By Shannon Mominee
Over a sunny weekend at Sea Otter I had the opportunity to demo the 2012 BMC Trailfox TF01 Carbon from Swiss manufacturer BMC. Born on the premises that it should operate like a Swiss Army Knife, BMC spared no expenses or technology when creating this full-suspension machine.
New for 2012 is a full carbon frame offering, in addition to the triple-butted, aluminum frame previously available. The carbon frame retains the tapered headtube and use of the Advanced Pivot System (APS) suspension, while wide, blocky-shaped top and downtubes keep the front-end stiff. The downtube also has a shield to protect it from cable rub and whatever flies off the front tire and is kicked up at the bottom bracket. There’s also a stainless chain suck protector. Carbon post-mount brake mounts keeps the rear clean and should make brake installation simple.
The Trailfox has 150mm of rear suspension operated by a Fox Float Factory RP23 rear shock. All linkage pieces are 3D-forged aluminum. As I was being set up on the bike, I noticed that sag indicators are printed on the frame’s drive-side for line up with the rocker arm and to make set-up as simple as possible.
The Fox Talas Factory Kashima FIT RL 15QR TS fork supplied 150-120mm of plush travel. My demo bike ran full Shimano XTR and was outfitted with a 2×10 drivetrain and hydraulic brakes. The complete build includes a bolt-thru rear axle and dropper seatpost with a claimed weight of 25.7lbs for size medium. My size large was probably closer to 26lbs.
You can learn more about the Kashima Coating system on Fox shocks and forks here.
But enough of all that jazz, how’s it ride? Well the XC trails around Sea Otter didn’t really challenge the 150mm of suspension and I felt like I climbed more on this bike than ripped downhill. That said, for being a bike billed as adaptable to all terrain and technicalities it does cruise seeming effortlessly downhill and the slack headtube offered a lot of control on smooth, wide-open terrain. I managed to find some trails off the demo loop with more twists and turns and sandy corners and the Trailfox motored through those. It became a little squirrely in the sand but that could have just been my handling skills. I don’t see sand too often.
The Trailfox seemed like an efficient climber in the saddle for spinning up the hills. The front tire stayed planted on the ground and the rear follwed the terrain and didn’t break traction. Standing and mashing got the suspension moving a little but it still climbed well, even on the super steep hill called Hurl Hill.
I’d be interested to see how the bike rides through the trees of the east and tackles roots, rocks and drops. Out West it felt like the Trailfox could be a taming machine with the ability to be a jack-of-all-trades, just like a Swiss Army Knife. The price for this high-end bike is expected to be about $7,000, so start rolling your change and stashing bills now.