BMC TEAMELITE 02 DE­ORE/SLX (2017)

£1,599 Pro pedi­gree comes at a com­fort price

Mountain Biking UK - - WRECKED & RATED -

BMC’s Teamelite 02 isn’t just a striking-look­ing bike, it’s also got one of the most in-your­face ag­gres­sive rides we’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced. That makes it great for mus­cu­lar masochists, but it’s no com­fort­able cruiser.

The frame

If you like your frames an­gu­lar and fu­tur­is­tic, you’ll love the TE02. The head tube only ta­pers slightly at the very top and it ex­tends into a long box-sec­tion front end. Con­trol lines are routed through the huge oc­tag­o­nal down tube. The top tube is less sloped than most, in­creas­ing the tri­an­gu­la­tion of the main­frame, at the ex­pense of stan­dover clear­ance. A di­rect-mount side-swing front mech sits above the press-fit bot­tom bracket (BB) shell, and the bot­tom of the slim seat tube splays out in all di­rec­tions to in­crease stiff­ness.

Out back, the asym­met­ric chain­stays are ab­so­lutely mas­sive and ta­per out only slightly to­wards the 142mm bolt-through axle. The Shi­mano rear mech gets a di­rect-mount arm. BMC’s ‘Tuned Com­pli­ance Con­cept’ (TCC) means the seat­stays are broad but flat and spread into a wish­bone that joins the seat tube low down. There are two bot­tle mounts for thirsty rid­ers, but no pro­vi­sion for a drop­per post, even though BMC team rider Julien Ab­sa­lon was one of the first to start us­ing one in World Cup races.

The kit

In a late-sea­son deal, BMC’s UK dis­trib­u­tors, Evans Cy­cles, have knocked 25 per cent off the TE02’s orig­i­nal £2,149 price. The 2017 bike uses Shi­mano’s older SLX gear­ing though, which is 2x10 and has no clutch on the rear mech to stop the chain rat­tling against the chain­stay. Its Rock­Shox Reba fork is also heav­ier than the 2018 ver­sion. The Shi­mano De­ore brakes get a 180mm ro­tor for ex­tra power though, and the 75mm stem is the short­est here. A flat bar and firm grips un­der­line the ag­gres­sive feel, while the Con­ti­nen­tal X-King tyres are blis­ter­ingly fas­trolling. The fat fi’zi:k Nisene saddle sits atop a skinny 27.2mm post.

The ride

BMC’s TCC road bikes have a rep­u­ta­tion for eerily spooky smooth­ness. But it’s no­table that their top off-road rider, Julien Ab­sa­lon, chooses to ride a full-sus most of the time. There’s a half­way house be­tween hardtail and full sus­pen­sion in the BMC range, in the shape of the soft­tail TE01 with its solid-state sus­pen­sion cush. And it doesn’t take long to re­alise why BMC rid­ers might want a bit of im­pact iso­la­tion. De­spite its skinny, low-set

seat­stays, the TE02 is one of the stiffest bikes we’ve ever rid­den.

The huge chain­stays mean power trans­fer is dev­as­tat­ingly di­rect. Add the ul­tra-fast-rolling Conti tyres, and this makes the TE02 crazy quick on smooth sur­faces. While they’re not par­tic­u­larly light, the 32-spoke, DT Swiss-rimmed wheels are stiff no mat­ter how hard you stamp on the ped­als too. The 15mm axle in the Reba fork com­bines with the big box-sec­tion front end to make the steer­ing equally ac­cu­rate. It’s got a typ­i­cally race-twitchy 70-de­gree head an­gle and the short­est stem on test, so it’s rel­a­tively keen to turn, for a race bike.

So far this all sounds spot on for a flat-out fast hardtail, and on smoother trails it is. The trou­ble is that as soon as things get even slightly rough, the TE02 bat­ters you. Not through the saddle, be­cause the chunky pad­ding and skinny post soak up some of the abuse, but through the other con­tact points. Your feet will take a beat­ing and your hands will think they’re hold­ing bare metal. More im­por­tantly in terms of speed, even small roots and rocks bang through the whole bike, killing mo­men­tum and mak­ing it hard to main­tain ped­alling rhythm. The lumpy grass fields so typ­i­cal of UK races are mis­ery. Even when we dropped tyre pres­sures to a risky 20psi at ei­ther end, there was so lit­tle com­pli­ance in the rest of the bike that we strug­gled to keep it con­nected to the ground. www.evan­scy­cles.com

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