If you want comfort on bad roads, you should look around at BMC in the lower price range: With the Granfondo GF02, the Swiss have an interesting aluminum bike in their range that is in its element on pavé & co. We took a close look at the metalhead in the team look.
It's one of those things with bad weather or winter wheels: pretty much everyone has an old frame and a few parts lying around in their basement - material you could use to build a second bike. But somehow nothing satisfying comes out of it. The difference to a good racing machine is too big, and such an old planer doesn't exactly invite you to drive a longer lap on a rainy summer Sunday.
So the connoisseur then looks for a cheap racing machine that convinces with good quality. An additional plus are features that set them apart from the noble first seller and make them suitable for special purposes - a durable surface, for example for tough winter use, a slightly more compact seating position or more driving comfort for bad routes. Which brings us to another point: The fact that more than 16.000 people took to the track for the popular sport version of the Tour of Flanders, but only around 3.000 for the Paris-Roubaix Cyclo a week later can also be interpreted to mean that many drivers on the pavé are simply afraid for their material. In Flanders one is quite slow on the pavement because it is steep uphill; the sectors of Roubaix, on the other hand, are not only more rustic, but are also sometimes driven over quite quickly. So it's no wonder that you see a lot of cross bikes and a number of very old racers there - and countless cyclists who change their inner tubes at the side of the track because they are on the road with 23 mm tires due to the lack of larger tire clearance.
In the search for a bike that is inexpensive, should be winter-hardy and can also stand its ground on bad roads, we came across an aluminum racer from Switzerland. The Granfondo GF02 from BMC is available in three variants: as an Ultegra wheel in black and white, as a white Tiagra variant and – now it's getting interesting – with a Shimano 105 mix in black with red decor for 1.499 euros. Anyone who occasionally looks at pictures from professional cycling already suspects it: This frame looks confusingly similar to the carbon Granfondo, which is also ridden by Philippe Gilbert & Co. in the classics. Which is a good thing, especially since the Granfondo 02 can do a lot more than just look like a carbon bike.
The first surprise: the frame set and seat post weigh just 56 grams in size 1.990
As I said, everyone has a few parts lying around in the basement - so we got a frame kit to test, which we built up in the tried-and-tested winter bike manner with existing material. Not without taking a close look at the frame beforehand, with the first thing being a trip to the scales.
The first surprise: the frame set and seat post weigh just 56 grams in size 1.990 – pleasingly little in view of the beefy appearance of the frame and fork. The carbon post called "Compliancepost" weighs 200 grams, the frame with seat clamp and bottle cage screws weighs 1.290 grams. The full carbon fork including inner clamp contributes 400 grams, the rest is made up of the headset and conical headset cap.
This puts the Granfondo GF02 at the very top of the list of lightweight aluminum frames of the latest design; Competitors like the Specialized Allez Smartweld or the Cannondale CAAD 10 are lighter mainly because they are anodized instead of painted like the black Swiss.
Well, on closer inspection the differences to the carbon fiber GF01 are obvious. Partly smoothed, partly scaled welding seams show that aluminum was processed here; however, the shape of the frame is identical to that of the carbon model. The top tube of the Granfondo is heavily sloped, on the 56er the seat tube is only 51 cm to the top edge. The seatstays meet the seat tube well below the top tube; they are flat and have a noticeable kink at the level of the brake bridge. Everything together should give the rear triangle vertical elasticity, although the long extension of the 27,2 seat post ensures proper flex. The bridge between the top tube and the seat tube is typical of BMC and, by the way, is very comfortable when carrying the bike down the basement stairs.
The GF02 is by no means just something for tourism professionals.
The GF02 offers a mix of classic and modern assembly standards. Shift and brake cables run on the outside of the frame; for a setup with Di2 & Co. there are cable entries sealed with rubber plugs at the dropout and under the launcher base. The corresponding output is on the left of the top tube directly at the brake cable stop. Surprising, since BMC doesn't even offer the bike with an electronic shifter. Still Not?
