The Alpenchallenge has been a part of BMC’s range for several years with its slick aluminium frame, minimalist mudguards, belt drive, hub gears, disc brakes and flat bars.
But never afraid to move with the times, and forge its own path, BMC’s new Alpenchallenge bikes are all carbon fibre e-bikes, and seriously expand the model’s riding horizons.
- BMC Alpenchallenge AMP City LTD e-bike first ride review
- Best bike: our buyer's guide to which bicycle type you should buy in 2018
- The new and improved BMC Teammachine ALR
There are two versions of each new Alpenchallenge model, the LTD and ONE, in small, medium and large, and all of the bikes share the same BMC Premium Carbon frame and fork — which allowed for the creation of more unique shapes to help the motor blend in and work better with the frame.
Claimed weights are 1,415g for a medium sized frame and 528g for the fork.
Key for BMC’s designers was building a lightweight bike with a natural ride feel that would be nimble, compliant for seated comfort and as integrated as possible.
With a motor and battery central to the design, overall weight and weight distribution was very important. BMC used an original Alpenchallenge and added weights in different places on the frame to see where best to mount the motor and battery without unduly affecting its handling.
The motor is nested within the frame, mostly ahead of the bottom bracket, and not externally attached to it, increasing integration and aesthetics.
BMC found that locating the battery in the centre of the bike provided far better handling than fitting it within or outside of the down tube. Whether by design or coincidence, this position makes the battery hard to see from the saddle, and both it and the motor are largely obscured when the bike is being ridden, which, with the conventional-looking down tube, makes the Alpenchallenge look less like an e-bike.
The seatstays are designed to continue the battery cover’s shape for a little extra integration, and behind the seat tube there's BMC’s MTT micro travel technology suspension system, which was first seen on the Teamelite hardtail MTBs.
Providing 10mm of elastomer-based bump absorption, the MTT system is tunable with different XCell damper densities. BMC says that urban riders in particular remain seated most of the time and that MTT will improve ride comfort in every environment. It also aids traction by keeping the rear tyre in contact with the ground more of the time.
Further improving seated comfort is BMC’s 160g D-shaped carbon seatpost, which has the same dimension as the Roadmachine, and 15mm offset.
The Alpenchallenge remains a flat barred bike, with BMC conceding that although the drop bar/flat bar argument is a difficult one, for bikes that weigh 12kg or more a flat bar offers greater control.
Shimano’s Steps motor
The core of this bike is the Shimano Steps motor, which drives single chain rings. The Alpenchallenge LTD features the Steps E-8000 250W motor with 70Nm output, and the Alpenchallenge ONE comes with the Steps E-6100 250W motor with 60Nm output.
The Steps BT-E8010 504Wh battery is common to all, as is the handlebar mounted display and control unit, but where BMC says the Alpenchallenge has an advantage is its power to weight ratio.
At around 14–15kg (I weighed my medium-size Alpenchallenge AMP Cross at 15.09kg), it has about twice the power and range of some bikes weighing almost double. It is limited to 25km/h/15.5mph, but has barely any drag from the motor.
Alpenchallenge AMP City
Designed for sophisticated commuters, the Alpenchallenge AMP City is supplied with Curana mudguards, an integrated rear light, Supernova Mini2 front light, plus a plate for a kickstand.
While both City versions roll on Vittoria’s Revolution Tech 35mm tyres, the LTD bike gets DT Swiss AMP 1800 Spline wheels, a Brooks Cambium C17 saddle, Shimano Metrea drivetrain and brakes, and BMC’s ICS stem, allowing the cables to be kept neatly out of sight. Cleverly, the mudguards are even designed to work with the MTT system’s reactive movement.
The City ONE offers DT Swiss R500 rims on Formula hubs, a Selle Royal saddle, Shimano Deore Trekking 10-speed drivetrain, and standard BMC stem. Gearing for both bikes is a 38 ring up front with 11-32 cassette. Maximum tyre width for all models is 42mm, or 38mm with fenders.
Alpenchallenge AMP Sport
Aimed at the ambitious rider looking for greater speed and dynamic ability, the Sport has a comparatively stripped back look with clean lines. Mart Otten, senior road product manager, at BMC classifies the e-bike: “The Alpenchallenge AMP Sport is, as the name suggests, the sportiest of the three Alpenchallenge AMPs. The performance concept has had a decisive influence on the features of this bike. The Shimano drive can help ambitious riders get to the summit even faster, but it can also be used as smooth pedalling support.”
The LTD model has DT Swiss AMP 1600 Spline wheels, BMC’s ICS stem, Fizik Antares saddle, Shimano RS700 thumbshifter, Ultegra RX mech, Ultegra cassette and RS600 disc brakes. An FSA Megatooth 44t chain ring is matched to an 11-34 cassette, and the bike rolls on Vittoria Corsa Control 30mm tyres, which measure 32mm wide on these rims.
The Sport ONE machine uses the same Shimano CR-E80 crank, FSA 44t Megatooth ring and thumbshifter, plus 105 mech, 105 11-34 cassette and UR300 disc calipers. Wheels are again DT Swiss R500 rims on Formula hubs, but with Vittoria Rubino Pro 30mm tyres, and it’s topped with a Selle Royal saddle.
Alpenchallenge AMP Cross
The Alpenchallenge AMP Cross is designed for riders who don’t want to be constrained by tarmac and well-groomed trails. For keen and adventurous riders, it's a lightweight e-bike with an off-road bent, angled towards gravel, fire roads and tracks rather than technical cyclocross-style riding.
“Our Alpenchallenge AMP Cross is built for off-road adventures and is an incredibly versatile e-bike. Think of it as a touring bike with unlimited off-road capability. The well-thought-out specifications make it an ideal tool for daily rides, whether on local paths or unknown back-road terrain,” says Otten.
As before, the LTD model has BMC’s ICS stem, but this time with hydraulic brake hoses and Shimano Di2 wires passing through it.
The Shimano XT Di2 rear mech is shifted by a SW-EW6010 controller across an 11-40 XT cassette, with BMC’s own 42-tooth chainring fitted to the same Shimano crank. DT Swiss AMP 1600 Spline wheels with 40mm WTB Nano tyres are slowed by Shimano’s RS600 hydraulic brakes, and you get a Fizik Aliante saddle.
The Cross ONE offers a 10-speed Shimano SLX mechanical drivetrain with the same ratios, UR300 brakes, DT Swiss R500 rims on Formula hubs and a Selle Royal saddle.
The MTT system on the Alpenchallenge AMP Cross has a different XCell damper fitted to increase traction, and equates to around 1-bar less tyre pressure.
BMC Alpenchallenge AMP pricing
- Alpenchallenge AMP LTD: all versions $5,999 / €5,499 / CHF5,499
- Alpenchallenge AMP ONE: all versions $4,299 / €3,999 / CHF4,199