BMC FOURSTROKE 01 LT ONE REVIEW
Words by Nic Hall
Photos by Cole Gregg
I have a soft spot for XC race machines like the BMC Fourstroke. Most of the people I grew up riding with had a beat up old cross-country bike as their first “real” mountain bike. Many of us learned to ride on short travel or hardtail bikes, with what we considered to be “wide” 2.1” tires. The World Cup XC bikes of today are a far cry from what we grew up on, but they still remind me of the times spent racing up hills with my friends. BMC sent us the new Fourstroke 01 LT ONE, their top tier XC-trail bike, and I have spent the last months riding it all over Central Oregon. I finally think I have the bike figured out and what kind of person may be interested in it, so read on to find out if that person is you.
BMC has a long history of putting the latest technology under some of the best XC World Cup athletes in the world. The BMC Fourstroke 01 LT One is the latest example of their cutting-edge engineering. They took their World Cup race bike, added 20mm of travel, and slackened the head tube angle one degree to bolster the descending capabilities. Geometry is solidly in the cross country to fast trail category, with the Large sporting a head tube angle of 66.5 degrees, seat tube angle of 74.8 degrees, reach of 456mm, and chainstay length of 429mm. It is only available with 29” wheels, and packs 120mm travel on both ends. The rear end utilizes BMC Bicycles’ APS dual link suspension system, with two short links controlling the movement of the solid rear triangle and the upper also driving the shock. BMC calls their 29-specific geometry the BWC or “Big wheel concept.” Their idea is to take the benefits of 29in wheels, like increased rolling speed and a bigger contact patch; and increase the handling characteristics by lengthening the front-center, dialing in the bottom bracket drop and chainstay length, and pairing short stems with their builds.
As always, the numbers are only half the story. BMC integrated their top end design touches and tech into the Fourstroke 01 LT. The dropper post is an integrated, elliptical dropper with 80mm of travel and proved to be a major point of contention for our DH-biased testers. It weighs 100g less than any conventional dropper and removes a conventional seatpost clamp altogether. A “premium” carbon layup is used throughout the bike along with a new forged carbon upper link. Integrated frame and linkage protection keep that nice carbon looking good and the suspension moving smooth.
The parts spec on the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT is nothing less than the best. A Fox 34 Step Cast Performance Elite Fit4 fork and Float DPS Performance Elite Evol shock handle suspension duties, with both featuring a bar mounted remote lockout. The drivetrain is claimed to be full SRAM XX1 Eagle, however a GX shifter and 10-52 XO1 cassette prevent this from being entirely true on our test bike. Braking is handled by the ultra-light SRAM Level TLM brakes coupled with Centerline rotors – 180mm on the front and 160mm rear. The cockpit features in-house BMC components, with a 760mm carbon bar and 60mm aluminum stem. Wheels are Mavic Crossmax Carbone XLR featuring 30mm wide rims, with Maxxis Rekon 2.4 WT EXO tires front and rear. The total package without pedals comes in at 11.3kg or 24.9lbs and has a price tag that matches the top-tier spec at $9,999/€7,999.
I cannot start without mentioning the fit, finish, and paint on the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT. Extremely high gloss deep black with chrome decals make the bike look fast just sitting still. Every bolt, linkage, and frame protector are beautifully engineered. This bike drips flash, speed and quality!
As soon as you start climbing, you know what this machine was made for. Even without engaging the bar mounted suspension lock out, the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT moves uphill with ease. The snappy front end keeps steering laser sharp and the rear end tracks without hesitation. Seating position is right over the pedals, allowing direct power transfer that harkens to my days on cross country bikes. When the lockout is engaged with a flick of the thumb, be ready for even better climbing performance. The platform is stiff but still provides enough traction even in technical, rooty climbs. Only purebred cross country race bikes can keep up with the performance of the Fourstroke 01 LT on the way up. When it comes to going up and maintaining speed on lower grade, rolling trails, the BMC is faster than the Transition Spur and Specialized Epic EVO. That uphill speed comes at a price once headed back downhill though.
On the descents the balanced geometry and surprisingly capable Fox 34 Step Cast fork offer ample stability and speed at every opportunity, for an XC bike. I set several PRs on rolling terrain and moderately chunky trails thanks to the ability to put power down and pump every roller. But even with the extra 20mm of travel, do not expect the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT to keep up with aggressive trail bikes on bigger hits. The limited travel of the dropper also keeps the rider feeling up on top of the bike and hinders steep descent performance and jumping. This is where the Specialized Epic EVO and Transition Spur pull away.
Build spec is about as good as the XC industry has to offer. Mavic Crossmax wheels have not classically been known for their long life or robust performance but I am impressed with their consistency and effortless spin up. SRAM Level brakes have great feel but are limited on all out power and the small rear rotor was easy to overheat on long descents. As I said before, the Fox 34 Step Cast fork is light and supportive, and BMC nailed the tune on the rear shock as well, always in the right position to deliver power to the wheels and never wallowing. The Maxxis Rekon is a solid match for the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT as well, it offers moderate levels of grip in all conditions and still rolls as fast as most dedicated XC mountain bike tires with much less grip.
The Wolf’s Last Word
Calling at XC pinners, roadies looking to hit the dirt and mountain bikers who live for taking seconds off your climb time: if you are looking to ride cross-country trails at the highest speed possible or just want to set KOMs on your local climbs, the BMC Fourstroke 01 LT One is the ticket. While we did not love the limited range of the dropper and inability to swap it out to a traditional unit, it is light and performs flawlessly for the intended purpose – we would love to see a longer travel option. The Fourstroke 01 LT is a purpose-built tool that can still hold its own on the mellower descents or if you’re willing to hold on for short bits of buck-wild riding in the nasty stuff. We love the speed, low weight and super-hero feel we get while powering the Fourstroke around, but would pick the Transition Spur followed by the Specialized Epic EVO over the BMC for our more aggressive riding style and downhill bias.
Weight: 24.9 lbs
Frame: Fourstroke 01 Premium Carbon, 120mm Travel
Fork: Fox Float 34 SC – Performance Elite FIT4, 120mm
Shock: Fox Float DPS – Performance Elite
Brakes: SRAM Level TLM
Shifter: SRAM GX Eagle
Handlebar: BMC MFB01 Carbon 760mm
Stem: BMC MSM01
Saddle: Fizik Antares R7
Seatpost: BMC RAD, Integrated Dropper Seatpost
Hubs: CROSSMAX CARBONE XLR
Rims: CROSSMAX CARBON XLR 30mm
Tires: Maxxis Rekon 2.4″ WT, TR, EXO
Cassette: SRAM X01 Eagle 10-52T
Cranks: SRAM X1 Eagle Carbon 34t
Derailleur: SRAM XX1 Eagle
Dropper post limited range
Uncomfortable in the air
Not as comfortable descending as similar bikes
High-end price tag
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