What does the BMC Trailfox AMP LTD have in common with a Breitling Navitimer? Well, other than the fact that they’re both Swiss-made, scream quality, and come with a high price tag, these two covet-worthy items are truly an individual’s investment choice. We’ll tell you how BMC’s first-ever E-MTB rides, but from there onwards, you’re on your own.

BMC Trailfox AMP LTD | 150/150 mm (f/r) | 21.6 kg | € 11,999

BMC never jump into anything; their Swiss engineering mentality dictates somewhat that they’ll only enter into a market when they’re fully ready. Now is clearly that time, as they’ve just launched the BMC Trailfox AMP, an E-MTB with 150 mm of travel, wide 2.8″ tires, and an integrated Shimano STEPS E8000 motor housed in the sleek carbon mainframe. In terms of its visuals, the Trailfox AMP slots comfortably into their current mountain bike line-up and bears the brand’s familiar APS rear design. They’ve increased the size of the swingarm significantly in a bid to cope with the higher stresses of E-MTBing, as well as opting for oversized bearings too. BMC have chosen to use aluminium for the rear triangle, utilizing tidy details like an integrated speed sensor in the chainstays, a slightly higher bottom bracket to avoid snagging on the trails (17 mm drop), and clean cable routing. In short, it looks a whole lot like BMC have been doing their homework over the past years.

The BMC weaves a tidy line through tight turns and narrow sections.

Admittedly, a price tag a steep as the one graciously bestowed upon the Trailfox AMP should essentially work as barrier against any weaknesses in the spec. For € 11,999, their top-end model comes with the market’s crème de la crème of componentry including DT Swiss HXC 1200 carbon wheels and Shimano’s electronic XTR Di2 drivetrain, although we’d question if these arguably great components hold much in the way of palpable benefits for E-MTBs. The Trailfox AMP’s performance is tarred a little before riding, as setting up the DB Inline rear shock saw us scratching our heads. Then, once out on the trail, the low-profile tread on the MAXXIS Rekon rear tire led to a lack of grip at times, while the Race Face Turbine dropper post’s remote lever didn’t have the desired action to justify the price. Fortunately, the FOX 36 Factory fork and powerful Shimano Saint brakes deliver a stellar performance.

For our 180 cm-tall test rider, BMC recommended taking a medium-sized frame, which fit brilliantly with a really comfortable yet pretty upright riding position. Immediately after you’ve tapped the small button on the downtube, strong propulsion is delivered from the Shimano motor. We spent most of our time in trail mode, which translated into a remarkably satisfying ride with great, consistent power delivery.

The BMC Trailfox AMP LTD in detail

Fork Fox 36 Float Factrory E-Bike 150 mm
Rear Shock Cane Creek DB Inline 150 mm
Motor Shimano E8000
Battery Shimano E8020 504 Wh
Brakes Shimano Saint
Drivetrain Shimano XTR Di2
Seatpost Race Face Turbine Dropper
Stem Race Face Turbine R 35
Handlebar Race Face Next R Carbon
Tires Maxxis Highroller II+ / Maxxis Rekon+
Wheel Set DT Swiss HXC1200
Price € 11,999

Complicated
Setting up the Cane Creek DB Inline rear shock demands patience and expertise which many people might lack. Fortunately, there’s a base setup finder online that eases the task a little.
Clever
The speed sensor is well-protected in the chainstay, and the magnet is mounted directly onto the disc brake rotor.
Practical
The sag indicator on the rocker arm helps to simplify the setup of the rear shock, and while sitting or standing you’ll be able to see directly whether you’ve got the right pressure in the shock.
A thing of beauty
The battery is inserted from the underside of the downtube, which means there’s room for a bottle cage mount on the frame. Thanks to the dual colourway, the sheer size of the downtube isn’t actually that obvious. Expect to collect a lot of dirt on the battery when riding in bad weather.

The geometry of the BMC Trailfox AMP LTD

Size S M L
Seat tube 400 mm 440 mm 480 mm
Top tube 573 mmm 616 mm 645 mm
Head tube 91 mm 103 mm 118 mm
Head angle 66° 66° 66°
Seat angle 74° 74° 74°
Chainstays 445 mm 445 mm 445 mm
Wheelbase 1162 mm 1207 mm 1238 mm
Reach 405 mm 445 mm 469 mm
Stack 595 mm 606 mm 620 mm

The BMC Trailfox AMP on the trail

On technical climbs you’ll enjoy ample traction from the Trailfox AMP’s rear end and good resistance to pedal influence even without switching on the platform damping. As such, it’s a whiz up steep, technical climbs – although slightly shorter cranks with 165 mm arms would sometimes be appreciated (although the stock cranks are more than well suited for 98% of situations).

Helmet Specialized Ambush | Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker | Shirt Mons Royale Redwood ¾ Raglan T Dirt | Shorts Alpinestars Pathfinder

Despite its fairly middle-of-the-road weight of 21.6 kg, the BMC Trailfox AMP has nailed its handling package, seeing it tear down the descents with supreme agility and directness. It corners with composure, which means added confidence to ramp up the speed. The suspension displays real finesse, and paired with the slack head angle it makes for a stable ride at high speeds, staying predictably planted on the trails. On soft woodland, the stock MAXXIS Rekon tire at the rear soon finds its limits, with limited sidewall support and a tendency to break away – it’d be worth upgrading to a 2.8″ HighRoller or Minion DHR II instead.

Conclusion

Despite its stellar handling and envy-inducing spec, we’d argue that reason would probably dictate not to buy the BMC Trailfox AMP. However, such a purchase may be inevitable one once you’ve fallen for the sleek carbon frame and sophisticated battery integration – although we reckon that the more affordable Trailfox AMP Two might be a more viable option.


Strengths

  • Agile handling
  • Great suspension
  • Beautiful design

Weaknesses

  • Steep price tag
  • Rear tire and dropper post don’t justify the price
  • Complex set up for the rear shock

For more info head to: bmc-switzerland.com

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer