I have had the opportunity of testing the new BMC Gran Fondo GF01 for about a week. In that time, I’ve managed to get about 60 miles and over 8000 feet of climbing on the bike. It’s a wonderful way of testing a new bike, and the BMC did not disappoint.
First, the specs. The bike is equipped with the Shimano Ultegra electronic gruppo, Easton bars and stem, BMC seat post, Fizik Aliante saddle, and Easton EA 90 wheels shod with Continental 28C Grand Prix 4 Season tires. In my opinion, the most important factor in the parts spec are the tires. The bike was designed for 28C tires, part of the overall theme of a Gran Fondo bike, or one day classics ride. The overall vision for this bike is comfort, without sacrificing climbing and racing abilities.
Thirty plus mile rides are always a good indicator of the comfort of a bike, so I was happy to get in one such ride. It started with 10 miles of climbing and a 2600 foot elevation gain. The grade for a good portion of that ten miles is 12% or better. The BMC was smooth and extremely comfortable. It climbed with prowess, and felt well connected to the road. Climbing is never easy for me, but the BMC seemed to make it palatable. A quick photo opportunity at the top, and I was off on the descent. This is where the bike really shines. I tend to go fast downhill, albeit with a certain sense of caution. In LA, on my Cervelo, I routinely hit 42 MPH on descents. The BMC bettered my time, easily allowing me to hit speeds of 46 MPH without really trying. I was pleasantly surprised at how stable it felt going so fast, and how well it handled in the hairpin turns. The bike did all the work for me. I really didn’t have to think about it at all. The bike tracked well through the corners, and descended perfectly.
Cobblestones and rough road are another reason to ride the Gran Fondo. You hardly notice the rough spots, and the cobblestones are easily handled by the confident frame and fork. Two features of the bike are TCC (tuned compliance concept) and “angle compliance”. In laymen’s terms, this means the frame has features designed into it to make for a smooth ride over any rough spots. This is noticeable in the design of the front fork and the rear dropouts. The fork has a bend at the bottom to absorb shock before it gets to the cockpit, and the rear dropouts are designed to absorb shock before it reaches the saddle. The 28C tires are also a big help, as the extra rubber really adds to the shock suppression. The BMC engineers have really put a lot of thought into the design of the Gran Fondo, and the reward is perfect ride quality.
The BMC Gran Fondo is a bicycle perfectly suited to those looking for a Pro Level bike that can easily sustain long hours in the saddle with an incredibly high comfort level. I suspect if this bike were in my hands, it would be my “go to” bike for almost all rides. Commutes to centuries are all the domain of the BMC Gran Fondo.