Thrust into the hands of long-term tester Daniel, no one predicted that the BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew was going to have an easy ride – after all, it was all set to spend 6 months in New Zealand, tearing down around 300 downhills at 15 minutes a pop in Queenstown Bike Park. So now it’s time to meet the judge, jury and executioner himself after what is likely to have been the most hardcore long-term test ever at ENDURO.
Other than the snap decision to buy a van and head south, Daniel’s six-month New Zealand trip was going to involve little more than hunting down the country’s sickest trails, throwing in some visits to tear up Queenstown Bike Park, pin on a few start numbers and clock up some longer rides to discover the wilderness on both islands. The BMC Speedfox surely had to be up for the tasks – although some of these didn’t really chime with its purpose or build!
Now back from its six-month stint in New Zealand, this lightweight trail bike has come out on top and unscathed from what is likely to have been the most punishing ENDURO long-term test ever: a season pass in Queenstown Bike Park with around 300 15-minute downhills on braking bump-bruised, rooty and rocky gnar. During its time there, we’ve seen eight frames of other bikes break, most of them much burlier than the Speedfox. Over the course of the remaining New Zealand road trip, the BMC had to bring its capabilities as a trail bike to the fore, before it was time to confront the Crankworx race in Rotorua.
The frame of the BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew
But back to where it all began: the BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew is built around a sleek carbon frame with an aluminium rear. There’s 150 mm rear travel relying on BCM’s Advanced Pivot System, aka their proven APS rear suspension system. BMC broke with habit and went for 27.5″ wheels in a bid to nail the balance between smoothness and playfulness. The reasoning behind BMC’s break from their own big wheel concept was explained in a previous article that can be found here.
There’s internal cable routing for the gears, brakes and the Reverb seatpost, which threads through the frame. The entry ports are tidily covered with high-end aluminium caps. The brake cable exits by the bottom bracket and is led under the chainstays before reaching the back wheel.
There’s a removable ISCG 05 chainguide mount, but it saw as little action as the direct mount front mech, as Daniel kept with a 1×11 drivetrain and narrow-wide chainring. The frame tips the scales at a lithe 2,850 g (manufacturer’s stats) and is available from XS to XL.
The BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew in detail
A glance at the innumerable videos taken in Queenstown Bike Park told us enough: the Speedfox was going to face some battle out there. And considering that Daniel was about to travel halfway around the world, we realized he wouldn’t want to be shuffling into bike shops constantly in NZ. As space was limited on the airplane for spare parts, we had to dial in this BMC to meet Daniel’s needs before he set off, turning it into a fiercer downhill machine and speccing it with even more durable parts to limit maintenance and potential mechanicals.
Fork: Rockshox Pike RC 150 mm
Rear shock: Cane Creek DB Air Inline
Brakes: Shimano Saint
Drivetrain: SRAM X01
Seat post: RockShox Reverb Stealth
Stem: KORE Repute 35 mm
Handlebar: BMC MRB 01 Carbon 750 mm
Wheels: DT Swiss XM481
Tires: MAXXIS HighRoller II 27.5×2.3
Weight: 12.70 kg
Price: € 5,566 (stock)
The suspension is made up of a superb Cane Creek Double Double Barrel Inline rear shock and a RockShox PIKE up front, which was on the receiving end of two tweaks: an airshaft took their travel up from 150 to 160 mm – which didn’t just grant the bike more in reserve, but also rendered its geometry even more fiercely downhill-orientated; and the RockShox Charger cartridge was swapped for a 3-Way Factory one from FAST SUSPENSION. Part of an earlier test fleet, the 3-Way Factory cartridge was now expected to prove itself on long-term test too.
Daniel’s tuning before New Zealand focused on making the bike even fiercer on the downhills by adding a touch more weight. The bike comes at stock with Shimano XT brakes, which Daniel swapped for the 4-piston Saint version. We were all pretty stoked to hear how the DT Swiss wheelset with 240S hubs and 30 mm-wide XM481 rims would fare down under. Daniel played it safe with tire choice, going for the ever-reliable MAXXIS HighRoller II for the optimal blend of grip and minimal rolling resistance. For our tester, the conversion to tubeless was also a crucial move in the pre-travel prep.
