Field Test: Allied Cycle Works BC40 - The Fun Race Bike

Nov 2, 2022 at 16:10
by Mike Levy  

PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Allied Cycle Works BC40



Words by Mike Levy; photography by Tom Richards


Allied Cycle Works might not be as widely known as some other brands in this definitely-not-a-shootout group test, but they've actually been manufacturing carbon frames in their Northwest Arkansas factory since 2016. The 120mm-travel BC40 is their first mountain bike, though, and they're saying that the new 29er, ''blends XC Race with Downcountry abilities.''

There are a bunch of paint and price options to choose from, with the starting point being the XT-equipped version that costs $7,250 USD or a frame/shock/fork kit for $5,590 USD. Our test bike is spec'd with a wireless X01 AXS drivetrain, carbon Industry Nine wheels, Factory-level Fox suspension, and a $10,755 USD price tag.

Allied BC40 Details

• Travel: 120mm
• Carbon frame
• 66.5º head angle
• 76º seat angle
• 435mm chainstays
• Reach: 445mm (med)
• Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL
• Weight: 24.9 lb / 11.2 kg
• Price: $10,755 USD
• More info: www.alliedcycleworks.com
Not only does Allied cook up and paint the carbon frame themselves, but they machine all of the aluminum components like the suspension linkage as well. It's light, too, as you'd expect for a bike meant for some serious cross-country-ing; the frame is said to weigh just 1,950-grams. The checklist includes cables inside the frame (including the optional shock lock-out), a threaded bottom bracket, a replaceable rear brake mount and, notable on a bike intended for long, difficult races, room for a large bottle on the downtube and a smaller one on the seat tube.




The bike sounds unapologetically focused on racing and efficiency, with Allied saying that the frame employs a "second-to-none pedaling platform," and naming events like the lung-deflating Leadville 100 and the Marathon Nationals that are said to suit the BC40's personality. The suspension layout is similar to what we see many weight-conscious designs using: a relatively simple single-pivot system with an aluminum rocker for lateral rigidity and to achieve the desired kinematics, and the all-important flex-pivot at the dropout to save weight. Sealed bearings and pivot bolts are heavy compared to bendy pieces of carbon fiber, and some brands claim to save up to 200-grams by using a flex-pivot, so it's no surprise to see it on another speedy bike.

Given that many BC40s are likely to wind up at cross-country races of some kind on the weekends, while others could see rowdier terrain than they bargained for, Allied couldn't go too slack or too aggressive with the handling. They settled on a 66.5-degree front-end that makes a lot of sense, as well as a 76-degree seat angle and 435mm-chainstays on all four sizes. Our medium gets a 445mm reach, and it tops out at 501mm for an extra-large.

All of the above adds up to a respectable 24.9 lb / 11.2 kg after we installed the Specialized Ground Control tires that we put on all six of our test bikes.






Trailforks Regions Where We Tested

Growing up in British Columbia, I had never visited a real trail center in Canada before and wasn't sure what to expect from the Sentiers du Moulins trail system. The builders have done an impressive job putting together over 60km of singletrack, much of it crossing over rolling rock faces lined with endless green moss. Slab City is where we spent much of our time, an essentially all-granite trail that drops 200m off the back of Mont Tourbillon.

If you're looking for berms instead of rock, you'll find plenty of them linking up countless fun-sized jumps and a few sneaky lines, all of which deposit you conveniently at the restaurant for some post-ride poutine with triple the cheese combined with an ice-cold energy drink.

Sentiers du Moulin mountain biking trails


Climbing

It's cliche, I know, but the amount of travel a bike has doesn't define how it'll perform on the trail, and riding all of these bikes back-to-back only underlined that fact yet again. Allied's BC40 is a full-beans cross-country bike, no doubt about it, but it does that job very differently than the Lapierre XRM or BMC Fourstroke LT, two others I spent a load of time on in Quebec. Both of those have that traditional firm-off-the-top rear-suspension that sometimes had me double-checking to make sure I hadn't accidentally locked them out, whereas the Allied felt almost under-sprung in comparison. It wasn't - we checked many times - and both Matt and I were sitting at 25-percent sag; the Efficiency Test also proved that the BC40 is just as speedy on those loose and marbley gravel road climbs that some of us face getting to the goods.

This Field Test has already seen us spend too many words talking about that fine balancing act combining forgiveness, traction, and efficiency, but those are the most relevant talking points for these types of bikes. And the differences between the Allied, BMC, and Lapierre, all machines made to do the same thing, are stark. While the stopwatch showed it wasn't any slower, there's no doubt that the active suspension helped my cause when the roots were slimy; Mont Saint Anne can be a very slippery place after a summer rainfall, but the BC40 had the most poise when I needed to tip-toe my way through an ice rink of roots and rocks.

Where'd the BC40 lose ground compared to the others? It did require more steering input and brain output whenever the switchbacks got really tight. You know when the singletrack somehow doubles back on you in about two square feet? That's when the Lapierre and BMC both have front-ends that don't need to be told what to do, while the Allied requires a bit firmer hand and, regardless of the approach, less speed. There were a handful of corners where I needed to pivot the front-end over a few inches to get back on the right line, but I'd come through the same corner thirty minutes later on the Lapierre and consistently carry more momentum and not have to correct, and it was the same story on the BMC.

If your trails (or races) are full of non-stop tight switchbacks and little to no elevation changes, there are better options than the Allied. It's efficient, sure, and you can spec a remote lock-out if you'd like, but it's the riders and racers who routinely have to get up slippery, nasty, technical climbs where traction actually makes a difference who'll benefit most from the BC40.




Descending

The BC40 reminded me a bit of Specialized's Epic EVO, one of my favorite bikes of all time, in how it felt so composed and stuck to the ground around whatever corner I wanted to goon my way through. While some of the other bikes had me keeping an eye out for anything that might upset them, however small, the Allied's calmness let me process things farther down the trail and relax more. That's probably why there were a handful of lines that I only ever took while aboard the BC40, especially following the afternoon thunderstorms that dropped more rain in thirty minutes than I thought possible.

