Review: BMC Speedfox 130mm travel 29er

BMC Speedfox goes after the trail bike sweet spot

29er All Mountain Trail
BMC Speedfox on the rock staircase of Noble Canyon Trail.

BMC Speedfox on the rock staircase of Noble Canyon Trail.

The Lowdown: BMC Speedfox 130mm travel 29er

The BMC Trailfox 29er with 150mm of travel introduced last year was a revolutionary bike for the Swiss company. It paved the way for BMC’s entry into enduro racing and the more U.S. style of all mountain riding. BMC follows it up this year with the 130mm Speedfox 29er, which incorporates all that was learned with the Trailfox. It is a trail bike with a big sweet spot, capable of climbing, descending and playing in the rough stuff.

During our test session, we found that is a very capable bike, arguably the all-around type of bike most riders need. You could race XC and still be confident when things get rowdy. The bike’s stand-over height and geometry are dialed, with short stays, a low BB, and long top tube. It climbs well and it descends and corners confidently. The Speedfox is only held back by the stock 32mm front fork and narrow rims. Upgrading those would really bring this bike alive.

For more back story, see the Speedfox 29er First Look feature from July 2014.

Stat Box
Frame: Carbon Bottom Bracket: BB90 Shimano press-fit
Geometry: BMC BWC (Big Wheel Concept) 29er Initial load indicator: Built-in SAG adjustment
Cable routing: Internal downtube/seatpost Natural-born brake post-mount: 180mm discs
Suspension: APS Rotors: 180mm front/rear
Travel: 130mm front/rear Dropper post: 150mm travel M/L
Fork: 32mm Claimed frame weight: 2210g/4.87lb with hardware
Seat angle: 74 degrees Rear axle: 12×142mm
Head angle: 68.5 degrees MSRP: $6999 (SF01 XX1 model tested)
Sizes: XS-XL Rating: 4.5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4.5 Chilis-out-of-5

Pluses
Minuses
  • Geometry is spot-on for an aggressive trail bike
  • Narrow rim width
  • Quality and fit are first-rate
  • Frame colors are muted and lines are angular
  • Size specific dropper posts from 100-150mm
  • Would prefer 34mm fork with 140mm travel
  • Best of breed SAG indicator built-in to frame
  • Clean internal routing with removable covers for access
  • 2.4 Continental tires
  • 750mm handlebar width is ideal

Full Review: BMC Speedfox 130mm travel 29er

Mtbr visited the new BMC USA office in San Diego and we set out to do their local epic ride, Noble Canyon. The boys of BMC were on their personal Trailfox 150mm travel bikes and marketing manager Devin Reilly said that I would be at the edge of the Speedfox’s sweet spot. “Noble Canyon can get rowdy,” he said. “But you should be fine.”

Starting the climb on the trail and slightly bleary eyed from the previous night’s San Diego tour, I appreciated that the Speedfox was easy to pedal. It scooted around just like an XC bike, as this is a sub-26-pound rig after all. As the trail pitched up, I was grateful for the 28-tooth single front ring. These Swiss mountaineers of BMC understand big hills and know that 29er wheels match up well with this gearing on big climbs. My only wish on the climbs was for a little more mid-stroke support from the Fox rear shock in the wide open position. There was some suspension bob under big efforts and I countered that by flicking the rear shock to the Trail position.

Noble Canyon Trail starts off with a shuttle ride near the top of the trail and a scenic meadow ride.

Noble Canyon Trail starts off with a shuttle ride near the top of the trail and a scenic meadow ride.

Once the trail tilted downward, the Speedfox started to exhibit its range. It had all the best traits of its big brother Trailfox, but was easier to handle and corner. The bike was nimble and fun to throw around. As the trail got really rowdy, we just checked the speed and went for it. The combination of big wheels, low center of gravity, and supple suspension got us through some hairy stuff for a 130mm travel bike. It just goes to show that one needs to trust a well-sorted bike and not necessarily defer to longer travel steeds.

In rough, high speed sections, the fork got bounced around the rocks a bit so a 34mm stanchion fork would be a welcome upgrade. We also suspect that bumping the front travel to 140mm would really allow this bike to reach its descending potential.

The Continental 2.4” tires were a bit stressed too because the rims were so narrow at 20mm. These are fine wheels with some of the best hubs, but newer bikes have moved on to wider 25-27mm rims. This would allow better stance of the tires and increase air volume, meaning you could run lower tire pressure and gain more traction.

Continue to page 2 for more on the BMC Speedfox and full photo gallery »

About the author: Francis Cebedo

The founder of mtbr and roadbikereview, Francis Cebedo believes that every cyclist has a lot to teach and a lot to learn. "Our websites are communal hubs for sharing cycling experiences, trading adventure stories, and passing along product information and opinions." Francis' favorite bike is the last bike he rode, whether it's a dirt jumper, singlespeed, trail bike, lugged commuter or ultralight carbon road steed. Indeed, Francis loves cycling in all its forms and is happiest when infecting others with that same passion. Francis also believes that IPA will save America.


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