BMC continues to evolve the concept of an efficient but capable short travel full-suspension bike being well-suited for much of the riding that most mountain bikers actually do. But building on the success of longer travel trail bike platforms, they have stretched out the short-link APS suspension of their World Cup XC racing Fourstroke for the new 110mm travel Agonist 29er. Developed to still pedal and climb like a race bike, the Agonist gets the slightly more travel and a retuned suspension design for a more compliant ride for endurance level cross-country riding. Geometry of the new full carbon marathon XC bike also gets updated for improved control & confidence on more technical trails, while the Agonist also gets a few tweaks to make it just an easier bike to keep running smoothly through all conditions. Take a closer look at the new bike ready for all day racing or singletrack adventures in your backyard…

BMC says the Agonist is built on a Big Wheel Concept, which essentially is just to say that it benefits from everything we know of 29ers – efficient at carrying speed, improved rollover on obstacles, and stable handling. With 110mm of rear wheel travel, BMC still classifies the new Agonist as a cross-country race bike, but built for the longer style of racing that sees you in the saddle for many hours, with clearance for up to a 58mm/2.3″ tire (with 6mm of frame clearance.) With endurance or marathon racing at heart, the bike gives up just a little bit of pedaling efficiency to their XCO-focused Fourstroke in favor of significantly improved small bump compliance, and with it all-day comfort. The Agonist also gets a more linear spring rate to give riders a better sense of using all of the bike’s travel.

The Agonist gets a small geometry tweak that BMC feels really optimizes it for longer days of singletrack or endurance racing. Compared to the Fourstroke again (which is their XC benchmark), the Agonist gets a 1° slackened headtube to 69°. The bike also a good bit length in the front for a long front-center (or frame reach), again following the similar longer, slacker modern trail geometry movement. The bike also gets a bit lower toptube for improved standover, which helps smaller riders, but is more for improved confidence when riding more technical trails.

The core of the Agonist is an updated & optimized APS suspension design. BMC reworked the lower links to improve stiffness with wide-set main pivots. The updated design also reworks the short link 4-bar design to create that linear feel through the suspension travel for a more fully active feeling while descending. That early small bump compliances and more plush feel through the travel of course gives up some in the way of pedaling efficiency, which is why all of the bike specs include remote lock-out shocks for extended climbing.

BMC put a lot of effort on building integration and durability into the new Agonist. A key issue they identified on the short-link APS design of the Fourstroke was the exposure of the lower link and its main suspension pivots to dirt, water & debris. So the Agonist gets its own integrated mud flap that keeps all of the suspension components protected for improved durability and to just make it generally easier to keep the bike clean. Inside of that hidden link are also some neat internal cable routing guides.

Like we saw on the recent Scott Spark of Nino Schurter, the new Agonist also includes a stealth routing port underneath the lower shock mount  to discretely run your remote lockout cables. On Nino’s Scott that meant that he couldn’t yet run a sponsor-correct RockShox Deluxe, which may be one reason we see BMC only spec’ing Fox shocks here. We did see DT shock compatibility with that same frame last year, and have word that RockShox in developing a solution as we type.


The bike also gets large & resilient integrated protection on the downtube and chainstays to protect against regular rock strikes, as well as chain suck & slap. Look close and you also see there is an integrated chain guide plate bolted directly in front of the bottom bracket that appears adjustable for 1x or 2x drivetrains to prevent dropped chains.

Besides protecting the frame itself, the Agonist builds in pretty good modularity and cable integration with fully internal cable routing (inside of internal guide tubes), including the ability to install or remove a high direct mount front derailleur hanger for Sideswing double setups. Even though this bike leans towards more trail use, and we’ve seen more dropper seatposts even on XC race bikes, the Agonist has limited provision for stealth dropper routing. With that said if you have a 1x setup, there will still be an extra cable port in the headtube (even with a remote shock lockout), but getting the routing to work around the bottom bracket might be a chore.

Out back, like the recent road disc offerings that we just saw, the Agonist also takes advantage of Shimano direct mount derailleurs to offer a more secure derailleur attachment (or a standard hanger in the case of SRAM builds.) It is a 12mm rear thru-axle, and gets Boost spacing, which BMC says will be standard for all mountain bikes going forward.

BMC’s new Agonist will be available in two different frame versions, four frame sizes (S-XL), and a number of different complete builds. The top spec Agonist 01 will feature the carbon main frame, carbon rear triangle, and aluminum linkages. It will be available in the $7500 Agonist 01 One top level build with a SRAM XX1 Eagle groupset, Fox Factory suspension, and DT Swiss XR 1501 Spline wheels. The full carbon Agonist o1 should also be available as a frame kit in the future as well (with the frame claiming a weight of 2180g including the shock.)