With no shortage of green rocks and shiny roots on Mont Saint Anne's hillside, that rain made for some tricky riding on some trails. The BC40 eats that stuff up, though, and was easily the most stable and predictable of the bunch. So while I would take the safe low line, otherwise known as the boring line, on the other bikes, I'd always default to the more committed high lines when riding the Allied, wet roots at a 30-degree angle be dammed. It's not close to being a trail bike by any stretch of my imagination, of course, but it's certainly a cross-country bike that'll let some riders attack - or just finally enjoy - the descents instead of just getting to the bottom so they can attack the climb.

Not interested in downhill PRs? It took me years to realize that instead of taking crazy chances while trying to catch fitter racers on the descent, I could relax a bit while recovering more and still make up time before the next climb had me on the ground cramping. In other words, go the same speed but recover more and sooner, which sounds like smart racing to me.

Obviously, the BC40's biggest strength is its rear-suspension which packs a lot of performance into just 120mm of travel. It manages to be efficient when you're on the gas, supple at the top of the stroke and around the sag point, and it also has more than enough support and bottom-out resistance for whatever you're doing that you probably shouldn't be doing. That's a wide performance and set-up window, especially as many bikes in this category seem to be making sacrifices in one or more areas to benefit another.


Quebec Field Test Tom Richards photo


I stumbled onto one trail in particular, a bit steeper than the others and still a bit soft and smooth from being freshly dug into the hillside, that the BC40 absolutely devoured. Fast, soft corners faded down into steeper soft sections, and the obvious approach was always to take a bit too much speed into everything. I had a near-death experience on each of the other bikes that were probably all 100-percent my fault, but I rode the same trail about ten times aboard the BC40 while going at least ten-percent quicker and didn't even cry out in fear once. Better yet, it didn't feel like I was going any faster, which is always a good sign.

So, who's the BC40 for? As capable and fun as I made it sound above, it's still a proper cross-country bike fully deserving of an expensive race entry fee, number plate, and your tightest speed suit. It's just that it also deserves some baggy shorts and questionable line choices during your days off.




Pros

+ Well-rounded suspension
+ Very capable for a cross-country bike
+ Great handling


Cons

- It sure is expensive
- We hit our knees and calves on the frame







The 2022 Downcountry Field Test is presented by Québec City Mountain Bike, Sweet Protection and Specialized Ground Control Tires





193 Comments

  • 161 3
 They keep saying this bike is expensive, which they are not wrong, but... It's still $2,000 less than an S-Works Epic Evo which is nearly a direct comparison, and it's US made. For nearly the same price as the Exie, you get AXS. Although the BC40 doesn't appear to come with Carbon Wheels at this build... So for an extra 1K throw some carbon hoops in and it's still less than an S-Works. But lets bring it back to the fact that it's U.S. made and the S-Works is not U.S. Made... All bikes appear to be over priced, but is it compared to the rest? Both Ibis and Allied are bringing quality U.S. made products that work for the same price as their competition.
  • 15 9
 How many Cat 1 and Pro xc racers are buying completes? Maybe a few with many takeoff parts finding their way to PB Classifieds. Frame-only price should be the comparison. Allied price packaging forces you into spending $1100+ on Fox Factory fork. Safe to say xc racers shopping in this category already have that fork and wheels from last year's race build.
  • 11 0
 @bikewriter: Yea, comparing the frame prices and the frame weights would be a more apples-to-apples comparison.
  • 8 0
 True on frame and components but IIRC isn't the S works Evo something like 21-22lbs?
  • 4 0
 @bikewriter: Granted, there is a lot of money around my area, but it seems like most bikes I see in the C1/Pro classes are complete new bikes, or complete used bikes. I feel out of place as my bike is a frame only build (with all the old parts coming from an X pro bike).

My bike is 22 pounds ready (cages, Garmin mount, pedals, sealant, etc) to race as built though.
  • 7 0
 @Mannra: My buddies XL SWORKS Epic Evo, full XX /AXS / Roval Carbons wheels is 24.5 lbs.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: I agree, how many times will someone flip a fork and wheels to a new build before the wheels and fork need to be replaced as well. You get economies of scale buying complete bikes, swapping out parts, then selling those parts, as well as selling complete bikes vs just selling old frames.

The reality is here that there's former Specialized staff working at Allied so it's not surprising that the Epic Evo and BC40 are similar, plus the recipe is there for several companies... 2 Bottle mounts, flex stays, ect (Epic Evo, SC Blur, Kona Hei Hei, Cannondale Scalpel, I'm sure I'm missing a few that aren't in this test).
  • 14 0
 @bikewriter: How many Cat 1 and Pro xc racers actually buy their own bikes? Or ride the bike they want? The rest of the racers make up the actual market and out number the pros probably 50:1.

And they buy complete bikes.
  • 23 3
 This bike looks SO much better than the Exie imo. And we all know thats the main factor
  • 2 0
 @Mannra: The Allied was 24 with the heavier control tires. I bet with stock xc tires it would be within a tiny margin weight wise.
  • 12 2
 @kilz: at $10k+ for a bike I think aesthetic appeal should definitely be a factor. I cant justify that amount of money unless I love everything about the bike
  • 4 1
 @mtmc99: agreed...personally I think it looks better than the Epic Evo. The kink in the top tube in the front (instead of the rear), gives it a nice aggressive stance
  • 1 0
 @bikewriter: This is what is actually keeping me towards getting this frame. I got all the parts and I just want to upgrade frames. Especially with team discounts coming back the swork evo is better bang for the buck.
  • 11 0
 @fabwizard: Probably most cat 1 are buying their own bikes. Some probably get shop discounts but they still gotta buy it.
  • 23 2
 I get particularly frustrated when bike reviewers talk about a bike made in the US, UK, Canada etc as some checkbox or option without explaining why this is meaningful. It doesn't inherently meant he bike itself is better but in general it means the bikes are made where workers receive a living wage and benefits, where environmental and health and safety regulations are followed, and where the $$$ spent stay within the industry.

