What is it?
With excellent cross-country and all-mountain bikes established with the Fourstroke and Trailfox lines, BMC introduced the missing link in the line, the 130mm travel Speedfox 29. The Speedfox incorporates everything they’ve learned in the Trailfox in what they call Big Wheel Concept – short stays, slack head angle, long top tube and short stack heights.
The range consists of three models — SF01, SF02 and SF03 — each available in five sizes, from XS to XL. The SF01 has a full carbon frame and comes in two specs: XTR or XX1. SF02 has a carbon frame and alloy rear triangle, with three specs: XO, XT or XT/SLX. SF03 is an all alloy frame, offered in two specs: XT/SLX or Deore.
The bikes are unveiled in Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
Details include a frame allows for up to six internal cables and hoses, entering the frame on either side of the head tube, covering all control options. The drive-side chainstay also incorporates a chain guide and protector plate to protect the frame. A nice touch is the front derailleur mount is on the rear triangle so it saves precious chainstay space and it articulates and maintains proper chain gap with suspension movement. And finally, in 1×11 setups with no front derailleur, the mount is hidden with no obnoxious blank mounting plate on the frame.
So it’s not an XC race bike and it’s not an Enduro bike. Rather, it’s the bike that most riders can have fun with doing big climbs and handling rolling or technical terrain. Geometry is indeed dialed with the 435mm chainstays and 68.5 degree head angle. Geometry has 607mm stack and 435mm reach (size M), but is still slack, with a 51mm offset fork. Stem length is 70mm across the range to maintain a consistent ride quality across all the sizes. BMC feels that it is a huge compromise if taller riders are forced to ride longer stems as it harms the technical descending qualities of the bike. Seat tube angle is a steep (and ideal) at 74 degrees which puts the rider in an ideal climbing position with the long top tube and slack head angle. For descents, a dropper post is utilized to get the rider’s weight low and back.
Speedfox SF01 with 2015 Shimano XTR drivetrain
BMC designed the bike with internal cable routing that can hold up to six cables internally. Thus the brakes can be internal as well and any variation of brake levers and dropper lever positions can be accommodated.
Another nice feature on the Speedfox is the integrated initial load (sag) indicator on the top of the chain stay and rocker link. When setting up the bike’s sag the rider can just look down from the saddle and a bar indicates the proper sag range within the “soft” and “hard” markers without the need for snap-on sag indicators.
The frame weight for the Speedfox SF01 is 2210 grams or 4.87 lbs including all hardware. Hardware includes: shock, frame protections, chain guide, rear axle, and seat clamp. In other words, the Swiss don’t cheat when claiming frame weights. The top of the line SF01 XX1 weighs in at 11.4 kg or 25.1 lbs.
Jumping the Speedfox SF02 in Lenzerheide
We got to ride the Speedfox for two days in the Alps in the trails of Lenzerheide, Switzerland. The first day consisted of singetrack forest rides using the SF02 model while the second day involved several downhill runs at the Lenzerheide lift-assisted bike park using an SF01 model.
We felt that the fit for this 5’8″ rider was spot on after we sized down. We usually ride a Medium or 17-inch bike but since this bike follows the dimensons of the Trailfox, we jumped on a Small bike instead. Even with a 70mm stem, the fit was just right so this bike is indeed longer than 80% of the bikes out there. We are happy to report though that the bike comes in 5 sizes so even smaller riders shouldn’t have any trouble finding the proper fit.
Geometry is just about perfect with the 74 degree seat angle and 68.5 head angle. Bottom bracket was low, and stays were short with a long top tube. Stack height, stem length at 70 mm and bars were absolutely dialed for this class of bike. There’s really nothing we would change about this geometry for a 130mm travel bike.
We are a little disappointed that there’s only one 1×11 spec’d bike out of seven Speedfox model variations. 1×11 is definitely ideal for most bike applications these days, specially a trail bike that is this light and agile.
On the first day, we had good fun railing and climbing on the SF02 bike. We just kept the bike in Trail mode all day and that seemed like a happy medium for almost all trail conditions. Putting the rear in Climb mode delivered almost a full lockout so it was good only on paved roads. We knew the bike was capable as the three Euro journalists in front of us kept manualling, whipping and drifting the bike all afternoon long. It was plenty playful, given the right pilot. The ride was not quite so supple though as we our bike had the prototype/earlier model-year and lower grade Fox suspension.
So the next day, we took out a 25 lb. 1×11 SF01 with Kashima coated front and rear suspension. Here was a bike that was easy to pedal and climb and we took it down a bike park run similar to B-Line or Crank-it-up at Whistler Bike park. What commenced was a whole lot of hootin’ and hollerin’ as we truly discovered how much fun a 130mm travel 29er could be. It railed, it jumped and it ate up the stutter bumps with ease. We never wished for more travel or a different wheel size during a whole morning session in the bike park.
So these are just first impressions but we think BMC is on the right track with the Speedfox line.
Pricing will be available in late August. Expect affordable and competitive versions of this bike as BMC has a mandate to bring it’s technology to more ‘approachable’ price points.
The head tube height of the Speedfox is very short yet strong to achieve ideal bar height with 29er forks for a wide range of riders and preferences.
Features and Specs
- APS suspension, 130 mm travel
- BWC 29er geometry
- Full carbon frame
- 12×142 mm rear axle
- Frame weight: 2210 g including all hardware
- BB90 Shimano press-fit
Initial load indicator
- Built-in SAG adjustment indicator
Natural-born brake postmount
- Designed for 180 mm discs – Maximum 203 mm rotors – Replaceable threaded inserts
- Internal cable routing in the down tube – Internal cable routing for reverb stealth seatpost
- 5 sizes: XS/S/M/L/XL
For more information visit www.bmc-racing.com.