Out Of The Box: BMC TE02 29-by Grannygear

BMC TE02 29OK, we announced that we had a shiny new BMC TE02 29 carbon hard tail for review and now we have it out of the box and on trail, but one step at a time.  Pulling the little dear out of the shipping box, it identifies itself right away as a BMC with the color scheme and frame shape.  The TE02 29 sits right below the top of the heap TE01 29 and shares the concepts and geometry, but differs in frame construction and components.  The TE02 29 uses a ‘lesser’ carbon as put forth by BMC from the website:  “We used a more economic carbon construction to create a more affordable version of our ultra-light TE01, but TE02 is still one of the lightest hardtail 29er frames out there. Torsional and lateral stiffness are kept at a very high level to provide superior responsiveness and steering precision.”

BMC TE02 29Does it matter to the end user?  Likely not a great deal.  I was told that the TE01 29 would be a bit stiffer, a bit lighter and yet very compliant but a cost increase comes along with that (of course there are component upgrades too).  Can you really tell the difference in the way it performs?  Back to back possibly, but unless the TE02 disappoints on trail (and just so you know…it does not) then I bet you are giving up very little for the slight downgrade in carbon construction.

We have a LG size XT version.  Looking at it, the XT group is pretty complete…brakes (180mm F/160mm R rotors but no Ice-Tech pads), F/R ders, etc.  No Shadow Plus on the XT rear der so on this one we do not get the very nice clutch mechanism that keeps the chain well tensioned.  The 38/24 crank seems well spec’d for the type of bike this is.  The Fox 32 Float CTD Remote O/C Evolution 100mm with a bar mounted remote (and a homely thing that is too) will keep you pointed down the trail and the combo of DT Swiss X1800 wheels (with a Star Ratchet internal) and Onza Canis ERA 2.25 tires do the rolling duties.  The wheels will go tubeless using the DT Swiss Kit and the tires are TLR so we will be converting them in time.

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BMC TE02 29BMC TE02 29BMC TE02 29

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Easton fills out many of the cockpit ‘connections’ in the form of bars, stem and seat post.  The bars are carbon EC70s and the stem and seatpost are more pedestrian aluminum EA70s.  The bars may be carbon but they are not pretty carbon, rather a dull black finish with hard to read graphics.

On the fish scale of truth and justice, the LG TE02 29 as it came out of the box was 24.2lbs/10.97kg and with SPDs it was 25.4lbs/11.5kg.

The frame is really the star here and it is always striking how carbon can be shaped.  JeffJ commented that the downtube could do double duty as a drink can dispenser.  HUuuuge down tube.  The dropped seat stays mark this as a BMC and some do not care for the look, but I like it well enough and if it rides nicer that way, OK with me.  The geometry is a bit unusual, or at least it was until 2014.  The 16.8″/429mm chain stays, longer than normal (for each frame size) top tube, and slacker HT angle of  70* was pretty unique when it was introduced.  Less so now, as there are more hardtail 29ers that are shorter in the back end and longer/slacker in the front end like the Yeti ARC carbon I recently rode.

But BMC goes a step further with their Big Wheel Concept and specs a very short stem to balance out the long top tube and steep 73.5 ST angle.  So a LG like we have has a horizontal top tube that is 24.8″/631mm long.  That is pretty rangy for a LG.  24.5″ would be more typical.  Factor in the 73.5* ST angle that pushes the front center out a bit more and the reach is what you would have on some XL frames.  So to keep that in check, BMC runs a 70mm stem to bring the bar back into a more ‘normal’ reach for a LG frame.  This comes from their opinion that a shorter back/longer front center and short stem, paired with a wider h-bar gives a good combo of stability and agility and they also run a pretty high amount of BB drop of 65mm/2.5″.  We shall see.

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BMC TE02 29BMC TE02 29

TCC, or Tuned Compliance Concept, is how BMC describes their approach to getting a bike that is stiff and compliant all in the right places.  From the website:  “Vertical compliance and comfort are the results of our TCC (Tuned Compliance Concept). Shapes and materials have been carefully selected so the frame and seat post work together to filter bumps and vibrations, while maximizing lateral stiffness at the same time. A low stack height allows for a race oriented position, more efficient than the typical 29er fit.

 I was speaking to a well known suspension engineer for one of the ‘big guy’ bike companies and he remarked that carbon bikes are becoming a “finely tuned chassis”.  I think the Swiss designed TE02 is that type of bike…more than just another carbon me-too frame.

We will be getting this on trail, seeing how the fit works for me as a pretty tall guy, and experiencing the BWC and TCC results for ourselves.  Hang out.  We will be back.

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.