Bikes made in Taiwan generally also have pretty good living wage and health and safety but bikes made in China, Vietnam, or Myanmar (ahem Evil) do not have those same standards and I think that should be important to mention not just as some random fluffy bourgeois check box on a bike.
  • 1 0
 @JSTootell: What is that 22 pound RTR build?
  • 4 1
 @bikewriter: I have spoken with them and they will sell without the fork if pressed
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: it's true, it's not apples to apples. Still, they had '21 Evo in Large at 21.9 lbs with Ground Control/Fast Trak vs. medium Allied at 24.5. These Ground new Controls maybe add half a pound total? Still a not-insignificant ~10% weight difference.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: we've got an SLX build epic evo in medium at my house. It does have a lighter crank and dropper than stock. Confirmed weight with stock wheels/tires, without pedals but with bottle cage, is 24.6 pounds. With comparable builds the specialized will be considerably lighter.
  • 4 0
 @SATN-XC: It's also what makes it possible to tag the controls on the top tube in a crash, as they showed in the video. The curvy top tube of my Exie prevents this, even with the stem slammed.
  • 2 0
 @tommyrod74: avoid the dreaded wheel flop (lol) and its all good Razz
  • 7 0
 @Mannra: EVO frame is claimed: 1659gr. This frame is claimed: 1950gr. ~3/4lbs. Anything else is related to the respective builds.
  • 7 0
 @CarlMega: EVO L size is ~1885g www.mtbiker.sk/forum/post1883132.html#p1883132 S frame with lighter SID shock ~1753g www.mtbiker.sk/forum/post1883237.html#p1883237
Please ignore claimed. actual measured weight matters
  • 7 0
 Expensive and over-priced don't mean the same thing.

It doesn't matter if its carbon covered in platinum and diamonds +$10,000 is expensive for a bicycle.
  • 4 0
 @fabwizard: All the pros I race with, with exception to the UCI races, are buying their own bikes. Most have bike shop bro deals, but they are still buying their own bikes.
  • 1 0
 @bikewriter: Intense Sniper, Fox 32SC, Stans Podiums wheels, XTR minus the XX1 AXS shifting (was a full XTR build originally). Etc.
  • 3 0
 @Strenki: Don't disagree. My point was people are making it sound like there are 3lbs differences between EVO / BC40 and that doesn't track if you compare frame weights.
  • 3 0
 @bikewriter: I am Cat 1 / Pro (closer to Cat1 than pro for sure though), and bought a complete just last month. And it was an Exie Smile The Allied was a close runner up though! (for me)
  • 1 0
 @RR1: What made you go with Exie over BC40?
  • 8 0
 @bikewriter: Good question - Primarily because I was able to throw a leg over one and actually pedal it (due to a nice rider that I met on the trails one day) so I had zero questions about the fit and how I would get along with it. Even thought this was a fortunate circumstance, I was not able to do that with the Allied.

Also - I'm moving from NorCal to...Denmark in a few months. I've lived there in the past, and I know the trails there, while surprising fun, really don't require a slacker head angle than what the Exie has. The trails twist and turn like crazy through the forest, and I wanted something super nimble. Not to say that they Allied wound't be fine there...I'm sure it would be just fine....but in my splittling hairs analysis of a short stem/few dew degree steeper HA, etc., I thought the Exie would be a better 'fit' for where I am primarily going to be riding it.

It's nice they both both have 2 bottle cages in the frame. In my side large Exie though, I need to use a sideloader style cage on the seat tube mount.

If I were just going by looks, I would have gotten the Allied. On the internet, it certainly looks better....but in person, man, the finish on the Exie is just so thight. Seeing the carbon weave, up close, is really neat....and when building it up, there was not a wrinkle nor stray filament or whatever that I could see. Just really well constructed.

Stoked that there are options like this to have such frames made in the States these days.
  • 2 1
 @ppp9911: don't bite the hand that feeds you, as they say. They'd be alienating most of the industry if they started talking about human rights in communist countries. It's not like they're sending Xi cards congratulating him on his 3rd term, but it's a lot to ask for them to do an Enes Kanter.
  • 3 7
flag CM999 (Nov 4, 2022 at 6:11) (Below Threshold)
 Why would I care that its made in the USA? I live other side of the Atlantic. USA made just means it costs more to have a frame shipped halfway round the world from a different factory
  • 2 5
 @ppp9911: Me to because there are an awful lot of riders who dont live in America so being US built means nothing but more $$$$$
  • 10 0
 @CM999: Does a frame being built under more strict environmental requirements and better labor conditions interest you? This would be true of frames built in other 1st world countries in Europe, USA, Australia...
  • 5 0
 @CM999: So, does that mean I should say "Who cares about Hope, just more money"?

