BMC Speedfox SF02 - First ride £2299.99

Mile-munching marathon machine

BikeRadar score 3/5

BMC’s range of marathon style mountain bikes, the Speedfox series, aims to help gently tease those miles out of your legs with the aid of its smooth 120mm (4.7in) of travel. The stiff frame and complete, solid build of the SF02 certainly puts BMC firmly under the spotlight of all trail and marathon riders looking for a mid-priced, off the peg bike with a dependable set of kit and a five-year warranty.

Ride & handling: Delivers comfort and speed

The initial feeling is confident and surefooted, thanks to big 2.25in Rocket Ron tyres and wide Scor MKII bars. But once you’re out on the open trail the bike feels light, accelerating rapidly and feeling full of eagerness to go the distance, however huge. The Fox suspension works faultlessly and the rear end is stiff, with power going straight to work at the rear wheel. The only noticeable pedal feedback was while climbing out of the saddle in the granny gear.

Despite the high up feeling that the large-for-a-medium frame produces, a 68.5-degree head angle still made the bike feel capable downhill, and it handled all kinds of bumps without fuss. The front end throws up the only niggle – when pushed hard, the lack of a tapered head tube and bolt-through fork meant less than confident steering while changing direction in rougher terrain. Long rides are where this bike excels, though. Up hill and down dale, comfort and speed is delivered.

Frame: Quirky Swiss features

The hydroformed triple-butted frame has plenty of nice quirky Swiss features included. For example, the ISC (Integrated Skeletal Concept) system keeps things strong and light at the junction between the seatpost and the top tube. The down tube offers some smooth lines, thanks to the huge box-section. The almost triangular profiled top tube does sit quite high for a medium, but keeps the frame looking distinctive.

The front-end stiffness is slightly compromised with a 1.125in head tube, but this wasn’t especially noticeable. Out the back there’s a reinforced and super stiff rear triangle with a direct mount calliper, or NBP (Natural Born Postmount), which keeps things looking cleaner. That’s right, no fiddly extra brackets, but it does limit disc size options if you want to run a rotor that’s smaller than 160.

Equipment: Good quality, dependable kit

The XT mechs and SLX shifters work really well together aided by full outer cable for both mechs, a nice touch and really practical for the UK. The Avid Elixir 5 brakes with excessively large 185 rotors both at the front and to the rear will stop you anywhere, anytime due to the great power and light lever feel. DT X1900 wheels mounted to fast and comfy 2.25in Rocket Ron tyres keep you rolling rapidly.

BMC use their own brand Scor MKII finishing kit on the bars, stem and seatpost, which all match really well. Fox’s excellent F120 fork handles the bumps well, with minimal extra fiddling due to the simple lock out and rebound features. Fox’s RP2 rear shock functions fluently and is well proven and dependable.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.

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