BMC Speedfox SF02 XT - Review

Feb 2, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  



BMC hails from Switzerland, a place where everyone seems to approach life in a slightly different way than the rest of the world. Somehow, the Swiss have blended timeliness and order with some of the most wild and spectacular landscapes to be found on the European subcontinent. This is a modern society, tucked between mountains and massive vertical cliffs carved during the Ice Age, where church bells ring out the work day, dairy cattle browse at ski resorts and beside Lego-colored manufacturing plants, which in turn are flanked by vegetable and flower farms. Cityscapes are punctuated by densely forested hills and flowers hang from the windows of multi-story metal and glass buildings. Viewed from above, much of Switzerland appears to be a manicured toy train set that has somehow sprung to life. Having spent time there, I would expect BMC's mountain bikes to look and ride differently than their counterparts in mainstream cycling, and they do, as witnessed by this week's test bike: the 130-millimeter-travel Speed Fox SF02 29er.




Speedfox SF02 XT Details:

• Purpose: Technical trail riding
• Construction: Carbon front section, aluminum dual-link rear suspension, internal cables
• Wheel Size: 29-inch
• Rear wheel travel: 130mm
• Fork: Fox 32 Float Evolution CTD, 130mm stroke
• Shock: Fox Float CTD
• Drivetrain: Shimano XT, 2 x 10
• Brakes: Shimano XT, 180mm rotors
• Wheels: DT Swiss Spline M1700
• Weight: 28.75 pounds. (13.07kg, medium size)
• MSRP $4999 USD
• Contact: BMC @ridebmc




Meet the Speedfox

Before we get started, BMC offers the SF02 in three builds: one based upon a SRAM X0 two-by-ten drivetrain; our test model, which features a Shimano XT two-by-ten transmission; and a more affordable version based upon a Shimano SL/XT ensemble. All three use the same chassis and many of the components are duplicated between the builds. The MSRP of our mid-priced BMC Speedfox SF02 XT is $4999 USD and our medium-sized test bike weighed in at 28.75 pounds (13.07kg).

Overview: Europe was a little late on the 29-inch wheel thing, but BMC was one of the early adopters, so the Speedfox SF02 enjoys second-generation trail bike geometry and an intelligent component spec that includes low, big-wheel-specific gearing; tires with aggressive dirt-worthy tread, and a Stealth Reverb dropper post. The heart of the Speedfox is a sturdy chassis, constructed with a carbon fiber front section, mated to an aluminum dual-link rear suspension.
BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
Clean lines and time proven components - very Swiss.

While its corners may be rounded off, the Speedfox's profile is angular and airy, with a rocker-driven Fox CTD shock that is positioned vertically to make room for a down tube water bottle. The frame's faceted and rectangular-profiled tubes are abruptly tapered and angled in sharp contrast to the present curvy and organic school of trailbike design, but it works. BMC's Speedfox looks modern and capable.

Details: Molded, screw-on plastic caps make for clean entries and exits for the Speed Fox's internal housing and hoses, and a thick, molded rubber chainstay protector ensures that the BMC will stay quiet on the downs. BMC tucked the post-mount rear brake caliper behind the seat stay for protection and the mount is dedicated to 180-millimeter rotors. Below the right-side chainstay is a simple pass-through chain guide, similar to the one which Specialized fits to its mid-travel trail bikes. As mentioned, the SF02 has an internally routed RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post, which further cleans up the bike's already sharp appearance.

BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
Molded plastic caps route cables and hoses cleanly into the carbon fiber front section.
BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
A view of the lower cable guide and one of the best internal routing jobs to date.


Sizing: BMC offers the Speedfox in five sizes, from X-small through X-large, and its dramatically sloped top tube should assist most riders to fit over the bike's 29-inch wheels, in spite of its 130-millimeter-travel rear suspension. Curiously, BMC lists every conceivable frame dimension on its geometry chart except the stand-over clearance for each size they offer. Our medium-sized model measured 29 inches (480mm) from ground level, to the top tube at the nose of the saddle, which suggests that the small and X-small frames may be on the tall side for diminutive riders.

BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
Compact linkage rockers keep the Speedfox's chainstays as short as possible.
BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
BMC runs the shock vertically, which leaves plenty of room for a down tube water bottle.


