BMC granfondo GF01 review
Roadcycling.com reviews the BMC granfondo GF01 endurance road bike.
For a variety of reasons gran fondos are gaining in popularity. These events are similar, yet different from your traditional mass start races. You can experience the thrill of competition as you try to beat your fellow riders, attempt to best a personal record, or just finish the ride while there’s still sunlight.
A bike that you race typically has razor sharp handling and a stiff bottom bracket, which can make the longer distances of a gran fondo more rigorous than necessary. Bike manufacturers have wisely taken this growing market and designed a bike to fit this niche – the endurance bike.
The endurance bike generally has a taller head tube, slacker seat and head tube angles and a longer wheelbase, creating a bike that is stable and comfortable to ride for several hours. By no means am I suggesting that an endurance bike is the only suitable rig for a gran fondo – it just makes the ride easier.
At the George Hincapie Gran Fondo I was able to test BMC’s endurance model – the BMC granfondo GF01 which is priced at US$6999.00. The Hincapie Gran Fondo had two challenging routes, an 80 and a 50 mile loop. I’ve been nursing a nagging lower back and hip injury recently, so my training of late wasn’t up to par for what I was told would be a brutal 80 miles. I checked my ego at the door and signed up for the 50 mile fondo, which included 4,200 feet of climbing.
The GF 01 is a full carbon fiber frame with each tube shaped and sized for its function. For example, the down tube and top tube that is butted into the headtube is oversized to stiffen the front end. To soak up any road irregularities the fork tips are bent forward at an angle to absorb impacts. BMC claims that these bends in the carbon fiber increase the compliance of the frame. This bent at an angle design is also incorporated into the rear drop outs with the same purpose as the fork – absorb shock by flexing.
BMC is known for its unique tube shapes and this is still the case with the GF 01. From the seat tube another tube juts out like a flying buttress and braces itself underneath the top tube. This is a common frame design featured on many BMC frames and helps stiffen that area.
The rear triangle is where road shock is absorbed. The seatstays are supermodel thin in comparison to the Rubenesque sizing of the front triangle. And like the fork tips and rear drop outs, the straight seatstay tubes bend upward just before seat tube and functions to absorb road chatter.
I was able to pick up my test GF 01 with enough time to dial in the fit and reacquaint myself with Shimano’s electronic shifting. The GF01 came kitted with the Ultegra Di2 group with compact chain rings. Some of my race-oriented friends scoff at the idea of compact gearing, but living in an area that includes constant rolling terrain