Just in: BMC Granfondo GF02

First introduced last year and ridden onto the Paris-Roubaix podium, here’s the more affordable aluminium and Shimano 105 version

by David Arthur   February 27, 2013  

We first rode BMC’s Granfondo at the Swiss company's launch in Belgium early last year, when it was unveiled ahead of the spring classics, making it available to the pro team to use in preference to the racier TeamMachine - Alessandro Ballan rode the new bike to a podium finish, cementing its credentials. Now we have a 105-equipped model in the office so we can test this bike on UK roads.

What we liked about the GF01 on our limited first ride was the slightly higher front end compared to BMC's TeamMachine and the shorter reach. These geometry changes, in conjunction with the longer wheelbase, evidenced in the flared fork tips, gives the bike extra confidence and comfort to tackle rough roads - whether that means cobbles if you’re riding in Belgium or dodging the potholes of Surrey’s roads, in my case.

BMC reckon this new category of its range provides race-proven bikes that cater for the needs of their team racers yet offer enough comfort for amateur and recreational cyclists. While the pros will ride the full carbon fibre GF01, we have here the unquestionably more affordable aluminium GF01. The Shimano 105 is one of four builds they offer on this frame, rising to Ultegra Di2 and SRAM Red, depending on how far you want to stretch.

At £1,400 the GF01 makes a very good case for itself. The frames tubes are tripled butted 6000-series alloy to keep the weight down and it shares the fundamental details and styling cues with its pricier carbon brother. It carries the same tapered head tube and the seat stays are as skinny as a twig and are kinked at the top where they meet the seat tube, which is some way below the top tube junction.

There’s also the same kinked carbon fork which, along the the kinked stays, forms BMC’s tuned compliance concept (TCC). It is these sections of the frame that are claimed to help absorb hits and vibration. How this concept translates from the carbon frame to the alloy one... well, that remains to be seen. Aluminium is traditionally seen as a stiffer and harsher material than good carbon, so we'll be looking to see how that impacts on the ride quality.

A full and uninterrupted Shimano 105 groupset is a good thing to see, including the compact (50/34-tooth) chainset. From a function standpoint it’s very nearly indistinguishable from Ultegra and Dura-Ace, it’s just a little heavier. The all-up weight of this test bike is 8.7kg (19.1lbs), so it’s not doing badly at all.

Shimano also supply the R-501 wheels and they’re shod with Continental Ultra Sport 28mm tyres. BMC have a close relationship with US componentry manufacturer Easton and so there’s an EA30 aluminum handlebar and EA70 stem. The seatpost is BMC’s own compliance post, so that should eliminate some of the vibrations before they reach your undercarriage. The saddle is a Selle Royal Saba.

The GF02 is available in six sizes, with the pictured bike being a 58cm mode. Let’s give you some vital stats on the geometry and see how it stacks up. Starting with the head tube, well, that’s 19.5cm, which isn’t excessively tall for a bike of this type (if it's easier to get your head around 56cm frame size, that has a 17.6cm head tube). Staying with the 58 we have, the stack is 559mm and the reach 395mm, the head angle is 72.5° and the seat angle 73.5°. The effective top tube is 57.2cm, so you can see it’s a little shorter than a race bike, and a smidgen higher at the front. It’s not as excessive as some bikes in the endurance/sportive category we’ve seen over the years, though.

What are we to compare this too? The recently tested Bianchi Infinito springs to mind, another bike that is designed to be able to be raced as well as cruised on the Sunday club run. Both bikes shun the excessively tall head tubes that mark out bikes as sportive focused. The Specialized Roubaix is another, of course - the benchmark in this category, primarily because it’s the bike that kicked it off. And Trek’s Domane, with a more complex solution to taming road bumps, also comes into view. The Domane we have on test at the moment is actually a good comparison. It's £200 cheaper than the GF02 and has most of a 105 groupset (a few key components like the cranks have been downgraded), but it's 500g heavier.

The best way to find out is clearly to get the miles in, and one of the road.cc test team is doing the honours right.

6 user comments

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A new candidate for fugliest bike ever pictured on road.cc? I think so. The disproportion between the skinny seat stays and the enormously oversized other tubes in this makes those Sabbaths with the bizarrely shaped tubes from a couple of years ago look positively balanced. And that is before you consider all the weird kinks and lowered chain stays. Even if it rides like a dream, it looks like a nightmare.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
27th February 2013 - 22:51

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Ubercurmudgeon you are living up to your name! Thought it looked OK at first, but detailed shots have me agreeing with you. Nice paint job though. Not sure it sets a new benchmark though - there was something on way worse on here a couple of months ago which featured a top tube made out of piece of girder - truly dreadful.

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [211 posts]
27th February 2013 - 23:39

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might go well on the potholed roads round here; looks a bit fussy around the seat tube; 28mm tyres sensible; loking forward to seeing one in the flesh.

New Forester

posted by Forester [82 posts]
28th February 2013 - 6:54

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I HATE RED BIKES

posted by thelimopit [119 posts]
28th February 2013 - 11:00

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Looks like it's got the new 11-32 cassette on the back too... I consider that a good sign, that they've actually thought about their target market.

Yes, we should all MTFU and ride a 54-44 with 11-23 like Pantani did. But for people who realise they aren't pros, have day jobs, and are a bit lardy and weak, simply being able to get over any hill and off to the next one means the bike will get ridden more...

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [791 posts]
28th February 2013 - 11:07

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Those seat stays literally look like an accident waiting to happen

posted by sidesaddle [68 posts]
28th February 2013 - 12:19

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