BMC Super Trail 02 review£2,299.99

Neat and versatile trail bike

BikeRadar score3/5

Getting a 160mm (6.3in) all-round trail bike ‘right’ is the hardest challenge in mountain bike design right now. BMC’s Super Trail isn’t perfect, but there’s a versatile, descent orientated bike in there if you tweak it right.

Ride & handling: Too heavy for long rides, but there’s a decent big all-rounder at its heart

Swapping the 640mm (25.2in) bar for something wider reveals a well rounded chassis character. The laid-back 67-degree head angle and succulent Marzocchi forks mean good high-speed rock shrugging stability if you lean back and let it go. The APS rear suspension is nicely balanced too.

While they grip and roll well in tread terms, the lightweight tyres aren’t comfortable at lower pressures so they tend to skitter rather than stick when you’re really ripping it through turns.

There’s also noticeable rear end flex across the linkages and the fork feels twisty and pliable when you’re corkscrewing down a steep one on the brakes.

This all means it’s not the most naturally riot ready bike. Provide the motivation yourself though and it’ll plough through rockeries or plop off serious drops without a second thought.

Heading back up, flicking the ProPedal platform damping lever on the shock immediately cuts out any bob you get from running extra sag to drop the high bottom bracket, and the fork gets lockout too.

You’re still going to need all the muscle power you can muster to keep the near 15kg (33lb) weight rolling though. Its weight also leaves the BMC lethargic on flatter sections or between descent transitions.

The tall bb requires a lot of sag dialled in  to get it to sit right: the tall bb requires a lot of sag dialled in  to get it to sit right
The tall bb requires a lot of sag dialled in to get it to sit right: the tall bb requires a lot of sag dialled in to get it to sit right

Frame: 160mm-travel platform with neat and individualistic construction

An externally butted head tube leads back onto a seam welded top tube with BMC’s trademark Y fork at the seat tube end. A big triple butted, hydroformed down tube finishes at a super broad CNC machined shock mount and bottom bracket section.

There’s more intricate machining through the lower linkage and the big rocker link is all one extensively machined piece. The bowed strut linking the seatstays and chainstays gives plenty of mud and chain clearance, even with 2.4in rubber.

Multi purpose design means you get an ISCG chain device mount and a bottle cage. Despite looking untidy, the looped and zip-tied underbelly control routing didn’t give us any problems, even when uplifting.

Equipment: Workable rather than wonderful; we'd swap the bar and stem

As the base model of a two-bike range, the 02 spec is workable rather than wonderful. Marzocchi’s 55 forks are a bit mushy when steering/braking, but smoothly ground hugging and have adjustable travel for climbs.

Avid’s basic Juicy 3 disc brakes get a boost with 185mm rotors, and the SRAM X7 shifting is solid and accurate. But the BMC is desperate for a much wider bar and shorter stem, and the whole bike is on the heavy side.

Classic bmc seam-welded top tube: classic bmc seam-welded top tube
Classic bmc seam-welded top tube: classic bmc seam-welded top tube

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: 45
  • 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 than 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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