Additionally BMC has a second version of the bike with an alloy rear end to keep costs down. The Agonist 02 shares the same carbon front triangle and same alloy links, but gets an aluminum rear triangle for a gain of around 350g. The $4900 Agonist 02 One complete bike will come spec’d with a complete new Shimano XT M8000 11 speed double, Fox Performance suspension, and DT M1700 wheels. The $3800 Agonist 02 Two looks to save on drivetrain by going with a mixed Shimano 2×10 drivetrain with an XT M786 rear derailleur, Fox suspension and wheels with Alex rims.


  1. Not thought around a dropper is a ridiculous mistake in this age. Everyone serious about speed is using dropper those days.

  2. Serious question. Why my enduro bike from 3 years ago has an excellent geometry that allows me to not only descend but also climb really steep hills without lifting my arsh and XC bikes even in 2017 are still following almost the same geo as they had many years ago? This bike has 73,75 seatpost angle calculated on the height of the stem which means that the real angle will be probably more like 72. Modern enduro bikes have angles more like 75 which is in my opinion much better. Why the XC geometry cannot go for longer wheelbase, longer front triangle and steaper seatpost angles? Current geometry of XC bikes is still very much influenced by road bikes from 60 years ago. Is there something important I am missing here?

    • XC bikes are designed to be fast everythere, ups, dows and on flats. Your enduro bike is only fast going down. Because of steap seat tube of enduro bikes, the dropper is a must have to confidentally ride downhill, otherwise seat will be too high and will push you towards the bars. However on the xc bike the seat is allready out of the way and far back, so the dropper is not required. Enduro is also no way as nimble and sharp turning as a XC bike. So yes, you miss a lot of points! )

      • I am sorry but I don’t get it. How may a seat be out of my way during downhill if it is far back? First of all this is not that far to be way out and second of all when going downhill I am using many positions from being on the front to being on the rear. So when the seat is high it will always be in my way. So without a dropper it may not be resolved nevertheless. But what may be resolved is the position when going up the hill which is not addressed by this geometry. And the last point about sharpness of turning. This has little to do with the discussed part of the geometry and more with the head angle and overall length of the bike. I consider all your arguments invalid. Sorry.

    • To my knowledge, BMC designs the seat angle to an average seat height (750 mm ?), and that is what is written in the geometry chart. So you will never be far off that given seat angle.
      But there is no denying that this bike looks quite old school now, looking at dropper compatibility, head angle, chainstay length, tire clearance and cockpit spec.

    • So true..At how many XC races do you see guy wearing hydration packs? The Specialized Epic seems to be the only full-suspension XC-race bike that still has two bottle cages, even in the small size

  3. no dropper compatibility is ridiculous whether you or I use one is not the point, so many riders today can feel more confident with the seat down and that option cannot cost a dime more, that was a serious oversight. Enduro riders today are not riding to be fast or efficient, the current geo is a direct offshoot of making the bikes ‘fun’ and ‘flickable’, not fast anywhere. Since Brian Lopes retired there probably aren’t any enduro racers actually riding up gnarly climbs anyway. With a great # of buyers in this catagory riding flat pedals, their effective seat angles are much slacker than the frame lists on paper. The unclipped shoe can move well over an inch forward radically altering the leg/crank angle. This does bring up a good point though, WHY do so many road racers of the highest level use geometry that has been around for decades but when they set up time trial bikes they push the seat forward to the UCI limit? Triathletes push even further forward… If this is really that much better, why aren’t all the pro peloton riding with at least inline seat posts or flipped forward posts to get their body more over bb centre? Surely every single pro XC racer has ridden their sponsors ‘enduro’ bikes in training or off season holiday. IF the 2 degree steeper SA of these bikes are so much better for hammering, why aren’t the companies making ‘baby’ enduro bikes for their XC line?

    • Generally (there are exceptions) you’ll get a more biomechanically efficient pedaling position with your kneecap directly over the pedal spindle when the crank is at 3 o’clock. This necessitates a seat angle of 72-74° for most riders. A steeper SA reduces the hip angle making the glutes useless. TT/Tri bikes move the saddle forward because the torso is much lower – they keep a similar hip angle to road bikes.
      On an XC bike you’ll typically have a similar torso angle to a road bike, so a similar SA will be ideal for putting down power. MTB body positioning is a compromise between efficiency and handling, so if you’ve got a long front-center/slack HA, you’ll need more weight over the front wheel on steep climbs. This is why enduro bikes have been going to steep SA’s (also because a long-travel bike will slack out a few degrees on a steep climb due to sag).
      Good Questions!

  4. I think the answer to Goroancy’s question is that mountain bikes are evolving rapidly right now. I don’t think anyone has figured out what the ideal angles are for XC or “marathon” (aren’t most XC races about as long as a marathon.. but I digress) once you throw bigger wheels in there and/or long TT’s and short stems.

    Also, while you can say racers are always looking for a technical advantage to help them win, a lot of time people are sticking to what is light and what feels fast. For example, bigger volume tires roll faster. Period. But XC racers are reluctant to use anything bigger than a 2.1 because of the weight. Slacker head angles ‘feel’ slower cornering, but does that ‘feel’ actually determine how quickly you make it through a series of corners? Not really.

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