I like them because I know they are from an Allied nation, the reasons @AndrewFleming describes.
  • 2 1
 @AndrewFleming: It does, my point was we dont get the same banging of the drum for bikes that are made in 1st world countries that arent America.
  • 1 0
 @CM999: Definitely a fair point. Besides smaller/custom builders, the only higher production company that I'm aware of is Orbea making frames in Spain, but I don't think they make all of their builds there. And Norco in Canada, but similar, I don't think they make all frames there.
  • 4 0
 @AndrewFleming: I don't think Norco does. Devinci makes their alloy models in Canada. If Orbea makes their frames in Spain that's exciting.
  • 3 0
 @AndrewFleming: Orbea does not yet manufacture carbon frames in spain - though the frames bear the 'made in spain' sticker due EU regulations about how much of the work (including painting and assembly) is done in Spain. Their new carbon components seem to be EU made, so they may be shifting production back.
Norco does not make any frames in Canada, but Devinci is currently increasing the number of alu frames that are Canadian made. I'd also add We Are One, as given the number I see out on the trails, are no longer a super small production company.
  • 45 1
 Sounds like we have a winner. Mike: allied vs epic evo vs spur when racing isn't a priority but looong rides with questionable terrain and life choices are?
  • 31 3
 ya forgot the RM Element.
  • 11 10
 @hi-dr-nick: No. That bike has too many QC issues to be relied on.
  • 13 13
 The Spur doesn't belong on that list.
  • 2 0
 This what we are here for. Come on @mikelevy!
  • 10 3
 @hi-dr-nick: And Blur TR....for a lot less $$.
  • 14 9
 I've owned a Spur and an Epic Evo and the latter is a better bike than the former in every respect.
  • 8 0
 @adamszymkowicz: such as?
  • 8 0
 @adamszymkowicz: dunno about that. I’ve ridden it all summer and did the whole Colorado trail on it and it was 100% perfect, still is.
  • 10 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Evidence? I've been putting alot of miles on mine and have had zero issues.
  • 3 0
 I'm an Evo owner and would love to see this. Also curious because in the field test they rode the larges. Wondering why they chose mediums for this batch?
  • 2 3
 @RogerMexico: Which one is the former, and which one is the latter?
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Can you expand? I'm interested in the Element. Any info would help.
  • 3 0
 @adamszymkowicz: What's the issue with those?
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: Could you please elaborate? I just got one for my wife (Carbon 70) earlier this year and it's been pretty amazing so far.
  • 2 0
 @wako29: glad to hear it. As I researched, RME vs SpUr Vs BC40 (ended up ordering since I couldn't find a spur to save my life) I was bit less enthusiastic about the press fit bb. The geo adjust and weight were plusses. Also hard to find a rm dealer
  • 5 10
flag RogerMexico (Nov 3, 2022 at 8:48) (Below Threshold)
 @zerort: epic evo > spur
  • 2 9
flag skywalkdontrun (Nov 3, 2022 at 8:50) (Below Threshold)
 @zerort: Chainstays are made of kleenex and spit, and the seatstays tend to crack at the shock junction. If you like this bike's numbers, buy an Epic Evo.
  • 2 4
 @wako29: It's great until it breaks, which it will. Also, Rocky's customer service has gone waaaaaaay downhill since the restructuring, so wait times for warranty parts are atrocious.
  • 1 2
 @wako29: Oh, I've also seen cracking develop around the bottom bracket shell. At least 3 examples from the past season.
  • 2 0
 @hi-dr-nick: This barely will qualify as anecdotal, but we have one RM shop in town that sponsors a very successful regional xc/endurance team. All riders got rid of their Elements after new bike release and went back to their old rides. They race mainly western US with lots of climbing, not a lot of technical BC type stuff FWIW. When I see a RM at a XC race it's almost like seeing a Fezzari. Dodo.
  • 4 0
 @adamszymkowicz: I had an Epic Evo. It was too soft.
  • 3 0
 @zerort: I found the anti squat and stock digressive valving a total shitshow for high power xc climbing and accelerations.
  • 4 0
 I'm here for the BC40 vs Spur vs Epic Evo battle. I own a Spur, and preferred it (slightly, price was the biggest factor) to the Epic Evo, but obviously haven't ridden the BC40. My Spur has been great so far, no quality issues and some friends I know who have had them longer than I haven't had any issues either. The BC40 looks great, the geo is comically similar to both the Spur and EpicE.
  • 5 4
 @zerort: as a bigger rider, I found the XL Spur really hard to maneuver and living in Colorado it's not a great bike for rocky, technical terrain (especially on the ups). By contrast, I can put the Epic Evo wherever I want on trail and it handles incredibly. And while I know that the Spur gets all the hype on DH as a small travel bike, I think the Epic Evo performs just as good if not better (plus the superior handling). I also put a 130 Pike ultimate on my Epic, which is AWESOME.
  • 8 6
 @RogerMexico: Agreed. I've gotten a lot of flack for saying that, but seriously, the Spur is not an xc bike, it's a 140mm trail bike with 120mm of travel and rides exactly like you'd think that would. It kinda wallows on climbs, and is really long so it's not particularly nimble in tight stuff, but is lively on the wide open downs, very stable in the steep and smooth, but gets overwhelmed quickly in chunk. If you put a 140 fork on it and don't care about going uphill fast it's fantastically capable, but then it's a Smuggler, which they discontinued, and isn't what it's billed as. The Epic Evo (and a few others, Trek TopFuel, and Cannondale Scalpel SE for example) are cross-country bikes that are equally at home on a racecourse of just about any type, but are also amazing all-day adventure machines. The Spur fits the second part of that description well, but really can't hang with any of the others in a race environment.
  • 3 0
 @zerort: you had it set up wrong then.
  • 3 2
 @adamszymkowicz: There was no settings besides sag and rebound. It was one of the first ones (the green S-works) and came with a Sidluxe Ultimate. Besides sag and rebound, what is there to get wrong? This must be one of your first bikes or you had crap before the Epic Evo and don't know the difference.
  • 7 1
 I ride a medium Spur with a 130mm Helm MKII and a DB Air IL at around 27% sag. It's firmly outside of XC contention, although it climbs efficiently and is perfectly suited to long days. Once you dump the SID and get some properly dialed suspension, it's cornering and technical descending chops are on a completely different level from most short travel bikes, let alone XC bikes.
  • 4 4
 @zerort: To each his own, I guess? For me, the Spur always felt more sluggish than I wanted it to. That likely has more to do with the types of trails I ride on a daily basis, but who knows. I consistently climb and descend faster on the Epic Evo, which to my mind, is also not a traditional XC bike.
  • 18 1
 @adamszymkowicz: Thank you for this very anecdotal report. I can assure others here that warranty cases for Elements are very low when compared to the number sold, and compared against our range of platforms. While some frame failures exist, as they do with all makes and models within the industry, we do our best to support the customer as efficiently as possible. The current supply chain issues have made getting replacement parts challenging but we are slowing catching up as the tide shifts on supply vs demand.

