BMC Trailfox 01 review£2,999.00

Light, confident, well balanced and sweetly detailed prestige trail bike

BikeRadar score4/5

BMC's cross-country orientated Fourstroke really impressed us, so we jumped at the chance of a sneak preview of BMC’s longer travel Trailfox. Sound ride and sweet detailing makes this Swiss missile an equally aspirational alternative all-rounder.

Ride & handling: friendly, forgiving & quick

Besides the opulent build quality, the rapid edge to the ride is what makes the Trailfox stand out on the trail. Despite chunky tyres and a weight that’s respectable but not remarkable for a 120mm (4.72in) bike, it felt responsive to whatever power you put in. There’s a bit more wallow and more rhythm-interrupting kick-downs on rocky climbs compared to similar twin-link systems, but cornering and braking traction are excellent.

Steering inputs are translated accurately and instantly through the combination of a light touch wide bar and medium stem combo, and a speed steady 69 degree head angle. 

The relatively short 23.2in top tube on the 19 gives an easily manoeuvrable, compact feel. Next year’s models will also feature a shortened chainstay set-up to snap the back end round a bit faster, too.

Typically for a lightweight trail bike, there’s a bit of sideways twang and chatter from the narrow bearings/subframe terminals and slim carbon sections. It’s only noticeable as smear when you’re cross cutting off-cambers or getting sideways through corners or under braking, though.

It’s certainly not enough to disturb the friendly and forgiving overall balance of the bike. The short top tube might choke some heavy breathers, but you’ll definitely be more confident about pushing your limits than you would be on a longer stretch, shorter travel race ship.

Frame: stand out from the crowd

BMC already have an excellent reputation for innovation on the road, and their mountain bikes have some impressive ‘stand out from the crowd’ tweaks. Open CNC-machined keystone sections at the seat cluster and bottom bracket combine with subtly shaped main tubes for a definite premium feel. The deep chainstays are topped by a full one-piece carbon fibre seat/frontstay section. The dropouts and 3D VPS linkages are also crisply machined with smart logo engraving on the latter.

Prettiness comes at some practical cost though. The open seat section is vulnerable to dirt and moisture and the wraparound seat collar is a bugger to flip open by hand. That said, the 2.25in tyres have reasonable clearance at the back.

Equipment: practical stuff

The TF01 comes with various special equipment options and our sample ticked every bling box available, making the £3,000 tag seem perfectly reasonable. It’s all practical stuff, and we’ve certainly no complaints in terms of performance. Also, while the TALAS fork is heavier than a fixed 120mm unit, 20mm travel adjust either way is handy for challenging descents and climbs.

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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