MONTEREY, CA (BRAIN) Wednesday April 18 2012 8:32 AM MT—BMC started this week’s Sea Otter festivities early with the global launch of its teamelite TE01 carbon fiber 29er race bike Tuesday evening in Monterey.
The 100-millimeter front-travel hardtail teamelite 29er is BMC’s first carbon fiber big wheel frame. Engineers focused on a design that would play up the advantages of a 29er and weigh in as one of the lightest bikes on the market.
The geometry incorporates a super short head tube and a longer top tube to create a sporty position with the handlebars positioned well below saddle-height. A short chainstay makes the bike nimble and the BB92 mount results in one of the stiffest bikes BMC has made, said Matthias Schmid, BMC’s lead mountain bike engineer.
The carbon fiber frame weighs in at 990 grams, or about 2.15 pounds.
“It’s one of the lightest frames on the market, if not the lightest frame in reality,” Schmid said.
A complete build with full SRAM XO spec, Fox’s 2013 CTD fork, Easton EA 70 wheels and Onza tires weighs 22 pounds and is priced at $5,499. Bikes should start shipping in limited quantities in May.
The carbon fiber teamelite 29er complements the alloy version released last year as BMC’s entry into the 29er category. Although it may have been later to the 29er game than some of its North American competitors—BMC is a Swiss company and European consumers were much later to accept the larger wheeled bikes than riders in the U.S.—it’s an area BMC expects to continue growing, said Devin Riley, the brand’s U.S. marketing manager.
“In the U.S., we’ve seen tremendous demand from our dealers and the European markets are not far behind,” Riley said. Because of the growing demand for 29ers and lessening demand for a high-end 26-inch hardtail, BMC is phasing out its teamelite TE01 26-inch bike. Its run in the U.S. ended last year and it won’t be offered in Europe after this year, Riley said.
BMC showed the TE01 29er to cycling journalists on Tuesday and also flew in 30 of its top U.S. dealers who will see the bike Wednesday for the first time.