Meanwhile I will keep sending my almost 2 year old Element on terrain beyond it's intended use without worry. North Vancouver isn't kind on bikes but somehow (anecdotally of course) the Elements that staff are riding locally are holding up just fine.
  • 8 1
 @fentoncrackshell: so you’re saying after turning into a trail bike it descended better than XC bikes? Interesting take.
  • 4 0
 @RogerMexico: I guess it's different for taller riders but being able to fit a 200mm dropper on a medium Spur is like getting an infinite lives cheat code in a video game. Transition has the market cornered for riders with short inseams. For me, it's the difference between riding and hiking down the scarier features.
  • 2 1
 @fentoncrackshell: that's a really fair point!
  • 2 0
 @C8503: I have an Element and it's rad but it's definitely more of a trail bike with light weight frame than a super capable XC bike. Probably selling my Element for an Epic Evo.
  • 1 0
 I think its a good bet that the BC40 slots in between the Spur and the Epic Evo. Its not as low/long/slack as the Spur, and not as XC oriented as the Evo.

Probably a pretty sweet rig.

Regarding price... All of these bikes can be built up to $10k and can be built up for different purposes. Really, we should just be comparing the frames (geo, base weight, bearings, BB, warranty, country of origin, etc.)
  • 2 3
 @zerort: Well, there's compression that can be adjusted through tokens by reducing or increasing volume. Then there's your fork setup where the shim stack can be adjusted. Then of course there's the most important part of how a bike rides, which is your fit. My guess is that if you thought the Evo was too soft your fit sucked, your stack was too high, or your reach was too short and you were wallowing off the back. Could be you were on the wrong size bike because you bought an S-Works and because you spent a big chunk of change you thought it was supposed to be perfect out of the box didn't think to put the time into actually dialing the bike in to your particular geometry and race/ride needs. I'm not sure why it was too soft for you, because I didn't set you up on it, but I can definitively tell you, with the benefit of many years of experience, that if you thought it was too soft, it was because you were riding a bike that was improperly set up. I'm 6' 2" and 215, and I can set one up to be a rock solid xco race whippet, or a marathon machine for my size, and I've done the same for guys bigger and smaller.
  • 2 0
 @fentoncrackshell: That sounds like a rad ride, but it's not an xc bike anymore.
  • 5 5
 @adamszymkowicz: Wow. You are the expert aren't you. Maybe you just ride a soft bike because you spent a ton of money on it and can't fathom selling it and/ or acknowledge that you made a bad purchase. You are right though. I could have pumped a ton of air in it and made it ride firmer than intended. Hell, I could have bought a Sidluxe with a lockout. Fortunately for me though I've had many bikes and know a shit bike when I ride one. So, unlike you, I moved on instead of wasting my time trying to dial it in.
  • 4 3
 @zerort: I never bought an epic evo, it isn’t the right bike for the vast majority of my riding. I spent a good deal of time on one we had at the shop and loved it though. The fact that your first thought about tuning a shock is to “pump a ton of air into it” really does show the depth of your ignorance as to how to set up a bike properly. I’ve set up an evo for customers and friends everywhere from 18% sag to near 40% with any number of tokens, rebound values, and shim stacks depending on intent. That you paid for an SWorks and thought it was “shit” without spending the time to actually set it up for your riding style/trails/body is just a hilarious self-own. You seem like the kind of person that buys gel seat covers.
  • 2 0
 @adamszymkowicz: My fat relatives can't grasp how gel seat covers make their ass hurt more after a few miles. Full disclosure: they usually stop riding after the first mile so that makes me the skinny family black sheep.
  • 2 2
 @kperras: that’s a very nice anecdotal response from someone who is admittedly an employee of the company. Way to regurgitate the company line. I on the other hand, am not beholden to RM for a paycheck, and will critique their bikes based on the evidence that I’ve seen.
  • 1 1
 @bikewriter: Lol. Don’t I know it. The number of people that I’ve gently steered away from the single gel seat cover in the shop (that’s been hanging there since the 90s) and over to the saddle wall and fit bench is astronomical.
  • 2 2
 @zerort: No wonder you were banned from mtbr last night. Someone let orangeUK know about it. Maybe you can get a Rocky account.
  • 31 0
 Sounds like Allied knocked it out of the park with their very first mtb. That's an accomplishment, well done.
  • 23 0
 In the video, and the text, tons of references to how the bike stacks up vis-a-vis the Lapierre and the BMC, but only one passing mention of the Exie, and no direct comparison?

Seems like those two were the closest to what Downcountry was originally seen as by Levy, and (reading between the lines) that the Exie is their choice for racing first, fun second, and the reverse for the Allied... but again nothing actually stated as a direct comparison. Strange to omit that.
  • 3 5
 Potential ad revenue.
  • 2 0
 Yes, it is actually fairly conspicuous as buyers will be looking for those direct comparisons.

Also no mention of RSD or Evil in the descending comments. It’s possible each reviewer didn’t see equal time on each bike (or maybe no time at all on some bikes).
  • 4 0
 There is a round table video coming.
  • 22 3
 I'm just commending the group on a comments section that is uncharacteristically clean, relevant, helpful, and productive. Thanks for being allied.
  • 12 3
 Well, they didn't route the cables through the headset or strap a motor to it and pretend it was still a bicycle so.... Thank Allied, not us. We're just the choir. We don't write the music.
  • 5 0
 the xc/downcountry crowd reading this is probably a different demographic than people reading reviews for enduro bikes haha
  • 5 0
 Who laced that front wheel?
  • 16 0
 Buyer's confirmation bias kicking in hard this morning.

I was waiting for a bike that ticked as many of my "requirement" boxes as possible; I waited (and saved up) for a couple of years until this thing popped up.

What I was looking for in no particular order:
-Competitively light compared to other XC frames
-2 water bottles
-No proprietary parts or geo adjustment stuff
-Available as a frame/frameset
-Made in the US (my other bike is a GG!)
-120/120mm
-66ish HTA, 440-450ish reach
-Something I could race on, but also use as my daily driver in CO
-Frame internal routing for a shock lockout
-Aesthetic frame design with cool paint job
-Preferably from a boutique / smaller brand

With these specs I knew it was gonna be expensive, but they certainly nailed it.

