BMC launches value bikes with SLR03, Speedfox line and more

New for 2015: Teammachine SLR03, Speedfox, Granfondo GF02 carbon, CX01

For 2015 BMC will offer more value-level bikes than ever, and the Swiss company will also have a brand new trail bike and cyclocross bike too. The new bikes — including a new range of Trailfox 29ers, a new Crossmachine CX01, a carbon Granfondo GF02 and an entry-level Teammachine SLR03 — were all designed in-house. BMC is remarkable in that its makes its own carbon thread and carbon frame manufacturing moulds, and then prototypes are tested in its state of the art dynamic testing facility.

At the launch of upcoming product in Lenzerheide, Switzerland, BMC made teasing mention of an ongoing partnership with an unnamed aerodynamics company, but we were unable to get any more specific information on this. Similarly, BMC did not yet have specific pricing on any of the forthcoming bikes. SO for now, we look at the features and technology of the four new bikes or bike families for 2015. 

BMC Speedfox trail bike

With successful cross-country and all-mountain ranges already well established — and sponsored rider Julian Absalon seemingly addicted to winning and gunning for the 2016 Olympic title — BMC extended its investment in 29in wheels. Internally dubbed BWC for Big Wheel Concept, the concept employs short chainstays, slack head angles, generous top tube lengths, short stems and minimal stack height. For consistent ride feel, they even spec the same stem length on all bike sizes within each model.

The Speedfox defines BMC’s new Trail Series, pitching it at riders looking for a light, versatile bike with a relaxed position, that gives confidence without being unduly complicated to set up or maintain. The Speedfox, BMC says, is ideal for those who can’t ride every day, but want to make the most of precious weekend trail time with a bike they can just grab and go.

The Speedfox is a 130mm travel bike that occupies the chasm between Fourstroke and Trailfox. Borrowing the 435mm chainstays and 68.5 degree head angle of the Trailfox, the balanced geometry has 607mm stack and 435mm reach (size M), but is still slack, with an offset fork. Stem length is 70mm across the range, and the frame allows for up to six internal cables and hoses, entering the frame on either side of the head tube, covering all control options. The drive-side chainstay also incorporates a chain guide and protector plate to save the rear triangle from damage.

The range consists of three models — SF01, SF02 and SF03 — each available in five sizes, from XS to XL. The SF01 has a full carbon frame and comes in two specs : XTR or XX1. SF02 has a carbon frame and alloy rear triangle, with three specs : XO, XT or XT/SLX. SF03 is an all alloy frame, offered in two specs : XT/SLX or Deore. Final pricing won’t be available until late August.

Teammachine SLR03

While BMC's top two 'Altitude Series' (read: race) bikes, the SLR01 and SLR02 remain essentially unchanged, BMC now has a new SLR03 that brings promise of good performance in a more affordable package and with more sizes.

BMC’s ACE Technology software that was first used to design the SLR01 was also employed in the design of the SLR03, to maintain the aim of previous SLRs – light, stiff, comfortable and responsive — but also the necessary tailoring of the performance to the lower price level. As with its more expensive brothers, each SLR03 frame size offers stiffness in proportion to its size, increasing or decreasing accordingly.

Claimed frame and frameset weights are given based on a painted 54cm frame, with all hardware fitted – bolts, mech hangers, cable stops and seat clamp, for all three frames in the range :

  • SLR01 : frame 790g / frameset 1,360g
  • SLR02 : frame 970g / frameset 1,530g
  • SLR03 : frame 1,230g / frameset 1,860g

The SLR03 is a UCI compliant full carbon frame and fork in five sizes : 47, 51, 54, 57 and 60cm, with the new smallest 47cm size aimed at riders below 164cm tall. The 47cm frame is actually about 30mm shorter than the SLR02’s 48cm size.

The frame design exactly follows that of the other SLRs, but using a different carbon layup with thicker plies. The heavily asymmetric chainstays and seat tube, plus angular down tube and trademark cross-lock brace continue and cement the family resemblance. All cabling is external, as on the SLR02, but there’s no electronic compatibility. Still, BMC predict that the SLR’s ride quality at this lower level will offer category-leading performance.

The range comprises three Shimano-equipped bikes, fitted with 11 speed 105, Tiagra or Sora groupsets and Shimano BB86 press-fit bottom brackets. But the Tiagra bike comes with Shimano 105 10-speed levers for improved feel and function, plus hidden gear cables.

All pricing is still to be announced, but is expected in late August after Eurobike.

First Impressions

We took one of the new bikes for a ride in the Swiss Alps, and over several laps of a 10km circuit containing 950ft of climbing, we got a feel for what it can do. Our mount was a 54cm SLR03 with Shimano Tiagra, 105 levers, Shimano R500 wheelset, Continental Ultra Sport 23mm rubber, 50/34 chainset and 11-30 cassette. With the addition of some Time pedals, a bottle cage and Garmin mount, it weighed 8.95kg.

Having just stepped off of an SLR02, out on the road, it was immediately obvious that the SLR03, while not strictly speaking cut from the same cloth, most definitely has the same DNA as its SLR brethren. The same sensations are present – a willingness to climb, crisp vice-free handling that gives huge confidence, and an excellent balance of stiffness and comfort.

