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Grouptest: EWS Race Bikes – BMC TrailFOX TF01 XTR Review

The BMC Trailfox has already gained plenty of race experience. Florian Golay, Aaron Bradford, and Tobias Woggon (amongst others) used it for several Enduro World Series and local races last year.

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For our test, we received the Trailfox TF01 XTR from BMC. With 150mm travel, a slack head angle, and a sensible cockpit, it exudes a certain racing attitude even before you get on it. Nevertheless, we have to admit that we were a little bemused as to why they hadn’t sent us the XX1 Trailcrew version.With a Fox Float X shock and 1×11 drivetrain, the Trailcrew seemed a bit more race-ready than our test bike, at least on paper.

2'03.29

The BMC was able to lay down a proper time of 2’03.29

Apart from the tubeless conversion, the BMC came to our test completely standard with a Fox suspension set-up, complete Shimano XTR groupset, and DT Swiss wheels with Continental tires. The full carbon frame of the Trailfox looks very refined (as one would expect from the Swiss) and has a high-quality finish. This costs, however: 8,999 euros, a hefty price in anyone’s book.

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As is typical for a 29er, the BMC’s big wheels also give the rider lots of security. You sit centrally between the wheels, well integrated into the bike, which creates stable handling even in steep terrain. We would have liked a somewhat higher front end. Despite the spacers under the stem, riser bars would create additional security when things get steep, especially considering the short head tube.

When the going gets rough and fast, you can tell that the suspension of the BMC TF01 XTR is designed more for efficiency than racing. The fork has a noticeable lack of compression damping, causing it to dive slightlyin its travel. The rear suspension also seems overworked when dealing with many fast hits in a row. It makes use of the whole travel available, but seems fairly lifeless and far from plush. A more heavy-duty shock like the Fox Float X (available in the Trailcrew version of the Trailfox) would lead to a significant performance gain here.

The BMC is very much at home on the flatter fast sections of the track where it accelerates superbly and holds its line every time thanks to the precise steering. The efficiency of the suspension and pace are impressive. When it gets tight and twisty some additional pressure on the front is needed, but then it changes direction wonderfully. The 2x drivetrain also impressed us, with none of our testers complaining about dropping a chain on the descents.

Difficult to reach. The combination of Shimano brake and shift levers with the RockShox Reverb wasn’t entirely convincing. The remote lever is hard to reach when speed is of the essence.

Difficult to reach. The combination of Shimano brake and shift levers with the RockShox Reverb wasn’t entirely convincing. The remote lever is hard to reach when speed is of the essence.

Well protected. The carbon fiber on the down tube is shielded by a plastic protector made by injection molding.

Well protected. The carbon fiber on the down tube is shielded by a plastic protector made by injection molding.

Diver. The Fox 34 Float 29 fork in the BMC lacks compression damping for steep, demanding courses. Even in the trail mode, it compresses too far into the travel when braking or in bumpy terrain, not least because of the large amount of pressure on the front wheel caused by the low front end.

Diver. The Fox 34 Float 29 fork in the BMC lacks compression damping for steep, demanding courses. Even in the trail mode, it compresses too far into the travel when braking or in bumpy terrain, not least because of the large amount of pressure on the front wheel caused by the low front end.

Everything in hand. BMC’s own chain guide consistently held the chain of the Shimano XTR double-ring drivetrain where it belongs. No dropped chains! The granny ring proved to be an advantage, especially on long steep climbs, helping to save energy for the downhill.

Everything in hand. BMC’s own chain guide consistently held the chain of the Shimano XTR double-ring drivetrain where it belongs. No dropped chains! The granny ring proved to be an advantage, especially on long steep climbs, helping to save energy for the downhill.

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The BMC TrailFOX TF01 XTR is available for 8999 EUR.

Conclusion: The overall concept works. With the Trailfox TF01, BMC provides a potent enduro bike on 29” wheels. Despite the “trail riding” spec, it achieved very good times on the test track. For really rough and bumpy terrain the Trailcrew version with Fox Float X shock and “more aggressive” components is the better choice.

Go back to the article: Grouptest: Enduro World Series Bikes

You can read an in-depth feature about the EWS Race Bike test and our conclusions in the ENDURO issue #010! As usual it’s free & only digital for iPad, Android-Tablets and Online-Viewer: Issue #010.

Text & Pictures Christoph Bayer

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