Note that if you want one of these you might have to wait for a while!
I ordered the frameset in mid July and I'm set to receive it probably in 2-3 weeks; so about a 4 month wait total.
Maybe the initial rush of orders played a part here and lead times are more in control now; but just a heads up!
  • 5 4
 Thanks for the sharing your perspective.
  • 17 0
 This is like those recipe reviews; "5 STARS, it looks so good, I can't wait to make it!"
  • 3 0
 @JLantz: I hear ya; I have never thrown a leg over it and there's still a chance it's not great for me; I have however ridden quite a few bikes before and have a pretty good idea of what I want in a bike though, so it isn't a total shot in the dark.

That's why the first thing in my comment is about buyers confirmation bias haha; I'm fully aware that this is acting as a feel good echo chamber because I dumped a whole bunch of cash into something that although looks perfect on paper, I ultimately haven't ridden.
  • 1 2
 @bentopi: What a story Mark!
  • 12 1
 I'd love to see more reviews of bikes in the $4k range. I feel like things are turning into the 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" where we're just window shopping on dream builds. Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the average PBer can afford a 10K bike? If so, I guess I'm in the minority.
  • 8 1
 According to last year's survey, only 4.39% of users have a budget over $10,000...
Biggest category is 5000-6000.

www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-annual-community-survey-full-2021-dataset.html
  • 7 0
 @ILv2MTB: The $5-6k category is what I find personally reasonable to spend on a bike even if my budget "could" be higher.
  • 2 0
 @ILv2MTB: Thanks for that link! I missed that they did the survey and it's enlightening.
  • 5 1
 @ILv2MTB: I’ve always thought that, instead of doing one Budget field test every year, it would make WAY more sense to do one Dentist field test per year. There are way more bikes sold with prices between 3 to 6 thousand than these Lamborghinis. A review of a $10 thousand bike isn’t nearly as interesting to me as a review of a $4,000 bike.
  • 3 0
 @HB208: agreed. I’m a firm believer in min-maxing, and generally if a bike is above the $6500 level (unless it’s a SC or RM those things are priced stupidly) you’re not really getting much of a performance upgrade for all the bling. Fox Factory and Performance Elite are exactly the same except for the color (black looks cool af imo) and SLX/GX eagle are all great. I don’t really have any interest in running robotic shifting (hard to fix them out in the woods, and expensive as hell in the shop), and that’s usually the next upgrade past the 6k range, and carbon wheels are cool, but really not necessary.
  • 14 3
 It sucks, but all I keep seeing is the price tag.
  • 2 0
 Why? This is real life and not everyone can afford a $10k bike
  • 6 0
 Bike sounds pretty dialed. Honestly, the other bikes chose for this test have been pretty underwhelming considering what else is available in the category. But the Allied is cool- US frame, good execution of concepts, an interesting proposition for sure.
  • 11 2
 Evil head angle: 66.4, can order complete with -1 angle set: too steep
Allied head angle: 66.5, just right.
  • 19 1
 Mmmhmmm

Evil chain stay: 430
Allied chain stay: 435

Evil seat tube: 75.5
Allied seat tube: 76

Evil geo: dated
Alied geo: amazing
  • 1 1
 Would love to hear an editor chime in here........
  • 4 2
 @wyorider: really not trying to ruffle feathers. I love the Pinkbike content. Just feels like we’re all putting too much emphasis on geo as a decision point. It’s the overall package and what you personally value as a rider. The Following is is obviously designed to be more capable and fun on the downhills. That doesn’t make it an inferior bike, just different than what the reviewers prefer.

Levy is great, and probably regrets ever coining the Down Country term. I hope they’re sitting at Aslan with the Evil crew laughing at all of us. It’s just bikes man.
  • 3 0
 I go out of my way to shop North American and European manufactured stuff in my discretionary purchases, the money isn't an issue, I enjoy climbing and I love the overall idea of this bike (I have a bigger bike for more ambitious days and plenty of fun terrain for the BC40 for less ambitious days) BUT as a tall guy the insertion length makes me sad.

cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0252/9997/6243/files/BC40_SADDLE_HEIGHTS_V2.pdf?v=1666795649

I don't race and I have to be honest with myself that a 200mm dropper (vs 150mm per their chart for my measurements) does more for my overall riding enjoyment than losing 2-3lbs of mostly sprung weight in a frame. YMMV. Looks like a great bike but I can't pull the trigger personally.
  • 1 0
 also if you are big enough to justify a 200mm dropper, the weight difference is probably similar percent of system weight compared to a weight weenie dropper for a smaller person. you should check out reeb. that sst is a stunning bike.
  • 4 1
 The other “XC Race” bikes in this comparison are lousy mountain bikes. Digressive shock tunes that “feel” fast because of a lack of traction and geometry that loses more time on descents than a tight uphill switchback or two will cost a rider/racer don’t make for a good race bike, let alone daily driver. This bike is spendy (US manufacturing does add cost) but it also seems like an outstanding choice for XC racing OR the airtime averse rider.
  • 3 0
 Owned an Allied road bike once... after many missed promises on delivery times, horrible handling of a warranty brake issue, and then having a frame issue six months later that required replacing the frame there is no way I would own another Allied. This was before the current ownership, maybe things are better now. But at the price point there is no way I would buy this... too many other choices out there.
  • 2 0
 I would love to see an “affordable” build from Allied. Deore brakes, SLX drivetrain with XT shifter, DT alloy wheels, OneUp dropper and cockpit, etc.

