BMC GF02 Ultegra Disc road bike review
Swiss manufacturers BMC make some of the most visually striking bikes on the market. They may be made to fulfil the same roles as those from other companies, but the tube profiles and frame configurations BMC use look like nothing else.
And because of that, it’s fair to say, its bikes split opinion – for every person that thinks they look ultra-modern there’s another that dismisses them as trying too hard to stand out.
With its varied tube profiles and dark, stealthy looks, you’d be forgiven for thinking the GF02 is carbon. But look a little closer at the tube junctions and you can see the welds holding its metal chassis together.
At the heart of the GF02 Disc is an aluminium frame with an incredible array of tube profiles and diameters. The top tube is a sort of squashed hexagon while the thick down tube has a shape that changes along its length, being both flat-sided and rounded. Kinked, rectangular chainstays prevent the rear end of the bike twisting under pedalling loads, while what may well be the thinnest seatstays in the world brace the seat tube.
The tapered head tube and oversize fork crown are designed to prevent any lateral or torsional movement up front
In practice, what that means is this is a bike of two halves. The first, comprised of the oversized tapered head tube, fork crown, down tube, bottom bracket shell and chainstays, is big and broad to keep the lateral and torsional forces acting upon the frame under control. The second, made up of the top tube, seat tube, lower fork legs and tiny seatstays, isn’t so beefy, to allow them to flex and absorb the shocks from the ride surface.
For extra practicality Brownie points, the GF02 gets a lot of clearances for tyres and detachable mounts for front and rear mudguards and a rack.
Making everything go is an 11-speed Shimano Ultegra groupset with a 50/34t chainset and 11–32t cassette, while stopping duties are taken care of by a set of Shimano R-515 disc brakes.
Shimano’s R-517 mechanical disc brakes are paired with Ultegra levers and provide excellent stopping power and control
The GF02 has to be one of the smoothest, most comfortable bikes that we’ve reviewed. Whether on the road or forest track, it seems to absorb everything that’s thrown at it. The wide Continental Cyclocross Speed tyres contribute, but there’s no denying the frame plays a part too.
The effect is more noticeable off-road, where it manages to insulate you from the trail. It’s as if you’re wrapped in cotton wool – you have enough awareness of the bumps to be able to react to them, but the full shock never reaches you. It’s an odd sensation to ride a rigid bike that’s this good at soaking up the bumps. You find yourself thinking you might have picked up a slow puncture before you get fully used to it.
Although the GF02’s balance is tipped in favour of comfort, it still has some racy tendencies. They’re not as pronounced as the Boardman CXR9.2’s, but the BMC definitely has some off-road performance chops.
As much as its compliance makes the BMC very user-friendly and fun away from the tarmac, on the road that suppleness leaves it feeling a little docile. If you’re planning on cruising around a sportive in comfort or simply racking up the mileage gently over winter, it’s ideal. But the GF02 lacks the aggression of an out-and-out racer – which, in fairness, is what you’d expect from an off-season training machine.
The Shimano Ultegra groupset does its job of shifting gears precisely and almost silently, and the brakes provide the sort of stopping power and control you expect from discs. Whether on wet roads or muddy forest tracks, they give you the confidence of knowing you can drop anchor quickly, rather than just scrubbing the rims with moisture and muck while you sail on towards the horizon. That responsiveness, plus the exceptional comfort, make for a solid winter performer.
The Ultegra 6800 groupset is smooth, slick and just about all you could want
Soaks up the bumps off-road, but a little sluggish on the tarmac.
Ultegra is all the groupset you could ever need, and comes with decent discs.
Close to two-and-a-half grand for an aluminium-framed machine?
You ride over the bumps, but you don’t really feel them.
Overall verdict: 82%
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Contact : www.bmc-racing.com