BMC TMR01 vs Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 7.0 Di2 - Which to buy?

Love thy velo man
edited April 2014 in Road buying advice
Hello everyone,

This is my first post so thanks for having me here. I was hoping I could pick some wiser brains for some buying advice, please?

Since 2008, I've been riding a Condor Squadra (scandium alloy frame, carbon forks and seatpost, 105 group set, basic fulcrum racing wheels, racy geometry).

I've loved this sleek, bespoke beauty - but the time has come for an upgrade. Over the past year or so, I've been doing more and more riding and I recently signed up for my first Olympic triathlon to be held in August. Most of my rides so far have been in the 40km-60km distance range, but I intend to double that this season. I'll likely average two rides a week, sitting between 27-37km/h, hitting the mid-40s in sprints. I ride with a good mix of avid cyclists and triathletes, so the rides are casual but we push each other as we go. Maybe it's just because I struggle to keep up - but the rides tend to feel like training rather than coasting - and that's perfect. I live in Amsterdam, so the roads here are pancake flat - but we try to get down to Belgium/France occasionally and as an expat, who knows where I'll be living in a year or two.

A few weeks ago, I borrowed a friend's Felt AR4 2012 and was gobsmacked by the lightness and how much easier it was to generate speed. There were a number of factors at play: my first time on a full carbon frame, lighter, more aggressive geometry, aero set up, etc. I joked as I got off the bike that he'd just cost me a few grand...and sure enough, here I am in the market for a new set of wheels. Having read endless reviews and posts, I've got it down to two...admittedly quite different...bikes. And I'd love to hear from anyone who's ridden them or has an informed POV on their appropriateness for the kind of riding I'm doing, please.

Who knows if I'll ever spend this much on a bike again, so I want to make sure I get it right. I want a bike that will encourage me to train harder, to go faster and to go further. And (silly as it sounds), I want to feel like I'm riding a bike that's as good as it gets for the money. So here goes...

Option 1: 2014 Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 7.0 di2
790g perfect all rounder frame (56cm)
2014 Ultegra Di2 6870 11 speed group set, internal battery
Mavic Ksyrium Elite S WTS wheels
Upgraded VCLS 2.0 seat post
Stiff, light, comfortable - versatile
€3600 (direct distribution model so 'discount' built into price)

Option 2: 2013 BMC Timemachine TMR01
1100g aero frame (54cm)
2013 Ultegra di2 6770 10 speed group set, external battery below bottom bracket
Cosmic Carbone SL wheels
Fast, characterful ride - but possibly too stiff for anything but racing?
€3800 (last year's model reduced from €6999)

Whichever bike I go for, I'll go for a fitting to get the cockpit right. (I'm 176cm tall with an inseam of 82cm and from what I can tell both bikes would work).

Both are pro team frames and I'm sure both would be amazing bikes (in both cases, I will be the limiting factor!) The BMC is probably sexier as a brand yet it's a bit more showy. Viscerally speaking it feels like it would be faster and perhaps more fun. But it's also more limited in what it's good at - it's clearly the better bike for race day...but it could be less appropriate (and less fun?) than the Canyon on every other day of the year. The Canyon on the other hand is a versatile all rounder and comes with the newer 11-speed group set, and it's pretty good looking to boot.

I feel like the BMC is like the girl who's trying to beckon you down the alley - she'd be a lot of fun, but she might give you something nasty. The Canyon is like the girl you should marry. Or to put it another way, the BMC's like a number one hit single, the Canyon that album that grows on you.

To any Canyon owners, how fast and racy do you find the SLX, please? Do you think I'd be left wanting / lagging behind friends on aero bikes? Do you feel it's aggressive enough? And how comfortable do you find it on longer rides, please? I've heard it's pretty stiff too.

To any BMC owners, would you be happy if the TMR01 was your only bike? How do you feel it performs as an all round bike or if you're just going for a casual spin? Is the stiffness/comfort ever a problem? Would a weekend in the hills be an option?

Any other opinions and advice would be welcome, please.
Thank you very much - and happy spinning,



  • philbar72
    philbar72 Posts: 2,229
    I've got a TMR01 and its pretty much my go to ride in any condition (though I do have the old alloy SR01 as well).

    I race occasionally, train on it and use it whenever i can. Its very fast, responsive, and has good all round characteristics. the frame is reasonably heavy, but it climbs just fine (caveat - i'm not a great climber!).

    Stiffness seems to be an issue with aero bikes but mine doesn't have too many issues, its firm, sure but BMC have really thought things through with this, its a frame that allows you to put the power down on most surfaces without issue, though it absorbs most bumps, its still pretty firm... Braking is powerful and consistent and very easily modulated via the powerful mini vees. they require a bit of set up, but once done are very good.

    if you were to run it with one set of wheels i'd probably not go for the cosmics, but thats just my opinion. Not a fan of them...

