BMC SpeedFox AMP
BMC is a small Swiss-brand that garnered plenty of attention from the MTB world in 2013 when they announced their TrailFox: a 150mm travel, carbon framed, 29er that appeared around the same time as the Specialized Enduro 29. Last year saw BMC's 'AMP' appear, an electrified version of the acoustic Trailfox, with a top-of-the-range version that dropped in at a staggering €11,999.
The SpeedFox AMP is a shorter-travel, 130mm version which BMC wanted to appeal more to their general customers. The carbon mainframe with its 'Twin Hollow-core Technology' is shared between the Speed and TrailFox brothers, but the top-end SpeedFox has a new carbon swingarm that saves 700g over the bigger hitter and the rest of the components are aimed towards less-aggressive trail riding.
Frame and Drive SpeedFox Details
Intended use: trail riding
Wheel size: 29"
Motor: Shimano STEPS E8000
Battery: Shimano 500wh integrated
Frame material: Carbon front triangle, carbon/allow swingarm versions
Head angle: 66º
Chainstay length: 450mm
Sizes: S, M, L
Price: from €5,499 - €12,999
More info: bmc-switzerland.com
The carbon frame is designed along with the rest of the BMC range in Grenchen, Switzerland. The AMP delivers a bold look with its huge headtube junction and massive downtube. The bike's "Twin Hollow-core Tube Design" consists of two complete and connected tubes that run either side of the huge internal battery, from the headtube to the motor/seat stay junction.
BMC claims that their unique design increases the lateral stiffness of the front triangle. The brand feels that many of their competitors' current e-offerings have reduced strength and stability in this area due to their battery mounts. Internal cable routing runs underneath the battery and can be accessed for maintenance.
Shimano take care of the drive with their STEPS motor and their own 500wh integrated battery, which has the charging port, LED charge indicators and on/off button directly in the firing line of mud and water. BMC have attended other details with a custom "Drive Unit Nest" that protects the motor from incoming terrain, they have also neatly located the speed sensor into the chainstay and use a hub-mounted magnet.
BMC continues to use a dual link "Advanced Pivot System" (APS) with a one-piece rear triangle to give 130mm of travel. The carbon swingarm is claimed to save 700 grams over the TrailFox's carbon triangle, but unless you can stump up well over five figures for the LTD, you will have to make do with the heavier, alloy version.Geometry and Sizing
There are three sizes to choose from (Small, Medium and Large). Reach numbers range from 401mm, to 445 and on up to 471mm, which should suit the majority of pilots. The head angle is set at 66º and the seat angle at 74º. The bike features a 35mm bottom bracket drop and 450mm chainstays.Models
There are four different models to choose from. The 'budget' version (with an alloy swingarm) is dubbed the AMP Three and costs €5,499. The AMP Two sells for €7,499. The €9,499 AMP One still sports the alloy swinger. To get the full carbon frame is a serious investment. BMC have outdone themselves with the AMP LTD, which will cost a whopping €12,999 – specced with Shimano XTR Di2, lathered with Kashima-coated Fox suspension and rolling on carbon wheels from DT Swiss.
We headed out on the SpeedFox in the Marittima mud. Though the name Forecaster was printed on the tire sidewalls, the tires proved a terrible choice for the weather. As with all Shimano STEPS-equipped bikes, the power transfer is super smooth and the latest firmware updates to the 'trail' mode continue to smooth out power delivery and give a natural feel, with output based on torque applied to the cranks. The motor is quiet, as is the rest of the bike, which is free from chain slap and battery rattles. The massive downtube genuinely adds huge stiffness between the rider's hands and feet, leading to a positive feel and dependable accuracy.
Personally, being interested in more capable and aggressive bikes, I am looking forward to putting the 150mm travel, Cane Creek-equipped, TrailFox AMP through its paces for a full test later this year. Unfortunately, there is still no news about an updated acoustic Trailfox 29er, which has plenty of followers waiting patiently...