The BMC URS LT ONE is a gravel bike with a small amount of suspension travel on both ends that is ready for big adventures. Find out here whether it can bridge the gap between gravel and mountain biking and how it compares to the top class test field.
Get an overview of the grouptest here: Gravel vs. mountain bike – 6 models on test
Based on the URS 01 gravel bike, the same frame has been adopted, though it is now furnished with an “LT” label for Long Travel. The big news is at the front, where an MTT suspension fork is specced, which should elevate the comfort of the gravel bike to a new level. But what exactly does the concept involve?
The BMC URS LT ONE in detail
BMC take the plunge and introduce the first full suspension gravel bike into their portfolio. Having identified the comfort imbalance between the front and rear of the URS 01 ONE (read the review here), we were very curious to see what the brand new suspension fork with its 20 mm travel could do to compensate for it. It was developed in cooperation with HiRide, an Italian specialist for suspension systems, and is composed of a steel spring and hydraulic damper, which is designed to react sensitively at the beginning of the suspension travel in response to small bumps typical of gravel riding. Three different spring rates and three different preload spacers are available for the HiRide system. The spacer is intended to set sag to the recommended 5 mm, which, subtracting the upper and lower end stops, leaves an effective travel of about 12 mm. The bike comes with the medium hard spring and medium spacer from the factory, and our test bike had the same setup. Unfortunately, changing them requires special tools – so a visit to your BMC dealer is essential, which makes swapping them on the road impossible #setandforget.
BMC URS LT ONE
Fork BMC Micro Travel Technology Suspension Fork 20 mm
Seatpost BMC URS 01 Premium Carbon D-Shaped
Brakes SRAM Force eTap AXS HRD 180/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS mit X01 Eagle AXS-Schaltwerk 1x12
Stem BMC MSM02 80 mm
Handlebar Easton EA70 AX 440 mm
Wheelset CRD-400 SL Carbon
Tires WTB Raddler 700 x 40C
Size S M L XL
Weight 9.52 kg
gravel full with 20 mm travel at the front and 10 mm at the rear
compatible with racks, mudguards and a maximum of 4 bottle cages
internal dynamo routing
MTT, TCC, HDGDL – this bike is chock a block with tech acronyms 😉
The lockout knob is located at the top of the steerer tube. Changing stems is possible, but requires models that fit the 1 ¼” steerer tube. At the rear, the Micro Travel Technology provides 10 mm travel thanks to an elastomer insert and compliant rear triangle. Our size L test bike weighs in at 9.52 kg and also lives up to its mountain bike/gravel crossover status with a protector on the down tube, generous chainstay guard, 180 mm front brake disc and a SRAM mullet groupset. The latter consists of SRAM Force eTap AXS road cranks and controllers and an X01 Eagle AXS MTB derailleur and SRAM XG-1275 Eagle MTB cassette with 520% range. There’s also the option of mounting a standard 27.2 mm dropper post with an insert. Despite its many features, BMC manage to keep the appearance of the URS LT ONE decidedly uncluttered. The internally routed brake lines, wireless shifting and the design of the suspension elements all play their part. The integrated seat post clamp and the lack of a mounting option for the front derailleur also contribute. Just like the frame of the URS 01 gravel bike, you will have to put in some physical effort to adjust the saddle height and only 1x drivetrains can be mounted. BMC wraps the CRD-400 SL carbon wheels with 700 x 40C WTB Raddler tires, which make full use of the available tire clearance. The URS LT ONE is available for € 7,999.
MTT from front to rear, so you’re better isolated from small vibrations and undulating compressions.
