BMC Updates the Twostroke XC Hardtail
The BMC lineup has been shifting towards XC for the past few years. The longest-travel bike in their catalog (without a motor) is the 120-millimeter Speedfox. But the kind of XC they’re shifting towards is not the XC of 10 years ago. They are front and center on the bandwagon that’s pushing more aggressive geometry and features in a category that has long seemed to value speed over safety. The Fourstroke we covered in the 2019 Bible is the perfect example. It’s a matched 100-millimeter travel race machine that happens to offer a short stem, short-offset fork and an integrated dropper post. It straddles that delicate line between satisfying the traditionalists and pushing the progressives. But some of those traditionalists will never get on a full-suspension bike. Honestly, some of them don’t need to. Not all courses demand it, so hardtails will never go away. And that’s why, today, BMC introduced the new Twostroke.
Like the Fourstroke, the new Twostroke sits on a reduced-offset 100-millimeter fork. It sits at a slack-for-a-race-hardtail 67 degrees, and is matched in back by a stee-for-any-hardtail 75-degree seat tube angle. The reach measurements assume the use of some new-school stem lengths, so the large-size Twostroke pairs a 465-millimeter reach with a 60-millimeter stem, making for a relatively forward-focused posture. And matching that long front end is a short, 425-millimeter rear end. The whole package is progressive, but with just enough cross-country moderation.
There was also a healthy dose of moderation in the frame design itself. Primarily that it weighs in at 1037 grams for a medium. There are a handful of frames that are below that symbolic four-digit threshold, including the Orbea Alma just released. But BMC wasn’t into symbolism with the new Twostroke. They’re more into what’s real. And what’s real is that, when a frame gets too light, the ride quality suffers. Designers don’t have the freedom to build in stiffness and flex in the ways that optimize the rider experience. The protective panels to save the frame from dropped chains, the fancy layup that make for BMC’s most vertically compliant hardtail yet, and the proprietary D-shaped seat tube all may not have been possible if the Twostroke were on a race to the bottom of the scale. But it’s not. There’s a lot more innovation to this bike than that, and innovation is exactly what the hardtail needs to survive.
The protective panels are centered around the bottom bracket, as is a mount for an integrated chain guide. No, chains don’t drop that often these days, but the consequences during a race day are high, so it’s worth the few extra grams. And the vertical compliance built into the frame comes from the flat seatstays, coupled to the dropouts with a slight bend. But really, the majority of flex will come from the seat tube, and constructing it with a flat panel across the back allows for a it to bow more easily and predictably. But if you want to run a dropper post, there’s an insert included on every Twostroke that will allow you to run a standard round 27.2 seatpost, and yes, there is internal routing for it, and all of the cable and hose routing is tube-in-tube. Also internal is a Block Lock headset designed in cooperation with Acros. Even though the frame isn’t record-breakingly light, it is light enough that jamming the handlebars into the top tube in a crash might be disastrous. The Block Lock headset keeps that from happening.
Maybe the most surprising feature on the Twostroke is its price points. The very highest-end Twostroke you can get tops out at $4,300. Not cheap, but not bad for such a specialized bike from such a specialized brand. That gets you an X01/GX build kit and a Sid Select fork. Next down is the all-GX option for $3,300, then the GX/NX option for $2,700 and then the Deore model for $2,200.
You can get all the details at bmc.com/twostroke