A BSA bottom bracket shell may no longer be the latest craze, but when it comes to assembly, the old system is unsurpassed in terms of practicality - especially if you still have an older crankset in the basement. A thick, angular down tube and upright chain stays connect to the housing - together with the material, this promises a high level of rigidity. In the conical head tube there is also a conical steerer tube; the large lower bearing allows optimal support of the fork. Together with the unusual shape of the fork - a kink at the bottom, then slim and very bulky towards the top - this ensures that the transition from the steerer tube to the crown is extremely stable. And another special feature distinguishes the fork and rear triangle: They are designed for 28 mm wide tires, which in turn is ideal for use as a winter bike and on poor surfaces.
When you think of "Granfondo" you think of long, but not necessarily slow - and the geometry of the BMC, which in turn is identical for aluminum and carbon frames, fits in with this. The head tube of the 56 mm is not excessively long on the 177, but the top tube is rather short at 556 mm horizontally. Both together result in a compact seating position; but if you don't use spacers, you can achieve a fairly high elevation of the saddle compared to the handlebars. The rather slack steering angle suggests good directional stability and rather sluggish steering - but before we speculate too much here, we should move on to the practical part.
We carried out our test setup with older Sram ten-speed components and solid, simple Shimano wheels, which we resoled with Conti Grand Prix 4-Season. The extremely stable tire, which has additional sidewall protection, should hopefully lead us without defects over one of the most brutal routes you can complete with a racing bike: the Paris-Roubaix Challenge over 144 km, 33 km of which are primeval cobblestones, spread over 18 sectors (the last small piece just before the velodrome not counted). After all, where better to check whether a bike manufacturer's promise of comfort holds true in an emergency?
The pavé-free first 50 km of the route initially brought the following realization: The GF02 is, as expected, very stiff, with a total weight of around 8,1 kg (with pedals, bottle holders and speedometer) and the heavy wheels slowing down its liveliness somewhat. On the other hand, the bike doesn't seem sluggish at all - you can not only ride straight ahead with the BMC, but also boldly pierce tight corners. The GF02 is by no means just something for tourists; the difference to the "Teammachine" racing model is manageable in terms of seat geometry anyway: 1,5 cm more "stack" (longer head tube), 8 mm less "reach" (surprising, since the top tube of the Granfondo in size 56 is only 4 mm shorter ).
The GF02 then showed its particular strengths on the pavé: Despite the thin handlebar tape and moderately padded gloves, vibrations only reached the hands and arms very muffled - the unusual fork shape actually seems to bring comfort. Even more striking was the performance at the rear of the BMC: 28er Conti, "Angle Compliance" rear end and "Compliance post" ensured that hardly any hard impacts could penetrate to the saddle. The part played by the components mentioned can only be estimated - the carbon seat post offers a lot of flex, and the tires, which are filled with 5,5 bar, also buffered many an angular cobblestone - incidentally without any defects over the entire distance.
It's light, it looks good, it's comfortable
Covered in dust but unscathed, the Granfondo finally made it to the Roubaix velodrome – and proved to us that the aluminum version also offers a great deal of comfort.
It's light, it looks good, it's comfortable – why are there comparatively few Granfondos on our roads? Of course, the brand is still young and has to assert itself against established competitors. But that would certainly be a little easier if BMC were to offer the Granfondo GF02 as a frame set, like the manufacturers mentioned above do with their light aluminum frames - maybe in a weight-optimized anodized version. In the event that the Swiss do not respond to this suggestion: 1.499 euros is not the world for a racing bike for special conditions of use either - and the simple groupset can be exchanged after two winters if necessary...
The Granfondo GF02 is an extremely comfortable aluminum racer, light and blessed with good driving characteristics. The seat geometry is sporty enough to also appeal to fast drivers. I like the black team look, and if BMC were to offer the frame kit separately, everything would be great.
- Very high quality, light aluminum frame with a lot of comfort
- stable, vibration-dampening fork
- Enough tire clearance for 28 tires
- Di2 ready
price and web
- 1.499 euros (with Shimano 105 mix)