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BMC Road Machine One and Di2 12 speed Review

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Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

BMC Road Machine One and Di2 12 speed Review

Old 10-02-22, 03:07 PM
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Biker1982
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BMC Road Machine One and Di2 12 speed Review

These are just my personal observations and opinions- I am a decidedly average bike rider in my sixties. I recognize other people will feel differently, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Last winter I was looking to upgrade from my 2015 Giant Defy Advance 11 spd mechanical ultegra. I really like the bike, but I had watched too many GCN videos and was feeling that I wanted to get a bike with thru axles and hydraulic disc brakes.

Went to my LBS where I purchased the Defy and they had no bikes- well- thatís not true. He had some low-end bikes and some really high-end bikes that were out of my budget. He did tell me that whatever I decided to buy- it should be 12 speed and electronic because that was the way the industry was going. He also said that unless I wanted to go for a 1X setup, to stay away from SRAM electronic components because he had customers complaining of chain drop.

As I started my search through the various LBS, I could tell that this was not going to be easy due to poor inventory and I had a certain budget that I wanted to stay within, which was going to complicate things even further. First though- I need to find out which frame size was going to fit me. I rode a bunch of different frames (all with mechanical components)- Specialized Roubaix, Specialized Tarmac, Trek Domane, and Trek Emonda. The Roubaix was essential a more road-like version of my Diverge, the Trek Domane was heavy and didnít quite fit right, and the Tarmac and Emonda felt good, but the geometryís were a bit aggressive and at age 62 I felt I should look for more of an endurance geometry.

I then stumbled on a BMC Roadmachine with 11 speed Di2- DAMN- the electronic shifting was intoxicating! Lightning fast and so smooth. The 56 cm frame fit like a glove. All of the other bikes would need some adjusting with the stem or handlebars, but the BMC fit perfect. Unfortunately- it was 11-speed and I was looking for a Di2 12 speed. An Internet search turned up a 56 cm BMC One at Podium Multisports in Atlanta (not the One One- just the BMC One- the lower spec slightly heavier bike). I was nervous about not buying from a LBS, but I canít say enough about Matt and Podium- great service.

Iíve had the bike for 8 months now and gone for rides up to 50 miles-

Things I like:

- As a said before- the bike fits me perfectly. Other than setting the saddle height, I have made zero adjustments and I have never felt uncomfortable during any of my rides.

- I like the fact that the seat tube angle is a little steeper at 74 degrees- I used to do triathlons and I may one day slap a set of aero bars on the bike.

- The bike is stiffer than the other endurance bikes I tested. I actually like that because it gives the bike a very responsive feel, particularly when climbing (which you do a lot of here in Connecticut). However- it might get old on a century ride on poor roads.

Things I donít like:

- The seat post adjustment is terrible. You can loosen the bolt and you have to bang the seat post multiple times before it will move. My Defy and Diverge are WAY easier to adjust.

- The saddle attachment is also a nightmare. Two bolts and itís complicated. Again- Defy and Diverge are WAY easier.

- For an expensive bike, I think that they sourced a pretty cheap BB. Unfortunately- itís press fit, so I am not going to mess with it.

- The steering is not precise- this is hard to describe, but the bike likes to track straight. You are not going to make sharp turns on the bike. I donít know if this is related to the 71 degree head tube angle or the long stem. Itís also very hard to turn around on a road- it feels like the front wheel is going out from under you.

- The CRD carbon wheels- I was hoping to find a lower specíd version with DT Swiss alloy rims, but there were not many options out there. I donít know too much about BMCís CRD wheels, but the rear hub is LOUD! I mean- REALLY LOUD. I guess this is not a bad thing, because when Iím coasting people can hear me coming, so I donít have to call out ďon your leftĒ. Still- it doesnít seem like a high-quality hub and for the money, I would have expected more.

Overall, I am happy with the bike. It has some ďissues,Ē and I am sure it is not the best ďvalueĒ option out there. For me, I think the comfort factor compensates for most of the drawbacks, but Iíd probably look at other options more seriously prior to buying another BMC bike (assuming the inventory shortage ever ends).