If the full bike price could be shaved $500-1000 without gaining more than a pound vs the XT build-there would be a LOT of riders queuing up for one of these.
  • 4 1
 Yeah but that's not their targeted demographic, sadly. Allied is in the ultra high-end range with low production values, like their gravel/road bikes. See them as a small boutique builder (à la Bugatti) compared to let's say a specialized which could be considered a Porsche...
  • 7 2
 @tgr9: Specialized is NOT a Porsche. Specialized is a Toyota or Honda.
  • 2 0
 @tgr9: Was following you all the way up to the word "Porsche". Spesh is a big box bike manufacturer... the complete opposite of boutique... the complete opposite of Porsche.
  • 1 0
 @tgr9: GG does a budget kit on a bling frame, so does Ibis (except on the Exie). I think a solid case could be made for a well curated affordable build option.
  • 2 1
 @bikewriter: I was talking about comparatively priced to the allied, specialized/s-works. Specialized does make small runs of their ultra high-end frames too so does Porsche with "certain" (emphasis on certain here...) models
  • 1 0
 @bikewriter: I mean, Toyota has won the last two Rally World Championships, so you might be on to something with that comparison. Don’t see many Bugattis out in the woods.
  • 1 0
 When I win the $1.5 billion lottery this weekend, I'll be placing a order for 2 of each color. But seriously, after being on a Spur for almost a year now, this would be up there as my halo/dream bike replacement. There is alot to like with this Allied.
  • 1 0
 I was really awaiting this review, just bought a 2023 Epic Evo because this bike ticked all the boxes on what I wanted for a xc/dc bike but now I really want the Allied haha. It kinda sucked because there was next to no review available on it but now it confirms that this will probably replace the Epic, someday...
  • 2 0
 Idk if looks matter to you but I gotta say I’ve seen two BC40s in the wild and the frame and colors they use are a work of art.
  • 1 0
 @MillerReid: I actually find this bike beautiful, the fact that you can even get custom paint and all just sweetens the deal. I'd love to have an Able as a gravel bike too but both are out of my price range hahah
  • 4 0
 I would love to hear Levy's opinion on how the Allied compares to the RM Element they reviewed last year.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy seems like the bike is comparable to the Epic Evo, what's your favorite of the two and does one excel at climbing/descending vs the other?
  • 1 0
 Levy nails it! The ability of a bike like this to allow you to go the same speed downhill as other racers in an xcm event, while recovering much, much more quickly than them, is priceless over the long haul. Such an underappreciated character trait. I'd like to hear a bit more about perceived lateral stiffness on a frame this light.
  • 3 0
 "this video cannot be played because of a problem with your internet connection"

no complaints from me...
  • 2 1
 I was curious how this stacked up to the Spur, which is an obvious comparison, particularly in geometry. Comparing the geo tables, save yourself some time, they're basically the same. Not surprising both had well liked geo.
  • 1 0
 Damn half degree slacker head angle on the spur resulting in 9mm longer wheelbase is pretty much the only difference. That is pretty much nothing. I wonder how much different the leverage curves really are. This does seem like a lighter frame maybe.
  • 1 0
 @TucsonDon: I was also curious, so sketched it up on Linkage. Not a lot between them:
www.pinkbike.com/u/Mike-on-a-bike/album/Kinematics
  • 1 0
 @TucsonDon: Ya exactly, I have a feeling Allied started with with a spec sheet looking an awful lot like the Spur, which is a good thing considering how much everyone likes the bike! FYI on frame weight, the spur is roughly 2500g and the allied is 2000g, again roughly it's hard to compare exactly IIRC the Spur quoted weight is for a medium frame with the SID Ult shock, idk about the Allied.

Thanks @Mike-on-a-bike nice work! Also confirms kinematics are very close, which isn't surprising really either as they both use almost the same design.
  • 1 0
 @Mike-on-a-bike: Also I hadn't seen the Linkage curves on the Spur before, one aspect that lines up EXACTLY with what my impression of it is on the trail is the anti-squat. It has relatively low anti-squat compared to the others and compared to most bikes, and you can tell. The Spur bobs significantly when pedaling IMO, but because it's short travel, it doesn't make big difference in efficiency (probably) and the plus side is better traction. Everything else is really close and jury is out on things like anti-rise if higher or lower is better. I also noted that the Spur is more progressive than either of the others, which probably also helps give it that more capable bottomless feel on only 120mm of travel.
  • 1 0
 Good review and looks like a nice bike. I know it’s out of the scope of this intended review with the other bikes, it I’d be interested to hear how this stacks up against the Kona Hei Hei, Element, and Top Fuel.
  • 2 0
 Just looked at their website… a frame is $5590… I am assuming that’s US dollars so this would make it $7500 Canadian. Ouch. Bankers with small calves muscles bike.
  • 1 0
 Still expensive, but it does include fork, headset..
  • 1 0
 I find it strange that what is clearly the favourite bike is the one that batter and bruised the riders because they got the clearances wrong at the design phase and never sorted it out.
  • 1 0
 Lol, did you listen to Matt? Yea, I rubbed my calf a few times, no big deal.
  • 1 0
 @numbnuts1977: I did, It was more Mike saying he was battered and bruised from hitting his knees on the frame. Even with Matt’s rubbing, this bike is being sold as a premium product, it shouldn’t have these fit issues
  • 3 0
 Cons: we can't afford it (me neither), also, actually that's it.
  • 8 5
 The RSD had better win this test. F off with your $11000us bikes.
  • 6 2
 The RSD shouldn't even be in this test. It's not even a downcountry bike, it's a trail bike. Not the sort of bike that you'd race competitively and also enjoy using on trails. No fault of RSD, it's just shoehorned into a test where it doesn't fit the category. Like have a small SUV in a sports car test.
  • 3 0
 @TucsonDon: Yeah, you're right, but this is a bit of an undefined category. Or, it should be running away with a budget bike shootout win? PB doin' RSD drrrty.
While I'm at it, any shootout should max out at $8k. Above that the bike just gets shinier. Let's see who makes the best bike, not who can bolt the most expensive crap to it.
  • 1 0
 @CarbonShmarbon: Definitely should be winning the budget bike shootout. And I agree, it shouldn't be over 8k to get XO1 and carbon wheels. I don't need XX1, just shinier, but I don't necessarily want to step down to GX, especially GX AXS. I do like my carbon wheels though. My Traverse SLs are bombproof and weigh just less than my stock Crest wheelset, which feels like a total noodle compared.
  • 2 3
 To help you viewers out, the rear suspension differences between these bikes is because of shock tune/performance, about 90% of it. And about 10% is the bike's kinematics. It's nice to get a well matched shock but it's not an immutable quality....
  • 3 2
 Maybe if you're in mellow terrain, a mellow rider, or only care about the ups. But kinematics 100% matter if you're riding hard on chunky descents (all our high country stuff where I live) or have a few ledgy small drops on your xc rides. Anything that isn't nicely progressive will either be harsh or break, especially for anyone over 170 lbs.
  • 3 3
 With these short travel bikes, the kinematics matters less than on a longer travel bike. I just don't want the readers to feel like the Lapierre is unredeemable. I've had bikes that felt totally different with nothing but a shock swap. It's huge. But unless you're willing to buy $4-600 shocks to fix a bike, or send the stock one off to Avalanche, you'd never know. So that's why I'm telling you.
  • 1 2
 Sound like a nice bike. But clearly, this isn't a bike for me.
I already needed FSA SLK Drop stem slammed on 95-100mm long head tube frame to not feel like the bar is too tall.

