This article is part of the Mtbr’s Enduro Compare-O. See all the stories in this special section here–http://reviews.mtbr.com/category/enduro-compare-o-2014
To say the first impressions of the BMC TrailFox TF01 were polarizing is an understatement. First off, the $8,999 sticker price generated a lot of guffaws and grumbles in the parking lot—a spendy sum for a bicycle, no doubt. And if the price didn’t elicit debate, then the characteristically Swiss design certainly did.
“As with all BMCs, the aesthetics are off-putting–weird tube shapes, clunky visual identity, random adjectives printed on the frame, and a fugly shade of yellow accent,” one rider commented.
To the contrary, another rider’s eye beheld beauty in the TrailFox.
“One of the best looking bikes in the test,” he commented. “Even without the BMC badge, it’s clear this bike is Swiss made—sharp, precise lines, with a clean and a simple rear suspension design.”
Setting aside looks and price, the BMC garnered near universal praise for ride performance.
“This bike made me feel at home after a few moments and seriously made me consider trading in my current bike,” one reviewer gushed with envy. “It rolled very well and was the most stable bike in the air I’ve ever been on.”
Other riders concurred, with one saying, “This bike made me feel like a better rider, which I suppose is about the highest compliment one can pay.”
Primo Parts No Surprise
If you didn’t catch our First Look at the BMC, here’s its key particulars—29-inch wheels with 150mm of rear travel utilizing BMC’s Advanced Pivot System (APS) suspension. It’s managed by a Fox Float X CTD Kashima rear shock paired with a matching 150mm Fox 34 Float CTD Kashima fork up front. As a system, these parts performed superbly no matter what the terrain.
The TF01 also came with a 150mm RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post, a SRAM XX1 drivetrain, and a stout set of DT Swiss wheels. Riders praised the Swiss attention to detail here as well.
“Clearly someone was paying attention when they put a 28 front chainring on this XX1 setup. For a bike with 29-inch wheels that weighs 27.2 pounds, a 28 or 30 tooth chainring makes a lot of sense,” one commented. “The DT Swiss XM1501 were probably my favorite 29er wheels in the test—stiff, smooth rolling, and great hub engagement.”
The BMC also features internal cable routing that’s made to ease maintenance and repairs. We witnessed it first hand when BMC team rider Aaron Bradford—who stopped by to ride with us and help with bike setup—snapped his rear derailleur cable on Sawpit Trail. The fix—for which Bradford was prepared with a spare cable—was easy, and we were back riding in minutes.
Ascends Like a Swiss Aerial Tram
When the terrain turned uphill, the TrailFox’s APS suspension design bit down hard on the dirt, delivering outstanding grip, shining in the more technical terrain.
“The BMC seemed unflappable on the steep, technical climbs. Keeping the front end planted was effortless. Even out of the saddle, I felt neither excessive bobbing or unwanted feedback through the cranks,” commented one rider. “Whether trying to thread-the-needle between rocks and ruts, or simply powering through them, the bike did precisely what was asked of it.”
Another rider was able to motor straight up a very steep and technical section of Ridge Trail that frustrated other riders throughout our Compare-O.
“I cleaned that section on the BMC without even blinking an eye,” he said. “It was a combination of the incredible anti-squat grip of the rear suspension, and the fact that the BMC was equipped with a 28-tooth front chainring.”
That said, for fast tracks, having a 32- or 34-tooth ring in the toolbox might be a good idea. On wide-open descents it’s conceivable you can spin-out the 28.