Raise the curtain and clear the stage: BMC present the URS LT ONE for € 7,999, the first full-suspension gravel bike in the portfolio. Sharing many similarities with its predecessor, the URS 01 ONE, the new bike is now equipped with integrated MTT suspension at the front. We found out how this yellow canary performs on the gravel tracks of South Tyrol.
BMC have given us front row seats to the latest Gravel feature and aren’t holding back with the snacks and refreshments. The main protagonist of the new flick: the BMC URS LT ONE, a pretty little bird. Shortly after the release of their last blockbuster, the BMC Roadmachine X ONE road bike (read the article here), the Swiss brand continue to push hard and have released their next bike. Based on the URS 01 ONE (read the review here), and using the same main frame, an LT for Long Travel has been added to the bike. The big news is at the front with the MTT suspension fork, which should elevate the comfort of the bike to the next level. So what’s it all about?
MTT Suspension fork – BMC x HiRide
Attentive GRAN FONDO readers will be familiar with the abbreviation MTT, which stands for Micro Travel Technology. After all, the bike’s predecessor already uses this technology at the rear to generate 10 mm of travel. BMC have now gone one step further and, in cooperation with Italian suspension specialist HiRide, have developed the steel-sprung MTT suspension fork with 20 mm travel. This is said to deliver great sensitivity from the very start of the stroke, perfect for the small shocks typical of gravel. In addition to a lockout, the spring stiffness can be adjusted via three different springs and sag with three different spacers. According to the manufacturer, the suspension fork is intended to come into play to defuse impacts when the wide tires reach their limits, for example over larger rocks or roots. That plan could play out and cross off one of the few criticisms of the bike’s predecessor, as we found that the BMC URS 01 ONE had a mismatch between good comfort in the rear and a lack of comfort in the front. Before going deeper into this though, let’s take a quick look at the other features of this gravel bike.
Details and spec of the BMC URS LT ONE
Not much needs to be said about the colour: you’ll either love the canary yellow at first sight or you don’t. Luckily, we were already fans of the colour and minimal branding on the URS 01 ONE! Despite the technical features built into the URS LT, its appearance remains extremely clean and the bike shines with a high level of integration. Like its predecessor, the URS LT accepts tires up to 700 x 45C wide and offers mounting points for a total of four water bottles or bags. All-weather riders and commuters still have the practical option of mounting mudguards and luggage racks, as well as routing dynamo cabling internally through the fork. There is also the option to mount a standard 27.2 mm dropper post thanks to the insert available for the D-shaped seat tube. Fans of 2-speed drivetrains with a classic front derailleur will be disappointed. The BMC URS LT is only available as a 1x setup, though two builds are available.
BMC URS LT ONE
Seatpost BMC 01 Premium Carbon D-Shape Seatpost 0 mm
Brakes SRAM Force HRD 180/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS mit Eagle AXS X01-Schaltwerk 38T (10–52T)
Stem BMC MSM02 75 mm
Handlebar Easton EA70 AX 440 mm
Wheelset CRD-400 Carbon,
Tires WTB Raddler TSC 40C
Size S M L XL
Weight 9.52 kg
The BMC URS LT ONE we tested weighs 9.52 kg in size L and costs € 7,999. SRAM’s wireless 1×12-speed FORCE eTap AXS groupset does the shifting, which provides a wide range with the huge 10–52 t cassette, letting you conquer even the steepest climbs with a 38 t chainring. We’re big fans of the brake’s disc size, with BMC going for 180mm in the front and 160mm in the rear. The Swiss brand’s geographic origins are clear here. The second build, the BMC URS LT TWO is two grand cheaper at € 5,999 and also benefits from MTT suspension at both the front and rear. The only compromise is in the choice of components: the TWO uses aluminium rims instead of carbon ones and the new Rival eTAP AXS instead of the FORCE groupset.
|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 URS LT ONE on test
While there are certainly gravel bikes that can accelerate from 0 to 25 km/h faster, there aren’t many bikes that can then maintain this speed with such ease. The BMC URS LT ONE shines with its ability to keep on pushing together with its great efficiency and is thus basically made for long and extended tours. The fear that the suspension would have a negative impact on efficiency turns out to be unfounded. If anything, it actually improves it by absorbing shocks and allowing you to maintain your flow. While we’re on the subject of flow, the URS LT is no friend of winding trails with tight turns and frequent direction changes. Here, the bike requires strong steering inputs and does little to invite play. In addition, it tends to flop at low speeds due to the slack steering angle. It is much better on endless straights and carving long corners, where it can prove its smoothness and straight-line stability. Downhill, the URS LT benefits from the good performance of the SRAM brakes and offers a lot of security on steep downhills.
