The new year brings a new team and a new bike for George Hincapie in 2010. Having ridden on machines from companies such as Eddy Merckx, Trek and Scott, the 36-year-old from New York State is well over six foot and a Classics specialist so there's plenty of stress on his equipment.
The big American's switch to BMC Racing sees him aboard the Swiss company's BMC racemaster SLX 01 complete in US national champion's livery - it's been done by other brands in the past but this particular incarnation is rather striking. It's hand painted and the first element you notice about the bike.
The other initial observation is the size of Hincapie's bike. At almost two metres tall (6'3") he requires a 58cm frame and 140mm stem, with a lot of saddle setback. This is achieved by cutting the clamp and increasing the length of the cradle to support the carbon rails on the Selle Italia Turbomatic.
The frame itself doesn't make use of the BB30 standard, which can be seen on many of the bikes at this week's Tour Down Under. The bottom bracket shell is relatively minimalist compared to most composite bikes, which feature heavy carbon layups in this area. It maintains a clean look with the hint of a bygone era when there was a noticeable junction of the seat tube, downtube and chainstays.
The geometry is fairly traditional, although the seatstays are interesting in their application to the seat tube and the top tube/seat tube junction features a neat cutout that is designed to increase rigidity.
There's no sloping top tube, which means Hincapie uses frame with a 58cm top tube and utilises a long (140mm) alloy stem. Being a Classics rider he opts for strength over weight in the cockpit, using the relatively low-key EA90 and EA70 combo.
Hinapie's Easton EC90 Aero Carbon rear wheel doesn't come equipped with a PowerTap hub; we were told that it's only used for training data. There are plans by the team to use a PowerTap computer to feed live rider data to a doctor in the team car during races rather than power data transmitted from the hub on the rear wheel.
BMC's market position as a premium brand means it's only fitting the team's bikes use a complete Super Record 11 speed groupset from Campagnolo. Unlike many teams, which may throw in a few odd components into the mix, the BMC Racing bikes feature a full complement of Super Record pieces.