Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8.00am
By Steve Worland
Better known for its race-winning road bikes, BMC has incorporated its best frame conﬁguration ideas into a range of virtual pivot, ﬂoating linkage mountain bikes that can tame the toughest trails. The Trailfox is unusually edgy for a 140mm travel bike and a lot of fun to ride. While it feels like a fast cross-country bike, it allows the sort of ‘throw caution to the wind’ riding that is usually reserved for heavier duty machines.
Ride & handling: Fast and frisky
The Trailfox 01 is remarkably well behaved on high-speed cross-country trails, and can take serious abuse on rock-strewn downhills. The rocker-activated ﬂoating pivot chassis has a stiff tracking feel due to the short, stiff linkages between the mainframe and link-free rear subframe.
The virtual pivot suspension conﬁguration is super-plush over small bumps but stable when subjected to steady pedal loads on climbs. Braking and steady pedalling forces are almost isolated from the suspension motion, but if you shift around on the bike or have a punchy pedalling style you may need to use the ProPedal feature on the Fox shock on climbs. Steepish geometry can make for nervous handling at times.
Frame: Painstaking attention to detail
BMC stands for Bicycle Manufacturing Company, a strangely orthodox name for a company making radically unorthodox frames. Every section of the Trailfox’s triple-butted Integrated Skeleton frame has been created to regulate the ﬂow of ride pressures between them.
The most unusual features include a thoughtfully sculpted and very stiff ‘single bone’ rear triangle conﬁguration, the fat ﬂare-reinforced head tube, lightweight shell-constructed shock rocker and spoon-shaped seatpost quick release.
The tube proﬁles boast almost every hydroformed shape imaginable, while the full width of the distinctive bottom bracket shell is forged into the tube joins to maximise stiffness. The rear brake has post mounts and Initial Load Indicator lines let you ﬁne tune suspension sag. There’s 140mm of travel here, compared to 120mm on the Trailfox 02 and 03.
Equipment: Fox suspension, XT drivetrain and DT Swiss wheels
BMC is offering the Trailfox 01 as a frame or a complete bike. The full package comes with a Fox RP2 shock and a Talas 100/120/140mm through-axle fork, Shimano Deore XT crankset, gears and brakes, and a set of DT Swiss X1800 wheels. Finishing parts are BMC’s own.
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