There seems to be two main camps in cyclocross – those who ride carbon bikes, and those who ride alloy. Between them, we hear two reasons for that. Either you’re willing to pay for a carbon bike or you’re not, or you just don’t think a “plastic” bike is up to the abuse so you stick with metal. Either way, the alloy bikes are seen more as a working man’s (or woman’s) tool rather than a purebred race machine.
Well, the BMC Crossmachine CXA01 manages to ride like both…
IT’S READY TO WORK
The Crossmachine is available in carbon and alloy, both coming with this full carbon fork. What separates the CXA01 alloy model is the addition of rack and fender mounts throughout…
Inside the fork legs are virtually invisible mounts, paired with a rear facing fender mount insert on the back of the fork crown:
All shift cables are run externally. Bolt-on cable stops let you switch to a 1x or 2x setup with out having empty slots cluttering up the bike. Remove them both if you run single speed, though you’ll need a derailleur-style chain tensioner to do so.
Out back, a bolt-on part holds two rack mount attachment points on the seatstay bridge, but it’s removable for a cleaner appearance on race day (and a few grams savings).
Lower attachment points are on a chainstay bridge, and it uses a simple threaded BB, too.
Lastly, removable bolt-on mounts are located off the back of the dropouts. Put it all together and this bike can easily accommodate a loaded ride to work or school in the off season.
The cockpit is a no-nonsense alloy mix of BMC-branded handlebar and stem…easy upgrade options. In the back is their 18mm offset TCC (Tuned Compliance Concept) carbon seatpost, which works in conjunction with their bent seatstays to provide a more comfortable ride.
Other spec includes durable DT Swiss Spline 1900 alloy wheels and a SRAM Rival group, including hydraulic disc brakes, with Apex 11-42 cassette. It comes with 35mm wide Continental Cyclocross Race tires, which is the only thing I’d swap out to something tubeless ready (c’mon Conti…hurry up and go tubeless for road and ‘cross!) and then…
IT’S READY TO RACE
To put performance at a top level, the triple butted, hydroformed frame is heavily shaped from tip to toe.
All of these angles work with the tapered steerer and beefy fork crown to make it very laterally stiff. Tracking was true and handling snappy, two things that sometimes are at odds when taken to extremes. This provided the right blend of straight line stability (good for cruising along the streets or racing shoulder to shoulder) and responsive handling through the corners. This is a bike that let me focus on where I wanted to go rather than worrying about ending up somewhere I didn’t.
Those angles also give it a much more premium look than its $2,299 price tag would suggest. Yes, you can get alloy ‘cross bikes for less, but in my opinion, you start compromising. Here, there are no compromises (except non-tubeless tires) in its path to the finish line. Of course, there’s plenty of room for upgrades, but with such a solid foundation it’s worth pumping money into as your obsession grows. That’s assuming this is your “A” bike, also known as most people’s “only” cyclocross bike. If you’re looking for a “B” bike to keep in the pits or train on, this is a solid option that won’t lag behind your main race bike’s performance.
BMC’s TCC design is their way of providing some forgiveness into the frame to enhance the ride. Here, it’s stepped fork legs, flattened seatstays with a bend, and the flex seatpost. I couldn’t directly feel any one of those things working (other than seeing -but not feeling- the saddle’s nose moving with me in high cadence pedaling), but as a package, it provided a very comfortable ride. Especially for an alloy bike.
Details like the welded brake mount bridge tie things together and really add up to a high quality feel, fit and finish to the bike.
There’s plenty of clearance for the 35mm tires, suggesting you could fit 38mm options in there without drama. Stick to the UCI maximum, though, and you’ve got gobs of room for mud and crud to fall through.
The size 58 weighed in at 9.56kg (21.08lb). Go tubeless and you’re probably hitting under 20 pounds.
The BMC Crossmachine CXA01 is a solid performer. As hard as I could push it through my rooty, twisty cyclocross test course, I couldn’t faze it. I’d race this bike as-is, which is the highest compliment I can think of since I’ve got a Moots that’s decked out and routinely ride and review carbon ‘cross race bikes costing 3x as much. BMC says it’s also great as a gravel bike, and I’d say the handling is on target there, too, but tire clearance might be a bit limited for that pursuit. Which is fine. I’d rather have a purpose built bike than a watered down trying-to-be-all-things bike, and this one’s definitely built for ‘cross.