Allied size M has 105mm long head tube. And as shown in the video, without any kind of knock block, a slammed aggressively negative rise stem won't keep shifters/ dopper levers away from the top tube.
  • 1 0
 I’ve seen two BC40s out in the wild so far and wow! The pictures don’t do this bike justice. The frame and paint is truly a work of art.
  • 2 0
 if you hit your knees and calves on a frame it is a MASSIVE FAIL, it is clearly not designed properly, send it back
  • 2 0
 how is that even possible lol, bike isn't any wider than other bikes, sounds like bullshit to me.
  • 3 1
 People who review bikes for a living gushing over this thing is a great endorsement.
  • 1 0
 I went from an Sworks Epic to a Revel Ranger, sold Ranger tried an Epic Evo sold it and back to a Revel Ranger. The Ranger is outstanding.

How's the BC40 compare?
  • 1 0
 As seen on mtbr: get a frame/rear shock only. No fork and headset upcharge.

www.mtbr.com/threads/allied-bc40.1206701/page-5#post-15782606
  • 2 0
 I guess Al is telling the truth!
  • 1 0
 The front wheel isnt laced properly. Did something happen to the original front rim?
  • 1 0
 I've seen the occasional high end wheel with messed up lacing like that. Hilarious.
  • 2 0
 All that money and they couldn't supply the inside decal for the A and D??
  • 1 1
 Quit complaining about the short reach and the cramped cockpit and hitting your knees and blah blah blah..you guys are ridn fukn mediums size up!!
  • 1 0
 They do say frame not cockpit, I dont understand how you hit you knees and calfs on a frame no matter what the size. The 'con' makes no sense to me.
  • 1 0
 @xrob: in the downhill, when you drop the saddle, stand up and move around the bike (not sitting pedaling), of course your knees or calves can hit area around the seat tube where the rocker is and when you look into the photos, it is really wide/er there cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0252/9997/6243/files/120mm_travel_2040x.jpg?v=1657574226
  • 2 1
 Do you feel like 120 was enough fork to keep up with the rear end?
  • 1 1
 good comment - would be easy to bump it up to 130 wouldn't it?
  • 1 0
 @trillot: Unless it's a 34 Step Cast.... that chassis can't be more than 120mm. Not clear to me what fork exactly is on this particular bike.
  • 11 1
 @trillot: It could probably do a 130, but by then just buy a better bike for that purpose?
I'm glad Pink Bike finally got away from reviewing cross country bikes and saying, "it'd be better with wide riser bars, short stem, assegai tires, 200mm dropper, and a 140 fork."
  • 3 0
 @trillot: Significant weight jump from a 130 to a 120 fork because you leave the lightweight chassis like the SC behind and have to step up to a heavier trail fork. Not the end of the world, but starts to take it out of the "race it competitively, and also use it as a trail bike" category. If you're not racing, may as well just get a trail bike and have a lot more fun.
  • 1 1
 @TucsonDon: ummm, can't be sure it is the step cast to begin with (that was an earlier point) - if not, it can often just be a new air shaft assembly - not a whole new fork/chassis, in which case there really is no weight difference. And if you read how good the rear suspension works apparently, the original poster was just saying - wouldn't bumping up help balance?
  • 4 0
 It's an XC race bike. There's no lightweight 130mm forks out there.
  • 1 0
 Geez guys, it is just a question about balance. It's a common note in reviews.
  • 2 0
 @gbyrne: confused by all the upvotes on this one. If you check out the 6 bikes in this review, 4 of them had 10mm or more travel in the fork compared to rear (Ibis had 20mm more, RSD 15mm more at 140). And don't you think, the bikes coming out now have wider bars and shorter stems - which is maybe why you don't hear testers suggesting wider/shorter as much now.
  • 1 0
 @trillot: Yes, bikes have gotten a lot more capable, and the changes have included longer reach, more travel etc. But, my point was more that Pink Bike used to sum up every XC bike review by essentially wishing it was modified into a trail bike, rather than reviewing on the merits of an XC whip. There's nothing wrong with throwing a longer fork on, but then you start moving away from a snappy race bike (chaining the head angle, longer wheel base, etc). That might be what you want, so why not just buy a bike designed for that sort of ride to start with? E.g., buy the Spur, not the Epic (100 mm, brain epic).
  • 2 1
 Can I just say that I'm totally fine with the video auto-playing, ta.
  • 1 0
 Danny just died a bit inside maca skill? he ain't a burger you know.
  • 1 0
 has allied figured out how to make frames that dont crack yet?
  • 2 0
 really good looking bike
  • 1 0
 Allied BC40 XT Build vs Santa Cruz Blur TR XT Build. Go
  • 1 0
 XXL please please please
  • 4 6
 Dentist lisence required
  • 3 1
 Meh, I don't mind that nice stuff is made in this world. I wouldn't really feel like spending this on a bike right now, but I also don't feel like buying a Porsche right now. I am still glad they exist.
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