As a company well known for its thirst for innovative design, BMC have just announced their most progressive line of mountain bikes yet. Of course the Swiss brand has been on quite the roll lately, having debuted the new Team Elite softail race bike as well the 650b Speedfox Trailcrew already this year. Looking to build upon that momentum, the 2016 model year signals a subtle change in direction for BMC, with bold colours and refined build kits highlighting their willingness to listen to rider demands. This year you’ll find BMC releasing new sport hardtails, an updated Trailfox long-travel 29er, and a plethora of new spec options for the existing Fourstroke and Speedfox lines. So read on for our first look of the 2016 BMC mountain bike range…
While BMC may have generated plenty of interest with the release of their new 650b Speedfox Trailcrew, don’t for a second think that the Swiss brand has turned its attention away from the big wheels. Far from it in fact, as the Trailfox is still very much their Enduro race team’s weapon of choice. And so the 150mm travel Trailfox is back with a vengeance for 2016, complete with a new suspension package that sees all 3 models impressively utilizing a Cane Creek DB Inline rear shock and a RockShox PIKE fork. This means that every Trailfox rider is getting the same adjustments and suspension performance regardless of whether they choose the entry-point Trailfox 03 X1, or the full-noise Trailfox 01 XX-1. Further spec highlights that will please the masses include Shimano hydraulic disc brakes across the board, as well as tubeless compatible wheels and dropper posts throughout.
Otherwise the same geometry and APS suspension design carry over. According to BMC, the twin-link APS system uses “low suspension ratio for improved control, well-tuned progressivity for added comfort, and anti-squat properties to boost pedaling efficiency.” It’s a well proven design for BMC, having been utilized on their full suspension line for the better part of a decade. On the Trailfox, the APS linkage delivers 150mm of rear wheel travel that, along with the fat 29er rubber, is ideally suited to the gnarly high-speed terrain one might face during an Enduro World Series round. In fact, the new Trailfox was recently debuted during the Samoens EWS round in France, where it was ridden at full throttle by the BMC Factory Trailcrew Team.
But while BMC’s Enduro team may prefer the rock-gobbling abilities of the Trailfox 29er, the Swiss brand has been well aware of consumer demands for a 27.5″ version. And so back in early June this year, BMC released their very first Goldilocks model, called the Speedfox Trailcrew. Using 150mm of travel front and rear, the Speedfox Trailcrew is perfectly equipped to tackle the same type of riding as the Trailfox 29er, but in a package that’s designed to offer a more animated ride. According to BMC, “the Speedfox ‘Trailcrew’ attitude is all about play and having fun on two wheels, forcing BMC’s status-quo of performance and speed to take a vacation.”
There will be 2 models available for 2016. The Speedfox Trailcrew 02 makes use of a carbon front triangle that’s paired to an alloy one-piece sub-frame, with a Cane Creek DB Inline shock controlling the 150mm of rear travel. Both models get a RockShox PIKE up front, but the cheaper Speedfox Trailcrew 03 gets a Fox Float EVOL shock out back along with an alloy front triangle to bring the price down. Both bikes get 2.4″ rubber, dropper posts, 750mm wide handlebars, and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes with 180mm rotors front and rear. Key features include removable ISCG chainguide tabs, a 142x12mm rear thru-axle, and neat internal cable routing. In terms of geometry, the 27.5″ Speedfox Trailcrew runs a 66.5-degree head angle to keep the front centre long, while the 428mm chainstays are the shortest in the BMC full suspension line.
The standard Speedfox carries over for 2016, though an updated suspension spec looks set to turn this 130mm travel 29er into a more capable trail bike. Across the board you’ll find both the carbon and alloy models gifted with the excellent 34 Series fork from Fox Racing Shox. Going to the larger 34mm stanchions provides a much needed boost in front-end steering precision for long-travel 29ers, and with Fox having dropped a ton of weight out of the new 34 chassis, it’s proving to be a very popular choice this season. BMC frames are well known for their high quality construction and lateral stiffness, so the addition of the 34 FLOAT fork should unlock the true potential of the Speedfox frame.
