with 29ers is to create a geometry that allows the bike to move nimbly. BMC went with a lower-than-some (most?) bottom bracket, which made the bike easy to lean into turns. In this regard it reminded me of the Specialized Stumpjumper 29er hard tail which was previously the best-handling hard tail I’d ridden.
The weather here on the Monterey Peninsula is almost unconscionably good, so pardon me while I go check out more cool stuff and do a bit more riding.