Review: BMC Impec

By | November 19, 2013
Oooooh!  Pretty!

I have two other BMC reviews that can be found here: Review: BMC TeamMachine SLR01.  Review: BMC GranFondo GF01. BMC had a demo day at Tacoma Bike recently.  If you have the opportunity to catch a manufacturer’s demo in your area, do it!  The best way to find the right bike for you is to ride lots of bikes.

As the BMC guy was setting up for his demo, there was one bike that really caught everyone’s attention.  It was the Impec.  It certainly is an eye catching machine, but I knew nothing about it.  I soon found out quite a few details.  The Impec is made in an all new Swiss factory which cost BMC  a pretty penny.  Luckily they pass that cost on to the consumer.  The frameset costs somewhere in the $6500 range.  Ouch.  The most interesting aspects of the Impec are:
The details of the Impec are stunning!
  1. No human hands touch the frame until the decals are put in place.  The manufacturing process is almost entirely done by machine.  I really appreciate the accuracy of such construction, however there is no craft involved.  I am really torn by this.
  2. The carbon lugs.  The BMC would tell me that these are not lugs.  They do not function as lugs and he is right.  However, that is what they look like.  They are machined carbon fiber frame stiffeners which are applied to the frame in two halves.  They were the contrasting red portions of the frame which really, really stand out.  They stand out even more in white or yellow!
  3. I am getting tired of the dull grey look of carbon bikes.  They are all starting to look the same.  However on the Impec, it is gorgeous!  The carbon frame is clear coated with a glossy finish and the carbon weave that you see is structural, on most bikes, the carbon you see is often just for appearance.  You can see the weave change slightly from one end of a polygonal tube to another and it is so precise.  This is the advantage of using a robot to build your bike.
I did not think I would have an opportunity to ride the Impec, because it is so pricey and because the only one I saw unloaded was tiny.  After riding the SLR01, the BMC rep asked me if I wanted to ride a Impec. It turns out they had a 57cm Impec for me to ride.   Despite the rain and how tired and cold I was getting, I could not say no.  Here are the specifics of the bike:
  • Size: 57 cm
  • Shifters: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Brakes: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Derailleurs: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Cranks: Shimano Dura Ace
  • Wheels: Mavic Ksyrium SLS
  • Seat: Fizik
  • Bar: Easton
  • Stem: Easton
By the time it hopped aboard the Impec, the rainstorm was nearly biblical in proportion.  I literally forded streams on the road with a $10,000 bike.  This rain like the other bikes meant that I could not really test the brakes, or handling of this bike.  However, here are the rest of my impressions of the Impec.Positives:  The bike is designed to be a ‘jack of all trades’ according to the factory rep.  I found it to be stiffer than the GF01 and more comfortable than the SLR01.  It was really responsive to hard accelerations and climbed like a dream.  Handling was predictable and yet responsive like the BMC rides.  Dura Ace components are really hard to beat.  The Mavic felt more robust than the wheels on the SLR01 and GF01.  This is a big concern to Clydesdale such as myself.  The bike is gorgeous and will get attention everywhere it goes, if you are not riding in a flood.

Negatives:  

The Easton Bars were too small and did not suit
my Riding style!

The Impec had the harshest ride of the 3 bikes I rode that day.  I think a lot of it has to do with the Mavic wheels.  I wish I could have ridden all three bikes with the same wheelset to get a better comparison.  The Mavic Kysriums are not the most forgiving wheels in the world.  They also have a bit more weight than the Dura Ace wheels on the SLR01.  The Mavics did not spin up as nicely as Dura Ace wheels.  The Easton bar had a bit of an Aero profile.  I hated it!  When I was riding with my hands near the bends at the top of the bar, the profile had a tendency to push my elbows out.  The Impec I rode was a 57cm, the other BMC’s I rode were 58cm.  It felt a little cramped.  I would prefer to ride a larger bike.

I liked my experience on the Impec, but I do have some criticism.  None of them are related to the frame itself.  If I were going to invest in this costly machine, I would ride as many as possible with differing setups.  That may not be so easy since this bike is so rare.  I would love to ride the Impec again and I hear BMC will be back in the area next spring.  I cannot wait!

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