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TDF2015 Tech: BMC molds insanely expensive one-off, one-piece custom TT fork-and-cockpit

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Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

In talking with a team rep, he said there aren’t a lot of prototype or fancy parts on the bikes because it’s helpful to the mechanics to have everything as similar as possible. And, as he put it, “special parts have special problems.”

That said, the bikes had mostly stock spec save for one very interesting custom handlebar/stem combo for Tejay Van Garderen. Made by joining standard 3T bullhorn bars and aero extensions into a single piece and then molding them directly to the steerer tube and fork, the entire front end of the bike becomes one giant carbon fiber piece. Here’s why…

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

Compared to a standard setup on the right, the custom one-piece bit is much cleaner looking. It’s also much stiffer, and there’s no way it can come loose or slip under hard efforts or over a big bump. The rep said when the rider’s weight is over the front, particularly if putting weight on the ends of the extensions or bars, there’s a lot of leverage there and if they hit a big bump, the bars can rotate down a bit. Considering how much the team invests in getting the fit and aerodynamics of rider + bike dialed, this ensures they’ll stay that way throughout the course.

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

Unfortunately for you and I, this customization is said to cost around CHF 20,000 (Swiss Francs). That’d put the total bike cost north of CHF 30,000 (or upwards from $32,000 as of the date of this posting). Still interested?

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

And they had to make two of them for Tejay, an “A” bike and a “B” bike. Each has a few subtle differences…

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

…mainly with the positioning of the junction box and the types of fibers used.

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

He put an Issimo cycling computer mount on the extensions.

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

Tejay is one of the few that uses a setback seatpost on his TT bike.

Custom one-piece fork-and-handlebar-and-stem combo from BMC Pro Cycling for Tejay Van Garderen

That front wheel was unlabeled, described only as “that front wheel that we’re using” when asked. Any guesses?

BMCracingteam.com

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KT
KT
7 years ago

I work in a carbon shop and there is no way these cost $20k each. They are bonding several premade pieces which isn’t hard (in the grand scheme of things). If it was a complete one off custom piece which required molds to be made, it could reach $20k but that would more like be a figure for tooling and both pieces.

Andy
Andy
7 years ago

20K and I can still identify unaero characteristics. And many bikes have much better solutions as stock anyway.

RE the wheels, I don’t recognize either the disc nor the spoked carbon wheel.

Xris
Xris
7 years ago

I’d like Wiggin’s Hour Record custom 3d printed bars over a carbon job like that. May have been cheaper as well? Not to detract from the BMC setup, it looks good, but 20k is a little nuts.

jon
jon
7 years ago

Nice big low pressure zone behind the stem. This carbon job was poorly executed.

Jeb
Jeb
7 years ago

I believe the wheels are HED’s and KT nailed it.

edge
edge
7 years ago

so much aero and then… those junction boxes. Surely if some forethought is put in they can clean it up.

Psi Squared
Psi Squared
7 years ago

Since bikes and bike parts in the TdF have to available to the public, the pricing might be the result of wanting to discourage the public from buying that piece.

Mick
Mick
7 years ago

@Psi Squared nailed it… price it out of the realm of rationality… British Cycling has done that for years with their bikes & helmets.
BMC are using HED 3’s & Lightweight Autobahn disc wheels

Menos
Menos
7 years ago

“We’ve worked with the team and came out here about a month ago to check and recon the course.” – Mr. Dennis said in the post-race interview @cyclingnews.

I think knowing max speeds of each corner was much more important than any more-or-less aero cockipt…

JB
JB
7 years ago

just does not appear aerodynamically clean. Zip ties and junction box ruining the air flow over the bars. I’m not very impressed.

Rixter
7 years ago

In the photo with the A and B side-by-side, the red bike has much less tire clearance under the downtube and the headtube / fork connect much cleaner too.

david
david
7 years ago

Looks great, but I agree with @edge — With the variety of custom carbon, they could’ve easily spent some of the 20k on hiding it away completely inside the stem or a spot where it snaps into the frame. Cervelo P5s have it tucked under the top plate of the stem, which makes it super clean without any wires showing in the front.

Mick
Mick
7 years ago

@Rixter… the clearance is the same on both bikes. all you’re seeing is the “right” bike is the front end listing to the rider’s left (reference the frame bumper on the upper headtube)

Antoine
Antoine
7 years ago

Given you can get a full custom made carbon boat to race a transatlantic with about 100000$ 20000$ for one part is just ridiculous.

come on guys
come on guys
7 years ago

The part doesn’t actually cost 20k to make. The Uci requires everything a team uses to be available for sale within 9months to the general public. Therefore when teams make one off items they use prohibitive pricing and can say they meet the for sale rule. British cycling did this a lot with olympic track parts as well as custom stuff made for Wiggo.

Machinenoise
Machinenoise
7 years ago

Just go to Berk composites with both parts and he’ll carbon wrap them together for less than 300euro!

Curtis Odom
7 years ago

I know this process quite well. Does anybody else know how to figure the R&D time and cost? How about the tooling cost? R&D and Tooling before making the first part will be around $100k+/-
Maybe more with a lot of wind tunnel time, finite element analysis, and rapid prototyping.
The price? It just cost what it cost.

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