BMC Fourstroke 02£2,499.00

Swiss speedster

BikeRadar score4/5

Swiss brand BMC are big on quality, as this impressively tight trail bike proves. With well-balanced race geometry and an outstandingly stiff chassis, the Fourstroke is a cracking short-travel trail bike, but it needs some serious weight loss to make it competitive.

Ride & handling: Stiff and accurate, but extra heft is noticeable on climbs

The Fourstroke's muscular framework delivers taut and controlled grip on the trail. The long-stroke shock and twin-linkage design balances bigger hit composure with consistent tactical traction and good power delivery.

Add the typically controlled Fox F100RL fork up front and you’ve got a very accurate, feedback-rich feel. A wider bar would make the sharp steering more reassuring in slippery situations, but overall handling balance is great.

Unfortunately this strength and muscular feel, plus the heavy finishing kit, have a major impact on overall weight. At 27.36lb (12.41kg) The BMC clocks in at well over 2lb heavier than the lightest bikes in this price range – which is definitely noticeable on the climbs and out of corners.

It’s relatively short too, which is good in technical sections but not when you’re crouched over trying to claw the top of a climb closer at the end of a long one.

Single piece wraparound rocker is another big factor in the fl ex free ride: single piece wraparound rocker is another big factor in the fl ex free ride

Frame: Tough and rigid, with excellent welding

It only has 100mm of travel, but this is a properly tough and rigid frame. The ring-reinforced head tube leads into a heavily shaped T-section top tube and geometric section down tube, with a curved reinforcing pipe in the armpit too.

A big externally ribbed and vertically pocketed wraparound rocker is backed up with a broad U-hoop seatstay brace. Y-forked front and machined dropouts triangulate the separate rear subframe, with a small H-linkage at the base completing the suspension circuit.

Welding is excellent throughout, with clean cable lines and a neat raised tab on the wraparound seat tube quick-release.

Equipment: Value-for-money kit, but lighter gear would help frame shine

Considering the frame quality, full Shimano XT and a Fox fork is reasonable value for money. Performance is technically excellent overall with ample control through the Servo Wave brakes and light feeling shifters.

DT wheels and Hutchinson tyres underline it with reliable mid-weight rolling stock. As we’ve already mentioned, the cost of the frame leads to some less than lightweight finishing kit, with seatpost and saddle alone weighing in at 610g.

A stiff rear subframe and xt kit make for a proper trail bike: a stiff rear subframe and xt kit make for a proper trail bike

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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