One of the coolest things about coming to large bicycle trade shows is being able to see prototypes, early development models and concept bikes. With almost the entire bike industry converging on Germany for the Eurobike show, it’s an excellent opportunity for companies to flex their R&D nouse and show off just exactly what they’re capable of.
For this year’s Eurobike show, BMC turned up with a slick display of their 2017 road and mountain bike line. That said, there wasn’t a whole lot new for the off-road side of things, as BMC had already released its new mountain bike line up earlier in the year. Lurking around the corner however, was this very striking concept bike that BMC were keen to show off, while keeping many of the details locked down. That didn’t stop us from prying some info out of them, while taking lots of pretty pictures.
A new concept bike from the brains at BMC in Switzerland. This right here is a carbon fibre, full suspension, plus-tyred pedal-assist electric bike. And it is quite possibly the best looking ebike we’ve ever seen.
Finished off in a matte grey paint job with matching 3.0in wide tyres, the BMC ebike concept stood out like a sore thumb in their Eurobike booth.
Plus for sure ya? 27.5×3.0in wide rubber aboard the BMC concept ebike. BMC don’t currently offer a plus mountain bike of any description, so is this concept evidence of what might be to come from the Swiss brand?
Recognise that tread pattern? Leave us your answer in the comments section below!
For a concept bike, this does appear to be a very polished piece of kit. What’s also telling is that carbon moulds are expensive, so we’d hazard a guess that this bike is a lot closer to production than BMC were alluding to.
Tapered head tube with flush headset bearings give a sleek look up front.
Internal cable routing also helps here, but it’s the semi-integrated battery and the angular carbon downtube that help give the ebike concept surprisingly clean lines for an electric-assist mountain bike.
We’re told it’s a Shimano Steps XT M8000 drivetrain on board the BMC concept ebike, but we couldn’t confirm what changes there might be to the stock electronic drivetrain.
The STEPS M8000 electronic motor sits low in the frame, with a skid plate protecting the bottom bracket area on the frame.
The rechargeable battery forms part of the frame’s downtube, and is removable for charging off the bike.
Keyed entry for locking down the battery.
Here’s the official word from Stefan Christ, Head of R&D at BMC Switzerland. “This new mountain bike has been designed to put a smile on rider’s faces, with its pedal assistance helping to pack in, even more, trail riding fun!” Christ adds “Our proven expertise in the creation of great ride experiences, complimented with superior suspension technologies, provided us with a very strong foundation, to begin with. We have also talked to plenty of riders to learn about their exact needs and we are confident that we are delivering a product that will bring the whole experience of riding a mountain bike to the next level”.
How can you have a ebike without electronic shifting to match? Shifty duties via Shimano XTR Di2.
And the other side of the bar features the control paddles for the ebike motor, so you can adjust modes on the fly.
After ogling over the concept bike, we went further into the BMC booth and found this ugly mule; it’s the original test platform used to assess the Shimano STEPS M8000 system.
With big Fox 36 up front, the prototype mule appears to have been developed as a proper long-travel trail bike. Our guess is 150mm of travel front and rear, with a platform that’s loosely based on the existing Trailfox design.
It don’t need to be pretty, it just needs to work. And as any self-respecting mountain biker knows, electrical tape works.
BMC call their high-end R&D department the Impec Lab. This is where all the top-level concepts are cooked up, often years before anything sees the light of day (if it ever does).
All of those CNC machined parts have been specially designed to modify an existing carbon Trailfox frame to mount a Shimano STEPS M8000 motor and drive system.
More machined bits up top to play with suspension kinematics.
Kind of looks like a fishing bucket doesn’t it? Well there’s no fish inside, just a 500 Watt electric motor.
More electronics, this time from the XTR Di2 derailleur out back.
In speaking with BMC, it sounds as though a lot of development time has gone towards integrating Shimano’s electronic drivetrain into the frame to ensure a smoother ride. It’ll be interesting to see whether this translates to a production model that avoids the ‘lurchy’ feeling that many e-mountain bikes currently exhibit.
And the finished product. BMC hinted that we should all keep our ears to the ground for March/April next year. They’ve got a couple of new off-road products in the works, and we’re guessing this will be one of them. But, we’ll just have to wait and see…