ENDURO Long-Term Test | First Look: Karl’s BMC Speedfox SF01
Widely known for producing immaculate high quality bikes, BMC is a company that hails from Switzerland, a place that has long spewed out invention after invention. When it comes to the Speedfox, BMC have lauded it no less than ‘the ultimate multi-tool with which your wildest dreams can become reality.’ And thereby raised the bar as high as the price.
For 6,000 €, you’ll encounter a bike creditably specced with the SRAM XX1 groupset, DT Swiss XM1501 Spline wheels and Fox suspension. The first impression is pleasing; true to BMC standards it’s a good-looking, subtle bike with a flawless finish and first-rate spec. This 130mm-travel trail bike weighs significantly less than 12kg in a size large, which promises an assured climbing capability.
The Speedfox has a design that’s certainly a hit for the purists amongst us. The brushed gloss of the carbon fibres are understatement defined and the gleaming Kashima-coated forks add a touch of glamour as well as optimal responsiveness. The internally-routed cables and the technically discrete swingarm design are testament to BMC’s craftsmanship and enhance the tidy and balanced look of the Speedfox.
The 70mm stem and 720mm carbon bars hail from BMC’s own workshop and the cockpit, despite its relatively slack head angle, should furnish the bike with rapid and responsive handling.
Acknowledged by many as the dream team, the Speedfox employs the combination of the Fizik Tundra saddle and RockShox Reverb Stealth dropper post. The Fox Float 32 Factory forks are easily tweaked during the ride with the lever to alternate between its three modes. In ‘climb’ mode, the suspension is locked-out so that every single watt you expend is transformed into power. The ‘trail’ mode gives you virtually all the travel, but ensures that your rear won’t kick out under the force of your pedaling thanks to the extra compression damping. Once you hit the descents, the aptly-named ‘descend’ setting offers full travel with notably sensitive and responsive characteristics.
It’s no surprise to anyone to spot the DT Swiss wheels on this whip. The 29er wheels and 130mm travel fill you with confidence for the trickiest of bumpy terrain. Only time will tell if the lightweight XM1501 Spline have the durability to survive our long-term test. The wheels are mounted onto the forks and rear with quick release hub axles. Grip should be in good supply with the Contis MountainKing at the front and the XKing at the rear, both in the Protection model and measuring in with a width of 2.2″.
The only bitter pill that BMC have dosed me with is the thought that the XO brakes from SRAM don’t quite live up to the rest of this premium-specced bike
The Speedfox is as alluring and well thought-out as a bar of Swiss chocolate with a coffee. Just as it should be – well, apart from the saddle position, which is unfortunately a little too compact for my liking. I’ll probably swap the 70mm stem for a 90mm version so that I can ensure sufficient pressure on the front tyre for tackling steep climbs.
Heading up his eponymous architecture studio in Erbach in the Odenwald forest, Karl Kaffenberger tries to spend as much time riding as his packed work schedule allows. He ventures into the forest with his trail dog Louis and girlfriend Natalie, who also races in mountain bike competitions for the Zwillingscraft Team. Their home trails in the Odenwald Forest, Bergstraße and neighbouring Bavaria have plenty to offer and the Beerfelden bike park is just around the corner. The three are constantly on the hunt for new challenges to embark on with their two wheels (and four legs), and look to their European neighbours for inspiration. With 25 years of mountain biking to look back on – and the memories of his first XC race two decades ago – Karl is just as active on the bike today as then, competing regularly in XC races and several marathons. Measuring 190cm, he’s one of the taller riders around and pays particular attention to how bigger frames manage their handling as well as observing the lifespan of his bike’s parts.
For more information, visit bmc-switzerland.com.
Words: Karl Kaffenberger Photos: Klaus Kneist