BMC Fourstroke 02 £2499

Swiss speedster

BikeRadar score 4/5

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.

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.

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