Cadel rode the SLR01 exclusively to his first tour victory and many tour fans can be forgiven for forgetting the BMC Impec. BMC has a policy of racing almost all bikes in their line-up. From the cheaper models to the most expensive models. They are one of the only teams to do this. Instead they focus on what each rider wants and supply the appropriate machines. I like this because it seems less “marketingish” to put your team riders on your most expensive model exclusively. For eg the sprinters would be put on the slx carbon/alloy hybrid for its stiffness whilst all round GC contenders like Cadel and classic contenders end up going for the SLR01. It tells me that not one bike in the BMC range is better than the other. It is simply a fact of what bike you want to suit your style of riding and what you ride.
The impec has seen action in the BMC team but it has always being inbetween a half released/half unreleased state. For 2012 they are adding one more colour to the line-up with options for lightweight wheels as well. Darth vader has plenty of all black bikes to choose from and now his minions have a matching model as well. Not sure how Darth Vader will feel about spending 20k for each of his storm trooper peloton though. Neither do i know how he would feel about supplying them with a bike that is probably better than his own in category value at least.
Of most notable interest to me is the 2012 SLR01 (obviously). For 2012 they have new paint scheme (honestly dislike) and the biggest difference is the seatpost is replaced with a normal clamp mechnisim seatpost. I think heavier riders were complaining about creaking (goes away with copious amounts of cf grease) so they might have changed it to the normal seatpost design to alleviate this issue. There will be a di2 version of the frame too with internal di2 cable routing and that is a welcome addition. I wouldn’t mind di2 internal cable routing on my BMC too. I don’t want the new seatpost design though. For my weight the seatpost doesn’t creak at all and it is a pleasure to use/adjust. Not only that even with the 2012 seatpost, you cannot change it out for other seatposts as the tubing is trapezium shaped so you are stuck with bmc seatposts anyways.