    Also don't put the battery below the BB. it looks terrible. I've got mine behind my drinks cage and it is fine.

    in terms of value for money, I'd actually go for the canyon however. it it a slightly better all round bike and is more comfy than the TMR01. you will not go as fast in a straight line or descending, or probably cornering, but you would beat the BMC uphill.

    a couple of the guys at my club have had a go on it and kind of wanted one immediately! mind i've got the latest DI2 and some nice bits and bobs that i run on it (c50's and a good 3T cockpit).

    every weekend i do lots of hills btw, its never a problem.
  • Thanks for the helpful reply, Philbar. Appreciate the details of the ride. Your TMR01 set up is tantalising as hell and those wheels look great. I'm not surprised it turns heads at your club. I agree with you on the cosmics - whilst they look and sound great, they wouldn't be my first choice for a full-time/all round wheelset. However, as the TMR01 is a 2013 build on sale, I wouldn't have any choice. Same applies with the battery (unless it's easy to move/reinstall yourself?)

    It was interesting to hear you'd still go for the Canyon - especially given how much you're enjoying the TMR01. My head tells me the Canyon's the way to go; I just hate the thought of my friends (a couple of whom have BMCs) going faster in a straight line!

    Do you find the BMC gains are marginal / only above certain speeds or is it a game-changer? I guess it's coming down to a subjective call: speed vs sense.

    @ any Canyon owners out there, do you find the Canyon fast enough? It's an eminently sensible choice; I'd just hate it to be a 'sensible' ride.

    Thanks for the input / advice, all - hope you're having good evenings.
  • Even recent industry tests show a minimal difference between standard and aero frames.
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • mallorcajeff
    mallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
    Your friends will not best you just because of the aero frame. If it was me id go for the the bmc as it looks amazing and we had one in the workshop to fix and it was stunning. Only the easton tubulars the guy had on it with no glue were the only draw back! Poorly set up by Evans. Beautiful bike and i had a bmc before loved the build quality. Value for money of the canyons seems unrivalled, lot of bang for the buck.

    My money would go on the bmc. 9 out of 10 bikes are sold on looks and that looks far better.
  • mallorcajeff
    mallorcajeff Posts: 1,489
    And the canyon being german she will have hairy armpits.
  • hstiles
    hstiles Posts: 414
    I'm one of Phil's clubmates. His TMR is indeed a thing of beauty once you get used to the slightly different looks.

    Can you throw in a third option? Scott Foil on special offer at Westbrook Cycles.

    GBP £2999 will get you a Foil 10 (HMX carbon) with SRAM Red.
  • The Scott Foil was actually one of the first on my list as a bike that balances road/aero stylings. I took a 2012 Scott Foil 15 for test drive - I loved the power transfer and speed, but I wasn't blown away by the overall build quality - it may just have been it was an older model, but everything felt a bit loose (like it was rattling) and poorly finished. And I guess at a gut level, Scott didn't grab me as brand - can't say why. I went back to the drawing board and landed on the Canyon as a refined ride with almost unbeatable spec. Looking at that Westbrook offer now, the price is fantastic but I personally fancy giving electronic shifting a try. (For anyone else sharing this dilemma, I'd definitely say the Foil's a contender).

    After a bit more digging, I was all set on the Canyon and had pretty much made my decision, when a new BMC dealer opened up at the weekend, offering some crazy discounts. It feels a bit like playing bike top trumps and I don't want to choose the lesser bike :) Hence my current coin tossing.

    I would be a darn sight easier if I could test drive the Canyon to compare that and the BMC but their model makes it impossible...and I guess that's why it's such good value.

    You guys are clearly more experienced riders than I am. May I ask - it's obvious that BMC is a highly respected manufacturer - is Canyon held in the same regard?
  • eddiefiola
    eddiefiola Posts: 344
    And the canyon being german she will have hairy armpits.

    I live in Germany with a German wife and she complains about my armpit hair, hers are as smooth as a smooth thing ;)
  • I'll take ride quality over looks, so there's nothing for it... I'm going to buy the Canyon. And buy a poster of the BMC.
    Thanks for sharing the advice.
  • cal_stewart
    cal_stewart Posts: 1,840
    I've been looking at the tmr01 ff to swap out with my canyon. So I've had the vfm of the canyon and with the BMC on offer at Evans it's a hard not to. On aero bikes been out with a couple of r5's today and I've not been smoked.

    Also lived in German and can confirm that German women aren't very hairy :D
    eating parmos since 1981

    Canyon Ultimate CF SLX Aero 09
    Cervelo P5 EPS
  • I've been looking at the tmr01 ff to swap out with my canyon. So I've had the vfm of the canyon and with the BMC on offer at Evans it's a hard not to.

    Hey Cal_Stewart, I was curious to hear you were thinking of swapping Canyon for BMC? How come you're shifting manufacturers rather than upgrading to a newer/different Canyon?