Suspension: BMC calls it their "Advanced Pivot System," which is yet another fancy term for the dual-link, four-bar rear suspension which has become the fallback design for most of the industry. BMC's version drives a Fox Float CTD shock to produce 130 millimeters of rear travel. Short linkages cause rapidly changing leverage rates, which virtually guarantees that no two dual-link designs will perform exactly the same. BMC claims the middle path: a suspension that pedals well, brakes well and still manages to provide a smooth, controllable ride. Ambitious, perhaps, but not an impossible goal. Up front, the Speedfox relies on a 130-millimeter stroke Fox CTD Evolution fork, with 32-millimeter stanchions. Most trail bikes we were testing at the time had forks with stouter stanchions, so we were keenly interested in how well the BMC would hang with the burlier bikes at speed.






bigquotesThe fact that the 29er's bottom bracket lies significantly beneath the axles proved to be an asset on the rocks because it allowed us to confidently steer and brake down some impressive grades.

BMC's latest Speedfox asks very little from its rider when it comes time to set up its suspension and get rolling. Its Fox Float fork and shock are well understood, so one needs only to set the suspension sag and crank in the low-speed rebound dials one third of the way in and the bike is ready to rock. BMC even makes it easier, by including a printed graphic on the right side of the rocker arm pivot that indicates the proper sag range for the Speedfox. The gauge is more accurate, because the bike's ride height can be verified while the bike is rolling. There is no need to hop on and off to fuss with the shock's O-ring.

The Speedfox's orderly cable and hose routing made for a tidy cockpit layout, but with its two-by drivetrain and remote dropper post, the control room is reversed. None of us liked having the dropper on the right side of the handlebar near the most oft-used shift lever and as such, test riders spent much time fiddling with control placement when setting up the Speedfox.

Rolling out: Twenty nine inch wheels are superior to both of their diminutive cousins in Sedona, Arizona's punishing trail environment. BMC's specs say that the Speedfox comes with pencil-thin 2.2-inch Continental tires, but thankfully, our test bike was shod with 2.4-inch rubber that was fitted to beautifully engineered, but nearly outdated DT Swiss Spline M1700 wheels. Fat tires on skinny rims made the Speedfox look like trophy truck.
BMC Speedfox sag indicator
BMC's onboard sag indicator allowed us to assess the bike's ride height on the fly.

The Speedfox accelerated smartly, and there were no arguments over how well the Swiss 29er tip-toed over Sedona's monotonous chatter. The BMC feels efficient at the pedals with and without the assistance of Fox's CTD low-speed compression lever. Get it moving and it settles into a fast pace over rolling terrain, where its cross-country rated fork and shock put in a surprisingly good effort to keep the bike travelling forward instead of up and down.

Climbing: Shimano's two-by XT drivetrain has a 1.5: 1 low gear and a 1: 3.45 top gear ratio, which is one click wider in both directions than a SRAM one-by drivetrain can deliver using a 30-tooth chainring (1.4: 1 low and a 1: 3 top gear), which is what I am accustomed to pushing on a big-wheel bike. Having a lower gear for Sedona's regularly stiff and technical climbs was refreshing. I could use more sensitivity on the pedals to get up and over tricky sections where otherwise I would be charging and hoping for the best. Paradoxically, we universally despised the way Continental's Mountain King and Trail King tires gripped in Sedona last season, but BMC's 29er seemed to showcase the tread pattern and we managed to find traction almost everywhere when we needed it most.

Stabilized weight transfer and a roomy cockpit kept riders well positioned over the bike for climbing. Point the Speedfox upwards and the rear tire feels naturally weighted, while there is just enough downforce on the front tire to keep it steering correctly for negotiating steeps. The BMC remained balanced as its rider transitioned in and out of the saddle as well. We attributed this to the 29er's 35-millimeter bottom bracket drop, along with the Speedfox's slightly steep, 74-degree seat angle, and its short (for a 29er) 17.125-inch chainstays (435mm).

BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
bigquotesPoint the Speedfox upwards and the rear tire feels naturally weighted, while there is just enough downforce on the front tire to keep it steering correctly for negotiating steeps.

Turning: Considering that BMC bills the Speedfox as a straight-up trail bike, its 70-millimeter stem is appropriate hardware for a medium-sized frame. It naturally weights the front tire when entering turns, which is a plus. The Speedfox is an easy bike to corner when traction is inconsistent, because both wheels tend to drift around about the same amount. Banking on that, its rider need not throw a foot out the instant the front wheel pushes over a slick spot, because the rear tire will drift about the same distance as it crosses that threshold and reset the bike on its intended line. Switching to a shorter stem, however, would speed up the rider's steering inputs at the handlebar, which may improve the BMC's tendency to take a wide arc around turns. 29ers need a few degrees more lean to get them to turn into corners as it is, but to hold a tight apex aboard the Speedfox, we found that we had to exaggerate the lean angle or counter-steer at the entries. A shorter stem would make those moves seem smaller and more intuitive.

