BMC Fourstroke FS01: Mid-Term- by c_g
How time flies – since its arrival, and the beginning of the test a good 2 ½ weeks have passed – more than time for the first score. It’s always exciting to be able to take a bike after intense first impressions under the microscope. Since the first test ride was on the greatest trails at the presentation, the shortness of the experience may have created a euphoria which may only capture some aspects of the bike. Therefore, having the option to get such a bike again into a detailed test is always welcome and exciting. On the home trails and in peace you experience things differently … or do you?
But first things first: The riding impressions of the Four Stroke 29″ers were based primarily on a presentation held this summer on a Large size frame, which I liked really well as a sporty XC-Trail bike with potential (here). A very fast, pleasing and not twitchy bike, but due to the length- definitely not a playful bike. The BMC SpeedFox ridden in last year’s test, was a much loved property (here) I rode then on a frame in size medium – so we have asked to test again a medium.
As for the geometry and handling, there were no surprises. The Fourstroke impressed us just as before with a wonderful neutral and yet efficient riding position. However, because of the low front from the 0 ° stem and flat handlebars, a slightly XC feel. However, with the wide handlebars and short stem, combined with the excellent geometry and high torsional rigidity, this provides for excellent control.
The frame is a prime example of the current carbon technology – light, rigid and equipped with everything you would expect to current standards. To the last detail, and yet without any weaknesses.
But then the first surprise: The very first outing with the Four Stroke I noticed an unpleasant movement in the small chain ring while riding in the saddle … and the thoughts of the past bikes with VPP rear ends (the SANTA CRUZ Tallboy LTC – here) were awakened. It took a while until I realized that the reason for this was simply slightly too low of an air pressure setting in the damper – With only 0.5 bar more the movement was almost completely gone, even with the open platform damping on FOX Kashima shock. Interestingly – and fortunately – the change had only a minor effect on the action of the rear end. Obviously there is a gray area in the suspension, where it has a tendency for bobbing, when set up too soft – once dialed in this disappears.
As for the riding impressions of the the test ride at the presentation, all have only been further confirmed:
CLIMBING: The Fourstroke is the bike that climbs of its own accord. It has to be extremely steep before you have to compensate by shifting your weight. The triple crank, and the bike’s light weight carry it further, which is also helps everywhere else you ride as well. The suspension is always quiet and active and sags little even with a lot of weight on the rear. Usually I go very open or low on the platform damping – the stiffer settings have so far been unaffected.
The sophisticated geometry, moderate angles, and short rear (445 mm) produced very balanced handling. A pleasant, positive combination of agility and playfulness that makes it easy going. The BMC FS01 can easily make everything fun: The marathon, the XC or enduro races, or the nearest Alpine cross … and you can always be sure to be riding on the right bike.
DOWNHILL The BMC, (in size Med for me), fits the playful and agile handling and direct suspension together wonderfully. They produce a go-kart-like riding feel. Although we realize that ther is only 100 mm of travel, the suspension feels always very potent. Granted, the rear of the FS01 is not among the most sensitive, but it makes very efficient use of travel it does have so that you very seldom have a feel that the terrain is overwhelming the bike.
As for COMPONENTS There were also no complaints. The XTR brakes are still probably the most powerful and best feeling the market has to offer currently. Awesome and there were so many situations in which they have saved me from a fall. The XTR drive train, together with the Shadow Plus rear derailleur works fabulously silky smooth and precise. Very early in the test, we changed the wheels and the saddle – just to test these other products, but this has had no effect overall in the assessment of the BMC due to the similarity of these components to original specifications.
So much for our experience with the BMC Fourstroke FS01. The experience so far is almost identical with the impressions of the presentation … So we wanted to keep this here a little shorter – if you like, you are welcome to read here again in detail. In summary, the BMC Fourstroke FS01 runs extremely well and is in accordance with our previous assessment, another prime candidate for all who want it all – fast, easy, playful and yet safe and potent (it just is not cheap ).
After the first few weeks on the bike and now with a fairly complete overall picture of the BMC FS01, we will deviate from our normal routine test and try out a few options. We will begin with continuing the review of the BMC FS01 with a little more lift on the front … if that changes things, and if so, how. And in consequence BMC has granted us an extended test of the BMC as a test platform for the TS8R MAGURA suspension fork that we have so far ridden on the BERGAMONT hard tail.
We’ll keep you updated on the findings.