Last month, I had the honor and privilege of being invited to visit the headquarters of BMC in Grenchen, Switzerland. As a long time fan of the Swiss brand, I considered this a true once in a lifetime opportunity to see behind the scenes of the legendary company and meet the people that keep that Swiss watch ticking. 

After arriving at the Zurich airport, a quick train ride took me and other fellow North American BMC retailers to our hotel in Solothurn. Nestled away in the Aare River valley, neighboring the factories of Rolex, Tudor, and Breitling sits the canton of Solothurn, in which lies the BMC Headquarters.

The summit kicked off with our first day spent at the headquarters. BMC's main office doubles as an incredible showroom. It showcases their line of current models along with some legendary race-winning bikes from Greg Van Avermaet and Cadel Evans.

Day one, we participated in clinics, learning about the various new releases from BMC. And you can bet it wasn't a rehearsed sales pitch - we were hearing from the designers and engineers themselves who created the bikes from the ground up. As a bicycle geek through and through, getting to ask questions with the Swiss engineers was a dream come true.

One moment that stood out to me was when one of the carbon engineers presented a frame triangle that was fresh out of the mold. No finishwork had been done to it. This was a frame literally straight out of the press. It amazed me how flawless it was. It's so common to see carbon bicycle frames littered with fillers to make up for manufacturing imperfections. Those were no where to be found on this BMC frame. It was just one light sanding away from being ready for paint. As a bicycle paint enthusiast, I've seen a lot of frames in bare carbon. This was the most impressive bare carbon frame I've ever seen before.

After geeking out on frames for a few hours, it was time to ride one. We took a short walk over to the BMC Impec Lab, a special building designated to designing, prototyping, and testing BMC products. It also doubles as a test center where BMC houses a fleet of the latest and greatest bikes for testing. I was fortunate to get to swing a leg over the BMC Kaius 01 - BMC's top of the line, all out gravel race bike. 

Our two hour loop took us towards Bern and through some beautiful rolling gravel hills. One of the coolest bike rides I've ever been on. The smile could not be wiped off my face. The bike, the roads, the fellow riders, the weather - it was all perfect. And to summarize that ride - the BMC Kaius is the fastest gravel bike I've ever ridden. It's not for everyone - it's stiff. But if you're looking to go as fast as possible across every surface, look no further. 

Day two was the one I looked forward to the most - Teammachine R day. We took part in a presentation about BMC's new cutting edge world tour race bike designed in partnership with Red Bull Racing. This bike has peaked my interest in a profound way since the original spy shots were released last year. It's a new aero bike, and we don't see many new aero bikes hit the market these days - but Memphis NEEDS aero bikes. Wolf River boulevard, Watkins Road, Marion Loop, Winchester Rd, CD Smith - the list goes on and on of our local roads where aero bikes thrive. 

So naturally, I was excited. I've ridden a lot of aero bikes in my time. I've owned the Giant Propel, Trek Madone, Look 795 Blade, Winspace T1500, and the Factor Ostro V1. These were all good bikes in their own right, but to various degrees they lacked one thing - responsiveness. Most of this was due to the weight and different frame design characteristics. 

Well, the first few kilometers spent on the Teammachine R revealed one thing - this bike was fast. But it wasn't just fast - FINALLY, the crux of the aero bike had been broken. The bike felt light, nimble, and responsive. My demo bike weighed a feathery 16lbs and despite 60mm deep DT Swiss wheels, it felt as eager to jump as the greatest lightweight climbing bikes out there. The icing on the cake: it looks amazing, and I considered myself lucky to see first hand how well it was manufactured.

Our final day in Switzerland was epic. We were to transfer from our hotel in Solothurn to one that was closer to Zurich for our departing flights. Well, instead of just taking a train, we rode bikes! BMC orchestrated for our luggage to be shuttled to the hotel and supplied us with bikes for the day. This time, I got to try out the all new Roadmachine.

The Roadmachine is the new bike for everybody. It look like an all business race bike, but it clears a 40c tire, has generous stack height (that means you can slam-that-stem and still be comfy), and the frame is super compliant on those all-day affairs. 

My 100k ride aboard the Roadmachine was a true pleasure. It was extremely comfortable throughout the day, it accelerated on a dime, and felt as light as a feather up the climbs. And that was a good thing, too, because we were joined by 2011 Tour de France winner Cadel Evans who was not holding back on us! By the way, Cadel was a pleasure to ride with. He's a class act and a superb conversationalist.

Our lunch spot for the day was the official service course of Tudor Pro Cycling. This was an extremely exclusive opportunity to observe the inner workings of a pro team. Seeing the stacks on stacks of Teammachine frames and DT Swiss wheels was as sight to behold!

Once we arrived at our hotel for the night, we settled in, took in the town, and had a great final dinner with all the fine folks from BMC. There's so many more incredible details about the trip that I've withheld to keep this blog from turning into a novel, but I want to take this moment to thank everyone at BMC for having me and allowing me to spend an unforgettable week with them in Switzerland.

When you're shopping for your next bike - definitely check out BMC. You're guaranteed to get a bike that was designed by people who take an unparalleled sense of pride in their work - and it shows. Every bike I have mentioned in this blog we have in stock at LSS! Come by and check them out for yourself.