Descending and technical trails: Steering forces were very light, which is rare for a 29er. BMC's choice of a 68.5-degree head angle, paired with the Fox fork's 51-millimeter offset was spot-on for the Speedfox's trail bike mission statement. I am sure that the slacker-is-better cult will wage war against that assessment, but those who actually are experienced bike designers know that "stupid" lies only one or two clicks beyond "just right." BMC is Swiss, after all, so we figure that they rode test bikes with steeper and slacker numbers, took notes, and eventually came to a stalemate between a 68 and a 69 degree head angle - thus, 68.5 became the choice.

Back on subject, our Speedfox felt more like a lightweight trail bike, so when the moment came to drop in on some of Sedona's more manly lines, it was with some trepidation that each of us rolled the front wheel over to the point of no return. Turns out, the BMC was quite a courageous descender, one that occasionally bested the more well-endowed enduro monsters that we had been riding, because it would deftly roll out of landings that appeared to be perpendicular to the front wheel. When we got bounced off line, we learned that we could trust the BMC to roll down almost anything what was in front of us. The fact that the 29er's bottom bracket lies significantly beneath the axles proved to be an asset on the rocks because it allowed us to confidently steer and brake down some impressive grades.

BMC Speed Fox SF02 in Sedona
bigquotesGet it moving and it settles into a fast pace over rolling terrain, where its cross-country-rated fork and shock put in a surprisingly good effort to keep the bike travelling forward instead of up and down.


Where the big wheels did not help was when we had to yank the front end of the Speedfox up and over vertical ledges or climb abrupt faces. In those situations, and there were many in Sedona, The tall front end would literally be in our faces as the fully extended fork and 29-inch wheel filled every centimeter of available space between our forward leaning bodies and the impenetrable wall of stone that we were attempting to breach. Riders in excess of 1.8 meters (six feet) seemed to have better luck with the move because they could get their head and shoulders well over the handlebar. The Speedfox's ample front center and 70-millimeter stem caused the front end to feel heavy when lofting it over obstacles, which was not a serious problem if the rider compensated for it by either planning ahead or simply yanking harder on the bars.

Suspension: If the Speedfox did not have 29-inch wheels, this paragraph would have read like a disaster report. The larger and more comfortable rolling wheels, in conjunction with BMC's last minute decision to throw on massive, 2.4-inch Continental tires became the salvation for the Speedfox's suspension. 130 millimeters of travel sounds like a substantial number, but that is only a finger's width more than the paltry 120-millimeter cross-country standard that the industry is trying to escape from. At trail riding speeds, the Fox fork and shock manage quite well and the bike feels quiet and capable. The suspension kinematics don't seem to interfere much with rear braking, which further reduces the potential for back country drama. But, when the heat is up, the pads are on, and the fun meter edges towards the red line, the BMC's suspension is completely overwhelmed. To its credit, the BMC is still enjoyable to ride well past that point and it never becomes unmanageable at speed, but the ride is rough and the bike requires more concentration than that which is necessary aboard similar travel machines, armed with more capable forks and shocks. Outdated, perhaps, but the Fox 32 fork and Float shock should be commended for their reliability and versatility, the modern dual-suspension trail bike owes its very existence to them.


Component Report

BMC did a good job of spec'ing a component package for the Speedfox SF02 to fulfill its role as a high-performance trail bike. The standout players were its Shimano XT ICE Tech brakes and the choice of 180-millimeter rotors. Braking performance was sweet in every corner of the bike's performance envelope. We are espoused one-by supporters, but it's hard to dis' on Shimano XT, because every click shifts a gear, every shift is positive and instant, and Shimano's front mech is almost as crisp as its rear derailleur. The choice is clear: One-by? Get SRAM. Two-by? Pick Shimano. We may have come down hard on some of BMC's spec choices, but that is our job. We pushed the bike well beyond its intended role and nothing failed, which is a win in and of itself. As a complete package, the Speedfox is a turn-key trail bike that can handle challenging technical terrain - just like the sales brochure says.