Often, an entry-level wheelset can deaden a frame, smothering its character, but the SLR03’s dynamic nature shines through despite the ordinary hoops. On a steep 10-minute climb, there was always the sensation of progress, not of being restrained. A technical descent showcased the frame’s rigidity and steering accuracy when braking hard in to corners, and the first time down a 43mph descent, after just minutes on the bike, we had the confidence to let it run.

Swiss roads are almost too smooth to comment fully on ride comfort, but the initial feeling was that it offered as much as its loftier brethren, and with the plush Selle Royal saddle fitted, possibly more. The BMC branded alloy cockpit was faultless, and the upgrade to 105 levers certainly adds a little class to the experience. Indeed, the overall feel was of a classy ride, and if we had ridden the bike masked or unmarked like a prototype, apart from the saddle, we’d have been hard pushed to guess the price anywhere close. As an entry to SLR territory, the SLR03 is impressive, and should make a whole bunch of new friends.

Granfondo GR02 Carbon

BMC’s Endurance Series is topped by the cobble-bashing GF01 and GF01 disc, but the previously alloy GF02 has been superseded for 2015 by a new all-carbon frame and fork. The same characteristics built in to help the GF01 carry pro racers from Paris to Roubaix – higher stack, shorter reach, longer chainstays, relaxed head angle for greater stability and control with less fatigue over time – are just as relevant to riders who like to challenge themselves, but want a bike to give them confidence and help them through long days.

Using GF01 moulds, identical shapes and geometry, the GF02 has a new carbon layup, with thicker carbon plies resulting in some added weight but reduced cost. Claimed weights for a painted 54cm frame and frameset with all hardware attached are :

  • GF01 : frame 995g / frameset 1,705g
  • GF02 : frame 1,250g / frameset 1,975g

The new model is UCI compliant, electronic compatible, includes an integral chain catcher and the same carbon seatpost as the GF01. BMC’s testing has shown comfort values, torsional stiffness and bottom bracket stiffness between the GF01 and new GF02 to be the same.

There are six frame sizes : 48, 51, 54, 56, 58 and 61cm, and three component specs – Shimano Ultegra, 105 and Tiagra, which also comes with 10-speed 105 levers. All come with compact cranks, Shimano wheels, 28mm Continental rubber and Selle Royal saddles.

Crossmachine CX01

For those who like to keep on racing through the depths of winter, it’s a welcome return to BMC’s Crossmachine, now given the moniker CX01. Billed as an SLR for the mud, the family resemblance is again obvious, with epic down tube, dropped seatstays and familiar tubes all over. But the CX01 has specific cyclocross geometry, a high stiffness-to-weight ratio and much-increased clearance for 35mm rubber.

There will only be a single model for now, fitted with SRAM’s new Force CX1 HydroR groupset. The new brakes hadn’t arrived in time to be fitted for this launch, hence the mechanical BB7S disc brakes and Red 22 shifters. It will also be sold as a frameset.

Claimed weight for a painted 54cm frame is 1,100g, with the frameset weighing 1,540g. The frame used for the complete bike is CX1-specific, with no electronic cabling routing, and no front derailleur hanger, but the frameset-only option does offer both.

The frame is configured for 140mm post mounts front and rear, and includes some neat features, such as the front brake hose entering the steerer above the headset, and passing through the left fork leg, as on the GF01 disc. But the frameset can not accept Shimano’s RS785 disc brake due to interference with the seatstay from the bleed port; it will only work with the R785 model.

Five sizes will be offered : 48, 51, 54, 57 and 60cm, all with a BB drop of 62mm, and although it comes with a standard 27.2mm diameter seatpost with an offset of 3mm, there is the option of 18mm or 30mm offset posts. The fork tapers from 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in, and the bottom bracket shell is Shimano’s BB86 press fit standard.

As with all of the new bikes, final pricing will not be available until late August, although we believe the complete CX01 bike will retail in the UK for approximately £3,200.

First Impressions

There were only two CX01s present, but we bagged one and hunted down some valley trails. Our bike was, as previously mentioned, different from the final stock model due to the non-arrival of SRAM’s new Force CX1 HydroR brakes and levers. For this reason it was fitted with a BB7S and Red 22 mechanical braking setup, which was a compromise, but a temporary one.

Our 54cm frame had a SRAM Force CX1 drivetrain – 40t ring and 11-32t cassette, 140mm rotors, DT Swiss R23db Spline wheelset with Continental CycloXKing 35mm clincher, a 110mm stem and alloy bars. Without pedals fitted, it came in at a reasonable 7.99kg / 17.41lb.

With several measurements in common with the SLR series machines, the CX01 feels very direct, its great lateral stiffness ideal for repeated accelerations. Efficiency, due to the huge down tube, was excellent, converting crank force to forward motion fast. The extra material invested in the frame to strengthen it for discs and the rigours of off-road doesn’t dull performance, as the CX01 felt suitably nimble during our dry hardpack ride. We’d definitely like to explore its potential further in some wintry mud fests, but our initial impressions are very positive.

Our only reservation, which needs more time to investigate fully, was several incidences of toe overlap at low speed, when turning fairly tightly. Granted, we were in road shoes and pedals with big, tall rubber, and making turns while pedalling that would be unlikely in a competitive situation. It certainly wasn’t a deal breaker though, as the CX01 was superbly solid, stable, subtle and rapid all at once, with an involving ride and undoubted race potential.

We’ll bring you a thorough test of a final production bike later in the year, and see how it fares when pitched against the competition in some races.

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