Swiss brand BMC always like to bring something distinctive to the table. The entry-level Streetracer proves that desire isn’t just limited to their award-winning ﬂagship bikes too, and this alloy anvil is a good ﬁt for riders who like to hammer.
Ride & handling: Fine on the flats, but won’t claim any scalps in the Alps
Yes, you can get a carbon fibre framed bike for this amount of money, but smart buyers will look beyond mere price comparison and concentrate on ride quality, and the BMC is as distinctive to ride as it looks. The ﬁrst thing you’ll notice is a ﬁrm feel throughout frame and forks, with a usefully direct response to any pedal pressure or steering input.
Whether you click through the gears smoothly or dump a handful of ratios and grab the sprint by the scruff of the neck, the T- shaped alloy tubes mean maximum torque from shoulders and legs are delivered straight to the rear wheel.
There’s a bit of twang and skip from the back wheel if you’re too brutal with your power, but then that’s a given trait of more belligerent-feeling bikes. It’s certainly something most power riders we know are happy to cope with in return for the knowledge that as much of that hardwired muscle twitch and turbo-honed torque as possible is propelling them forward.
The weight of the bike inevitably dulls its enthusiasm and hard-kicking edge on climbs, but on ﬂatter or short rise-and-fall roads it was perfectly happy trading punches with lighter bikes. The low front end and ﬁrm fork/mainframe feel put the palms of your hands right into the action too. It’s ideal for sharp, responsive steering and an aggressive, combative position.
Naturally, this sharp power feel comes at the expense of a sharp ride feel, and the alloy frame transmits a lot more road rattle than its carbon counterparts. It’s bearable for those who value its butch power response, but you’ll want to use that sharp steering to avoid signiﬁcantt armac trauma, or your wrists will know all about it.
The constant buzz and chatter becomes more intrusive the further you ride too, so you’ll be thinking more about having a hot bath and a rest than jumping straight into a set of interval bricks once you get into the multi-hour mark. At this price, pitching an alloy frame against carbon competition sounds a foregone conclusion, but it’s a mark of the BMC’s quality that it acquits itself okay. You’ll need to be a serious power rider rather than a weight-watcher or comfort seeker to choose the Swiss option though.
Frame & equipment: Stiff alloy chassis will please riders who value power over comfort
BMC have capitalised on the latest hydroforming techniques to create a distinctively angular frame. The head tube is tapered top and bottom with a big wraparound junction at the base on the ﬂared polygonal down tube. The top tube gets a distinctive ‘T’ cross-section that tapers back before splitting just ahead of the seat tube to form a triangulated junction. The curved lower half is then directly in line with the heavily shaped multi-sided wishbone seatstays.
The chainstays are equally geometric in shape from the conventional bottom bracket shell to shelved dropouts, completing a look that looks as TRON as the Streetracer name suggests.The carbon-bladed fork is straight legged to match, although rounded rather than sharp edged in proﬁle. Alloy crown and steerer leave it heavy though, combining with the metal frame to put a lot of mass in the chassis compared to full-carbon bikes at this price. Slotted cable guides make it user friendly, and the mid-height head tube makes a low tuck possible if you go aero.
Despite their small volume production, BMC have capitalised on the ﬁnancial savings of a non-carbon frame when it comes to transmission. The full suite of Shimano 105 isn’t the lightest stop/go kit option but few things come close in terms of functionality and reliability. The combination of compact chainset and wide-range rear cassette block adds easy spin climbing potential. The Alex rimmed wheelset is also a reasonable weight to accelerate, although the rear hub was feeling rough and there was oscillation in the freehub body even after a relatively short test period.