Big news at Bikeworks this week. We are now the Albuquerque dealer for BMC Bicycles. This is something we are very excited about. Our first BMC models will arrive this week, starting with the Granfondo GF01 Ultegra.
To give you more information about BMC, I would like to introduce you to Marc Basiliere, our guest blogger for the day. He is a local badass, contributor on bikerumor.com, and BMC owner/enthusiast. Without further ado....
Well hello there, Bikeworks readers! I hadn't seen you hiding behind your screens- I hope that we haven't kept you waiting.
Let me introduce myself: my name is Marc and I'm a contributor at the world's most blue-and-orange bicycle gear news site, Bikerumor.com. More importantly, I'm also a long-time Bikeworks customer, having known Dan, Dan, and Mike from our time together at The Shop Which Shall Not Be Named. Even more importantly than that, I also like to ride my bike and other peoples' bikes, both here in Albuquerque and in places where other people ask me to ride their bikes. Recently, a Dan asked me if I'd like to write something for the shop's site. Given the mesmerizing combination of desperation and menace in his eyes, how could I refuse?
In the same conversation, he mentioned that the shop had just agreed to pick up Swiss bike brand BMC. Now BMC (Bicycle Manufacturing Company sounds way, way cooler in Swiss) is largely known as a road brand here in the States. But what few people know is that they started out as a mountain bike company. When one of their owners, who owned the team formerly known as Phonak told them that they needed to produce a Tour-caliber frame for his racers in twelve months' time, their response was [apply Swiss-accented but grammatically perfect accent now] "But of course" [End accent] and well-engineered, race-winning, and well-received road bikes simply appeared.
In the meantime, the Swiss engineers had been hard at work developing their Advanced Pivot System full suspension mountain bikes. Switzerland is known for its long climbs, steep descents, chocolate, and narrow-gage singletrack, so it's no surprise that BMC wanted a design that was not only efficient going up but plush and composed going down, handled nimble-ly, and wouldn't steal your chocolate. As Friend Of The Shop Charlie can attest, some of the early designs were tall and responsive in a way that seems to excite Germans but frighten everyone else. With his experience in mind, I was surprised (and a bit nervous) when invited to ride the new carbon fiber Fourstroke FS01 29er at an Alpine resort last summer. I needn't have been.
With 100mm of travel front and rear (or 120/100mm in the lovely blue Trailcrew edition), the Fourstroke 29er is one of the best 29ers I've ridden- if not the best. The design is not dissimilar from Giant's Anthem: it provides a platform that is active on small bumps while remaining largely indifferent to all but the most spastic rider inputs. Better still, BMC have incorporated just enough anti-squat to keep things feeling lively and keep from bogging down on the kind of steps found in the Sandias.
Pointed downhill, the Fourstroke manages to somehow be planted, composed, and playful- so much so that their Enduro team regularly chooses 120mm-fork'd Fourstrokes over the 150mm Trailfox for Enduro events. Knowing that the key to getting anywhere is pedaling, they've kept their bottom brackets on the high side- perfect for cranking though uphill or downhill rocky sections. Throw in routing for Stealth dropper post cabling and an integrated chainstay chainguide mount and you can see that the Fourstroke is a bit more mischevious than its travel, full-carbon frame, and 22lb weight might suggest.
Back in Albuquerque, I've been spending a lot of time on my very own 26in/150mm Trailfox. Built up with light-but-sensible wheels, a SRAM XX1 group, a dropper post, 2.4s, and my usual 1.5lb of pedals/computer/bell/sealant, the complete bike hits the scale under 26lb and is ready for anything from epic singletrack days to lift-serviced descending. One bike to rule them all? If your riding is more rad than racy, this could be your rig. For everything from Faulty to the Black Canyon Trail, Rambo (yes, that's still what it's called) to Durango, it has been mine.
Nearly a year after my first Fourstroke experience, I recently had the opportunity to fill in for another racer at the 7-day Trans Sylvania Epic stage race. Seeing as BMC was an event sponsor, I thought it only right to to wrangle a Fourstroke for my short-notice attempt.
With tubeless-ready Conti ProTection tires and a pair of pedals fitted, the FourStroke was the perfect match for a course that combined technical East Coast singletrack with long gravel road sections and raucous descents. The active suspension saved my butt on 40+mi days in the saddle while its efficiency made the climbs seem easier and the days seem shorter than they otherwise should have. Oh, and while we weren't exactly contenders in the men's duo competition, the 100mm Fourstroke took your writer to a class victory in the Enduro competition- not bad for an XC race 29er.
So there you go. I hope that you're as excited as I am about the boys' picking up BMC. The bikes are fantastic and I hear that their demo truck is stocked with wine and cheese. Seriously. Next time, we'll talk about something else that's awesome. Until next time...