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2011 BMC Impec

Road Bike 9 2633

This post would have been timelier last month during the Tour when Cadel Evans and George Hincapie were first riding the new BMC ‘impec’. I planned to post about it at the time, but as so often happens it sort of slipped through the cracks. Though it is not exactly a breaking story at this point, the new bike from BMC is still worth a mention on this blog for a couple of reasons. BMC touts the impec (short for impeccable bike) as the “first entirely machine manufactured carbon frame in the world.” Unlike conventional laminated carbon frames, which are laid-up and glued together by hand, the carbon tubing on the impec is woven by a patented robotic loom, which BMC specifically developed for frame construction to achieve precise load-bearing properties for each of the tubes. According to BMC, the robotic tube weaving rules out human error and guarantees constant, millimetric precision.”

Compressed carbon composite half-shells with “a high proportion of extra-long carbon fibers” are used to join the machine woven tubes of the impec.  The “Shell Node Concept” as BMC calls it (I would probably just call them lugs) makes for an interesting visual frame design that is quite different from other high-end carbon road bikes on the market.

The impec will be available to the public in September. Each bike will be custom built for private buyers, who will be fitted for the bikes at BMC dealers. For more information about the bike, including available build options, check out Bike Radar’s first look.

Update 9/2/10: The impec just won a Eurobike gold award. More on that at Bike Biz.

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  1. Champs August 26, 2010 at 2:41 pm -  Reply

    They can talk up the technical merits of the frame all they want. For the money they surely want, this thing should be beautiful, too.

  2. Monk August 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm -  Reply

    Design wise this frame is definitely a step back from their previous range, which I thought was beautiful. Did the whole design team die in a plane crash and replaced by sketch monkeys?

  3. Russ August 27, 2010 at 6:06 am -  Reply

    Looks an awful lot like an old welded steel frame with big tubes and pretty colours.

    I’m not sure about carbon as a bike manufacturing product – ever seen the tail plane of an airbus shear off out of nowhere – thats what carbon does, and those things have a lot more maintenance and safety testing than my bike.

    Thinking of Technology on bikes – I saw a really old bike the other day – so old it had rod linkages for the breaks (no cables back then)… guess where the rear brake was. Under the bottom bracket.

    There are no new ideas. Just old ones revisited in a different way.

    • Andrew August 27, 2010 at 3:32 pm -  Reply

      Russ: a carbon bike that weighed as much as the lightest steel frame would be nigh indestructible. But it wouldn’t sell, because people in this market buy weight, not reliability.

      In the aerospace industry, carbon has no greater failure rate than aluminium. You hear anecdotes because people think it’s novel. Don’t blame the material, blame the design.

  4. James T August 27, 2010 at 8:26 am -  Reply

    Champs, Monk, and Russ, it sounds like none of you would agree, but I like the aesthetics of this bike better than any BMC road bike I have seen in the past. I have never been a fan of BMC bikes (speaking purely from a visual standpoint), but this one sort of appeals to me for some reason.

  5. Torben Finn Laursen August 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm -  Reply

    I consider the Impec as the first step for whole new generation of carbonfiber frames. In the future we will see other brands use a similar technology. This is the future for carbonfiber production. Looking forward to try it for a spin at Demoday in Germany next week.

  6. Mick August 27, 2010 at 7:21 pm -  Reply

    Aesthetics aside, for BMC to explore new manufacturing techniques will be valuable for the industry as a whole. Any new technique or manufacturing technology must start somewhere… I see some very interesting ideas in their manufacturing of this frame. Ideas that will probably trickle down into the industry (and benefit us all) over the next number of years.
    In the 2 decades in the business, I’ve seen all materials fail…carbon may be more prone to fail (in this day & age) due to the propencity of many manufacturers to push the envelope of the material (light weight).
    The consumer & manufacturers are often not on the same page regarding what many top end (race) framesets are now about… intended to be cutting edge/lightweight designs, at the expense of lifespan & or durability… not legacy framesets (to be passed on to the grandkids) .

  7. Johann Rissik August 30, 2010 at 4:54 am -  Reply

    How impersonal, built by a robot to “…rule out human error…”
    Thanks, but I’d rather stick with a handmade steel frame, where, if you look carefully at the welds, you can see when/where the welder smiled and where he farted. It’s gotta have some character.

  8. Sd July 31, 2011 at 6:39 am -  Reply

    Bunch of no nothing cynics above

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