BMC Speedfox Trailcrew 02 XT
Words by Andrew Lee // Photos by Chili Dog, Andrew Lee
BMC came swinging at the trail market just a few years ago when it debuted the 29er (check out our review here) and 27.5 Speedfox. The 27.5 wheeled Speedfox Trailcrew 02 model is squarely aimed at riders who like to pedal out to their favorite descent. If you’re the type of rider that prefers flow to tech and lives for popping off any rock or stump in sight, this bike is for you.
Though the bike is a bit of a sleeper, BMC created a solid platform when they made the Speedfox. The Trailcrew 02 model we tested sports a carbon front end with an aluminum rear and is listed for the relatively modest price of $5,899. If that’s a little much for you, they also sell a full aluminum bike for $3,899. The internal cable routing is nice and tidy, and the garage mechanics will appreciate the removable cable access port near the BB. Sporting a 66.5 degree head angle and stubby 428mm stays, she’s a steed that loves to point all 150mm of travel downhill and get stuffed into every corner. The APS suspension is a solid performer and is complimented by the Cane Creek DB Inline shock, though the bike originally came with a Cane Creek IL. We’ll get into that later. The rear shock combined with the Pike RC fork, gives you a really solid suspension spec for the price point. BMC paid attention to the little stuff, with etched sag indicators in the rear linkage. They also did us right when they made the bike with a 74 degree “actual” seat angle. Not that “effective” number more companies than ever have been throwing out.
The component spec is always something to talk about because frankly it has a very large impact on not only price, but the ride as well. With more and more companies these days just slapping together an OEM catalog kit for each level of bike, it’s not often you see something aimed to give the rider and not the manufacturer the absolute best bang for the buck. The Trailcrew 02 feels as if us riders got to mix and match some of our favorite bits and pieces to create a very well equipped machine. From the rock solid and reliable XT brakes squeezing down on a set of Icetech rotors, sized 203mm front and 180mm rear, to the ultra responsive Cane Creek shock, you know this ain’t no cookie cutter build. I’d say 90 percent of other manufactures would have just slapped on a single company’s groupset, but not BMC. They built this bike for a reason and it shows. Our bike came sporting a Race Face Aeffect crank and narrow wide chainring hooked to a Shimano XT 1×11 drivetrain with an 11-42 cassette. While not the lightest option, the XT stuff lasts and works. Squeezing in between all that Shimano love on the bar is a good ol’ 125mm Rock Shox Reverb remote. BMC specs different length droppers per frame size. That said, we feel that the 125mm dropper on a size large 150mm trail bike is just too short. A 150mm would be a nice touch to really get the seat out of the way. All the goods are clamped down on a 800mm wide set of aluminum bars. We don’t care that they’re not carbon, especially given the price point and width. DT Swiss is in the mix with their E1700 Spline 2 wheels. Maxxis rubber in the form of High Roller 2’s front and rear. The 2.3’s are a bit skinny by today’s standard, but they hold their own and leave little to be desired.
This seat angle is comparatively steep compared to many other bikes right now, but frankly that’s one of my favorite things about the bike. I don’t have to slam the seat forward on the post or scoot my ass forward on the nose to keep the front end weighted. I get to keep my bum square on the saddle right where it should be, which is also the most comfortable. Our test bike was a size large, and being 5’11, I often land between the medium and large debate – not so with the BMC. The 455mm reach and 55mm stem was perfect. The bike felt so balanced and neutrally weighted it was almost scary how good it felt straight out of the box!
Things started out good but a few months into testing, myself and the other testers were struggling with a rear end that blew through travel and struggled over tech or big chunky rocks. Ultimately we traced it to a blown rear IL shock. After a quick email to Cane Creek, we got the redesigned Inline and the bike’s personality changed drastically for the better. Though the bike isn’t the most aggressive in terms of technical terrain, the modest head angle, short stays and low BB make it a ton of fun and the new shock was sensitive, supportive and very tunable. The wheels were a little flexy for aggressive riding. While the flex was forgivable, the mediocre hub engagement was hard to ignore. I have a really slow and semi technical 1.5 mile climb just down the road from my house. The trail never changes and needless to say, it’s a great testing ground for me. Climbing this section always led to frustration, and often resulted in stalling out. I might have set the standard a tad high, but I just can’t seem to get over how horrendous the hub engagement is even for a budget hub. Despite the hub, whether climbing chunky rocky singletrack or chasing your XC buddies down a fire road, the Speedfox does hold its own. I did find myself reaching for the Inline’s climb mode on more pedally bits, and really only opening it up on the big descents. It is a very active setup and the shock even has a custom tune just for the Trailcrew.
Once at the peak of the climb, the bike’s demeanor changes. Being in southern California, I spent most of my testing time on dry and rocky, hard pack conditions. The suspension is active and the bike feels light on its feet. Many of the trails I use for testing transition from smooth, fast and flowy, to technical rock gardens and drops. Though the Speedfox 02 is no rock munching plow, it never felt like it got overwhelmed. The fit and geo are dialed for this bike’s intended use. If I had to compare this bike to any others I have ridden it would be the love child of a Santa Cruz Bronson and a Giant Trance. The headtube angle lands at 66.5 degrees, which is smack dab between the 66 of the Bronson and the 67 of the Trance. The balance makes the Trailcrew a bit more composed when pointed down compared to the Giant, and a touch more manageable on the climbs than the Santa Cruz. The small bump compliance with the APS suspension is better than the VPP equipped Bronson, while the 455mm reach of the BMC gave me the extra room I was looking for compared to the Giants’s 447mm reach.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Speedfox is a solid trail rig, but no bike is perfect. We are now in a world of Boost spacing, and it’s not that this bike needs it, but it would be nice to keep up with current trends. Many companies now a days are equipping bikes with higher engagement hubs at lower price points, so in my mind there is almost no excuse for a bike in this price bracket and intended use to have such poor engagement. That’s all I really have to knock though, and it honestly isn’t much. With a few small upgrades and personal touches, I could see myself hanging on to this trail slaying steed. This isn’t a beginner’s bike, it’s a mountain biker’s bike. The spec is really solid for the price, and the on trail performance doesn’t disappoint. Zippy and playful, the Trailcrew 02 is ideal for riders that value flowing trail over outright tech and high speed.
Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
Weight: 28.4 lbs (w/o pedals)