|Seat tube||431 mm||459 mm||492 mm||527 mm|
|Top tube||557 mm||578 mm||591 mm||612 mm|
|Head tube||113 mm||146 mm||172 mm||207 mm|
|Chainstays||425 mm||425 mm||425 mm||425 mm|
|BB Drop||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm|
|Wheelbase||1,041 mm||1,064 mm||1,081 mm||1,105 mm|
|Reach||403 mm||415 mm||419 mm||429 mm|
|Stack||538 mm||569 mm||603 mm||641 mm|
The BMC gravel full suspension bike on test: our impressions
The steeper the terrain, the more the BMC URS LT ONE wakes up. Even the steepest climbs are no problem – sit down and spin thanks to the granny gear (38 t chainring and 10–52 t cassette). In general, the bike manages to generate propulsion even in demanding situations. That’s thanks to the high traction of the rear provided by the MTT system as well as the chunky tires. It shines with excellent drive, great efficiency and is thus made for extended tours on forest paths, trails and gravel roads of all kinds. The fear that the suspension might harm efficiency turns out to be unfounded. On the contrary, it actually improves it, as bumps are damped and you can stay in the flow. The system works best with isolated larger hits or many smaller roots. If there are too many bigger hits in a row, the system, which feels slightly overdamped, doesn’t rebound fast enough and reaches its limits. Nonetheless, this isn’t hugely critical as you still have the front of a classic gravel bike beneath you in these situations. The elastomer bump stop at the end of the travel is well designed and unobtrusive. The situation is different during the rebound stroke where there is a very hard topout stop, made more apparent due to its noise. In technical sections, this can spoil the otherwise extremely high feeling of safety. While the lockout function works perfectly, the responsiveness of the HiRide system is rather rudimentary compared to the other suspension forks in the test, primarily because of the system’s high friction.
Handling on hard packed surfaces is characterised by the bike’s good straight line stability. At low speeds, the front tends to flop around due to the slack 70° head angle. It much prefers to be on the move at high speed on endless straights and long, open corners, where it can prove its high level of smoothness and stability as long as no big consecutive hits are within sight. Downhill, the URS LT benefits from the good performance of the SRAM brakes and provides sufficient safety even on steep downhills. Unlike the BMC’s hardtail, Twostroke, you can take it much easier here and steer with the bars rather than leaning the bike. As such, while the saddle can still get in the way, it is much less annoying than the BMC hardtail. On demanding terrain, the moderate tread and limited volume of the WTB tires become a limiting factor. Unfortunately, the frame offers no space for wider tires that could noticeably expand its range of uses.
Tuning tip: the BMC URS LT ONE concept is what it is. Its weaknesses won’t be eradicated by tuning. Either it suits you or it doesn’t
The perfect application for the URS LT ONE
In a way, the URS LT ONE is caught between the mountain bike cosmos and gravel universe. It’s significantly more comfortable than the Canyon Grizl but also significantly less capable on the trail than the BMC Twostroke or Trek Supercaliber. It’s an extreme gravel and explore mode specialist, scoring points on extended gravel tours with its long distance comfort and smooth ride on hard surfaces. Since the HiRide and MTT systems do not affect the bike’s acceleration, you can definitely have fun on asphalt as well. However, as soon as the ground gets really rough, it’s over for the URS LT ONE. If you’re looking for a comfortable gravel bike and don’t want to turn to mountain bike terrain, you’ll find the right choice here.
BMC URS LT ONE conclusion
The BMC URS LT ONE is made for long distances and is something of a specialist amongst the all-rounder concepts. Its willing propulsion, high efficiency and stalwart straight line stability on hard surfaces all speak for the bike. Despite the HiRide system, the URS LT can’t keep up with the top of the test field in terms of traction and comfort. That said, given the number of features on offer and the full suspension build, it retains a slim silhouette and classic look.
- wide gear range and intuitive shifting logic
- powerful brakes with considerable reserves
- full suspension with minimal maintenance
- high level of integration
- limited tire clearance means limited range of applications
- harsh topout stop when the HiRide system rebounds
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 (Click for review) | BMC URS LT ONE | 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)
No, it’s not about perfect race tracks, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along high-speed passages need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret “Smooth tarmac” bikes as follows: Hard efforts at high speeds with a maximum efficient bike on a consistently well-paved road. Effort-joy ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
… also known as bike riding. Broken-up roads in the hinterland, deadlocked gravel roads, loose surfaces – sometimes muddy, sometimes bone-dry. For this, it takes bikes with super all-round, handling and wearing qualities uphill and downhill. Effort-joy ratio: 50:50↩
Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of GRAN FONDO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.
Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf