Enduro Bike Test | Haulage

Mountain Biking Magazine


Trail and Enduro Bikes

Enduro Bike Test | Haulage

BMC TRAILFOX TF01 (Tested with SRAM XX1 and Shimano XTR)


Three things come to mind with this bike. Firstly the BMC highlights the dangers of attempting to get a bike to cover too many bases. Is the Trailfox a trail bike or enduro bike? There IS a difference when attempting to clad a bike with components for each use. Secondly it underlines the importance of great geometry, there is arguably no better trail/enduro (yes I believe you can have both) geometry than the Trailfox. Thirdly the whole business of enduro being as much a philosophy as a race category is central to the Swiss company’s thoughts and therefore refocuses our own thinking on this test. If it’s a bike you are looking at for general riding this could be an awesome choice.


Unfortunately the Trailfox is let down badly by the Fox dampers, there’s not enough compression and ramp–up power in the rear and the front CTD business simply folds under pressure. But this doesn’t just affect riders steaming down big terrain because it’s in slower, steeper tight turns where weight is shifted forwards at slower speeds where we noticed most problems arose. However (and this is a big one) I’ve ridden the bike with many different versions of the good stuff from Fox (the type of hardware you’d expect of a £1000 unit and boy it works), transforming a bike with great angles and a trail temperament into something much more forceful. The stock Fox 34 CTD fork might be poor, working like a fork a third its value, but with a properly tuned damper inserted it’s a very different story. We hope Fox will bring the stronger damper to market because it’s very, very good.


Knowing where this bike could be is the reason for making exceptions. Low standover, low front end, lightweight, superb steering make this bike a dream to ride. In stock form on mild terrain it’s an energizing experience and more planted than the stock Specialized Enduro for definite. This has something to do with the low front affording good loading on the front tyre. When we slotted in some quality shim and oil work the confidence spirals out of control allowing the rider to charge ever harder into increasingly nasty terrain. A trail bike becomes an enduro race weapon. All round movement on the bike and the use of the trail–shape on the Trailfox is spacious and instantaneous.


It might be through the weakness of the stock dampers that we didn’t (couldn’t) push the BMC as much as its angles wanted, but with good damping we pushed it passed its limit. The rear wheel exploded on stage 5 of the World Enduro in Finale having stood up to a week in Wales, a week in Molini and two days at the season closer. The SRAM spec’d bike with a heavier wheelset also got slightly tweaked rims after a couple of days in Whistler. Needless to say it requires more of a creative approach than the Enduro out of the box. We also noted some cable wear on the underside of the bottom bracket that needs taking care of.


Power delivery through the XTR cranks made the Shimano bike slightly ahead of the game, but triple chainsets are not the best place on the ‘fox. XTR has an edge in all–round tightness, whereas the SRAM spec’d BMC was better equipped for the task in hand, being quieter and with less clutter. Both needed those stronger wheels and forks as mentioned.


BMC recommend the large Trailfox for riders around 182–195cm… I love the honesty and accuracy missing from many companies who try to sell on a poor range of sizing. But the verdict is very clear, it’s a bike suppressed. And it’s only through improved support on the shockers that the bike shows its true colours, those so clearly hinted at through a set of angles that are the best in the business and steering that inspires attack. Both the top end TF01 bikes with either Shimano or SRAM are underpowered in the wheel department as full bore enduro bikes for heavier riders so are much more suited to all–round trail riding. However it comes as a frame–only option and it simply brings a smile to my face thinking about the Trailfox’s potential with more rugged enduro friendly hardware in the areas of wheels and suspension to make full use of what I feel is the best geometry and steering in the business.

FRAME BMC Trailfox
FORK Fox 34 CTD Fit Kashima 150mm
BRAKES/DISC SRAM XO Carbon 180/180
BOTTOM BRACKET Shimano BB90 press fit
BAR BMC MFB 01 carbon
HUBS DT Swiss XM 1501
SEAT/POST RockShox Reverb Stealth
STEM Easton Haven
TYRES Continental Mountain King 2.4

BMC Trailfox TF01: £6000



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