Specifications
Release Date 2015
Price $4999
Travel 130mm
Rear Shock Fox Float CTD
Fork Fox 32 Float Evolution CTD 130mm
Headset sealed, tapered style
Cassette Shimano 11 x 36 ten speed
Crankarms Shimano XT 24/38 tooth
Chainguide BMC chainstay type guide
Bottom Bracket Shimano press-fit
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur Shimano XT Shadow
Chain Shimano
Front Derailleur Shimano XT
Shifter Pods Shimano XT
Handlebar BMC 750mm aluminum riser
Stem 70mm BMC aluminum
Grips Generic
Brakes Shimano XT ICE Tech w/180mm rotors
Wheelset DT Swiss Spline M1700
Hubs DT Swiss Spline M1700
Spokes DT Swiss
Rim DT Swiss Spline M1700
Tires Continental MountainKing/X-King 2.2 Performance
Seat Fizik Nisene XS
Seatpost Rockshox Reverb Stealth


Chain guide: Is this the Swiss version of putting cards in the spokes so the bicycle makes moto sounds? The BMC noise creator is clever, but unnecessary and it defeats their purchase of a Shimano clutch rear derailleur and front mech. A longer-travel, burlier bike may need a backup chain device, but not a gentleman's trail bike like the Speedfox.

Fox 32 Float fork and CTD shock: For its intended purpose, BMC chose a lightweight and proven fork and shock combination that will make a lot of customers happy for the life of the bike, but not us. If anything, 2015 marks the inevitable end of the 32-millimeter stanchion fork for serious trail and all-mountain designs.

Internal cable routing: Best we've seen in over a year.

Handlebar: Perhaps BMC made a running change, but its official spec says the Speedfox will sell with a 720-millimeter bar. Ours measured a more welcome 750 millimeters, and may have been updated, like the wider tire spec. Either way, a machine this capable should come with 760 millimeter width bars and a hack saw blade for the few who want narrow ones.

Wheels: DT Swiss calls its M1700 rims "wide." That is a pathetic statement for the world's leading wheel maker. Spline wheels are well engineered and beautifully crafted, but not the sort of stuff that is going to move the meter in the emerging long-travel trail bike category. The good news is that the Speedfox's wheelset should stand the test of time.

Saddle: Fizik has borne the brunt of many Pinkbike critiques, but the Nisene saddle on the BMC is the exception. It is reasonably comfortable for long days on the bike and its shape offers a number of useful positions for technical climbing. Sweet.



Pinkbike's Take:
bigquotesThe Swiss are keen on fulfillment, so it comes as no surprise that BMC's Speedfox performs as advertised. If you placed an order for a modern, cross-country oriented trail bike, it might appear like this: Good looking, uncomplicated, durable, comfortable, lightweight and efficient to pedal, inspiring for climbing, and trustworthy for both descending and technical trails. BMC's 29-inch-wheel Speedfox SF02 XT is all of those things, which should make it a likely candidate for the lion's share of riders seeking a versatile mountain bike. Those looking for a competitive enduro racing sled, or a trail bike that can smash out flow trails at bike parks and secret gravity trails with the boys should shop elsewhere. We often hear the phrase, "enjoy the ride," and whether BMC intended it to be or not, this is a machine that is tailor made for that purpose. If the Speedfox SF02 XT was in my stable, I would roll it out for long days in the saddle and with my friends for fast-paced mid-week rides on familiar trails. Maybe I'd take in a sunset or two while I was at it. - RC



View high res and additional images in the gallery.



