We're getting right into the new bike part of the year with some big manufacturers announcing their 2018 models. BMC are the latest to rock up with a new e-MTB, the Trailfox AMP.
“The Trailfox AMP is for big adventures”, says BMC of their new bike. “For riders who love long distances and epic rides, who do two laps at lunch rather than one, who cram in twice the descents, and explore rather than wonder what’s out there. We have developed a full-on, generation 2.0 e-MTB revolution. Its suspension system and frame design have been specifically created to maximize the e-MTB experience.”
So what are BMC offering here? Well, it's a full-suspension platform that uses a modified version of BMC's Advanced Pivot System that's used on the non-powered Trailfox bike. It's not exactly the same: the higher loads associated with an e-MTB have been addressed with larger bearings and links, and there's a one-piece alloy rear triangle for added stiffness.
The main triangle is full carbon, developed by BMC in their Impec lab. BMC were keen to integrate the battery into the down tube but keep the front triangle stiff, and they've achieved that by using a twin-chamber down tube. There's a hollow section on either side of the down tube and a flat top, making a sort of C section, and the battery slots in underneath the down tube. It all looks pretty neat; there's a battery cover to protect the battery from damage and also to smooth the lines of the bike. Similarly the motor is covered to continue the clean lines. All cable routing is internal.
The Trailfox AMP has 150mm of travel at the rear and that's matched with a similar amount up front. Geomtery-wise the bike has been tweaked from the non-powered Trailfox. One of the issues with mid-motor e-MTBs is the fact that the motor positioning means you end up with a longer chainstay, which can affect trail handling. BMC have worked hard to keep the chainstays as short as possible. At 445mm the chainstays are just 10mm longer than the non-powered bike.
The bottom bracket is a bit higher, to give better clearance especially on technical uphill sections. It's not a huge difference – 13mm higher than the standard Trailfox – but it'll make a difference.
Like the majority of new e-MTBs we're seeing the Trailfox AMP uses 27.5+ wheels. The bigger tyres have a bit of a weight penalty but pay that back with increased traction and comfort. In this case it's 2.8” Maxxis rubber gracing the 30mm rims. The head tube has been slackened by a degree, to 66°, for a more stable ride.
BMC have opted for Shimano's E8000 e-MTB motor for the Trailfox. That allows for the integrated battery – Bosch still don't have an integrated battery available – and the smaller motor unit allows for a tighter rear end. We've reviewed the E8000 system (http://ebiketips.co.uk/content/reviews/electric-drive-systems/shimano-steps-e8000-422) and we're really impressed with it: the motor power is great and the control and display are the best in the market right now. BMC have integrated the speed sensor into the frame to improve the lines of the bike and also to protect it from damage.
BMC are offering three builds of the Trailfox AMP for launch. The top-spec Trailfox AMP LTD bike gets XTR Di2 electronic shifting, a Fox 36 Factory Kashima fork and Cane Creek DB shock and DT Swiss HXC wheels. That's top-dollar spec and that's reflected in the eye-watering €11,999 price tag.
Below that there's the Trailfox Amp One (€9,999) which gets a similar build, but with XT Di2 electronic shifting in place of the top spec XTR. The Cane Creek shock is replaced with a Fox Float DPS unit. The fork is still a Fox 36 but at a slightly lower spec.
If you want to slum it then there's always the Trailfox AMP Two (€6,999), which has to make do with Shimano XT mechanical shifting, heavier wheels and downrated suspension from its more expensive siblings. It's still a seriously high spec machine though and seven grand isn't exactly peanuts...
We're off to Eurobike Media Days in a couple of weeks in the Iatlian Tyrol and the Trailfox AMP is high on the list of bikes we're keen to sling a leg over. We'll report back with our findings!