BMC’s 2012 Trailfox TF01
We promised to follow up on our preview of the 2012 Trailfox (MBA,
August 2011), and we have now spent enough time on the bike to give the final
verdict. Did our initial impressions change?
All-mountain and enduro riders rejoice; the Trailfox is designed to get
you to the top of the hill quicker than your average 6-inch-travel bike. Don’t
worry; BMC didn’t turn the Trailfox into a cross-country bike; it has many
desirable characteristics for getting rowdy on your favorite trail.
Both the front and rear triangles on the Trailfox TF01 are sculpted out
of carbon fiber. The downtube features a unique squoval shape (hybrid between
square and oval), and its diameter is massive. The top tube features a unique
“T” shape, aimed at handling severe torsional loads. The top tube and downtube
are joined by a beautiful tapered head tube, which when mated with a
5.9-inch-travel fork provides a 67.5-degree head tube angle. The downtube and
seat tube flare out to share the same width as the bottom bracket, providing an
uber-stiff bottom bracket.
The rear wheel sits in carbon dropouts and is secured via a
142-millimeter Shimano thru-axle. Like previous models of the Trailfox, the
2012 TF01 uses BMC’s “natural-born post-mount” molded into the carbon fiber and
features replace- able threads in case of a cross-threading disaster. The upper and lower rocker links that comprise the heart of the Advanced
Pivot System (APS) suspension are forged out of aluminum. The APS is BMC’s take
on a dual-link system. All four pivots utilize the same size bearings, which
are easily sourced when it comes time to replace them.
WHICH COMPONENTS STAND OUT?
With a bike this beautifully spec’ed, we have to say all of them. Up
front, the Fox TALAS FIT RLC fork with its Kashima coating is a big standout.
It offers lots of adjustability and is buttery smooth. Its tapered steerer tube
complements the Trailfox quite well. We are stoked on the Easton Haven Carbon
wheelset. The RockShox reverb adjustable seatpost is a perfect fit for this
all-mountain machine. The full Shimano XTR build kit proves BMC didn’t hold
HOW DOES IT PERFORM?
Ergonomics: The Trailfox has a very aggressive feel with a short 70-millimeter stem
and 28.25-inch-wide handlebars. The front end sits low for an all-mountain
bike, adding some Euro flavor.
Climbing: The shock’s ProPedal needs to be engaged while climbing, and then this
bike impresses. The Trailfox scoots uphill like it has cross-country racing DNA
in its carbon blood (it does). The rear suspension remains quiet under pedaling
loads while still soaking up bumps and providing optimal traction.
Out-of-the-saddle climbing is equally impressive, as the APS system remains
stiff and the bike moves efficiently up the trail. That low front end proves
helpful when climbing, especially on steep terrain; we rarely used the fork’s
adjustable travel feature. With the ProPedal off, the suspension is noticeably
more active and loses a bit of efficiency.
Cornering: The Trailfox is very well balanced. It doesn’t matter if it is a long,
high-speed turn or a tight switchback; the low front end allows for more weight
to be distributed over the front wheel. The result is a bike that loves to be
banked over hard. We were impressed with the Onza tires; they grip well. The
short stem and wide bars provide great leverage and control. We never thought
twice about the bottom bracket height, as the bike felt so right when we were
throwing it into hard corners.
Descending: On steep descents, the low front end is somewhat compensated for by a
relatively slack head tube angle. The Trailfox is incredibly stable and isn’t
twitchy ripping through technical terrain. Descending with the seatpost lowered
is a must because of the low front end. The Trailfox shreds on fast, technical
descents. The frame is remarkably stiff, allowing the bike to hold loose, rocky
lines with ease. The low-leverage ratios on the shock allow the suspension to
have great bump compliance and a bottomless feel. Even toward the end of its
travel, it still feels like it has more to give.
Jumping: When leaving terra firma and taking to the sky, the Trailfox is very
stable and begs to go big. While it’s no downhill race rig, we had a good time
launching off moderate-size jumps and drops.
Braking: The 7-inch rotors of the Shimano XTR trail brakes, front and rear,
provide plenty of stopping power and incredible modulation. The lever
ergonomics and the tool-free reach adjustment are great for those on-the-trail
tweaks. The suspension remains active under hard braking, providing great
traction and efficient stopping.
TRICKS, UPGRADES OR TIPS?
Upgrades? The component spec on the Trailfox is as good as it gets. The
only thing we can suggest would be running a higher rise bar for a more
comfortable cockpit and some added confidence while descending steep terrain. BMC’s
routing of the Reverb seatpost’s hydraulic line made contact with the tire
tread when the suspension hit bottom with the post dropped. Riders need to keep
an eye on this.
If you have some big money to throw down on a new all- mountain rig, the
Trailfox TF01 is a top-level contender. BMC realizes that the price is steep,
so they offer the same frameset with an XO build kit and Easton Haven alloy
wheelset for $6699. Bottom line: if you can afford it, the Trailfox will surely
Reprinted from the September 2011 issue. Like us on Facebook