Must Read This Week

112 Comments

  • + 41
 $5000 for a fox 32 evolution? Hell no! Put a freaking Factory Kashima fork on it, not that evolution crap. BMC you have disappointed me.
  • + 14
 I agree that a better fork should be on there at this price-point, but I'd be shocked if anyone on earth could really feel the difference in the coatings. The Pike would be my choice anyway.
  • + 7
 It's not just about the coating. A change up to a factory 34 would make a huge difference over the basic evolution 32.
  • + 8
 A change from a 32 to a 34 would bring a lot more to the bike than going from evolution to facshima.
  • + 9
 Those 32s are WAY too flimsy.
  • + 10
 go straight to a pike, forget the 32 and 34
  • + 0
 CTD = Junk
  • + 7
 For shorter travel CTD works quite well.
  • + 11
 Maybe it's just me but I love my CTD shock. I've got it on my 140mm trail bike and it works beautifully... Not sure why people complain about it.
  • - 5
flag jefftrancex1xtr (Feb 2, 2015 at 16:16) (Below Threshold)
 Now, coming in USA the YT Industries : Carbon or Aluminum Version of the CAPRA & New Markets - Finally available outside of Europe, you won't watch any other bikes Wink enduro-mtb.com/en/yt-industries-2015-aluminum-version-of-the-capra-new-markets top gears and affordable. BMC's gonna cry...
  • - 4
flag indobiker (Feb 2, 2015 at 17:30) (Below Threshold)
 hmmm absolutely... long live capraaaaaa
  • + 3
 I never understand when bikes have carbon frames and evolution instead of fit... Seems odly spec'ed to me
  • + 5
 We just buy a Giant with identical Maestro suspension here in the ole US of Ahhhhy.
  • + 1
 I'd have liked to see a version of this bike with an x-fusion Trace + Stage build. Seems weird to me that so few OEMs go for them for their lower end (not that $5k is low end exactly) builds.
  • + 1
 Yep totally agree. They have to sell at any cost and these are the results. But to be onest, fork apart, buy "factory" bikes have not much sense in my humble opinion. For a keen biker it is a way more funny to build a bike from scratch, choosing every single component, screws included!!! This is a (mid price range) good frame to start btw....or not?
  • + 1
 Couldn't agree more with the custom built principle. Unfortunately it's more expensive.
  • + 1
 I think somewhere inbetween, buy a great frame with a fundamentally good spec, then change out the parts that will make the biggest difference to your own personal riding style. Seems a cheaper way than getting it all from scratch, considering most OE spec comes a lot cheaper than the same stuff aftermarket.
  • + 23
 I think RC's comments on calling the wheels pathetic were a bit unnecessary. Criticizing them for not being up to par for long travel trail bikes is dumb, because they do not have an intended use for a long travel trail bike. They are intended for mid travel trail bikes such as the BMC..
Whilst I agree that 22.5mm is not as wide as the 30+mm wide rims you like, it is fairly wide for longtime rim manufactures. (DT, Mavic, Shimano etc.) Its all a matter of context...
  • + 3
 The rubber spec makes a difference IMO: If it's coming with the 2.2s that the spec sheet calls for, then 22.5 is about perfect. 2.4s? I'd like to see a 25mm rim specced there, personally.

That said, I've been running a 2.4 up front on a old school flow for the last few years, with nary a whimper, so they're certainly not some truly poor spec like a 19 or smaller IW.
  • + 1
 Those contis measure out narrow as well. 2.2 more like 2.1 on a 23mm IW, 2.4s more like 2.25.
  • - 1
 Well tires profiles are all designed around 23-25mm wide rims. If a tire that is claimed as a 2.4, comes up as a 2.25, thats because the tire manufacturer is stretching the truth a little bit.
  • + 9
 See, by quoting the actual rim width, you've provided a more useful comment on the wheels than the reviewer did.
  • + 3
 I do find it odd that so many bikes come specced with matching size rubber, incidentally: I've been pretty happy running a big tire up front for confidence inspiring steering, with a smaller rear to save a little rotational weight. It's certainly not a new practice, I remember people doing it in the 90's. The only place I'm considering big rubber in the rear is on a hardtail, in order to remove some of the harshness.
  • + 2
 He held them accountable for their claim. I apreciate it. There is no pleasing PB readers. Either he's bought and paid for or he's too harsh. I say if he thinks it's pathetic I trust him.
  • + 9
 This whole review just seemed to be trying way too hard. Holy sh!t RC.

2.2 tires are "pencil thin" but 2.4's are "massive"??

And 130mm forks are terrible, but lots of recent articles with 140mm forks talk about how refreshing they are, and how most people have too much travel anyway?

If you test an xc-trail bike, please test it like one. FFS...
  • + 19
 This bike sounds right up my alley!

One sentence confused me crap outta me though @richardcunningham :"only a finger's width more than the paltry 120-millimeter cross-country standard that the industry is trying to escape from"

Ok...XC race bikes are mostly at 100mm. In my mind, most 120mm travel bikes ARE trail bikes, just designed for XC/all-day/flowy kind of trail riding, but plenty capable if less comfy in a little bit of gnar.

Second, how the industry is "trying to escape" from bikes that climb well but still have a moderate amount of travel??? Actually, it seems to me the industry is doing fantastic in the 120-130mm travel range (Trek Fuel, Stumpy FSR etc..are absolutely everywhere and are quite capable, on a small company and much funner note Transition Smuggler is on my wishlist)

Did you mean "while this is no 80-100mm xc race platform, if you compared it to an enduro descent eating monster like a trailfox with a 36RC2, this bike felt quite rough on the descents, as should be expected?" to which I would say "duh"

Finally, this bike's suspension is only "one finger's width" shorter than the "enduro capable remedy 29er" so... that finger's width doesn't matter, the geometry and suspension design do.
  • + 8
 Things sure change quick around here. Just over a month ago, this would have been a trail bike.

