Two months into a long-term relationship with a BMC Two Stroke AL Two and we’re in love. But it took some work. The BMC Two Stroke AL checks all the boxes of my new ‘dad bike’ list; but will it fit your riding style?
Why I Bought A BMC Two Stroke AL
I had a perfectly good bike. For more than five years and thousands of miles, I rode a Giant XTC. And it was great. But it was time for something new. For my new retirement/dad bike, I wanted a bike that checked a few boxes:
- Aluminum frame (I crash a lot these days)
- SRAM drivetrain (I’ve just always had better luck on SRAM)
- Racy geometry (not as easy to find these days as you might think)
- 36t chainring (the new trend is, like, 32t max and that’s insane)
After looking for a few months, I reached out to Brad at Velo City Cycles. I was half-sure it wouldn’t be in stock, but I lucked out; he had a medium on the floor.
First Ride Impressions – Straight to Work
My first ride, aside from an 8-mile round-trip ride to work, was at Mud, Sweat and Beers in May. I wouldn’t take a brand-new bike into a bar fight in most cases, but events forced my hand. I woke up to a nail sticking out of my All City Macho King’s rear tire, so the BMC was pressed immediately into action.
In The Thick of It
It performed well, though I was left with some immediate reactions – and decisions. Stock, it’s a heavy bike. We eventually weighed it at 29 pounds. I definitely felt it on the few climbs at MSB and on rides shortly after the race.
The weight is really from the fork. While a serviceable and durable option, the Rock Shox Judy Silver is heavy, weighing in over 2600 grams. And frankly, I just don’t like suspension. After some help from Drew Cummins, I made two big changes that completely changed the bike.
Get a carbon fork. The bike went from 29 pounds to 24.5 pounds with the flick of a fork. I went with the Whisky MTB Boost ST fork, which is the perfect balance of weight and stiffness. I’ve had a ton of luck with Whisky Parts of the years, which made it a lot easier to splash the cash on it.
Get different tires. Okay, the skinwalls on the bike look sweet. But the Vittoria Barzo tires over 650 grams on the scale and just too much tread for what I do. I replaced those with a set of Continental Race King 2.25s that have much lower rolling resistance (i.e., Iceman tires) and saved just under 100 grams each.
BMC Two Stroke AL Geometry – Fits Like A Glove
With manufacturers opting for “trail” geometry to appeal to the baggy-wearing crowd, BMC splits the difference with a 67-degree head angle and a 75-degree seat tube angle. It’s feels great in the tight and fast singletrack and it’s the first mountain bike I’ve had in years that hasn’t forced me to put on a -17-degree stem to feel like I’m in the right position.
I’m digging the BMC Two Stroke AL Two, but if you’re looking at this bike, know that to get it ready to rock, you’re going to have to invest in either wheels or a fork. The stock wheels aren’t terrible, coming in just over 2,000 grams, but you’re looking at $800 or more to get the bike close to 25 pounds. That makes it a tough call; what can you get off-the-showroom-floor for $2400-ish? For me, the clincher is the excellent fit and aluminum no-worries frame, plus the 36t popped up by Brad and the Velo crew.
BMC has always made solid bikes and I feel confident in saying their mountain bikes have been both overlooked and underserved in Northern Michigan. With a killer line-up of cross-country bikes (and some lust-worthy gravel bikes, too) we’re pumped Wild Card Cycle Works is picking up the brand as the Michigan BMC dealer.
BMC Two Stroke AL Specs
Digging the review? Get more goodness in your inbox and sign up for our weekly newsletter, Off the Back.