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Long Term Test: BMC Trailfox TF01 XX1 Trailcrew Bike Review

Editor in Chief Robin Schmitt has been aboard the BMC Trailfox TF01 XX1 Trailcrew since March. After 30 hours of riding and 10.000 metres descending as well as our first-look-article, it’s time for a test report. “That I’m a fan of 29-ers doesn’t need repeating, last year I rode the Specialized Enduro 29 Expert Carbon, this year the Trailfox”, says Robin. So the question is: what is BMC’s 6.999-Euro-Swiss sled capable of?

Das BMC Trailfox TF01 bringt 12,32 Kilogramm auf die Waage.

The BMC Trailfox TF01 in original spec.

6.999 Euro, 12,3 kg fighting weight, 29″ wheels and 150mm front and rear travel – these are the parameters of the full-carbon enduro machine. With its well-considered and high-end spec the BMC got us hot straight away.

Personal modifications and set-up.
The only change was to install a Tubeless set-up, which with the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline ONE wheels and Continental Mountain King 2.4″ tyres was quick and easy.

Zudem wurde das Specialized S.W.A.T Kit (Flaschenhalter + Tool) montiert, was sich später als außerordentlich brauchbar herausstellen würde.

Additionally we fitted the Specialized S.W.A.T Kit (bottle cage & tool), which later turned out to be a very wise move.

Hohe Front für Sicherheit. 2 Spacer erhöhen das Flatbar-Cockpit und sorgen so für eine angenehme Sitzposition und Sicherheit in steilen Sektionen.

High front end for confidence. 2 spacers raise the Flatbar-Cockpit and make for a relaxed position on the bike with plenty of confidence in steep sections.

The cockpit is based around a 55 mm short Easton-stem and the BMC own brand 750 mm wide carbon-flatbar, we were happy with it straight away. The two 1cm spacers were re-installed under the stem to compensate for the short 95mm steerer tube.

RockShox Reverb Stealth mit 150 mm Hub.

RockShox Reverb Stealth with 150 mm drop.

The 150 mm drop RockShox Reverb Stealth telescopic seatpost was a great choice especially when considering the slightly bigger dimensions of a 29-er it gave maximum freedom to move around on the bike. Riding aggressively with a bit of dynamic acrobatics there might be some contact between your back tyre and your shorts.

Keine Gnade - das BMC musste in Latsch einiges wegstecken!

No mercy – the BMC had a hard time in Latsch!

Handling

Riders will quickly feel at home on the BMC thanks to the central, slightly upright position on the bike. The bike accelerates efficiently and is wonderfully nimble. The big wheels and their greater contact pitch offer great traction on climbs. Even on the steepest ascents there is plenty of pressure over the front wheel. The APS suspension system bobs a little but considering the 150mm travel it is well within the acceptable range. If you want it really quiet out back just close the CTD compression damping of the Fox Float X shock. The different CTD-modes are clearly noticeable.

bmc trailfox tf01 2014 fox sram xx1 test review fahrbericht-3

Riding downhill the Trailfox reaches its full potential. The central, balanced position on the bike gives the rider a feeling of complete control. With a 30 mm bottom bracket-drop combined with the 1173 mm long wheelbase the bike feels secure on the trail. The 67° head angle is spot on and balances well with the short 435 mm chainstays, together they tread the tightrope between agility and straight line stability very well. The 29-er can be willingly navigated through tight and wide corners, the fine steering precision and straight-line tracking will make you smile. Part of this precision is from the plush, bump-hungry suspension. The APS rear end and Fox Float X are smooth and absorb everything that the big wheels can’t just roll-over. The rear suspension has just the right end-progression so that the BMC uses full travel but never bottoms out. On pre-jumps and in corners the chassis gives great feedback and can be actively engaged.

BMC trailfox tf01 bike review enduro mtb testbericht test-11

Overall the 2.4″ Continental Mountain King tyres gripped well but could feel a little bit more solid and offer better braking traction. In-spite of the small 28-tooth ring the chain remained reliably in place, assisted no doubt by the small chainstay mounted guide.

Sehr eng designter Hinterbau mit kaum Reifenfreiheit.

Very narrow rear end with little clearance. The bolt is part of the chainguide.

Under heavy pedalling forces the tyre rubs against the chainguide, which only just has enough room in the tightly calculated rear end. Neither the flexible mounting under the frame nor numerous re-adjustments could entirely cure the problem.

Hier schleift unter Belastung die Kurbel an der Kettenstrebe.

Under full load the cranks rub on the frame.

A further drawback is that the 175mm SRAM XX1 cranks leave marks on the rear swingarm. The combination of crank flex and the wide rear frame caused the small abrasion on the chainstay.

Bis dato musste das Bike noch keinen Vollschlammeinsatz durchmachen. Fakt ist: Der Platz zwischen Kurbel und Hinterbau ist eng.

We haven’t until now used the bike in really muddy conditions but the fact is that the space between the cranks and rear frame is very tight.

Die Schrauben des Hinterbaus sollte man in regelmäßigem Abstand kontrollieren.

You should regularly check the swingarm bolts.

Last but not least the bearings fitted to the VPP rear end have loosened twice. At least we always had the right tools on-board thanks to the S.W.A.T.–tool.

bmc trailfox tf01 2014 fox sram xx1 test review fahrbericht-5

All in all the BMC shines with extremely high fabrication quality, outstanding performance and a well chosen spec. Very little clearance, cranks rubbing on the frame and a chainguide, which regularly contacts the tyre show how close the engineers have pushed the limits.

Check out what happens with our other 12 long-term test bikes on our innovative long-term test timeline!

Words: Robin Schmitt | Pictures: Christoph Bayer, Ludwig Döhl, Robin Schmitt

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