BMC Fourstroke 02 XT first ride review£3,899.00

XC speed machine that’s no slouch in the rough

BMC has just introduced the Agonist — their new cross-country marathon machine — but the Fourstroke remains its staple XC race bike, and for good reason.

BMC Fourstroke 02 XT spec overview

  • Frame: ‘Premium’ carbon-fibre mainframe, triple-butted ‘Al-13’ aluminium rear triangle, 100mm (3.9in) travel
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float Step-Cast Performance FIT4, 100mm (3.9in) travel
  • Shock: Fox Float DPS EVOL Performance Elite w/ remote
  • Drivetrain: Shimano SLX w/ Deore XT cranks and rear mech (2x11)
  • Wheelset: DT Swiss X 1900 Spline wheels
  • Tyres: Continental X-King (f) and Race King (r) 29x2.2in
  • Brakes: Shimano SLX
  • Handlebar: BMC MFB 02, 720mm
  • Stem: BMC MSM, 65mm
  • Seatpost: BMC MSP 02 rigid
  • Saddle: Fi’zi:k Nisene XS
  • Weight: 12.47kg (27.49lb), medium size with pedals

BMC Fourstroke 02 XT frame and kit

The Fourstroke uses a carbon front end paired with an aluminium rear triangle, joined using a short-twin-link design dubbed the ‘Advanced Pivot System’. This works with the Fox Float DPS rear shock to deliver 100mm of travel. It’s easy to toggle between the shock’s open, medium and firm modes using the DT Swiss ‘Two in One’ remote, which also works on the Fox fork.

There’s a hefty 40mm of bottom bracket drop to sink you nicely between the axles and keep things stable, while the 69.9-degree head angle keeps the handling lively. The 445mm chainstays end at a non-Boost 12x142mm axle, and BMC say there’s room for a 2.25in tyre. Frame weight is a scant 2,450g, for the medium size.

Cable routing is, for the most part, external, but the rear gear cable runs through the chainstay and the cable for the shock remote is directed down the seat tube. This means that, although the frame has no provision for a dropper seatpost as stock, you could ditch the remote and fit an internally routed post instead.

While the Continental tyres are incredibly fast-rolling, damp weather during testing meant that we switched to a 2.25in Maxxis Beaver up front to give us a bit more bite and traction. Gearing is taken care of by 2x11 Shimano SLX/XT. We’ve no complaints with the shifting, but the volume of chain clatter in the rough quickly became irritating.

BMC Fourstroke 02 XT ride impression

The Fourstroke feels efficient from the get-go
The Fourstroke feels efficient from the get-go

The Fourstroke feels efficient from the first pedal stroke. It’s eager to get going, and while this isn’t the lightest build on offer, the frame stiffness and composed suspension feel under power mean you’re up to speed in no time.

I found myself using the suspension remote a lot, to add uphill speed. Its bar-mounted position makes it easy to actuate when things get unexpectedly rowdy, which is great if you’re attacking a section blind.

While some XC bikes can feel incredibly fast when stamping on the pedals, many fall down when the going gets technical. This is where the BMC comes into its own.

The short 65mm stem and wide (for an XC bike) 720mm bar give incredible control when picking your way through high-speed singletrack, while the low-slung bottom bracket and central riding position mean you can slice through turns with confidence. It’s only when the fixed saddle slaps you in the rear that you realise you need to rein things in a little.

In rougher terrain, the rear suspension outclasses the fork, although the lightweight and somewhat flexy Fox 32 dealt with most hits well enough to let me maintain my line. There’s also enough progression at the rear to deal with harder impacts than you might expect. In fact, the Fourstroke left me wanting a dropper post in order to fully tap into its potential.

At the time of going to press, the 02 XT had been reduced to a more reasonable £3,119, meaning you could add a dropper and still have change from £3,500.

BMC Fourstroke 02 XT early verdict

An efficient speed machine with impressive trail manners considering the amount of travel on tap.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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