BMC TE02 29″er: Final Review- by Grannygear with thoughts from “Navy Mike”

BMC TE02 29

Navy Mike shows his happy face.

It has been a good ride on the BMC TE02 29″er hard tail all done up in carbon fiber.  We rolled it out here, then mid-termed it here and now, taa daaahhh…finito. And really there are few things left to say other than my final thoughts and some words from Navy Mike who had the bike for a couple of weeks of hard riding.  I gave it to him with little comment from me…more of a blank slate approach…and he did not change the set-up at all.  So here is a written mind-meld of his main issues and findings (shown in italics and quotes) combined with my own comments.

  • “One thing I really liked was the way the bike climbed. This bike felt good sitting and spinning as well as standing and cranking. Really liked that I could stand and grind regardless of the terrain and grade. Felt much like my SS in that regard, but with gears.”  I agree.  BMC did a great job with the carbon layup in this frame and if you have never ridden good carbon, it is worth a ride to see what everyone is taking about.  Stiff bottom bracket and good power transfer for sure.
  • “On the tight twisty trails I felt that the bike was very quick and responsive.”  The BWC concept, even though we departed from it with a longer stem, does give the TE02 a unique feel.  The 70° head tube angle, steep seat tube angle,  and longish top tube length (which add up to a pretty long front center) are countered by the very short chain stays and the end result is a nice blend of stability and agility.  It will go around a tight corner with it’s tail tucked in close but still feel very good at high speeds on trail…with one caveat, and that is…
  • “On really technical and fast downhill sections I felt that I was fighting the rear end of the bike to stay behind me.”  That short rear center that keeps the bike all nimble and such also wants to take over and drive when the trail is steeper or bumpy, mostly under braking.  It is not scary, and you get used to it, but it was not just I that noticed it.  As in most anything, there is a trade off and what you trade away with a very short back end is stability to the rear of the bike and to some degree, overall.
  • “One thing that annoys me is to be able to hear noises coming from the bike. The chain slap on the TE02 was really annoying to me and I was never able to find a gear combination that would eliminate this on technical downhill sections.”  This was odd to me as I never noticed it, what with all that inner tube wrapped around the drive side chain stay.  It must be that Navy Mike is too used to his singlespeed.  Regardless, I know what would  most likely fix it: upgrade that rear derailleur to XT Shadow Plus with the clutch dealy built in.
  • “The wheels felt heavy and didn’t roll as well as the wheels on my personal bikes, but that is something that could be changed.”  A matter of hitting a price point as much as anything, typically a 29″er, unless it is really high end, will save cost and add weight in the wheel choice.  A set of lighter hoops and tires run tubeless would turn this bike into a jet.  However, these wheels were trail worthy and gave us no issues.
  • “I felt that I could be much quicker on this bike if I had different tires. I never felt confident with the tires and had to hold back on riding as I normally would because I could feel the front wheel drifting off of my line when I hit turns with speed. Again this is an easy item to swap and get a tire that is more suitable for the terrain that I ride.”  Agreed.  The Onza Canis tires never earned my trust from the first ride till the end.  Those flexy side knobs are what I blame and the knobs are pretty wide spaced as well.  Those are two strikes against a tire trending towards running well on hardpack.
That pretty much sums it up for us.  I (Grannygear) would have swapped the stem to a 100mm no matter what BWC says is spiffy and I would change the tires immediately for something more suited to So Cal summer conditions.  Then I would save up for lighter wheels that go tubeless without so much monkey business.  And after all that was done, I would be smiling on that BMC TE02 hard tail all the way up and down the trail.
BMC TE02 29

Navy Mike at speed on the BMC TE02 29

Note: BMC sent over the TE02 29 for test and review at no charge to Twenty Nine Inches. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review and we will strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.