Following my BMC TM01 report which resulted in doubling the number of hits on Mr
Cammish’s web-site to well over a dozen a week, I have been asked by the man
himself to carry out a further review. This one is on the BMC TMR01 road frame I
recently managed to acquire from a very nice gentleman who hangs out in an
undisclosed overseas location and was able to offer a transaction free of tax and
other encumbrances all delivered in untraceable brown packaging to a box number
here in the remote confines of my Saudi Arabian hideaway. What a fine man he
was … no questions asked, quick cash transaction, no nosey snooping taxmen (or
wife come to that) any the wiser :-)
I ordered a size 56 as my research suggested I needed to ‘down size’ a tad as they
tend to come up rather large. The intention was to build this up as a Campagnolo
mechanical gear build despite BMC’s bias for Shimano. I’ve been a Campagnolo man
since I was knee high to a grasshopper and wasn’t going to be led off the tracks at
my stage of life.
I gently slipped the DVD disc instructions into my laptop (honest … gone are the days
of ‘Bike Aids’, RonKit’s ‘Everything Cycling’ etc etc … this is the age of the ‘dot-com’
era for goodness sake) and carefully took note of all the assembly instructions. This
was very easy to follow and a big help on the internal cabling techniques required
when feeding cables through the frame. It’s also likely to be a big help for those as
inept as I am in the IT department!
Fortunately the cable feeding was straight forward with only the front mech cabling being a little awkward at the bottom bracket exit. Ample length of outer cabling is required so forget the Nokons for this build simply because you need to run full length cables for the internal cabling on this frame to ensure smooth gear changes.
Having fed in all the cables, the front fork was cut to a pre-determined height based on the measurements from my last bike (the Time RXR). The fork was installed along with a 120mm 3T stem and 3T Rotundo 44cm Handlebars … all very simple to do. The forks' bearings where preset to ensure silky smooth action. Campagnolo Super Record 11 ergo levers were installed (note rubber hoods had been completely removed … more about that later) and inner gear cables fed through the levers only at this stage.
You will note from the accompanying photos (good eh? Took ‘em with my Box Brownie) that the braking system is all integral to the frame so the installation DVD was a great help in getting everything set up without throwing a wobbly or attacking the garage floor with one of the many sledgehammers I happen to have laying about ready and waiting for when tempers get frayed! Setting up all the cables and cutting them to the required lengths was relatively straight forward (thanks to the DVD … and thank God!). The calipers themselves have good strong springs so providing the inner cable runs smoothly they function superbly and look quite ‘dandy’ too don’t you think?
The DVD even provides a chart which specifies the spacer configuration you need depending on the rim width of your chosen wheels. Mine were the Campagnolo 80th Anniversary Edition Bullet version, so being a clincher had a width of 20.5mm. The requisite washers were fitted with the brake shoes and wheels inserted for fine tuning of the brake pads on each side of the wheels. Adjustment was easy using the 2mm allen key to ensure that both pairs of brake pads hit the rims simultaneously. Final adjustment needed to be made on actual riding as the wheel tended to flex a bit so spacing of around 2mm on each side was needed on this particular bike.
I then fitted the beautiful Campagnolo Super Record 11 rear mech complete with a Berner Cage with its 15 and 13 teeth ceramically driven pulleys. The Berner kit is a highly recommended upgrade as it is far superior to the standard Campagnolo pulleys and cage. Mine were funded with a little help from the savings I was able to negotiate on a pair of Dugast Silk Pista Diamond tubulars I recently acquired from the good Mr Cammish (used on another project! The fastest tubular tyres known to man* I’ve been told).
The BB86 bearings I fitted were sadly not ceramic because I was using a 30mm axle (not a 24mm) and was therefore recommended to use standard steel bearings because under tests the ceramic version had been found to wear out very quickly due to their smaller diameter and pressure under load due to the wider axle. Cranks were Rotor 3D+ 177.5’s coupled with 53/41 QXL Rings.
The Campagnolo Super Record 11 front mech complete with Rotor spacer block was fitted to the bike
and spaced out well above the high point of the 53 QXL chainring. The inner cable was again fed nice
and smoothly through the frame from the front end and exited nicely behind the seat tube. The wheels
were fitted with the rear having a nicely cleaned (using kerosene) and re-installed Campagnolo Super
Record 11 speed 11-25 cassette. A Campagnolo Chorus 11 speed chain was then added after it too
had received the kerosene treatment. Why, you may ask, am I not using a Campagnolo Super Record
11 chain? Well having broken two previous Record 10 speed chains and having ended up on the deck
on both occasions (which is not ‘cool’) I have concluded that that dimensions for an 11 speed chain
are even narrower and decided that the Chorus, which has solid pin chain plates, was a better option.
Not only do I have my street ‘cred’ to consider (falling off is not good for that!) I am also conscious of
the fact that my ever increasing waistline will be directly proportional to the likelihood of super
lightweight components failing.
When it came to fitting the handlebar tape, I went with BBB black which, for someone who is pretty
poor at wrapping bars, was easy to use. The next job was the installation of the Campagnolo brake
lever rubber hoods which looked like being a pretty tricky (that rhymes! Pretty … tricky!) job to do.
