BMC – the Most Likeable Team in the Peleton? 2010 Preview

I can already see the cheesy promo montage in my head – Mark Knopfler subtly wails out “I want my Bee Em Ceeeeee….”, the guitar kicks in and images of Hincapie, Evans and Ballan stream by in rapid succession, intermixed with subliminal messages of Swiss precision bicycle manufacturing, displaying images of power, determination and victory.  Yes, it’s in my head, but it would make for a sweet intro video on the BMC team website.  I’m not sure how to rewrite the “money for nothin’” line to correlate it to the Hell Pro cyclists put themselves through, but dammit Jim, I’m a writer, not a songwriter/poet/bard.

In a silly season marred by Sky’s relentless approach to poaching the riders they wanted for their new team, BMC quietly (although not completely without controversy) pulled off the unexpected and possibly became the most likeable Pro team in the peleton.   With the media focusing most of their attention on the birth of the “superteams” Sky and Radio Shack, BMC accumulated arguably the best classics team this side of Quick-Step with riders like Kroon, Burghardt, Ballan and Hincapie; a GC Contender and current World Champion in Evans and did so with a combined total of 15 riders coming from Switzerland and the U.S. of A.  The subtle irony of the combination of riders from the neutral nation and the world’s heavy-handed police aside, it’s a team that with some improved marketing pieces could out-Cervelo Cervelo when it comes to presenting a team that creates a remarkably positive team/brand image along with creating immediate hype about the bike.

Adding Hincapie instantly provided class, along with the marketing visibility of his US Championship on this side of the pond.  Between earning the Rainbow Stripes and joining BMC, I even slightly warmed to Cuddles.  I’ll admit, I’ve rarely had much nice to say about Cadel – the whole “don’t step on my dog” episode and general festivus-style airing of grievances to the media he seemed to engage in set most who wrote about him in a less-than-supportive role.  However, he seems to wear the Rainbow well (perhaps credit to the Hincapie Sports kit) and his attitude seems positive coupled with a bit of bravado to match his attacking style that emerged last year.  Ballan suffered through health problems and the Curse of the Rainbow Jersey last year, but nobody should be quick to forget he is only two years removed from his Vattenfall and Flanders victories.

Early season rumors had tied Levi Leipheimer to BMC along with his buddy Scott Nydam.  I recall reading the rumors and thinking it would have been a bad choice, but little did I know the dramatic steps this team was taking.  Obviously, addition of another key player such as Leipheimer would have reduced the likelihood of the latter additions, but nevertheless, add Leipheimer to a team like this and the other proverbial superteams could have found themselves wondering what happened.

The other effect this immediately had was raising the status of the bike brand.  While many I know in the sport, including myself, found the brand intriguing but believed some of the design features to be ornamental, the perception now seems to be different.  Even more intriguing is the fact that Hincapie has chosen the Racemaster as his stars-and-stripes laden steed, a frame that is made of (gasp) quite a bit of aluminum, albeit a good choice for Big George, who has the need to emphasize durability and reliability.  Cadel Evans Rainbow Striped machine initially wasn’t the brand’s new top end machine, but the Pro Machine.  Then Competitive Cyclist’s own stylemaster Andy Clark comes out and says he’s so impressed with the new Team Machine that he might (the horror) retire his Cervelo?  Me thinks BMC might have just climbed to the top of the podium as the most likeable bunch in the peleton this year and I’m guessing you might start to see a few more BMCs riding atop a few Touaregs and X5s.

5 Responses to “BMC – the Most Likeable Team in the Peleton? 2010 Preview”

  1. February 1, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    You are right on about the effect the team has had on BMC as a brand, we have already seen a pick up in sales and the new bikes are not yet here.

  2. 2 Phill
    February 1, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve always loved the BMC bikes, even if some of their design elements were on the ornamental side. Different is always nice too, as long as it doesn’t sacrifice performance. It’s not like we shave our legs so we can look like everyone else right? Over Christmas I made the plunge and got my first all carbon bike, a SLC01 Pro Machine, the new red color scheme. Having spent the last 7 years on a mat black Fondriest X-Status, this is quite the change for me and I couldn’t be happier. When looking at bikes I evaluated a number of brands and the Team Machine is what got me over the to BMC camp for sure, but the price tag was $1500 (CDN) more than the Pro Machine, I was shocked! Is it really that much better? And as your article points out, why is it when we saw the team at the TDU and training in Cali nobody (that I could see) was riding the Team Machine? Are there production issues? Is it too exclusive and expensive even for the sponsored team? Naturally I can see why big George wants something rock solid but surly Cadel wouldn’t put too much stress on the team machine.

    For me the team they put together had nothing to do with my purchase decision, but now that I have the bike I will admit that much like Cervelo, they’ve put together a team of likable riders which is just a small plus.

    So just out of curiosity, does anyone know why the Team Machine seems so elusive?


  3. February 3, 2010 at 7:00 am

    The whole team will be out on the new Team machine once they are available, should be around March . As for the price $3500 it’s a good $2000 less than the Team Sky Dogma and less than most of the Pro Tour bikes.

    • 5 Phill
      February 3, 2010 at 8:18 am

      Not sure why but LBS here in Toronto Canada gave me a price of $5000 CDN for the Team Machine. Which even with exchange rate and import taxes is well above $3500 USD you mention. However the price I paid for my Pro Machine was much more in line with US prices (paid the same as most USD listings but in CDN $, and they had a “we pay the tax” event too!). Maybe because the Team Machine is the top of the line they mark it up more, I’m not sure. Either way at 5k for FF that was out of my price range. I’m not complaining though, lovin my Pro Machine!

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