www.pinkbike.com/news/rocky-mountain-thunderbolt-bc-edition-review-2014.html
  • - 2
 dontcoast^^^^ Today, the top 140/150millimeter travel bikes perform like the 2010-circa 120mm trailbikes did. There is no point in making a trailbike that sits just outside the realm of an XC racer. The longer travel trailbike is far more versatile. As mentioned in the text, what makes the Speedfox such an enjoyable trail bike is its 29-inch wheels - they extend the bike's performance beyond the capabilities of its suspension. One of the favorite bikes in my stable is the Niner RIP 9 with a 140mm fork - very similar to the Speedfox in its capabilities. Neither can come close to the performance of the Enduro or Remedy, nor are they intended to. Travel matters when speed and amplitude is involved, regardless of wheel diameter.
  • + 2
 They make the Trailfox with 150mm. This is a different bike.
  • + 3
 I own a BMC Fourstroke with a 120 fork, and demo'd a Trailfox TC a bit, and now own a SF02. The SF02 definitely hits a sweet spot. The Fourstoke has pretty aggressive antisquat kinematics, and definitely isn't a plush bike. It's a nice descender for 100mm XC bike, but definitely can get rattled through chundery stuff. The TF is definitely a behemoth that just likes to plow everything in a straight line. All things considered, it pedaled decently, but just felt like a long, tall bike when you weren't mach'ing a descent. The SF feels like a happy medium, pedals well, nice high speed handling, reasonable low speed agility, but a much plusher ride that still leaves a little bit of ramp at the end to keep from harsh bottom outs. Love mine so far, I took the same XT build and built it with a Pike, CCDB inline, XTR 1x11, Next Sl's and Blunt SS wheels. 26 lbs and I wouldn't hesitate to point it up or down most things.
  • + 9
 @RichardCunningham I disagree that there's no point: It finally provides a short travel bike for people that are looking for something that pedals well, without the disagreeable demeanor of a XC race machine. This bike is a product of the inevitable push of XC bikes to be punishing, race-specific rides that they weren't 10 years ago: This is a modern, non-racer XC bike, & there's absolutely a place for that, especially among those new to the sport, & don't have (or at least don't think they have) the fitness to pedal around a long travel trail bike, while still having the geo to enable people to get past "dirt roadie" bike handling that so many people who's first bike is an XC never progress past.

I would argue this bike is priced far outside that market, however.
  • - 6
flag allmoto616 (Feb 2, 2015 at 14:38) (Below Threshold)
 @RichardCunningham, do us a favor and get off your high horse. "Travel matters when speed and amplitude is involved, regardless of wheel diameter." -- False (and contradictory) statement. "There is no point in making a trailbike that sits just outside the realm of an XC racer." --- False statement. Thanks for telling us what to think.
  • + 2
 Thank you, that was most relevant info than the entire article.
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham I agree with the sentiment that nobody should want to ride a super short travel "trail" bike when that trail includes rocks or features. If it exists right outside of an outright race bike it's too race and gives up a lot for the sake of climbing speed. But as long as people want these bikes they have their place. I personally like the versatility of a proper trail machine.
  • + 4
 @RichardCunningham also think your comment is a bit ridiculous. A lot of people ride trails that are XC in nature, but have lots of features with 2-3 foot drops, or a bit of gnar if you choose to take the hard line on short downs. While maybe not relevant to the trails you ride, a 120-130mm travel trail bike is ideal for 90% of the riding i have available to me.
  • + 1
 See you in April dawgy! @dontcoast
  • + 2
 Ride what you like, I do. Most of the comments relating to the capability and feel of 120mm bikes are ones that I share, but all those attributes can now be purchased in a longer travel format. My comment about travel and relevance was not dictating what PB readers should ride. It refers to a market segment that was once cutting edge and now has been eclipsed by a series of improvements.

If 140mm travel options are available that pedal as well, handle as well and weigh less or equal to 120mm bikes, then what is the downside of having the extra 20mm of suspension? That entry-level riders coming into the sport should pay their dues by suffering over big bumps untill they learn to ride properly?

Should tradition dictate market segments? This thread reads like a bunch of old men.

Bike makers have raised the bar for the basic mountain bike. Most of the reasons listed above in favor of 120mm trail bikes are valid, but should bike makers continue to pour money and time into making the ultimate 120 design or move up a little, like BMC did, and progress the performance of the basic mountain bike?

The same could be said about skinny rims, Sure, they still work quite well, but are they worth writing about now that wide rims are solidly in place as the better choice for trail bikes?

As a reporter, I am interested in what is relevent today and what may be coming down the pipe in the near future. I owe that to readers. I would love to make everyone happy, but that is not always possible. Bye bye 120mm trailbike. Bye bye skinny rims.
  • + 8
 K so transition scout and smuggler are also invalid because they have 125mm/115mm travel? Bye bye 120mm trailbike I think not.

