BMC Granfondo GF01 - review

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BMC Granfondo GF01 bicycle – review

The BMC Granfondo GF01 is a go-to bike for the type of riding most of us do.

We can offer no greater complement than to acknowledge that in the Granfondo GF01, BMC has achieved the twin ideals of race-day speed and all-day comfort.

The BMC Granfondo GF01

It’s a bike that BMC say is ideally suited to the bigger, more powerful rider,  a claim we’d agree with entirely. This is not to offer unqualified praise, however.  We asked two test pilots to examine the claim: Test Pilot One, our editor, a 62kg lightweight with a preference for steep angles and low head tubes, and Test Pilot Two, your correspondent, who, at 88kg perhaps offers a closer approximation of the rider BMC intended the Granfondo for (in fairness to BMC, they have ‘steep’ and ‘low’ covered with the Impec and Team Machine). While we were both impressed by the Granfondo GF01, only one of us cherished it.

A clever mixture of a frankly huge down-tube, tapered head-tube and deep chainstays  blended with a pair of thin and flattened seat stays and an angled lower fork leg. These provided fantastic lateral stiffness for out-of-the-saddle efforts and a nicely damped frame with compliance that, yes, delivered all-day comfort.The quoted frame weight is competitive at 995 grams, but we believe greater emphasis should be placed on the GF01’s performance rather than headline grabbing numbers.

We can offer no greater complement than to acknowledge that in the Granfondo GF01, BMC has achieved the twin ideals of race-day speed and all-day comfort

BMC have clearly put significant time and research into the requirements of a regular rider who might be riding a weekly sportive and his own personal Hell of the North once a year with a pilgrimage to the Paris-Roubaix Classic sportive.

To this end, special mention is due to the clever specification of an 18mm offset carbon seat post and 28c Continental Grand Prix tyres to further improve resistance to rider fatigue. It is also worth noting that BMC offer two further seat post offsets to the middle one supplied. Another considered detail is the inclusion of a small chain catcher device to protect the carbon frame from damage in the event of drivetrain derailment.

The BMC Granfondo GFO1 has head-turning looks (it attracted the attention of fellow riders and passers by on our test rides) and is equipped to a standard to match the frame.

The integrated chain catcher was a thoughtful inclusion, one that could save the carbon BB shell in the event of chain derailment

It says much for BMC’s intention for the GF01 that Ultegra is the entry point to this carbon platform (the Granfondo’s aluminium incarnation is the GF02). Ultegra Di2 and Dura Ace Di2 are the alternatives and we won’t revisit the cost-benefit analysis of electronic shifting here. Suffice to say that the mechanical set-up performed flawlessly.

We were also impressed by BMC’s deployment of a BB86-compatible bottom bracket shell, which obviated the need for a third-party chainset. Also of note we felt was the inclusion of Shimano Ultegra calipers where many brands fit inferior, generic items. They saved the lives of Test Pilots One and Two when an oncoming vehicle’s failure to signal on the approach to a roundabout almost derailed our two-man chaingang.

It says much for BMC’s intention for the GF01 that Ultegra is the entry point to this carbon platform

We were also impressed by the performance of the Easton EA90rt wheelset (check back soon for a separate test with tubeless tyres) which, unlike many factory supplied wheelsets, did nothing to limit the potential of the excellent chassis.

The finishing kit was of unquestionable quality (another tick for BMC) but subject to personal preference. The Fizik Aliante saddle suited me well, providing a perch to settle into and push against, but missed by a mile for the ed, who prefers an entirely flat base and would have selected the Antares, given the choice. The narrow 40cm handlebar also failed to win my affection, and personal gripe aside, it’s an uncommon choice for 51cm frame. Both, however, are minor issues.

More significant, perhaps, is the absence of mudguard mounts, a surprising oversight for a machine billed as an all-rounder and which could conceivably be your only bike. As a counterpoint, it’s more likely than not that someone investing in a bike of this quality has an older, cheaper hack set aside for the purpose of winter riding.

The Fizik Aliante S saddle divided opinon between test pilots One and Two, but this was a matter of personal preference

Conclusion

We were highly impressed by the BMC Granfondo GF01. A lightweight machine blessed with great performance and comfort, it’s a rare beast indeed. We’ll be sorry to return it.

Discuss in the forum

Website: BMC
UK distributor: Evans Cycles
Sizes: 48, 51, 54, 56, 58, 61
Price: £3200

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