Last week I was lucky enough to be invited over to the picturesque town of Magglingen, near Biel for the European press launch of BMC’s all-new flagship trail platform – TF01 Trailfox Carbon. Convientely situated just a stones throw from BMC’s nearby Swiss HQ in Grenchen, it was fitting that the launch be held on the same trails that the majority of the R&D and testing on the new bike took place. Long, rooty descents with a fair dose of rocks thrown in combined with long, draggy fireroad climbs back up to the summit would prove to be the ideal conditions to test BMC’s new 25.3lbs/11.5kg  (in flagship XTR build) 150mm travel trail bike – a bike that promises on paper to descend every bit as well as it climbs.

Let’s take a closer look…

Initially, the bike will be offered in XO and XTR build options. The XTR model comes equipped with Easton’s crazy light (1450g) yet equally crazy-expensive new Haven carbon wheelset – XC race weight with all-mountain strength. Full bike weight is listed at 11.5kg/25.3lbs!!!

Although initially not offered in frame-only guise. BMC’s engineers claim the weight of the frameset to come in @ 2.5kg/5.5lbs (with shock, downtube protector, rear Shimano/Fox axle and all mounting hardware). Class leading in the 150mm category.

The SRAM XO build comes specced with the original alloy rimmed Easton Haven wheelset – with a custom BMC-only black anodized finish to help tie the bikes’ appearance together. Needless to say the XO model comes in at a more attractive price without the upcharge of the Haven carbon wheelset! Both models are available in 3x10 setups only to enhance the bikes’ climbing prowess (more build options are set to be introduced @ Eurobike later this summer).

BMC sponsored 4X and BMX rider, Roger Rinderknecht was instrumental in the R&D and testing stages of the new Trailfox carbon and was on hand at the launch to show everyone how it’s done!

Both models come specced with RockShox’s excellent hydraulically actuated remote Reverb gravity dropper seatpost. Reliable, smooth and with no play this is the new benchmark for all on-the-fly height adjustable seatposts. At 350g per unit it makes the overall complete bike weights all the more impressive.

Some might think carbon framed bikes and big mountain riding is a recipe for disaster. The reality being, that modern manufacturing processes, endless testing and clever design mean frames like the TF01 carbon are more than up to the job. BMC’s engineers have cleverly integrated a carbon protection shield on the downtube to protect against rock strikes. Looking at the marks on mine, it definitely works!

The attention to detail that we have grown to know and love from BMC:

-          Shimano/Fox 142x12mm QR rear-end ensures like-for-like function matched to the front QR15 axle of the Fox fork.

-          BMC’s ‘natural born postmount’ also does away with the need for adaptors, with the caliper bolting directly to the frame.

-          One, proven, widely available bearing sized used throughout all pivot points making replacement hassle-free.

Small things, but never-the-less adding to BMC’s overall user-friendly approach to bicycle design.

An overall 20% increase in torsional stiffness of the front triangle is largely down to the massive increase in downtube volume – evident here at the headtube junction.

Neat and tidy, tidy and neat - The cable routing for the RockShox Reverb has clearly been considered at the design stage and neatly follows the toptube profile (nigh on invisible on the black framed model).

Strategically positioned stainless steel plate either side fo the mounted chainset help protect the frame against chainsuck.

MBR magazine’s Andy Waterman gets the bike dialled in before a day in the saddle.

Last run of the day and with time running short it meant taking the funicular railway back up to Magglingen. Believe me, for a 150mm travel bike the TF01 carbon is not shy of climbing duties, proving itself to be more than capable over the course of the day - more so than the legs of the tester!

Being based down the road from Fox Racing Shocks European HQ has its advantages! BMC’s engineers put in an incredible amount of development time with Fox to get the suspension tune on the new TF01 carbon ‘just right’. The revised lower shock ratio results in a better balance of comfort and control. Chris from Fox Racing Shox was on hand throughout the launch to dial setup and talk us through the new 2012 Fox product specced on the new TF01 Trailfox carbon.

With the obvious exception that the new frame is made from carbon, the main geometry change over the alloy 2011 model is the steepening of the headtube angle by 1°. This, combined with the new lighter weight of the carbon frameset should massively improve climbing performance. For those who prefer their riding distinctly agro and gravity orientated, BMC will be continuing the alloy framed version of the BMC Trailfox for MY2012 (sitting just below the TF01 carbon) with unchanged 2011 geometry. We’ll be ranging the TFO1 Carbon XO model initially (in limited numbers), then plumping for a build somewhere that sits between SLX and XTR for our main stocked model (to be unveiled @ Eurobike). Stay tuned for more details!

More Info:

Check out MBR’s Andy Waterman’s rad video:

BMC Trailfox TF01 Carbon — product launch Switzerland from Mountain Bike Rider on Vimeo.