To match the 34 fork up front, you’ll see the new Fox Float DPS rear shock out back controlling the Speedfox’ 130mm of rear travel. Aiming to maintain the same suspension characteristics throughout the range, BMC have specified Fox’s new Evol air can, which uses an enlarged negative air spring to help boost starting-stroke sensitivity and maintain a more linear feel throughout. Otherwise the overall chassis remains the same, with the top-of-the-line Speedfox 01 utilising a full-carbon frameset. The middle-of-the-road Speedfox 02 subs in an alloy rear triangle, while the entry-point Speedfox 03 (pictured above) goes for alloy both front and rear. Geometry also remains unchanged, with a 68.5-degree head angle paired with roomy top tube lengths across the board to keep the wheelbase long and stable. A steep 74-degree seat angle aims to position the rider further in between the two wheels for a neutral climbing position when the saddle is at full height.
At the pointier end of the spectrum, BMC have been enjoying stellar results on the XC race circuit following the debut of their brand-new Teamelite soft-tail. For those looking for more real-world proof of this success, just ask Julien Absalon, who recently notched up his 30th World Cup win aboard the Teamelite 01. As a company with deep roots in the faster side of road racing and XC competition, the Teamelite is BMC’s best example of what their engineers can deliver when they’re let loose on designing a single-purpose race rig. We’ve already gone into detail about the development of the new Teamelite 01 frameset and its Micro Travel Technology (MTT), which is helping to deliver more compliance for riders still wanting the flat-out efficiency and lightweight that only a hardtail can truly deliver. But we can tell you that new for the 2016 model year will be a Teamelite 02 frameset, which mirrors the carbon frame on the Teamelite 01, just without the MTT design.
There will be three spec options available with the top-end Teamelite 01 frameset, including this Di2 XTR model that comes complete with the same 2×11 drivetrain being used by Shimano’s sponsored World Cup athletes. BMC will be offering the Teamelite 01 in five frame sizes, with the X-Small size offering an additional 8cm of standover clearance compared to the smallest frame size from last year. Geometry follows the companies ‘Big Wheel Concept’ (BWC) that they’ve been refining over the past few years. This evolution sees the new 29er soft tail running a lower bottom bracket height, shorter chainstay length, and roomier top tubes across the size range that are paired with shorter stems to help quicken up the steering at slower speeds.
If you love the idea of the Teamelite 01 frame but you’re on a budget, the Teamelite 03 frame offers you the same World Cup winning geometry in a lightweight alloy frame that helps to bring the price down. Geometry is shared with the top-tier carbon model, and oversized hydroformed alloy tubing aims to mimic the same stiffness and handling attributes of its more expensive siblings. The Teamelite 03 comes equipped with a 100mm travel RockShox Solo Air XC30 fork, Shimano Deore/SLX running gear, DT Swiss wheels and Shimano hydraulic disc brakes.
Lastly, but certainly not least, the new 100mm Fourstroke (which we reviewed a couple years back) will be available in 4 models for 2016. The Fourstroke 01 (pictured above) runs a full carbon frame with your choice of SRAM XX-1 or Shimano Di2 drivetrain options. The Fourstroke 02 subs in an alloy rear triangle and offers SLX or XT spec options at a more accessible pricepoint. Like the Speedfox and Trailfox models, the Fourstroke runs the company’s twin-link APS suspension design, but with a heavier bias towards pedaling efficiency. The Fourstroke is designed to be the XC racers choice for when the course is looking particularly nasty. Probably the best example of its ideal application would have to be last year’s UCI XCO World Championships, where Absalon piloted his Fourstroke to a momentous victory.
For more information about the 2016 BMC Mountain Bike range, head to www.bmc-switzerland.com