BMC Superstroke 01 £2631

Swiss precision for the dirt

BikeRadar score 4/5

The full sus BMC Superstroke 01 is hefty, fast, fun and ready for all-mountain action. The challenge might be finding a dealer or stockist, but it's worth the effort.

Mountain bikes may have been born in the US, but the Europeans can rightfully lay claim to inventing cyclo-cross in the French countryside in the late 1890s. Swiss dirt superstar Thomas Frischknecht has had a major influence on both American (Ritchey, SRAM, RockShox, Fox) and European (Scott USA) companies, so it's no surprise to see a Swiss bicycle manufacturer like BMC take it to the next level with its Superstroke 01, an all-mountain model designed for most everything.

Chassis: Swiss travel agent

The five or six inches of travel (it's up to you to decide; both the fork I tested and the rear suspension are adjustable) is enough to gobble up anything I was capable of pointing the Superstroke toward, and over. And in keeping with the current trend of hydroformed aluminium tubing, the BMC, with its exo-skeletal Crosslock tubing, doesn't stand out as much as it would have two or three years ago. This includes the use of 6061 butted aluminium, an integrated headset, and the ever popular Fox Float RP3 rear shock, which on the Superstroke provides 130 - 150mm of travel with a Pro Pedal setting.

Still in the rear, BMC's Advanced Pivot System (APS) suspension technology is based on a short lower link and a long upper rocker connected together by vertical struts, or what BMC calls "Twistahlegs." The result is a system that effectively isolates the suspension from pedaling inputs, resulting in what BMC calls a `vertical wheel path'. Plus, weight is saved because there are no pivots on the down or top tubes.

BMC's US office provided these important specs:

- the torque settings on the seat clamp bolts are 8nm (75 in/lb) for the bottom, and 5nm (40 in/lb) for the lower bolt. We recommend torquing the lower bolt first, then the upper and alternating back to the lower to snug it back up to 8nm.

- rear shock can be adjusted between 5 and 6 inches of travel, depending on where the shock is mounted on the rockerarm.

- air settings on the rear shock are roughly 75% of body weight, or 20-30% of sag, depending on your preference.

Ride

The all-mountain category is growing, and BMC has been ahead of the curve by a season or two. The Superstroke 01 felt a little tall and top-heavy at first, but once the trail became rocky and technical, all first impressions changed. My test sample weighed a hefty 34 pounds with pedals, but never felt that heavy when climbing. The slack 68-dgree head angle helped when descending through the big stuff, and after playing around with the rear travel adjustment on the rocker arm, I got into my groove.

Verdict

The Superstroke felt natural under all conditions, something I only experienced on bikes with dramatically different suspension platforms weighing five to eight pounds less, including the GT iDrive and Trek Fuel EX.

Stylistically, most everything from BMC is easy on the eyes. The Superstroke 01 is no different, and while the complete bike looks like its overbuilt for most trail riding, its performance proved otherwise. A very nimble and pleasant bike capable of some severe punishment.

The BMC Superstroke 01 is available as a frame only; the complete bike listed and the bike shown in the photos are examples of what's available. BMC stockists, through the US distributor Quality Bicycle Products, can offer several different build kits based on budget, weight, and performance.

For 2008, the Superstroke is being replaced by the Supertrail, so now is a great time to find a deal on the `07 Superstroke frames on the market. Retail prices range from US$1,895 - $2,345.

© BikeRadar 2007

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