Swiss manufacturer BMC is perhaps more familiar in the road market (thanks to supplying bikes to the Phonak team) than in MTBs, but it’s got a sziable range of off-roaders too. Like the road bikes, they’re all packed with interesting details.
The full suspension range now features four, five and six-inch travel variants (or approximate metric equivalents thereof). We’ve ridden a Fourstroke before (although for 2007 it gets a makeover, including a frame built from Easton’s CNT carbon fibre). This time around we took the 120mm travel Trailfox for a spin.
As is often the way with Dirt Demo bikes, the spec on this one isn’t quite what will appear on production bikes. It’s very close to a production BMC Trailfox TF01, though – it should have FSA carbon cranks and a Fox TALAS fork rather than the Race Face and Pace items shown here.
All of BMC’s full suspension bikes use its VPS suspension design. That stands for Virtual Pivot System – it’s another interpretation of the now fairly commonplace short-link design. On the BMC Trailfox there’s a DT Swiss air shock on one side of the links and an aluminium/carbon fibre rear triangle on the other side. The chainstays are aluminium, the seatstays and “Twistahlegs” struts are carbon.
Out on the trail and it’s immediately clear that the Trailfox is firmly in the European marathon race bike tradition. If you’re used to a typical 5in travel “trail bike” with a slightly relaxed stance ideal for Just Riding Around then the Trailfox may come as something of a surprise. The listed 71/73 angles don’t sound that steep on paper, but the head angle in particular is at least a whisker steeper than you’d usually find on a bike of this travel. It feels like an XC race bike, only higher up and less affected by bumps. Relatively long chainstays boost stability at speed, but mean that your weight is relatively forward within the bike – it’s not one for wheelies and related shenanigans.
It’s certainly good at covering a lot of ground very quickly, though. The rear suspension is effective and the bike feels solid. If your chosen riding involves a lot of length and rough trails but not much in the way of chucking the bike around, this should be right up your street.