Just like everyone’s already looking back wistfully over the highs and lows of the 2015 season, our long-term tester Karl is now in a position to do the same, submitting his first round of thoughts on the BMC Speedfox SF01.

Das BMC Speedfox SF01 kostet stolze 6.000 €. Ob es dem hohen Preis bisher gerecht geworden ist?
Retailing at a hefty 6,000 €, has the BMC Speedfox SF01 lived up to its price tag?

My local woods have been the testing ground for uncountable rides this year and I’ve genuinely been amazed by the Speedfox’s agility and nimbleness when compared to other bikes. Given its low weight and lightweight wheels, the bike is super easy to speed up, literally leaving every other trail bike in its wake as it effortlessly takes on climbs – the steeper and longer, the better. The central riding position really reminds me of my XC bike, meaning that every ounce of effort the rider exerts is willingly converted into power so zero effort is wasted when pedaling. Knowing that after each climb comes a sweet trail is another highlight on the Speedfox, as its 150 mm dropper post gives ample space and the 130 mm front and rear travel feels like a whole lot more when united with the 29er wheels. The wide cockpit masterfully winds along techy trails, and the bike just fills me with confidence.

Das Speedfox überzeugt durch enorme Laufruhe, ist dafür aber eher wenig verspielt.
Not the most playful kid in the playground, the Speedfox is cool, calm and collected.

If there’s one characteristic that doesn’t apply to the Speedfox, then it’d be playfulness. It’s much more of the calm elder brother than the overexcited young pup. It neither tempts you to bust air on all the smallest bumps nor push the limits on berms, but it will take you securely over root sections and rock gardens. It’s even more dazing to see its cornering precision, which really makes you think it’s on Swiss-precision rails. This is where BMC have excelled in creating a bike that is more than deserving of its ‘trail bike’ category. Germany’s low mountains (or highlands if that’s what you prefer to call them) have welcomed the Speedfox, and it’s proven to be the bike that’s super fun to ride on every single trail!

Das FOX FLOAT Factory-Fahrwerk begeistert auch noch nach zahlreichen Kilometern durch eine sehr gute Performance.
The FOX FLOAT Factory suspension hasn’t let me down once during the many kilometres of riding, testament to its great and consistent performance.

The presence of responsive suspension and precise shifting is one to be thankful for! So far problem-free, I haven’t had to dig out the tools from the shed yet. And the only change I’ve made has been to the saddle; the Fizik Tundra had to step aside, giving way to a Selle Italia Flite L2. According to the ID Match saddle fit that I did earlier this year, the Flite L2 appeared to be the ideal choice for my behind and I’ve since put one on each of my bikes.

Auch auf einer Alpenüberquerung von Garmisch-Partenkirchen nach Riva del Garda musste sich das Speedfox beweisen.
The Speedfox was put to the test as it was ridden across the Alps from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Riva del Garda.

The pressure was on for the Speedfox over the past few weeks, as it (and me) faced around 500km and 10,000 metres of ascent as we headed over the Alps from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Riva del Garda. It was time to step up the game.

Die langen Abfahrten machten vor allem der Avid X0-Bremsanlage zu schaffen.
The Avid X0 brakes suffered the most from the long descents.

After one full week in the Alps, the Speedfox showed its first signs of fraying – the front brake pads had to be changed after a total of 1,200 km. The disc brakes were starting to show the heat and regularly needed realigning. While the Alps had clearly brought the Avid XO brake pads to their limits, it is still good to see the pistons working without any issues and the biting point remains virtually unchanged no matter how long the descent.

Zahlreiche Schaltvorgänge auf den steilen Anstiegen über die Alpen machten auch dem edlen SRAM XX1-Antrieb zu schaffen.
The lovely SRAM XX1 drivetrain also suffered at the hands of the steep Alpine climbs.

The SRAM XX1 groupset is now noisy when you pedal hard, and the chainring shows signs of wear and tear. The chain gauge might say there are still some kilometres left in it, but I think a new chain is on the cards. In terms of changing gear, that performance is still faultless, and the 28-tooth chainring makes steep climbs (and, in fact, the entirety of the Alps) more than rideable.
The RockShox seatpost is showing notable play, and slips down 3–4 mm under pressure. While neither of these issues was resolved by bleeding it, it doesn’t bother me when riding but I will still send it for a service.

The Continental X-King rear tyre has had a good short back and sides (i.e., lost its grip) and is more than ready for the scrapheap. The Mountain King at the front is still cutting a fine figure though, and it’s amazing to see how much grip and durability a tyre with a width of just 2.2″ can offer. If you can deal with the extra weight though then the 2.4″ version would be a valid upgrade for more fun.
The FOX suspension still works brilliantly, and the BMC frame consistently shows its worth: light and stiff on the ups, fully locked out when I like, and eases its way past its peers on long climbs with a cheeky smile. The responsive bike simply glides along gravel sections and mellow trails, and the reserves on gnarly descents are impressive for a bike with 130 mm travel.

Karl ist überzeugt: Für ihn ist das BMC Speedfox der ideale Begleiter auf anspruchsvollen Trails.
Karl is convinced: The BMC Speedfox is the perfect companion for the trails!


In my eyes, the Speedfox is the perfect trail mate. Whether I’m on the home trails in Germany’s low mountains or on the many technical trails of the Alpine crossing, the BMC just has such a mass of efficiency on climbs and a ton of confidence on descents. If you’re after a light and fast trail bike, then this is a seriously strong contender – but be prepared to dig deep into your pocket for this one.

More information: bmc-switzerland.com

Words & photos: Karl Kaffenberger

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