The BMC Teamelite TE01

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.

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  1. The_D

    I ride an SLR01 Team Machine and love it. There’s something about that torsional reinforcement at at the seat/top-tube junction, combined with vertical give in the top-tube mid-point and a very rigid head junction that just works. Thing has wonderful road feel. Bet that can be transposed to dirt well.

    And, yeah, I actually really like the industrial=style design.

  2. Pascal

    Agree with “Tashkent”, this is clearly an MTB designed by a road bike company. One race in the mud would show its weakness. NOT a weekend warrior trail bike but probably a capable dry conditions race machine. The problem is that once a racer is hooked up with a bike, he/she is stuck with it for the season, weather permitting or not. It’ll be interesting to see results of the PROs who are signed up to ride it when things get sloppy.

  3. Pingback: Seat tube | Easytm

  4. brookef

    Onza is a Swiss company that bought the name. Unfortunately they are not going to revive the Porcupine…
    They look like nice tires though, and they have a booth at Sea Otter as well.

  5. Author

    Ransom: An increase in rotational mass means that when you hit a bump you get bounced around less. It also increases the gyroscopic effect of the two wheels is increased, making the bike more stable (though that has the liability of making the bike less maneuverable). Combine that with the decreased angle of attack of the larger wheels/tires of the 29-inch wheels and what you have is a bike that rolls over terrain more easily.

    Tashkent Error: The photos are a bit deceptive. Clearance isn’t great, but my sense was that it wasn’t quite as bad as it appears due to the angle of that shot of the chainstays. Also, you wouldn’t run a tire as wide as that if conditions were muddy. That Onza tire is for dry/sandy conditions, which are prevalent at Laguna Seca.

    TD: Perhaps you’re new here. I’ve been writing about grand tour bikes in depth for some time. Calling them “comfort bikes’ suggests you don’t really understand these bikes. And if you’re hostile to mountain bikes, there’s always Cycle Sport.

  6. Dan O

    Seeing the occasional mountain bike article in Red Kit Prayer would be fantastic. Anything XC oriented certainly would fit.

    And yes, believe the 29er hype, they work well – especially for hardtails. I’ve been digging that set up for two years now.

  7. Mike

    I’ve seen that in use quite a lot in Europe. Many 29er race HT’s don’t have great mud clearance. Especially with big 2.2″ or larger tyres. My Scale 29 Premium has less clearance for mud than my alloy Scale 29er. But in a bid to keep chain stays shorter for handling purposes, that’s the sacrifice I guess?

    Still laughing at TD… disc equipped commuting ‘cross bikes and 29er HT’s ar bridging the gap..

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