BMC Streetracer SR02 review£1,149.99

Sturdy Swiss ride

BikeRadar score3/5

Swiss brand BMC always like to bring something distinctive to the table. The entry-level Streetracer proves that desire isn’t just limited to their award-winning flagship bikes too, and this alloy anvil is a good fit for riders who like to hammer.

Ride & handling: Fine on the flats, but won’t claim  any scalps in the Alps

Yes, you can get a carbon fibre framed bike for this amount of money, but smart buyers will look beyond mere price comparison and concentrate on ride quality, and the BMC is as distinctive to ride as it looks. The first thing you’ll notice is a firm feel throughout frame and forks, with a usefully direct response to any pedal pressure or steering input.

Whether you click through the gears smoothly or dump a handful of ratios and grab the sprint by the scruff of the neck, the T- shaped alloy tubes mean maximum torque from shoulders and legs are delivered straight to the rear wheel.

There’s a bit of twang and skip from the back wheel if you’re too brutal with your power, but then that’s a given trait of more belligerent-feeling bikes. It’s certainly something most power riders we know are happy to cope with in return for the knowledge that as much of that hardwired muscle twitch and turbo-honed torque as possible is propelling them forward.

The weight of the bike inevitably dulls its enthusiasm and hard-kicking edge on climbs, but on flatter or short rise-and-fall roads it was perfectly happy trading punches with lighter bikes. The low front end and firm fork/mainframe feel put the palms of your hands right into the action too. It’s ideal for sharp, responsive steering and an aggressive, combative position.

Naturally, this sharp power feel comes at the expense of a sharp ride feel, and the alloy frame transmits a lot more road rattle than its carbon counterparts. It’s bearable for those who value its butch power response, but you’ll want to use that sharp steering to avoid significantt armac trauma, or your wrists will know all about it.

The constant buzz and chatter becomes more intrusive the further you ride too, so you’ll be thinking more about having a hot bath and a rest than jumping straight into a set of interval bricks once you get into the multi-hour mark. At this price, pitching an alloy frame against carbon competition sounds a foregone conclusion, but it’s a mark of the BMC’s quality that it acquits itself okay. You’ll need to be a serious power rider rather than a weight-watcher or comfort seeker to choose the Swiss option though.

Frame & equipment: Stiff alloy chassis will please riders who value power over comfort

BMC have capitalised on the latest hydroforming techniques to create a distinctively angular frame. The head tube is tapered top and bottom with a big wraparound junction at the base on the flared polygonal down tube. The top tube gets a distinctive ‘T’ cross-section that tapers back before splitting just ahead of the seat tube to form a triangulated junction. The curved lower half is then directly in line with the heavily shaped multi-sided wishbone seatstays.

The chainstays are equally geometric in shape from the conventional bottom bracket shell to shelved dropouts, completing a look that looks as TRON as the Streetracer name suggests.The carbon-bladed fork is straight legged to match, although rounded rather than sharp edged in profile. Alloy crown and steerer leave it heavy though, combining with the metal frame to put a lot of mass in the chassis compared to full-carbon bikes at this price. Slotted cable guides make it user friendly, and the mid-height head tube makes a low tuck possible if you go aero.

Despite their small volume production, BMC have capitalised on the financial savings of a non-carbon frame when it comes to transmission. The full suite of Shimano 105 isn’t the lightest stop/go kit option but few things come close in terms of functionality and reliability. The combination of compact chainset and wide-range rear cassette block adds easy spin climbing potential. The Alex rimmed wheelset is also a reasonable weight to accelerate, although the rear hub was feeling rough and there was oscillation in the freehub body even after a relatively short test period.

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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