Getting a 160mm (6.3in) all-round trail bike ‘right’ is the hardest challenge in mountain bike design right now. BMC’s Super Trail isn’t perfect, but there’s a versatile, descent orientated bike in there if you tweak it right.
Ride & handling: Too heavy for long rides, but there’s a decent big all-rounder at its heart
Swapping the 640mm (25.2in) bar for something wider reveals a well rounded chassis character. The laid-back 67-degree head angle and succulent Marzocchi forks mean good high-speed rock shrugging stability if you lean back and let it go. The APS rear suspension is nicely balanced too.
While they grip and roll well in tread terms, the lightweight tyres aren’t comfortable at lower pressures so they tend to skitter rather than stick when you’re really ripping it through turns.
There’s also noticeable rear end ﬂex across the linkages and the fork feels twisty and pliable when you’re corkscrewing down a steep one on the brakes.
This all means it’s not the most naturally riot ready bike. Provide the motivation yourself though and it’ll plough through rockeries or plop off serious drops without a second thought.
Heading back up, ﬂicking the ProPedal platform damping lever on the shock immediately cuts out any bob you get from running extra sag to drop the high bottom bracket, and the fork gets lockout too.
You’re still going to need all the muscle power you can muster to keep the near 15kg (33lb) weight rolling though. Its weight also leaves the BMC lethargic on ﬂatter sections or between descent transitions.
Frame: 160mm-travel platform with neat and individualistic construction
An externally butted head tube leads back onto a seam welded top tube with BMC’s trademark Y fork at the seat tube end. A big triple butted, hydroformed down tube ﬁnishes at a super broad CNC machined shock mount and bottom bracket section.
There’s more intricate machining through the lower linkage and the big rocker link is all one extensively machined piece. The bowed strut linking the seatstays and chainstays gives plenty of mud and chain clearance, even with 2.4in rubber.
Multi purpose design means you get an ISCG chain device mount and a bottle cage. Despite looking untidy, the looped and zip-tied underbelly control routing didn’t give us any problems, even when uplifting.
Equipment: Workable rather than wonderful; we'd swap the bar and stem
As the base model of a two-bike range, the 02 spec is workable rather than wonderful. Marzocchi’s 55 forks are a bit mushy when steering/braking, but smoothly ground hugging and have adjustable travel for climbs.
Avid’s basic Juicy 3 disc brakes get a boost with 185mm rotors, and the SRAM X7 shifting is solid and accurate. But the BMC is desperate for a much wider bar and shorter stem, and the whole bike is on the heavy side.