In terms of comfort the BMC URS LT ONE turns out to be a balanced gravel bike that completely swallows up vibrations and other irregularities. In principle, the HiRide system offers two options in terms of comfort configuration up front: on or off, that is to say, open or closed. The intermediate steps are hardly noticeable. In the open setting, harsh and hard hits are effectively damped, saving your hands and arms. However, it quickly becomes apparent that the system is overdamped, which causes it to pack down over fast consecutive hits, robbing the handling of sprightliness. Nonetheless, in rough terrain, if in doubt overdamped suspension is better than being underdamped! Overall, the BMC URS LT clearly benefits from the MTT system at the front. The comfort imbalance between front and rear that we criticised in the URS 01 ONE could no longer be detected here.
The HiRide suspension system in comparison…
… to the RockShox Rudy suspension fork
From a purely visual point of view, the HiRide clearly wins the competition against the RockShox Rudy suspension fork (read the test here). After all, all cables can be routed internally, ensuring a clean appearance. Besides the internal routing of a hub dynamo cable, the HiRide suspension fork also allows for the installation of mudguards. Apart from a lower weight, the removable protection at the dropouts of the carbon fork is also a nice feature. In principle, the design should also allow you to attach bottles or bags to the fork, although this is unfortunately not (yet) the case. In terms of adjustability, the Rudy suspension fork is clearly ahead. Here, rebound and air pressure can be tuned, theoretically even on the go, whereas the URS only offers the option of three different spring stiffnesses and spacers. Likewise, the swap for the URS can only be done at home or in the workshop and even then, in realite not many people will do event that. Most of us will probably fit the right spacer once and never touch the system again after that. Those who prefer to use a classic suspension fork instead of an MTT fork can, fortunately, do so right away, as the URS LT is approved for use with gravel suspension forks.
… to the Future Shock system
Compared to the Future Shock 2.0 system from Specialized, like the one fitted to the S-Works Diverge gravel bike (read the review here), the HiRide system is clearly doing more. The Future Shock system only decouples the handlebar, whereas the HiRide system in the MTT fork allows the whole front wheel to move out of the way. That means that the centre of gravity of the rider doesn’t have to move up and over every obstacle, instead continuing forwards and saving precious energy. Even if the BMC/HiRide technology can still be refined in many, the HiRide system is already on par with the Future Shock 2.0 system, despite being in its first generation. Respect! You can find out more about what improvements could still be made to the system in GRAN FONDO Issue #019.
… to wide tires
Theoretically, it is also possible to achieve the extra comfort by using wider tires and lower air pressure. However, on compact surfaces, you have to reckon with losses in terms of efficiency and rolling resistance and also increased risk of punctures. Not to mention that much wider tires than the mounted 700 x 40C tires won’t even fit in the frameset, despite it being approved for up to 700 x 45C. The combination of relatively narrow tyres for good efficiency on compact surfaces and the suspension for high comfort on uneven terrain offers a sensible compromise.
BMC URS LT ONE conclusion
BMC have done a lot right with the development of the URS and, with the pretty URS LT ONE, present the perfect bike for the sporty gravel mile muncher who attaches great importance to good vibration damping. The bike shines with great efficiency, high smoothness and good momentum on all trails. Even the occasional ride on flow trails is possible with the URS LT ONE. However, make sure it’s not too twisty – this gravel bike isn’t very playful through tight corners.
- high stability
- excellent efficiency and drive
- high level of integration
- bike can feel “floppy” at low speeds due to slack head angle
- overdamped HiRide system saps some sprightliness
- limited adjustability of the MTT system
You can find more information about the BMC URS LT ONE at bmc-switzerland.com
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Words: Tobias Hörsch, Philipp Schwab, Benjamin Topf Photos: Benjamin Topf