This article originally published in BikeRadar
Taylor Phinney (BMC Racing Team) had an impressive 15th-place finish at his Paris-Roubaix debut in 2012. Phinney is hoping for a podium spot this time around, though – provided team leader Thor Hushovd doesn't require his services – and he's hoping this BMC GranFondo GF01 is what will take him there.
BMC launched the GF01 endurance bike almost exactly a year ago with a radical 'Tuned Compliance Concept' shape that the company said provided increased comfort over the brutal Paris-Roubaix pavé. Various kinks and bends littered throughout the top half of the frame supposedly act as pseudo pivots under impact while the lower half of the frame is tremendously oversized – even more so than BMC's SLR01 road racing flagship – for precise handling and efficient power transfer.
It's an unusual aesthetic but it seems to work, although it's perhaps not the buttery smooth magic carpet ride one might expect. Instead, the GF01's TCC shaping is at its best when hitting obstacles hard and fast – which is perfect in this application since that's exactly what Phinney plans to do. That sort of riding is notorious for dropping chains, too, but the GF01's integrated chain catcher should help in that respect as well.
Given the intended consumer audience, BMC builds the GF01 with a taller front end and more relaxed positioning. Phinney – who stands 1.97m (6' 6") tall – therefore resorts to a 58cm frame and its shorter head tube, then compensates with a 150mm x -17° 3T ARX II Team stem to more closely replicate his normal fit. Like the frame itself, the position perhaps looks a bit strange and it definitely isn't something most riders Phinney's height can handle but then again, the 23-year-old prodigy of American cycling legends Davis Phinney and Connie Carpenter-Phinney isn't your average Joe, either.
The build kit is straightforward and mostly in-line (at least in concept) with what most riders here at Paris-Roubaix will use tomorrow. Among the highlights are a Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 mechanical group (Shimano-sponsored riders apparently prefer the longer lever throws' reduced sensitivity on the pavé), 50mm-deep Shimano Dura-Ace carbon wheels wrapped in 28mm-wide Continental tires, 175mm-long SRM cranks with 53/45T chainrings, and a 44cm-wide 3T Ergosum Team carbon fiber handlebar double-wrapped with fi'zi:k tape and padded with gel.
The team was decidedly coy about Phinney's planned tire pressure at first: "Less than 8 bar," said mechanic Jürgen Landrie, "but definitely more than 4," added chief mechanic Ian Sherburne. We eventually coaxed a "ballpark" figure of 5.5 bar (80psi).
Phinney hasn't earned himself a fully customized paint job yet but SRM has treated him to a custom anodized and laser-etched PowerControl 7 computer, emblazoned with the USA Cycling logo and his name up front. Phinney has taped over the power field on the display, however, apparently deciding to race Paris-Roubaix on feel instead of numbers.
Total weight as pictured is 7.98kg (17.59lb).
Video interview with Taylor Phinney introducing his Paris-Roubaix bike in 2012.