Yes, if you can have more travel that pedals as good it will be appealing to many riders and I'm all for it, but 120mm travel bikes is in no way something the industry is "trying to escape" and they ain't going anywhere, they just might become slightly less popular among the masses. I mean seriously, how many pinkbike articles, comments and circlejerks can we track down about "fun an poppy trailbikes with shorter travel and proper geo are fun and more lively than a big old park couch or enduro racing machine and riding trails on mid travel bikes is fun blahblahblahblahblah"

Anyways, who gives a hoot bikes are fun (even cyclocross bikes with no travel on gnarly tech trails aaaaah!!! so there.)
  • + 0
 Hardtails are still popular, 120mm bikes should be around at least as long.
  • + 5
 I find your logic slightly flawed. If 120mm bikes pedal exactly as well as 140mm bikes, then 100mm bikes must also pedal just as well as 120mm bikes. So in fact there shouldn't be any FS bikes with less than 140mm travel. an equally well designed 120mm platform should absolutely pedal better. I'm on a 140mm trance that pedals quite well, but when it eventually gets upgraded it's going to be for 2 bikes, a 160mm and a second bike that pedals better than my current 140mm rig! To each their own i guess. I'm also not an old man.
  • + 4
 What the industry should be trying to "escape" from is putting Fox Evolution parts on anything but an entry-level bike. RC is right, these shocks are outdated, but I can't agree with him that they are reliable, except compared to a vintage FIAT or MGB perhaps.

It is a credit to the design of the bike that it does not become unmanageable even when the bargain-basement suspension components are overwhelmed.
  • + 1
 You don't need any rear travel at all
www.pinkbike.com/video/275227
  • + 2
 Yeah pako313, after watching that I need to be reminded again why we need rear suspension.
  • + 11
 The frame-specific sag indicator is a clever idea. Measuring with the o-ring (if you even have one) is a pain and can be hard to ensure accuracy as it often moves when you get off the bike. This feature may encourage people to adjust their shock pressure more often depending on the trail.
  • + 1
 Many many bikes have had that feature for years. Eg. Canyon
  • + 1
 My 2011 Enduro has it.
  • + 2
 Interesting. My 2014 Enduro does not. The previous bikes I've owned/ridden extensively from Niner, Santa Cruz, Ibis, Trek and Cannondale also did not have this.

The broader point is that manufacturers put a lot of effort into creating great suspension but then leave it to the consumer to figure it out for themselves with little guidance. Myy bike is supposed to be at 17mm and the DBinline doesn't have an o-ring so I have to put a zip tie on it just to play around with settings. cmon nah!
  • + 1
 Lapierre do since.... the first Xcontrol
  • + 4
 @Ryan83

I had the same problems setting up my bike, until I found a simple solution:

Go to a bike race/ show... Find the manufacturers of your bikes' suspension and ask their employees what set ups they run on their own bikes.

My bike is really dialed after I put a Fox employee's rebound, compressions and sag settings on my bike.
  • + 1
 @saidrick did the same thing at sea otter and never touched it again!
  • + 8
 [Insert comments hating on 29ers]
  • + 9
 26 or die!!!
  • + 1
 Get over it. All bikes are great. I own a 29er and love it.
  • + 7
 That chain slider tho? Crazy angle.
  • + 3
 specialized gave up on those... not needed with a properly adjusted clutch derailleur. IMHO of course...
  • + 8
 Oh weird, I thought it was BMC's new patented friction booster.
  • + 2
 Saw the chainguide on a new Specialized last week...
  • + 1
 Immediately took mine off. Pointless.
  • + 3
 I've been lucky enough to spend a short amount of time riding this bike and I really enjoyed. Very easy to flick between tight corners, that BB drop makes it feel really good when your compressed into the turn. The lightweight feel makes it skip over the trail rather than absorb it all as with longer travel bikes. I could see myself with a bike like this in the garage soon as it makes average trails way more interesting.
  • + 4
 @Richardcunningham. How do you think the bike would have performed in the "Oh shit moments" with a pike up front and say a CCDB Inline or RS Monarch Plus rear shock?
  • + 3
 This is how my bike is setup. A 32 at 130mm on 29" wheels is asking for flex. I have a Pike set to 130, almost no weight gain over an evo 32. A pike is about 10mm taller axle to crown at the same travel compared to a 32, so it slacks the HTA about .5* With a 51 offset pike, the handling is still spot on, even at low speed tech stuff. I never rode the stock shock, a CCDB inline immediately went on. Still working on dialing it in, CC has no base tune. The frame has decent antisquat built into the kinematics, so I don't use the CS all that much. Right now, I think I need to dial in a tad more HS compression to keep it from hitting full travel, but pretty confident it's just a matter of adjustment.
  • + 1
 spunkmtb ^^^ beautifully, but it probably would cost $800 more.
  • + 2
 This review is so different compared to Levy's glowing review of the Process 111 which was outfitted with 32mm stanchioned 120mm travel forks, was significantly heavier, has a less advanced suspension design, just 0.2" shorter chainstays and 1/2 degree slacker HTA. Would rather see Levy do all the reviews of short travel 29ers so the comparisons would be coming from the same judge.
  • + 1
 I ride a short-travel 29er trailbike (a Banshee Phantom) and I'm more than happy with it - brilliant bike. A friend of mine tested my bike recently and was really impressed so he wants to get a 29er as well, but he wants to buy from his local bikeshop that mainly sells BMC.

