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Pro Bikes, July 28, 2007

Paolo Savoldelli's Astana BMC TT01 Time Machine

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James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Superfast, but carrying a one-way ticket to nowhere

By James Huang

The fully integrated seat post
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A unique handlebar clamp
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The deep-section seat tube
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The unique Aero Hinge design
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Adjustable horizontal carbon fiber dropouts
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The deep-section seat tube
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Team Astana rider Paolo Savoldelli's BMC TT01 Time Machine doesn't travel through time like the fictional H.G. Wells' apparatus, but it is certainly designed to shave as much time as possible from the clock as it slices through the air.

BMC first unveiled its creation under the legs of Tyler Hamilton back at the 2004 Tour de France, yet in spite of its relative age, it still stands as one of the most radical examples of the genre today. Naturally, aerodynamics are a key factor with any dedicated time trial rig, and BMC shapes each applicable tube into a deep airfoil section that takes maximum advantage of the UCI's 3:1 aspect ratio rule. Moreover, its unique Aero Hinge design incorporates a proprietary fork, headset, and stem construct that is claimed to be lighter, stiffer, and more aerodynamic than conventional setups.

Each fully custom Swiss-built carbon frame is crafted specifically to the dimensions of its intended rider through BMC's Personal Precision Program, or '3P'; there are no stock units sitting in a warehouse waiting to be shipped. In the case of Savoldelli's TT01, it's a good thing that each one is carefully fitted as subsequent saddle height adjustment is extremely limited due to the truly integrated fixed-length seat tube design (small adjustments are made via several set screws in the seat cradle).

BMC's second generation TT01 solves that issue with a telescoping airfoil-shaped seatpost, and newer frames also shed several hundred grams with revised carbon lay-ups and a new unidirectional finish. Still, Savoldelli and others on the team prefer the feel and handling of the original model.

Savoldelli's TT01 is outfitted with a mix of components supplied by Astana's sponsors, including an aero wheelset built with Easton and DT Swiss components, an Easton integrated Attack TT handlebar, and a nearly-complete Campagnolo Record group. As is the case with many ProTour riders, Savoldelli perches atop a custom-built saddle, in this case a Selle Italia Flite Carbon with a factory-trimmed nose.

The perilously narrow 19c tubular tires of days gone by have apparently finally flown the coop as Savoldelli's machine was fitted with 22c tires front and rear, including a softer-compound Continental Pro Limited Competition Rain model up front to provide a surer hold on the road.

The 2005 Giro d'Italia champion and past TdF stage winner was a designated support man in the mountains for team leader Alexander Vinokourov in this year's Tour, yet still managed respectable placings in both the opening prologue and the Stage 13 time trial in Albi. Sadly, though, Savoldelli sleek Time Machine will be firmly anchored in the present during the final time trial in Stage 19 due to Vinokourov's recent positive doping test and Astana's subsequent withdrawal from the race.

Savoldelli's troubles seem to have only begun in Albi, though. Cadel Evans' Predictor-Lotto team has already filed a lawsuit against Vino and his Astana team, and the team has already been refused entry into the upcoming Tour of Germany. No doubt Il Falco will survive to fly another day, but the exact circumstances of that flight will remain to be seen.


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Images by James Huang/Cyclingnews.com

Full specification

Frame: BMC TT01 Time Machine
Fork: BMC proprietary

Critical measurements
Rider's height: 1.8m (5'11") ; Weight: 70kg (154lb)
Seat tube length, c-c: 550mm
Top tube length: 550mm
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 770mm
Saddle nose tip to C of bars: 685mm
C of front hub to top of bars: 522mm

Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque
Campagnolo Record Ultra-Torque, 175mm, 45/54T
Chain: Campagnolo Record Ultra-Narrow
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Record QS
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Record
Brakes: Campagnolo Record D-Skeleton
Brake levers: Vision Aero Brake Lever
Shift levers: Campagnolo bar-end
Rear sprockets: Campagnolo Record steel/titanium, 11-25T


Rims: Easton EC90
Front hub: DT Swiss 240s radial
Rear hub: DT Swiss 240s Spokes DT Aerolite
Front tyre: Continental Pro Limited Competition Rain, 22c
Rear tyre: Continental Pro Limited Competition All-Around, 22c

Bars: Easton Attack TT, 38cm (c-c)
Stem: BMC Aero Hinge proprietary
Headset: BMC Aero Hinge proprietary
Tape/grip: Self-adhesive textured white vinyl

Pedals: Look Keo Carbon Cro-Moly
Saddle: Selle Italia Flite Carbon with trimmed nose
Bottle cages: Blackburn Camber CF

Total bike weight: 7.7kg (17.0lb)