Experience has taught that there’s a decent gear range dished out by the SRAM X01 drivetrain, although Daniel chose to switch the 34t chainring for the smaller 32t version to benefit on long, steep climbs.
Coming to the cockpit, our tester has a predilection for 35–40 mm stems, so duly switched the KORE Repute model from his previous long-term test bike onto the BMC Speedfox. In this build, and including the Shimano XT Trail pedals, the BMC Speedfox 02 weighed in at a lightweight 12.7 kg.
The geometry of the BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew
While the bike arguably doesn’t max out on travel unlike some, its aggressive geometry looks more than adequate to keep the Speedfox Trailcrew’s composure on downhills. Our tester is 183 cm tall so went for a size L frame. The 455 mm reach, short and snappy 428 mm chainstays and 1,188 mm wheelbase lend the bike a huge amount of smoothness. Below is an outline of the Speedfox Trailcrew’s geometry (with the altered head angle):
|Seat tube||380 mm||395 mm||435 mm||470 mm||500 mm|
|Top tube||565 mm||588 mm||610 mm||632 mm||656 mm|
|Head tube||100 mm||110 mm||117 mm||125 mm||135 mm|
|Head angle||66.6 °||66.5 °||66.5 °||66.5 °||66.5 °|
|Reach||395 mm||415 mm||435 mm||455 mm||475 mm|
|Stack||598 mm||602 mm||607 mm||612 mm||616 mm|
The BMC seems to glide up climbs. The front end is a touch higher given the 160 mm-travel PIKE, and it has a pretty long steerer and bars with 30 mm rise, which generates a comfy, upright position. Even after the 1,400 metres of climbing in the Crankworx enduro race, Daniel’s legs weren’t feeling too beat up thanks to the 32t chainring. During testing, the Cane Creek Inline rear shock responded to hits with an annoying whine when the climb switch was activated. Fortunately, even in the open mode, the APS rear suspension design from BMC worked really well and there was little to zero unwanted bob.
Point it downhill and the Speedfox does justice to its namesake! Few bikes have such propensity to urge you on to carve up every corner and take every edge for the airtime they’re worth. The short chainstays mean that the BMC is literally anchored from the back, and its specially designed tune for the rear shock give such a boost to the Speedfox. It’s super reactive, fast and dialed in for a good time. Yet where the rear shock suffers is in its end progression: 180 psi gave a sag of around 20%, but Daniel even found himself blowing through all of the travel even on flow trails.
Early concerns about the bike’s pretty quick rebound leading to twitchiness on fast sections proved unfounded, which is surely partially thanks to the long toptube and high front. By upping the forks to 160 mm, there’s notably more in reserve at the front and it lends the BMC a slacker head angle and even calmer handling when you’re picking up speed on descents. However, the Speedfox retains all of that playfulness, carving round corners, manualling and getting airtime. But even though hunting down crucial milliseconds would be easier on a different bike, the BMC is safely sat in the compromise between agility and stability, making it one hell of a fun ride.
The initially irritating whine from the rear shock developed further during the course of the testing, seeing it lose performance and air while getting increasingly louder. Back in Germany, Daniel took it for what was clearly a well-needed service and it’s all resolved now.
At the other end of the spectrum, the RockShox PIKE with the FAST Suspension cartridge performed flawlessly. We’ve already had it on test where it deliver the ultimate in tuning and ride behaviour, so it was good to see its performance retain this same high level. Even though the frame was pushed to its limits it came back without showing much wear-and-tear. More importantly, neither did key parts such as the bearings.
For the want of a fair trail, we’d happily admit that our test location of several months in Queenstown Bike Park maybe weren’t the most ideal for the BMC’s build, but we were amazed at how well this enduro and trail riding setup performed! Half the office had gambled on seeing the bike come back it bits, but this is testament to its ability to survive on the gallows. The finish is still just as slick and hardy as its performance. We’d definitely recommend the BMC Speedfox 02 Trailcrew, and it’ll plaster a grin on your face!
Tester: Daniel Schlicke | Born: 1994 | Riding since: 2012 | Height: 183 cm | Weight: 74 kg | Job: Twerk & Travel
For more information head to bmc-switzerland.com
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Words & Photos: Daniel Schlicke