BMC launches all-new gravel bike: be unrestricted with the URS

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Think BMC, and you are more likely to come up with speedy-looking road and mountain bikes, rather than something designed for gravel. The Swiss brand might have been a little slow off the mark when it came to launching a gravel bike, but it is clearly keen to make up for lost time.

There’s a lot going on with BMC’s first gravel bike

The URS (UnReStricted – no, we aren’t sure of the logic of the abbreviation either) has had a lot of design time thrown at it. Whether that translates to a better riding bike is another question, but for the time being, lets find out a little more.

The bike is designed for more than straight gravel roads


BMC claims it has designed the URS to meet the needs of the “demanding and diverse” gravel rider. It applied its engineering expertise on an all-new platform designed for everything you might want to do on a drop bar off-road bike: from high-intensity gravel racing to backroad exploration.

The URS Two is built up with Shimano GRX Di2 and DT Swiss wheels.

“During our development of URS, we focused on creating a bike that would crush gravel and dirt roads, but also be capable and fun on twisty, high-speed terrain that’s technically challenging for current gravel bikes,” explains Mart Otten, Senior Product Manager Road at BMC Switzerland. “It’s easy to make a bike that rides well on a straight gravel road, so we pushed the boundaries of URS capability by implementing our progressive gravel geometry, huge tyre clearance, and dropper post compatibility, plus incorporating BMC’s proprietary Micro Travel Technology (MTT) for additional rough terrain performance.”

Keeping the cables tidy, and look how short that stem is

The frame

To meet the wide range of rider demands, the URS has some clever stuff going on. This being the bike world all this stuff has a fancy name, so forgive the Lots Of Capital Letters. First off, the URS uses a carbon frame. BMC spent a lot of time developing the lay-up of the carbon; “Tuned Compliance Concept Gravel”. This is a little more than just the lay-up.

A squared-off seat post, clever carbon lay up and 10mm of “MTT” damping should make for a comfortable ride.

BMC chose to use a D-shaped seat post, again to build in a little of compliance into the system. Finally, if all that wasn’t enough, the company has used its MTT damping system for even more vertical flex and traction. This is essentially 10mm of damping, isolating the seat tube from the seat-stay junction.

The entry level URS Four

It’s not just about building in flex, though. BMC has decided to transfer mountain bike thinking across to gravel, designing the URS with a relatively slack 70º head angle, long reach and short stem (55cm or 70cm, depending on frame size). That stubby stem uses the company’s ICS integrated stem – tucking cable routing internally, for a particularly tidy looking front end. It’s the kind of thing that we expect mechanics will hate, but might be beneficial for bikepacking with a bar roll – fewer cables to get in the way.

All URS bikes (this is the top spec “One”) come with a removable integrated mudflap

Thoughtful features

The BMC URS is 1x specific, but with the release of Shimano GRX, there’s a few more options for riders who don’t want to go down the SRAM route. The bike also features the kind of stuff that we’ve come to expect from gravel bikes, even if they aren’t quite universal yet.

Fork bumpers stop the ends getting scuffed when removing a front wheel

The URS comes with clearance for 700c x 45mm tyres, features dropper-post compatibility, three water bottle mounts and top tube mounts. There are standard mudguard mounts, but BMC also includes a minimalist bum-fender (Dfender) to mount to the seatpost and keep the worst of the spray off your rear end. The bike also comes with dynamo routing, for those who want to go long on their rides.

The URS Three uses mechanical Shimano GRX. All bikes are 1x specific.

The range

There are four specs available, thoughtfully named the URS One, Two, Three and Four. The top-spec “One” comes with SRAM Red/Eagle AXS mash up and DT Swiss GRC 1400 Spline carbon wheels. The “Two” is no less blingy, swapping the SRAM for Shimano GRX, but keeping the electronic shifting. The “Three” keeps a Shimano theme, using mechanical GRX. Finally the “Four” returns to SRAM, with an Apex based groupset.

  • URS ONE: £8,999
  • URS TWO: £5,999
  • URS THREE: £3,999
  • URS FOUR: £2,999

More information from BMC.

Comments (4)

    If gravel bikes keep evolving they may end up like my 1990’s 29er…

    I like the d shaped seat post, pretty foolproof although thinking about it you really need a d shaped dropper, I guess they will have one in the pipeline.the rest of the bike is looking good gravel bikes are evolving maybe develope some shock absorber thing for the front , bit like the stem thingie (can’t remember it’s name) but then where do you stop with it all? I guess what I really want is a xc hardtail

    what makes me laugh is that i really fancy this bike……with a flat bar!!!!!
    i really agree with the other comments here…….. im glad i live in a time where modern bike tech is being applied to original xc/local stuff riding.
    personally this kinda bike will appeal with -either flat or dropped bars- to most riders who ride local trails from their front door e.g. 75% of Cannock chase could be ridden on a bike like this and would benefit the riders over there rather than the 170mm gnarduro rigs that everyone seems to buy

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