BMC GranFondo GF02 Disc review£1,159.00

Smooth-cruising special with serious upgrade potential

BikeRadar score3.5/5

BMC always puts plenty of work into forming its frame tubes, so it’s no surprise that the GF02 is a study in sharp angles and thin-walled, oversized alloy tubing.

Stylish shaping and functional details

Notable details include a faceted hexagonal top tube, massive square down tube, flat armpit brace, tapered rectangular chainstays with kick-up, boxy 3D dropouts and super-flat double-kinked seatstays.

The top tube is a striking hexagonal number

The full-carbon fork is shared with the premium BMC carbon GranFondo GF01 and has a distinctive shape that starts with a fat top then steps down dramatically at rim level to a narrower, tapering lower blade.

There’s a remarkable amount of practical detail in the frame for the price, too. Mudguard/fender and rack mounts are optional screw-in eyes and both front and rear brake cables are semi-internally routed. While the gear cables themselves are routed externally, the guides are removable if you upgrade to electronic shifting and the post-mount brakes are easy to adjust.

The full carbon fork tapers dramatically at rim level:
The full carbon fork tapers dramatically at rim level:

The full carbon fork tapers dramatically at rim level

However, while the vivid block-yellow looks of the BMC might be unashamedly in your face, the actual ride quality couldn’t be more subtle. Even compared to the smoothest steel bikes, the BMC takes floated ride feel to the next level. It has a way of feeling effortless through the pedals that makes climbing or simply increasing your cruising pace a pleasure rather than a punishment.

Snappy yet forgiving character

It’s stiff enough to accelerate with enthusiasm despite the relatively heavy Shimanowheels, and it certainly feels every inch a thoroughbred road machine. But what’s really impressive is that it stays floated and forgiving even when riding over genuinely punishing bridleways, beating stiffer bikes here to a pulp and stalling them over staccato bumps.

That’s intentional too: BMC’s website hails the GF02 as being suited to trail and cyclocross alongside road and commuter use, and it’s far from an idle boast. Because the forgiveness comes from the frame rather than the tyres, you can keep the Continentals inflated enough to stop them spitting or flatting if you accidentally clobber something hard on your adventures.

BMC says the gf02 is suited to trail, cyclocross, road and commuter use, and it’s no idle boast:
BMC says the gf02 is suited to trail, cyclocross, road and commuter use, and it’s no idle boast:

BMC says the GF02 is suited to trail, cyclocross, road and commuter use, and it’s no idle boast

That’s just as well too, as the Shimano brakes aren’t among the GF02’s strengths – even when properly set up. The brakes are easy to adjust for wheel rub, but there isn’t any easy way to adjust the cables as the pads wear, which is a real pain on longer, dirtier rides.

The super-long 120mm stem can also make the steering restrictively stubborn if you find yourself sliding, and need to make a snap reaction. There’s plenty of reach to let you run a shorter stem without feeling cramped, though, and the extra stretch was appreciated when it came to hauling hard along the road.

In fact, we were consistently surprised at the times we clocked on pure road sections on Continental’s wraparound file-tread tyres.

No doubt switching to lighter wheels than the smooth-but-sturdy Shimano RX05s would boost acceleration, and while it feels great on the 32mm wide tyres it comes with, it would feel even smoother with something like Continental’s 35mm Cyclo Cross Speed tyres.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus 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: 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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