Our innovation station: the Impec Advanced R&D Lab.
Think of Switzerland and you probably think of precision watches and high quality engineering. There’s certainly no shortage of highly skilled engineers here. There are also visionaries to spark innovative projects, and there is the wealth to support them.
So, when the idea to craft carbon bikes in Switzerland came to Swiss cycling patron Andy Rihs in 2007, the only real challenge was creating the right space to make it happen.
A portal to the future.
The R&D Lab is located in a small Swiss town between the Jura Mountain Range and the Swiss Alps, an area of outstanding natural beauty and equally incredible cycling terrain. It’s here that fully-automated machines have been producing carbon framesets, from scratch, since 2007. With a carbon braiding machine (aka the ‘Stargate’ because of its sci-fi appearance), every frame that comes out of the impec facility in Grenchen has gone through a unique assembly and construction method. A special technology known as Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) ensures the perfect amount of matrix necessary to compliment carbon type, weave, and layup schedules for balanced and rider-specific tubesets. The result is something that many aspire to, but only few achieve—a simple idea, executed brilliantly.
The production of impec bikes was just the beginning—the real legacy is the facility. The R&D Lab is our portal to the future, an experimental playground that allows us to boldly go where no bicycle manufacturer has gone before.
Once upon an engineer’s dream.
Equipped with a series of fully-automated, precision machinery tools, this state-of-the-art facility is a playground for mad-scientist composite engineers. What makes it really special for our engineers, is that everything they’d expect to find spread across various mass-production facilities around the world, is right here under the one roof.
The Impec Advanced R&D Lab is the home of the legendary ‘Stargate’ carbon braid machine, state of the art CNC machinery, countless frame jigs, injection mold tooling, hand laminate tooling, and a paint studio that would make even Banksy jealous. The engineers here are in complete control of turning ideas into reality.
Breaking rules is not for fools.
Bicycle technology is a lot like any other technology: Often outdated within a few years and failing to meet the demands of the user, or in our case, the rider. In the Impec Advanced R&D Lab, we can create rideable prototypes within days.
Once we have prototypes in our hands, we can quickly assess the results and reiterate until we get it right. This is rule-breaking, but with a clear purpose; keep BMC at the leading edge of riders’ demands, and able to respond with relevant products—fast. We test our solutions, iterate like no one else and get feedback from our professional teams and riders, to guarantee that the final products are ahead of pack.
What’s cooking in the Lab right now?
We’re finally allowing the public to see a bit of what’s been going behind the curtain in our R&D lab in Grenchen, Switzerland. Far removed from current design trends, the latest ideas we have been working on are something that we’re very proud of. Proof is in the pudding as they say— and for the first time we show you what our chefs in the lab have been getting up to, in the form of a concept bike. The concept bike is an amalgamation of our solutions to existing challenges in modern bike design, ergonomics and functionality, but also solutions to challenges that will appear in the not so far future. And how quick were we? It took us only 4 months—from inception to finished prototype.