A hardtail on test at GRAN FONDO? That’s right. We couldn’t leave the BMC Twostroke 01 ONE – the pioneer of a new hardtail generation – out of our concept group test of gravel and mountain bikes. Find out how versatile it really is here.
Get an overview of the grouptest here: Gravel vs. mountain bike – 6 models on test
The BMC Twostroke 01 ONE is one of the most progressive bikes in its category. Many innovations come together and the geometry is special: short chainstays (425 mm), long reach (465 mm), steep seat tube angle (75°), slack head angle (67°) and a short seat tube with plenty of room to extend the seat post. What else does the BMC have to offer?
BMC Twostroke 01 ONE in detail
For the carbon frame of the € 5,499 Twostroke, the Swiss designers rely on their carbon know-how for a rear end concept that focuses on comfort that is supposed to make shocks obsolete. The seat stays are wide and flat to provide more compliance at the rear. In other areas, the angular design language remains consistent, reminiscent of a fighter jet as it screams past at low level. Shapely cable ports are as much a part of this as awkward contact between calves and the excessively wide seat stays or top tube. Apart from the Trek Supercaliber, the Twostroke is the only bike with steering stops that protect the frame in case of a crash without restricting steering while riding. Great! Speaking of the handlebar, thanks to the SRAM GX Eagle AXS groupset with its massive 520% range and internally routed cables, the cockpit remains uncluttered despite holding the remote for the RockShox SID Select suspension fork lockout. However, how much the lockout actually helps is debatable. Without it, the cockpit would be even cleaner and a lever on the fork would be sufficient to activate it for the next 10 km of road section.
BMC Twostroke 01 ONE
Fork RockShox SID Select + FS-SID-SELP-C1 100 mm
Seatpost BMC Twostroke 01 Premium Carbon D-Shaped
Brakes SRAM Level TLM 180/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle AXS 1x12
Stem BMC MSM01 60 mm
Handlebar BMC MFB01 Carbon 760 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss XR 1700 SPLINE
Tires Vittoria Barzo Graphene 2.0 29" x 2.35"
Size S M L XL
Weight 9.89 kg
progressive geometry with 67° head angle and 75° seat tube angle
integrated steering limiter to protect the frame
compatible with dropper posts
very nicely integrated chain guide
The DT Swiss XR1700 SPLINE alloy wheelset adds further safety on the trail in addition to the compliance in the frame itself: if there’s a rock, you won’t get bumped as hard and you can even ride hard enough to puncture your tires every once in a while without immediately destroying your rims. For all you gravel fans, the 29 x 2.25” Vittoria Barzo Graphene 2.0 tires are huge, but the chunky rubber has been chosen appropriately for the intended field of use. The only drawback: on gravel, asphalt and very hard packed surfaces, the tread is a bit too aggressive and rolls too slowly as a result. The integrated chain guide is well designed and a seat tube insert allows you to fit a round seat post, and of course, a dropper post. However, our testers didn’t like the SRAM Level TLM brakes at all. Although they are easy to control, on long descents they offer limited braking power and are prone to fading, which puts them in last place compared to the rest of the field. Our test bike in size L weighs 9.89 kg.
Despite the hardtail design, the BMC generates a lot of traction even on rough surfaces and maintains its speed well. The tires and rear end harmonise perfectly!
The BMC hardtail on test: our impressions
The Twostroke particularly surprised us on the climbs, because anywhere things get steep, the bike shines. Here, the steep seat tube angle and wide handlebar pull the rider forward and effectively prevent the front of the bike from lifting. In these situations, we also advise against using the fork lockout regardless of the surface, as it would be detrimental to the riding position and weight distribution. The 11–52 t SRAM Eagle cassette offers a sufficiently easy gear even for the steepest climbs. The efficiency of the bike is highly dependent on the terrain: on hard packed surfaces, it is limited due to the chunky tires and the high compliance of the rear. In addition, the 760 mm wide bars, by far the widest in the test, spread out your upper body to make it act like a parachute over high speed sections. On rough surfaces, the bike can maintain speed well thanks to the large tire volume, the larger outer diameter of the tires, improved rollover and fork. Here, traction is also excellent even when cornering aggressively! The tread of the tires in combination with the riding position also results in a very high level of braking traction – in this respect, the Twostroke leaves the rest of the test field in the dust.
Downhill, the disadvantage of the steep seat tube angle becomes apparent, because on the Twostroke the saddle is more in the way than on all other bikes without a dropper post. Unlike the BMC URS LT or the Canyon Grizl, you want to actively put the bike under you in the corners, yet the saddle quickly gets in the way. While with the Grizl and URS LT, the saddle is also in the way, these bikes are steered more with turning the bars than leaning the bike over and they can’t be ridden as fast downhill. As such, the presence of the saddle is less noticeable with them. Over long distances and when exploring, the rear of the Twostroke knows how to please with its high comfort, especially when riding at high speed over roots or through large potholes while seated. In all other situations, the rear isn’t sufficiently damped, so it tends to bob for a while after small impacts. This makes it important to adjust the tire pressure in order not to exacerbate the phenomenon. A dropper post would do double duty: more freedom of movement downhill and a touch more stiffness when seated due to the construction of the post.
Tuning tips: more powerful and steadfast brakes | dropper post for more freedom of movement and less bobbing | remove the fork lockout remote and save some weight
The perfect application for the Twostroke hardtail
If you‘re looking for a bike to explore the unknown, even alpine regions off the beaten track and are looking for a reliable and sporty companion, you will be very satisfied with the Twostroke. While it requires significantly more physical effort on the pedals than the URS LT, Grizl and True Grit on forest trails, hardpack and gravel tours to maintain the same speed, it always shines when the ground becomes rough. When exploring, the Twostroke travels willingly across roots and loose terrain, providing plenty of traction, propulsion and great comfort. For the experienced rider, extended outings to the trails are no problem, but the fixed seat post limits all skill levels. For beginners, the Twostroke is also a good choice for overbiking and when it comes to versatility, it can keep up with a classic gravel bike like the Grizl without suspension, but shifts its focus significantly towards off-road applications.
BMC Twostroke 01 ONE conclusion
The BMC Twostroke 01 ONE is a modern cross-country mountain bike with a progressive and trail-focused design. The steeper the uphill the better, because its climbing abilities and traction are outstanding. Unfortunately, the brake performance and missing dropper post limit the range of uses unnecessarily, but with a little tuning, it will happily become a trail rocket.
- high level of traction, comfort and safety
- very good efficiency on rough surfaces
- wide gear range and clean look of the SRAM GX Eagle AXS drivetrain
- brake performance and lack of dropper unnecessarily limits range of uses
- with lots of seat post exposed, the rear bobs excessively in many situations
You can find out more about at bmc-switzerland.com
The test field
Get an overview of the grouptest here: Gravel vs. mountain bike – 6 models on test
All bikes in test: BMC Twostroke 01 ONE | BMC URS LT ONE (Click for review) | Canyon Grizl CF SL 8 1by (Click for review) | Fustle Causeway TRAIL Lite (Click for review) | Lauf True Grit SRAM XPLR Edition (Click for review) | Trek Supercaliber 9.8 GX (Click for review)
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Words: Photos: Peter Walker, Benjamin Topf