Mar 19, 2023

Wild BMC x Red Bull aero bike breaks cover at Critérium du Dauphiné

A new aero-focused frame and brand new componentry and wheels from Campagnolo at the Dauphine

The Critérium du Dauphiné is always a useful performance yardstick for teams and riders in the run-up to the Tour de France, which is just weeks away now. New equipment is often rolled out at the Tour or in the run-up to it and this seems to be the case with Team AG2R Citroën who have been spotted with a new BMC race bike at the start of the Dauphine. BMC appear to have been busy after we covered the prototype BMC time trial bike that appeared at the Tour de Romandie

Cyclingnews spotted some new prototype bikes ahead of the race's opening stage mounted on the team's car roof rack. The new bikes have a plain black paint scheme except for a large 'create speed' logo on the downtube and a small RedBull advanced technologies logo on the fork (more on this below).

The first question that needs answering is: What is it? AG2R have the BMC Team Machine SLR01 and more aero BMC Time Machine Road 01 at their disposal to race on. The Time Machine is the more aero, speed-focused model of the two but this new black bike seems to be taking the aero considerations up a level with a chunky, aero headtube and seat stay junction in particular as well as generally aero profiled tubes and aerodynamic features such as the bottle cages and their low mounted position. The 'create speed' logo also points to an aero-focused, race machine. Could this be a new Time Machine or perhaps a brand new all-out aero model?

The headtube is seriously deep on the new bike and the fork legs look wider than normal too. The above picture provides a really useful comparison between the existing TeamMachine bike and the new frame, where the differences are clear.

There have also been rumours of AG2R switching to Van Rysel bikes and equipment for the 2024 season. Will we see AG2R racing aboard this new bike next season? Or will a different team be riding it if the rumours are true?

This wouldn't be the first time BMC has collaborated with RedBull advanced technologies, with the two companies partnering to create what they called 'the world's first F1 bike' last year when they created a new time trial bike.

The inclusion of the Red Bull logo on the fork leg points to some collaboration happening between the brands for this new bike too, perhaps in the aerodynamics department again.

The bikes seemed to just be for Greg Van Avermaet and Ben O'Connor currently, with O'Connors number two spare bike being on the team car roof rack.

The frames are displaying UCI prototype stickers on the seat tube, UCI prototype application forms must be submitted to the UCI in the event of a new frame being brought to market and raced on.

AG2R are the only team in the World Tour racing on Campagnolo wheels and groupsets for 2023. Campagnolo recently launched its new Super Record Wireless groupset which features wireless derailleurs and the omission of the famous Campagnolo thumb shifter buttons.

The team are using a mix of older wired Super Record EPS and the new groupset but we expect to see more bikes fitted with it later in the season or at the Tour de France.

The above bike was also fitted with the new Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra wheelset which was recently launched by Campagnolo, relaunching the Hyperon name. The Hyperons are more of a mid-depth wheel and may be a choice for riders when they don't want the depth of a Bora model or for more climbing-focused stages.

The new Campagnolo Super Record chainset does not have a power meter currently, though we expect this to change. This bike has been fitted with an older Power 2 Max power meter chainset so the rider can keep an eye on their power output. An almost critical piece of equipment in today's World Tour.

We haven't received any official information on the new bike from any team staff at AG2R, but we will update this story with more information if and when we receive it.

The above shot shows the huge bottom bracket shell and junction with the seat tube and down tubes, this must create a stiff platform to aid power transfer. The Campagnolo wheels looks mostly to be tubular versions currently, showing the tubular is not quite ready to say goodbye to the World Tour just yet. The combination of cutting edge Campagnolo wireless technology and decades old tubular tech is an interesting one.

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Tom joined the Cyclingnews team in late 2022 as tech writer. Tom has over 10 years experience as a qualified mechanic with 5 or so of those being spent running an independent workshop. Tom has ridden and raced bikes from an early age up to a national level on the road and track and has ridden and competed in most disciplines, even the odd bit of bike polo. Tom is as happy tinkering away in the garage as he is out on the road bike exploring the Worcestershire lanes.

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