Slot Car Cornering
The TF01 is rolling proof that a properly designed bike can handle well regardless of wheel size. Its stiff, flex-free DT-Swiss wheels and grippy Continental Mountain King 2.4-inch tires conspire to make the BMC predictable, especially when rider input is smooth and deliberate.
“At first, I was hesitant to let the BMC slide into corners, but as I got more comfortable, I found its cornering characteristics very predictable,” said one rider. “It isn’t the type of bike that you can really slam into berms, but it rewards a smooth rider.”
Though Bradford competes in enduro races at the highest level—and takes the BMC deep—he claims not to have found the limits of his TrailFox. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Another aspect of the BMC that made it a standout performer was its exceptionally short 17.1-inch chainstays—minimal for a 29er. The short-and-tight rear end, along with a low 13.3-inch bottom bracket, equates to incredibly nimble cornering and acceleration for a big wheel bike.
And while most liked the TF’s stance, a couple felt the suspension sat too high, and could benefit from running more sag than recommended.
“The BMC seemed to stay up in its travel. Lowering the pressure in both the shock and the fork helped, but it never felt as plush as other bikes in its category,” one said.
Happy with Gravity
On the downhills, our test riders were quite smitten. The BMC was extremely composed, especially at high speeds, delivering predictable and responsive performance.
To-a-man, our test riders felt the TrailFox was extremely stable at speed, inspiring confidence and control, especially when hitting jumps and log drops. The BMC felt balanced and neutral in the air, even when the approach was awkward.
The BMC’s generous 150mm of rear travel made for confident drops and jumps. Photo by Tyler Frasca.
Who’s This Bike For?
With such a lofty price tag, BMC is clearly not targeting the weekend warrior—unless said warrior has booming bank account. No, this bike is a serious piece of racing equipment designed for high-level competition, as Bradford is proving. But its sweet-spot is wider than just enduro—the TrailFox is equally capable for endurance stage racing—Brec Epic, BC Bike Race, even La Ruta—events that involve punishing climbs and even more punishing descents.
The Last Word
The TrailFox is proof that BMC’s off-road acumen has caught up with its Tour de France winning road bike exploits—bravo. The TF01 has what it takes to compete at the highest level, though clearly value is not its strong suit, nor apparently a concern. Even with a price-is-no-object approach where value is relative, it seems amiss that a bike pushing $9,000 doesn’t come with a carbon wheelset.
Practicalities and pocketbooks aside, one rider’s summary captured our universally positive sentiment about the TF’s performance.
“The BMC was one of the best overall bikes in the entire test,” he concluded. “It goes uphill exceptionally well, descends with the best of them, and is extremely capable, refined, comfortable, and balanced.”
Sizing Note: With a 24-inch top tube, our size medium BMC test bike was as big as some size large bikes from other brands. As you’ll hear us say time and again, always look at the numbers and test ride bikes you’re considering in a couple of sizes.
Video: BMC plays up the Swiss Army Knife theme to the extreme with their promo video for the TrailFox. Video courtesy of BMC.
Price and Trickle Down Versions
TrailFox TF01XX1 price as tested: $8,999
TrailFox TF01 Frame Only: $4,999
TrailFox TF02 XT (carbon front, alloy rear): $6,599
TrailFox TF02 SLX TC (carbon front, alloy rear): $5,599
TrailFox TF03 (all aluminum): $3,999
2014 BMC TrailFox TF01 XX-1 Trailcrew Key Specs
- MRSP: $8999 US
- Weight: 27.2 pounds (size medium)
- Wheel size: 29-inches
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Color: Matte Lime/White/Black
- Frame Material: Full Composite
- Fork: Fox Float 34 CTD Kashima
- Rear Travel: 150mm
- Rear Shock: Fox Float X CTD Kashima
- Headset: Tapered headset – 1-1/8″ to 1-1/2″
- Handlebar: BMC MFB01 750mm low-rise carbon
- Stem: Easton Haven
- Seatpost: RockShox Reverb Stealth 150mm dropper post
- Saddle: Fizik Tundra 2
- Brakes: Avid XO Trail, 200mm Front, 180mm Rear
- Brake Levers: Avid XO Trail Carbon
- Shifters: SRAM XX1
- Front Derailleur: N/A
- Rear Derailleur: SRAM XX1, Type-2
- Cassette: SRAM XX1 10×42, 11-speed
- Crankset: SRAM XX1, 28-tooth chainring
- Wheels: DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline ONE
- Tires: Continental Mountain King and X-King 2.4-inch
- Bottom Bracket Type: BB90 Shimano Press Fit
- ISCG Tabs: Yes
- Chainguide: No
- Head Tube Angle: 67 degrees
- Seat Tube Angle: 74 degrees
- Chainstay Length: 17.1 inches
- Bottom Bracket Height: 13.3 inches
For more information visit www.bmc-racing.com/us-en/home.
This story is part of Mtbr’s 2014 Enduro Compare-O. Check out our intro story here for all the ground rules and goings ons.