Now- Di2 12 speed-

What I like-

- Shifts are lightning fast.

What I donít like-

- With mechanical components there is a physical click when you execute the shift. You donít get that same physical ďclickĒ with the Di2 components. You push the button, but there is no feedback- just a shift (assuming you press correctly).

- Today it was cold and I had to ride with gloves for the first time- I canít tell you how many times I hit the wrong shifter or just wasnít pressing the correct spot to get a shift.

- No rear derailleur clutch. The roads where I live can be pretty bad and the chain slap is annoying.

- My initial battery was defective- I was getting about 400 miles on a charge. Podium replaced this promptly through Shimano. I am now getting about 800-900 miles on a charge. I guess thatís good, but I never had to think about a battery level with mechanical components.

- With my mechanical components I could easily make minor adjustments, but I am uncomfortable doing this with the electronic ones for fear of screwing something up.

- IMO- the Shimano app to access the Di2 is not great and could be made more user friendly.

Would I do it again? Thatís a tough call. As my LBS guy said- this is the way the industry is going (even 105 is now electronic and 12 speed) and given supply issues, my guess is Shimano is going to prioritize 12 speed over the older 11 speed. That said- Iím sure there will be 11 speed components out there for a LONG time to come. I do miss that solid feedback mechanical components give you, their ease of adjustment, and the fact I can ride them while wearing gloves!

Iím hoping Di2 grows on me, but I may just have to deal with it because I canít afford to change bikes!
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Old 10-02-22, 06:19 PM
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tempocyclist
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Glad you like your new bike. Apart from a few niggles it sounds like a top machine!

Originally Posted by Biker1982 View Post
- With my mechanical components I could easily make minor adjustments, but I am uncomfortable doing this with the electronic ones for fear of screwing something up.
True, but it's easy once you know how. Plus if it helps to ease your concern, in the tens of thousands of miles I've put on 10, 11, and now 12-speed Di2, I can count the number of times I've needed to make an adjustment on one hand.
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Old 10-02-22, 08:04 PM
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Originally Posted by tempocyclist View Post
True, but it's easy once you know how. Plus if it helps to ease your concern, in the tens of thousands of miles I've put on 10, 11, and now 12-speed Di2, I can count the number of times I've needed to make an adjustment on one hand.
What he said. A little googling will show you how to adjust the RD and FD, but it will probably never be necessary to do so. That's one of the great advantages of Di2.

The one thing that IS worth knowing is the RD's 'crash recovery mode,' in case you ever crash out on the road and need to run through it. I put a note in my phone with the instructions -- they are very simple, but I wouldn't remember in a pinch, since I've not yet had to do it in 3.5 yrs on Di2.
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Old 10-03-22, 10:48 AM
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Di2... you won't miss anything about mechanical for long. Reminds me of once when I was getting new ski boots. Talking to the fitter, I said "Well, goodbye to those other boots - I'll kind of miss 'em." The fitter looked at me and said "No, you won't." And she was right.
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Old 10-03-22, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Biker1982 View Post
Now- Di2 12 speed-

What I like-

- Shifts are lightning fast.

What I don’t like-

- With mechanical components there is a physical click when you execute the shift. You don’t get that same physical “click” with the Di2 components. You push the button, but there is no feedback- just a shift (assuming you press correctly).

- With my mechanical components I could easily make minor adjustments, but I am uncomfortable doing this with the electronic ones for fear of screwing something up.

- IMO- the Shimano app to access the Di2 is not great and could be made more user friendly.
Teammachine is my next bike. I love BMCs, but they are pricy. Been looking to try another brand for a while and it's the only one that makes me wanna cheat on Giant.

Couple of things:

-There is a physical click when you press either of the DI2 lever buttons, it's just quieter (and nicer IMO). It's more of a ''tic'' rather than a ''clack''
-Adjustment are in fact very easy to make, but I understand that you may feel uncomfortable given that it's all new for you. The upside is that you should never need any adjustment. No cables = no tension loss = no movement. 10 000kms on my ultegra DI2 and it's never been adjusted.
-Shimano software and user friendliness is indeed crap. Very crappy. There is no mac version of the software either and you have to purchase a D-FLY unit to make it bluetooth. SRAM is a lot better.

