We put the BMC Granfondo GF01 105 Disc to the test in our comprehensive bike test. See how it rated…
A brutally fast bike, yet one that won’t beat up its rider on rough roads
The Italian phrase for long distance events might give the BMC it’s romantic sounding name but it’s being forged on the epic, cobbled farm road races of northern Europe that makes this Swiss machine such an outstanding blend of smoothness and speed.
WORDS Guy Kesteven PHOTOS Russell Burton
FRAME AND FORKS
BMC is never shy of a structural statement and the Granfondo is no exception. The full carbon forks are angled at the tips before deepening dramatically at the crown. Vast geometric head-tube, down-tube and chainstays contrast with a skinny seat tube and flat wishbone seatstays. Unlike the GF02 the GF01 gets BMC’s top Tuned Compliance Concept Pure carbon with full carbon dropouts. Dual Transmission integration means both mechanical or electric shifting can be seamlessly catered for and the front brake hose disappears underneath the stem before reappearing just above the brake for super clean looks. There are six different sizes in the Endurance-Fit geometry range too.
As the name suggests, the premium frame quality means you’re getting 105 not Ultegra and the Shimano wheels are heavy too. Continental’s Ultra Sport II tyres are a new smoother grippier blend though, BMC’s own kit is decent and the Fi’zi:k Aliante Delta is a distance favourite.
The BMC is the heaviest bike here and its Shimano wheels and fat Continental tyres are a lot heavier than the rolling stock on the other bikes. For the first couple of crank turns you’ll feel that greater inertia too, but once the massive down-tube and chainstays get their shoulders behind the weight it feels effortlessly responsive. As much as the physics makes no sense on the surface, that meant it routinely felt easier and faster than all the other bikes here even if heart-rate checks showed the Giant was a few beats more efficient on climbs. This TDI diesel style surge of speed is then sustained very easily thanks to the increased momentum and smoother rolling of the bigger tyres that created the initial resistance. The Shimano bearings don’t do its cruising capabilities any harm and while it’s not aero in any of its elements, our post ride stats showed healthy average speeds.
That same stiffness, smooth tyre connection from the big volume PureGrip compound tyres, the stable steering geometry and long stem make the BMC laser accurate. Add the rich braking feedback from the hydraulic disc and the Granfondo is an absolute missile through fast sweeping corners and a license to let loose on descents.
So far what we’ve described is a rapid and responsive race bike that you might expect to batter you across any rough sections of road. What the BMC actually delivers is an exceptionally smooth ride that skims over the rowdiest surfaces like pedal powered noise cancelling headphones. While the Roubaix sometimes strays into untamed bounce, the BMC stays beautifully poised and damped whether it’s screening out asphalt acne or shrugging off serious pothole punches. That means there’s no interruption of pedalling rhythm or power supply on bad roads and the better survivability of the large volume tyres also means you’re riding offensively rather than defensively more of the time too. While the 105 kit is functionally identical to Ultegra there’s obviously masses of potential for upgrading over time, and trying the GF01 with top quality Edco wheels confirmed its superbike potential.
Check out our other bike reviews here.