Renderings of the BMC Impec Concept bike lend to its space age look.
In an effort to both show off the capabilities of its in-house advanced R&D lab, and provide a glimpse of what the aero road bike of the future might look like, BMC pulled back the curtain on a supremely tricked out concept bike at the Eurobike Trade Show in Friedrichshafen, Germany, this week.
This “space age” disc-brake equipped steed is the product of the company’s Impec Advanced R&D Lab in Grenchen, Switzerland, which BMC claims gives it access to technology no other bike manufacturer has. The lab contains fully-automated machinery, 3D CNC capabilities, countless frame jigs, injection mold tooling, hand laminate tooling, and advanced engineering software. Or put another way, BMC can turn ideas (no matter how wild they may be) into reality — and do it in a hurry.
In this case, the wild idea is a proof-of-concept bike that was churned out in about four months. And though it’s encased inside a glass box at the trade show, BMC insists this Tron’like machine is a rideable prototype, not just a life-size plastic model. Just don’t expect it to show up at your local bike shop anytime soon.
Test rides were verboten, but the BMC test bike still drew a crowd at Eurobike.
“The bike is a proof of concept of what goes on in our research and development lab,” said Stefan Christ, BMC’s head of product. “We can create rideable prototypes within days. This allows us to push the limits of our imagination and break the rules of traditional manufacturing. Once we have prototypes in our hands, we can quickly assess the results and reiterate until we get it right. We also found other uses for existing structures such as turning the down tube and seat tube fairings into batteries, storage, or hydration solutions. This makes it a highly functional yet aesthetically pleasing end-product.”
The bike certainly is a looker. And we love the fact that BMC answers the question of why by saying in part, “to explore what a high-end aero road bike could possibly look like if you ignore industry standards, current construction methods, and UCI rules.” Yeah, who needs the damn UCI rules anyway. Seriously.
Look Ma, only one chainstay and only one fork blade.
Highlight features include a modular concept where riders (or maybe pilots is a better term) can choose between an internal gearbox or electric motor. Down tube and seat tube fairings double as batteries, and fairings both enhance aerodynamics and allow for full integration of cables, tools, pump, and even water carrying. Could the water bottle cage go the way of the dodo bird?
BMC’s concept bike also harkens backwards, utilizing a single-sided fork and chainstay concept similar to the Lotus Super Bike that British cycling star Chris Boardman won Olympic track gold on in the 1992 Olympics. And yes, you read that right, there is only one fork leg and one chainstay. Heady stuff.
Same goes for the twin stem and seat post concepts, which are designed to maintain stiffness, but enhance aerodynamics. There’s even a new take on the saddle where the shell attaches directly to the seat post, as opposed to the traditional shell-rail-clamp arrangement. Again, lighter weight, less drag, more cool.
The split-stem improves aerodynamics while maintaining stiffness.
Lower down, air intake ports are designed to keep brake calipers cool and covered for aerodynamics without hampering braking effectiveness. And the aforementioned integrated gearbox replaces traditional derailleur gears, which results in reduced drag and lowered maintenance.
Of course it’s highly unlikely we’ll ever see a production version of this exact bike. But there are plenty of interesting ideas that will surely be appearing on bikes in the years to come. Well done, BMC.
This article is part of RoadBikeReviews’s coverage of the 2014 Eurobike trade show in Freidrichschafen, Germany. For more from Eurobike CLICK HERE.