Last edited by eduskator; 10-03-22 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 10-03-22, 02:03 PM
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Nice review... I recently got a Roachmachine Three and upgraded the wheels and cockpit. Easily my favorite bike (and I've had a lot of different ones). Di2 is phenomenal. Makes even Dura Ace 9000 seems slow, which is saying a lot.
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Old 10-04-22, 01:42 AM
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Geez, that’s a bummer review! Sorry to hear it. A bike that handles poorly, you can’t operate the shifters accurately with gloves, and you get annoying chain slap. I guess disliking the freehub sound and having a pain in the ass seatpost are rather crummy, too, but worse is that, glove issue aside, after 8 months of riding you’re not in love with Di2.

Too bad your LBS gave you a bum steer on Sram, because an AXS groupset would have solved a few of those problems, and you’d have a friendlier adjustment interface for easy tweaking, too. You’d also have no wires, which would open the door to an easy frameset swap ( as a solution to the poor handling).

You may want to consider selling this rig now, as the secondary market is strong these days. And, at 60 years old, it probably makes sense to move-on soon in that regard as well.

Anyway, good luck. It’s a tough spot to be in, not loving your bike. I was there for awhile after a couple of bikes were stolen at university, and I remember how it felt. I didn’t like it.
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Old 10-04-22, 10:46 AM
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Thanks

Thanks to everyone for input regarding the Di2. Iíll definitely check out online videos for making adjustments, although it sounds like I wonít need to worry about it. The crash recovery mode is something Iíll definitely look into.

Sorry if the review came across too negative. Iím actually fine with the bike. Just giving my personal opinion now having been on the bike a while. Other people will probably have different things they like and dislike. Some web site reviews are good, but others donít seem reliable. Iíve rode a couple of thousand miles now and felt Iíd put my impressions/observations out there.

At my age- Iím hoping this is the last bike Iíll be looking to get!

Thanks again!
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Old 10-04-22, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Biker1982 View Post
He also said that unless I wanted to go for a 1X setup, to stay away from SRAM electronic components because he had customers complaining of chain drop.
While there is certainly plenty of keyboard chatter about SRAM chain dropping, for me personally it turned out to be a total non-issue with Force AXS. I have to admit I was a little concerned about it when I took the plunge, but it's been faultless all year. I do much prefer the SRAM shifters and fully wireless setup. They make life very easy.

Anyway, sounds like your BMC and Di2 setup is a bit of a mixed bag. Hope it gets better for you!
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Old 10-04-22, 01:10 PM
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The hub noise, adjustments, pressfit bb, etc all feel superficial compared to the poor handling complaint.
I can't imagine spending this kind of money on a road bike and feeling like the steering was not precise, or that the bike was hesitant to turn in on corners, or that the front end is going to slide out.

I realize the Roadmachine is BMC's "endurance" geometry, but a road bike like this should still make you feel like you can rail corners if you want to.
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Old 10-04-22, 05:09 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
The hub noise, adjustments, pressfit bb, etc all feel superficial compared to the poor handling complaint.
I can't imagine spending this kind of money on a road bike and feeling like the steering was not precise, or that the bike was hesitant to turn in on corners, or that the front end is going to slide out.

I realize the Roadmachine is BMC's "endurance" geometry, but a road bike like this should still make you feel like you can rail corners if you want to.
I have the exact opposite experience. The Roadmachine handles amazingly. Now, of course I upgraded the wheels (Enve SES AR 3.4) and tires (Enve SES 700x29) so maybe that made a difference. It's easily my favorite road bike I've owned and I've had many including top brands...
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Old 10-06-22, 03:27 PM
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There's nothing about the geometry that would cause poor handling or turning. Be sure that the headset isn't too tight or too loose. The seat post wouldn't have enough set back for me. A loud rear hub most often needs more grease or a heavier grease around the pawls.
​​

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Old 10-07-22, 06:16 AM
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Good, honest review.
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