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BMC GF02 105 Disc review

4 Aug 2016
Verdict:

A well-specced, alloy, all-road machine.

Price: 
£1,189

The spec

Frameset 

The triple-butted aluminium frame employs the same Tuned Compliance concept as its carbon-framed stablemates, with certain areas strengthened to resist forces put upon them, allowing the rider to put max power through the drivetrain while also boosting comfort levels. The GF02 Disc is also practical, with rack and mudguard mounts, while gear cabling is externally routed. A steering angle of 71.7° is relaxed, but the stiff front end lends a planted feel. A hexagonally-profiled top tube is joined to an almost identically long seat tube by BMC’s trademark frame brace. Short, box-section chainstays work with a low bottom bracket drop to transmit power to the rear wheel, while curved and flat seatstays dampen vertical forces. The GF02’s fork is the same as the higher-level GF01’s, and is sharply profiled, fatter at the top than at the bladed tips.

Groupset

There’s a bit of a mix-and-match feel to the GF02’s groupset. Yes, the 11-speed shifters, 11-32 cassette, chain plus front and rear derailleurs are all Shimano 105; the shifters particularly are noticeably more positive in their action than the Tiagra kit found elsewhere in this test. However, a slightly heavier RS500 chainset has been used, most likely to keep the build cost down. The real trick that’s being missed is in using Shimano’s own braking set-up – although simple to adjust, there’s no barrel adjuster to tune them on the fly, which you do get with TRP’s Spyre system found on our other bikes.

Finishing kit

The shape of the bars is particularly pleasing, with a shallower drop than some we tested here, as well as particularly comfortable suede-style bar tape. BMC’s own 27.2mm carbon seatpost forms an integral part of the bike’s compliance system. We tested a standard GF02 earlier this year and were less than blown away by the Selle Royal Saba, finding it too deeply padded. In this set-up, though, we’re slightly more taken by it, especially on bumpy bridleways. 

Wheels

The GF02 uses DT Swiss X-1900 rims which have a 24mm outer width, accommodating the 32c tyres with ease, and with the capacity to fit 35c and upwards. 

The ride

First impression

Tipping our scales at sub-10kg, which, in the context of this test, is a plus, the BMC displays a willingness to attack most roads with a punchiness that its all-road intentions would have you think unlikely. Although the relaxed set-up doesn’t particularly allow us to attack the first downhill section of our test loop, its fat tyres (32c) lend a fabulously floaty feel to the ride.

On the road

In fact, the GF02’s frame offers stacks of forgiving ride quality, which is simply flattered even further by the walloping wide rubber. Where it really shines on the road is on a pock-marked yet flat or rolling country lanes, where imperfections are swallowed whole by the alloy tubing, vibe-reducing 27.2mm carbon seatpost and uniquely angled seatstays. At first glance, that wide, deeply padded saddle seemed like overkill, until we turned off onto a bridleway. With Shimano’s slick 105 shifters at the business end, progress on even the most broken tracks is purposeful and seamless. This is where those tyres really come into their own – Continental’s Sport Contacts not only soak up gravel, but also grip when they need to. Despite the cosseting nature of the frame, there’s vim in abundance, even prompting the odd gravel sprint. To address BMC’s claims, would we race this bike in a local cyclocross league? Probably not. It’s too bulky for a race bike. However, there’s a solid argument for this bike achieving the other four goals set for it. Even uphill road climbs are easier than expected, thanks to a wide spread of gears and that lovely, forgiving ride quality.

Handling

Thanks to its easy-going head angle, the GF02 isn’t a super-rapid steerer, but it is remarkably stable, so much so that pedalling this bike for hours is a fatigue-free experience. Turn up the wick and attack some corners, though, and its shortcomings are revealed. A lengthy wheelbase combines with the frame geometry to give the impression you’d be better off on something else if rapid group rides are on the cards. At odds with the compliant rear end, the carbon fork is pretty stiff. The Conti Sport Contacts are fairly forgiving in most circumstances, but best suited to all-road rides, where a compromise can be accepted. Grip from the wrap-around tread on the road, on the rivet, isn’t the best. Cliché alert: the BMC GF02 is a Jack of all trades, but (you guessed it) master of none. Not a bad bike; just be clear what sort of riding you intend to do on it. 

Geometry

Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 540mm 540mm
Seat Tube (ST) 540mm 538mm
Down Tube (DT) n/a 630mm
Fork Length (FL) 395mm 400mm
Head Tube (HT) 140mm 140mm
Head Angle (HA) 71.5 71.7
Seat Angle (SA) 73 73
Wheelbase (WB) 1000mm 1000mm
BB drop (BB) 68mm 68mm

Spec

Frame Triple butted hydroformed aluminium frame, TCC 01 carbon fork
Groupset Shimano 105
Brakes Shimano R-517 / SM-RT54-S, 160mm rotors
Chainset Shimano RS500 50/34
Cassette Shimano Tiagra 11-32
Bars BMC RDB03
Stem BMC RSM03
Seatpost TCC 01 carbon, 27.2mm
Wheels DT Swiss X-1900 Spline, Continental Sport Contact 2, 32c
Saddle Selle Royal Saba
Weight 9.78kg
Contact evanscycles.com

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