BMC Fourstroke FS01 XX1 review£4,800.00

A trail happy yet super accurate and efficient experience

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The Fourstroke impressed us a couple of years ago, but World Cup tweaking has made it even more capable and controlled without dulling its rock solid, powerplay character.

Frame and equipment: max power, max precision design

The massive down tube dominates the chassis and locks down bar to bottom bracket stiffness so you can wrestle maximum watts through the pedals. The big symmetrical chainstays, offside triangulating strut and full carbon through axle dropouts make for an equally stiff rear subframe.

BMC has softened the low speed compression shock tune compared to the rattle and chatter of the original Fourstroke we tried. The twin linkage design still means an efficient rather than exaggerated suspension character though, even if you flick the CTD damping adjuster to fully open for maximum traction on choppy terrain.

The down tube dwarfs most other elements of the landscape:
The down tube dwarfs most other elements of the landscape:

The down tube dwarfs most other elements of the landscape

Add high tension, high stiffness DT Swiss wheels and you've got an inspiring platform through which to exert your energies.

The RaceSport tyres add additional puncture protection, 180mm brake rotors mean decent power from ultralight SRAM XX brakes, and it’s stealth dropper post compatible.

Ride and handling: laser-guided trail boss

As much as the stiffness impresses, it’s the way the BMC bosses the trail that’s really noticeable for an off the peg race bike. While it’s certainly not a full enduro cockpit the 720mm bar width, 70mm stem and massively solid mainframe give the steering authority.

There’s no twist or deflection through the suspension or wheels either and the longest top tube and wheelbase on test gives it a surefooted, planted feel. The Continental tyre combo is definitely bred for speed rather than grip, but the Fourstroke carves corners harder and more consistently than either Cannondale's Scalpel or Trek's boutique-y Superfly Project One, which we took out to test alongside it.

Race-honed it may be, but the fourstroke oozes authority on the trail:
Race-honed it may be, but the fourstroke oozes authority on the trail:

Race-honed it may be, but the Fourstroke oozes authority on the trail

The chassis stiffness also keeps the suspension working efficiently to sustain speed and let the tyres track the ground. While they’re stiff in tracking and torque terms the split top tube and thinwall frame tubes developed from BMC’s road bike R&D also noticeably damp vibration and buzz on high speed trails.

The naturally progressive suspension can take surprisingly large hits and decent sized drops in it’s stride too and it’s easy to balance fork and shock response for a totally predictable ride.

Our only grumbles were the rumbling overkill chain guide stirrup on the chainstay which snapped off on the second ride anyway and the all too easily spun out 30T chainring. That’s hardly a deal breaker considering the relatively high value of this searingly fast yet seriously enjoyable Swiss superbike.

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

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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