Testing the new BMC Foustroke 2023
The presentation of the new BMC Fourstroke 2023 took place on the French Côte d'Azur, and after showing us the new features and technologies that make this model a truly unique mountain bike, it was time to put it to the test and get our first impressions of it. In addition, we were lucky enough to have Julien Absalon as our host for the day.
If you haven't already done so, in this other article you can see the new features, models and prices of the Fourstroke 2023.
First rides with the new BMC Fourstroke 2023
Riding the new BMC Fourstroke 01
On the first day of testing we were able to ride the most competitive model in the range, the BMC Fourstroke 01 with 100 mm of travel and the new Autodrop technology.
Our test unit was the BMC Fourstroke 01 Two 2023, the model below the Limited and One. This set-up features a Sram GX AXS groupset, Rock Shox SID SL fork in Select+ version, SIDLuxe Select+ shock and DT Swiss XR1700 wheels.
After the appropriate adjustments we headed to the XCO circuit that the French national team usually chooses to concentrate for the most important events of the year. So much so that a large part of the course is a replica of the one we saw at the Tokyo Olympics, retaining, as Absalon told us, some of the Rock Garden from Rio 2016.
On the first lap, Julien Absalon acted as our guide and gave us some tips on how to tackle the more difficult sections. At first some of the steps seemed beyond our skills, but after a few laps and with Julien's and Filippo's encouragement and advice, we discovered that our limits were being increased by the capabilities of the new Fourstroke.
In a matter of minutes we were already adapted to the handling of our new Fourstroke 01 and although we are dealing with a competition geometry, the new measurements make it possible for any user to enjoy its benefits.
With the new steering angle and the new bottom bracket height, going into the banked sections of the track was pure fun, and the bike gave us brutal confidence.
The same happened on the technical and Rock Garden stages. With the help of the dropper seatpost and the geometry of the Fourstroke it was much easier than expected. We have to admit that we were a bit shocked by some of them and hesitated for a while, but as the laps went by we ended up enjoying them.
As for the Autodrop seatpost, it is something that requires adaptation. You have to be tactful with the push button depending on what you want to do, but we are sure that once you are used to it, it will be a great advantage, not only because of the energy savings for our legs (which we don't think is very important outside of competition), but also for those moments when you enter a problematic section and you can lower the saddle on the fly while maintaining your position and control. In any case, this is a technology that we would like to test thoroughly during our long-term test.
The circuit was also full of tight corners and very consecutive technical areas. A terrain where we were once again surprised by the new Fourstroke. Our prediction was that this bike would have a lot of poise but a little less nerve, due to its steep angle, but the APS suspension system and the revamped geometry offered impeccable traction and power transmission, allowing us to pass all kinds of obstacles with a lot of control.
One detail we found interesting is how agile and light it is despite the 11.4 kg without pedals on our bike. Something that says a lot about the efficiency of this new model.
After a first day with it, we found the BMC Fourstroke 01 to be a very fast, efficient and at the same time tremendously fun XCO.
It was the turn of the 120 mm with the BMC Fourstroke LT
On the following day, the BMC team had prepared a ride for us on the new BMC Fourstroke LT, the model with 120 mm of travel front and rear.
The new Fourstroke LT shares 99% of the specifications of the 100 mm version and only changes a few details, such as the bottom bracket height, which has a 38 mm drop, to overcome obstacles a little better and to have room for those 20 mm more travel.
It is otherwise identical to the Fourstroke, with only the slightly more powerful set-up, 34 or 35 mm forks, slightly wider tyres and 30 mm rims on all three versions.
Also, as it has a round seat tube, it mounts a conventional dropper seatpost and opts for more travel in it for more touring use.
During our test, we were able to enjoy the BMC Fourstroke LT model in its Limited version, which is fitted with Fox Factory Kashima suspension, Sram X01 AXS groupset and DT Swiss XRC1501 wheels.
For the test, this time we had a route with lots of technical uphill and downhill sections. Our first impression while riding the Fourstroke LT after one uphill section was that, despite the increased travel, we were still on a pure XC bike, as the efficiency is almost identical to the 01 version.
The suspension feels as firm as on any XCO model and pedal oscillation is almost imperceptible after trying to pedal standing up on a stretch of asphalt without locking the suspension.
Both front and rear we have three compression positions, this time without remote control. After alternating between the open and intermediate positions, the suspension is so efficient that, except on very smooth tracks, it is worth riding in the open position, as the traction offered by the suspension is excellent.
It was in an area with some really tricky trials and passes that we were able to corroborate what the BMC engineers say. "Traction equals speed". With open suspensions we were able to pass obstacles with an ease we didn't expect.
It was time to ride down some demanding trails and from the very first moment we felt adapted to the bike. The handling is easy thanks to its geometry and the absorption of both suspensions is outstanding.
Downhill it feels like a Trail, we know this is another overused cliché, but modern XC is more fun than ever, and if you combine in the same bike a virtual pivot rear suspension as successful as BMC's with the best of Fox and top of the range components, the result is a light and handy bike, but with impressive capabilities.
Our conclusion about the BMC Fourstroke LT is that it is the ideal bike for the most of users who want a Cross Country bike, either to make routes without great competitive pretensions, as to go to the limit with the companions of exit, and even to compete in Marathon or XCO if we prefer a plus of security in complicated areas with a practically null loss compared to the models of 100mm.