Review -

Back Issue | In Review: BMC Fourstroke FS02

At first glance, the BMC Fourstroke FS02 seemed like the bike that would take top honors in the XC race ‘subcategory’ of our Group Test. The sharp lines that are BMC’s signature design aesthetic immediately grabbed our attention. Between the Fourstroke’s decidedly aggressive stance and the company’s dedication to all levels of bicycle competition, we were itching to put the spurs to this Swiss beauty. After all, it’s essentially the same platform Julien Absalon used to win the 2014 XC World Championship gold medal.

The Fourstroke FS02 is BMC’s lower-priced version of the FS01, Absalon’s race machine. BMC carves out cost by giving the FS02 an aluminum rear triangle and equipping the bike with Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes. The FS02 also includes Fox Evolution series suspension.

Abner Kingman 2015 ©
“Between the Fourstroke’s decidedly aggressive stance and the company’s dedication to all levels of bicycle competition, we were itching to put the spurs to this Swiss beauty.”
The rear wheel of the BMC stuck to the ground, propelling us forward. We were very impressed!
“Out on the trail, we were all impressed with the massive amount of rear-end traction that the Four Stroke provided. Up, down, in tight turns, and on flat sections of fireroad, the BMC’s rear wheel propelled us forward and felt stuck to the ground in the best possible way.”

Reducing cost on this Fourstroke does impose a bit of a weight penalty. Our size large test model tipped the scales at 27 lbs/12.25 kg, which made it the second heaviest bike in our test. It’s important to note, though, that jumping to the full carbon and XTR FS01, which offers roughly 3.85 lbs/1.75 kg of weight savings, will set you back an extra $5,000. That’s the U.S. retail price for the complete Fourstroke FS02.

"Essentially, it's the same platform Julien Absalon used to win the 2014 XC World Championship gold medal"
“Essentially, it’s the same platform Julien Absalon used to win the 2014 XC World Championship gold medal…”
Abner Kingman 2015 ©
“…If you’re a rider who thrives on long, technical climbs, here’s a bike that should be on your short-list.”

The front end, on the other hand, was slightly more problematic. While we didn’t easily find the outer limits of the Fourstroke’s 100 millimeters of rear suspension, we weren’t as stoked with the 100 millimeter Fox Float 32 Evolution Series fork. This gripe was most definitely exacerbated by the 635-millimeter top tube and 70-degree head angle combination, especially when we were comparing it to shorter and slacker bikes in a test that put more emphasis on each bike’s downhill capabilities. But we honestly struggled to find the sweet spot between too much air spring and too much dive.

Abner Kingman 2015 ©
Equipped with the timeless classic of Shimano XT, BMC mean business.
Abner Kingman 2015 ©
We struggled to find the sweet spot between too much air spring and too much dive. Compared to other bikes in test, it had questionable downhill abilities.

Who should be looking at the Fourstroke FS02? If you’re a rider who thrives on long, technical climbs, here’s a bike that should be on your short-list. If you only tolerate the climbs so that you can smash the descents, you might be happier with a different ride.

Abner Kingman 2015 ©
Swiss Design and Development – If the frame’s anything like their chocolate, you’re in for a treat…

Price: €3.600.00
Weight: 12.27kg (Weight of the test bike without pedals)
Travel: 100mm/100mm

Specifications:

Fork: Fox 32 Float Evolution
Rear Shock: Fox Float CTD Evolution
Drivetrain: Shimano XT
Brakes: Shimano XT 180/180
Seatpost: BMC MSPO2
Stem: BMC MSTO2
Handlebar: BMC MSTO2
Tyres: Onza Canis ERA TL 2.25
Wheels: DT Swiss M1700 Spline

BMC offer two other higher spec models, tipping the price scale at either €5999.99 with SRAM XX1 drivetrain, SRAM XO brakes and DT Swiss XR 1501 wheelset, or €7.999.99 with Shimano XTR drivetrain, Shimano XTR 180/180 brakes and BMC MWX01 wheelset.

For more info, visit: BMC-Switzerland

Words: Joe Parkin Photos: Abner Kingman