Can anyone compare the Speedfox to bikes like the Banshee Phantom, Kona Process 111 or Transition Smuggler?????
  • + 1
 @RichardCunningham, I love your bike reviews, but you tend to compare all your test rides to your normal longer travel bike, which is in a completely different ballpark. Of course a 120mm trail bike won't descend like a true enduro bike, but how does it compare to other 120mm bikes in it's field? Not all bikes handle the same way, and they're not supposed to (as you probably already know). Again, love your reviews, just a small suggestion that's been bothering me. Smile
  • + 4
 I regularly ride a 120mm Niner - one of my all time faves.
  • + 4
 And that's how you build a clean bike!
  • + 2
 You don't see silver XT cranks too often; I think they were a great choice here because they complement the frame graphics. Nice!
  • + 2
 Why wouldn't someone want an Evil Following?
Limited dealer network and dubious customer service come to mind.
  • + 0
 5000 dodos and:
-its not even lookin good
-those pivots are cheap as shit
-xt cranks
-'just' evolution forks.. and shock
-not even full carbon frame
IS THIS A JOKE? April is far away...
  • + 1
 Got to take one of these for a night-time blast with work last week. Very fun bike! Very capable for a 29" wheeled 130mm XC rig.
  • + 3
 looks really really good love the clean look :-)
  • + 2
 The European subcontinent?
  • + 1
 The cleanest looking VPP bike I've seen. With a different spec, this bike could be a lightweight trail ripper.
  • + 1
 Nice bike, shit dampers. Pike and and inline would of had me Interested.
  • + 1
 So that's how the get the bikes to stand themselves up...
  • + 1
 geometry table is missing
  • + 1
 The Geo is on a slider, Please PM me if it didn't function on your device.
  • + 1
 ah, i see it now. stealthy
  • + 1
 What makes that bike stand on its own???
  • - 1
 Also Whyte bikes have the brilliant G150s for £2799 and a bit of haggling I'm sure you'll get it down to £2500 ish and all the back of from a bike shop.
  • + 1
 sure the g150 is nice but whyte do a couple of bikes closer to the speedfox in terms of design such as their t129 which gets great write ups!...wouls still take the BMC though! Smile
  • + 2
 I have a T129 with a Fox34 with matching kashima rear.....switching to this suspension setup as well as 1x10 has completely transformed the bike, and I couldn't help but think while reading this article that the BMC was spec'd just a little too much towards the budget end of the suspension rather than what would actually fit the price and "trail bike" description.
  • + 1
 I agree, but I think the T129 would be a better comparison than the G150. The latest T129 strikes me as a much better sorted trail bike than the BMC, and better value too.
  • + 1
 I've had a T129 and I now have a G150s. Even though I prefer the G150 by a mile I cannot get anywhere near my fastest times in comparison to the T129. So I have to agree the T129 is probably a better comparison.
  • + 1
 yeah ive heard the t129 is a ripper, but im a sucker for a slick looking carbon frame. i reckon the bmc has stronger upgrade potential and is probably better suited to milder trail riding than the whyte, so probably suits a less burly spec!
  • + 1
 The silver and black goes great together. That bike looks crisp! Big Grin
  • + 0
 good looking bike but no thanks..
  • + 0
 sounds like a failure design.
  • + 0
 what a crazy roadbike, the wheels are so big
  • + 0
 Sorry, 29ers just look like double penny farthings to me.
  • + 1
 good review. Thanks
  • + 1
 (edit)
  • - 1
 hard to pedal with that bike ..... if there no pedal.. I m not chuck norris sorry
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