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Interbike 2008 – BMC 2009 Trailfox, Mountain Bikes

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UPDATE: Video is now in HD!  Watch it in standard def here, or mouse over the video and hit the ‘HD is Off’ button, then click on the link to open a new Vimeo window and watch in HD!

Interestingly, BMC (Bicycle Manufacturing Company) started life building bikes for Raleigh.  When that license was snatched away, they started building mountain bikes.  What you probably know them for is their road bikes, but their roots are in the dirt.  In fact, they didn’t even get into professional road racing until 2002 with the Phonak team.  BMC had their new 5.5″ travel Trailfox mountain bikes out for demos, along with the rest of their range.  BMC’s have always had a distinct look to them, especially with their large logo graphic.  The Trailfox is a very “space / industrial” looking bike in the gray color scheme shown in the video, which is to say it looks really cool.

Check the video for a full run down, and read the “more” link to see pics of this and their other mountain bikes.

Above, all shined up for the indoor show.  Below, from the outdoor demo.

The integrated brake posts ensure stiff, responsive braking.  They look super beefy, but they’re machined out on the inside (facing the wheel) to reduce weight.

Two cool features on this bike are the seat clamp, which keeps the lever out of the way of errant cargo shorts, and the sag meter (closeup below) on the rocker arm.

The “0” line should line up close to the line on the seat tube when no weight is on the bike.  The other lines toward the rear of the rocker arm give you an indication of sag levels depending on your preferred firmness level.  Pretty simple way to check sag.  The split top tube design increases the surface contact at the seat tube juncture, creating a stronger, stiffer frame.

The angled tubes and matte gray give this bike a very Battlestar Galactica, future military look, which is cool.  The “single bone” keeps the rear end in line.  The video mentions that this lets them run a shorter chainstay, however it’s still measuring out at 433mm (17.05 inches), which is on the long side for XC riding.  16.75 has been the norm for years.  However, it’s about 1/2″ shorter than their Four Stroke 4″ travel bike (shown below) that I test rode, which uses a “double” bone on the rear triangle.  Personally, I prefer a much shorter CS, somewhere around 16.5″ since I think it produces a snappier ride and helps keep the weight over the rear wheel on climbs.  Like the Fourstroke, their Supertrail (160mm travel) also has the 448mm (17.64″) chainstays, so it looks like BMC is moving in the right direction with their new bike.

Additionally, the top tube on the Trailfox is 22mm (.87″) longer.  The whole longer top tube/shorter chainstay set up was sparked by Gary Fisher’s Genesis geometry, which takes it to an extreme with a 16.25″ chainstay on some of their original Genesis frames. (For the record, that makes it extremely difficult to put a child’s seat on the rear…)

Above is the Fourstroke, a carbon fiber frame that weighs 4.19 lbs (without rear shock).  This is the bike I rode at the Outdoor Demo, but to be fair, my test ride isn’t something I should write about. The seat was angled so far back that my focus was on keeping my butt planted.  I should have fixed it at one of IMBA’s many aid stations along the trail, but I was lazy.  Sorry.  Perhaps we’ll get a chance to review one in the future, because the suspension seemed to do it’s job well.

For the hardtail lovers, they also make their Team Elite race bike, shown here with a rigid fork.  This one uses a one-piece molded BB/Chainstay area to increase drivetrain stiffness along with their usual frame shapes (T-shaped top tube, angled down tube, etc.) for a lightweight, race-oriented ride.  The geometry is set up for a 100mm fork, and they spec a Fox F100 RL fork on their top of the line “01” model.  For the record, the chainstays on this are a more traditional 425mm (16.73″). 

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