BMC bikes, the Swiss manufacturer and sponsor of current UCI Mountain Bike World Champion, Julien Absalon have just released what they are calling a “racing evolution” with their recent launch of the 2016 BMC Team Elite 01.
But is the new Team Elite 01 really an evolution? Essentially the bike is a “soft tail”, neither full suspension nor hard tail. Rather an elastomer based flex system they call MTT, or Micro Travel Technology, provides 15mm of “compliance” via three changeable elastomers. This is the same type of thing we’ve seen from a myriad of manufacturers over the years with Moots most likely leading the way with the YBB launched roughly 20 years ago.
Micro Travel seems a bit of an odd step from BMC as the motivation must have come from the fact Absalon’s only real competition for the past few years, Scott’s Nino Shurter, often rides a full suspension Scott Spark and has been known to gain significant time on descents over the arguably better climber, Absalon. So, why not develop a better/lighter full suspension bike rather than half-assing it with a soft tail?
BMC will argue weight savings and not needing the up to 120mm of travel seen in full suspention XC race bikes (MTT provides just 15mm). Also, we’re sure they want to do something different than the rest and…then there’s those pesky design patents. Maybe they can’t build the full suspension bike they want to at this time, so why not dust off soft tail tech. Hell, it was good enough for the 90’s.
We are teasing BMC a bit here. We have not ridden the bike and like most of their products it is probably very good. Yet, it does seem an odd direction to head considering the technology driven nature of the cycling industry.
We hope to get on the bike soon and get back to you with a more informed and complete review of the bike.
Statements from BMC press and their launch video below:
The high-performance discipline of cross-country racing has become, quite literally, a race to the top. Grueling, all-out sprints to the finish are supported with bikes whose maximum efficiency and minimum weight ethos pay no heed to compliance – until now.
The Impec Lab has teamed up with the BMC Mountainbike Racing Team to create the new BMC Teamelite 01 – the world’s most technically-advanced hardtail mountainbike.
The 2016 BMC Teamelite 01 is the culmination of an evolution of race bike performance. Its unique combination of efficiency, traction, and fatigue-fighting compliance technology places it in a category of its very own, and raises the bar by setting new industry standards.