After having laughed my way through a number of YouTube videos where various mechanics murdered sets of these with screw drivers, pliers, mole wrenches, gaffa tape etc etc I had my own strategy which proved to be far more successful. So how did I manage it? I used some Silicone Latex shiner (don’t ask how I came to realize this was ideal for the job!) on the surface of the main lever and does not damage rubber. I also dropped the rubber hoods in to some boiling water for a couple of minutes before fitting which helped in softening everything up so that they literally slipped over the ergo lever with virtually no problem whatsoever. The silicone helped everything slot nicely into place and no damage to the rubber hood was evident after installation. The rubber normalized in room temperature and was a perfect fit. (No use for the sledgehammer and garage floor on this occasion then!).
The final job was to install the seat-post and saddle. My choice for now was a San Marco Magma saddle
but may well change to a San Marco Aspide ASP as I find it fits my particular anatomy nicely (hung like
a horse you see!). I have also added a superbly made Scorpion rear light from the Forth4 people in the
UK as this light really is well designed and blinds all the taxmen that tend to creep up on you from behind
like Stukas out of the sun. A Lezyne Mega Drive front light was attached along with an elite bottle cage
and matching BMC bottle (freebie) to finish off this build.
Why the lights? Well they were needed for the road test which was carried out at 4 in the morning (I
couldn’t sleep as I was like a kid at Christmas with my new toy) with a temperature of 22 degrees. It’s
a hard life here in the desert :-) No doubt you’ve all been freezing your lobcocks off (or having to swim
everywhere) back in Blighty … my heart feels for you all … not! So although quite warm, it was still
dark when I mounted the BMC TMR01 for its maiden voyage around my 1.2kms circuit. Everything was
still and eerily quiet as I engaged the 53T ring up front and the 16T sprocket at the rear. It took me back
to my early ‘testing’ days on the U7 and R25/7 and bought a lump to my throat … soppy git eh?
Gear shifting was smooth using the QXL’s (much better than it would have been on the bloody useless
Osymetrics I ‘trashed’ as soon as I realized me and Osy’s where completely incompatible) and the only
noise I could hear was the steady whir of the chain as everything moved elegantly forward. The first thing
I noticed having come from my Time RXR was the tighter geometry of the frame as it’s built to race and
go fast. This is indeed a stiff frame with very little ‘give’. I felt more upright so adjustments were needed
to get me a little lower … and give my waistline room to ‘manoeuvre’.
Acceleration was exceedingly quick (even for me and my waistline) from either a standing or slow rolling start. Going through corners it felt as if it was running on rails with the Veloflex Masters doing their job exceedingly well (almost as good as Dugast Pista Diamond Silks would have done if I’d chosen to fit tubulars instead of clinchers). The bike as a whole took cornering in its stride and gave instant feedback. It inspired TOTAL confidence and I took each subsequent corner faster and faster without experiencing any twitchiness or wobbling (both highly technical terms … probably best to use your thesaurus for definitions in words of one syllable).
In a straight line it moved along effortlessly and even I was able to trundle along in 53x12 at somewhere approaching warp factor. Okay only for a mile or two but hey ... I’m trying. Very trying!
Moving on to intervals and sprinting … this is where I found it scored top marks although I only managed about three good sprints. To start with, the frame DID feel a little heavy to get into sprinting mode from normal cadence but once on the drops and out of the saddle everything was just so stiff and responsive. It felt as if the frame was working with me rather than against me. The only (marginal) flex I could detect was in the wheels. A pair of Lightweights would be a big plus for the sprinting prowess of this frame … and an even bigger minus to your bank balance.
The few small bumps on my circuit did register through to the bars quite
significantly but with good gel type bar tape this can be absorbed considerably.
More forgiving wheels would also help. From my own experience I suspect
that over a lot of bumps you’d have to pay careful attention to possible
seat-post slippage as the wedge type insert (that tightens against the
seat-post) is, in my opinion, a weak link. Despite carbon paste and some of
the good wife’s Harmony hairspray I have doubts whether the seat clamp
would ‘hold’ on British roads which I understand resemble scenes from the
blitz at the moment, although it must be said I had no problems on the Grade
1 tarmac here within the confines of my own little tax haven. Losing a few
pounds from the temple that is God’s own gift to the human race (my body)
might lessen the likelihood of seat post slippage but hey … I’m ancient, I
love cakes and crispy crèmes and like to test kit on behalf of the masses ….
not the half starved, anemic looking, whippets of the pro peloton (that’s my
The performance of the nicely designed aesthetically pleasing brakes was
exceptionally powerful. Although setting up takes some patience and
continued adjustments were necessary out on the road due to wheel flexing
during sprinting, the braking is more powerful, in my opinion, than the normal
side pull brakes I am more used to. Hardly any brake lever flex is noticed
when pulling either front or rear brake and let’s face it when the amount of lard
I’m carrying needs pulling to a stop you need something that’s going to inspire
confidence. These tick all the boxes.
Overall this is a perfect frame for big guys who like to push big gears, corner fast and sprint to win. It gives super feedback from the road even though it’s an aero type frame which tends to be slightly heavier than the standard tubed carbon road frame which are all now tipping the scales under 1kg.
Road tests were held over 2 days interspersed with tea, burger bar and crispy crème café stops not to mention umpteen behind the hedge bladder bail outs (one of the draw backs of old age!) … with both days having mileages of 15 miles both fast and slow pace.