The BMC URS Prefers All Roads Much less Traveled
The Takeaway: The BMC URS is a bulldozer of a gravel bike, nice for anybody able to get misplaced. It options sufficient stiffness for miles of effectivity but in addition has key options that hold the rider contemporary.
- Carbon fiber body with micro-suspension soaks up onerous impacts
- Bike feels extremely planted and quick on the highway—for a gravel bike
- It may well even really feel too secure on tough roads or trails.
Weight: 19.2 lb. (M)
Tire Clearance: 45mm (700C), 47mm (650B)
At first look I’m greeted by a gravel bike; upon additional inspection I’m somewhat confused by what I’m taking a look at. It’s the BMC URS, or Unrestricted, a gravel bike, I believe. Though, I’m choosing up hints of an XC hardtail, journey touring, and aero highway bike. With a stubby stem and lengthy attain, it’s making an attempt to slot in with the trendy mountain bike and off highway developments, however with built-in cables and wires it looks like it additionally needs to hitch the aero bike celebration. Not fairly positive the place to start out with the URS, I got here up with a various terrain take a look at loop. It featured model new pavement, pothole riddled roads, packed grime fireplace highway, advantageous gravel trails, and to high all of it off some XC-style singletrack. I received’t say it’s a mountain biker’s drop bar bike or a highway racer’s mountain bike, however the URS is a properly outfitted off-road journey machine, significantly excelling at lengthy slogs whereas loaded up with gear.
Getting Able to Journey
Earlier than I get into the main points of how the testing went, I’ll contact on setup first. The body sizing is extra akin to that of a mountain bike and I went with my typical medium mountain bike measurement. The match I ended up with felt prefer it was straddling the road of XC race bike and regular gravel bike. I left the stack peak comparatively excessive, partially as a result of lack of break up spacers. Nevertheless, it labored out to be that the hoods have been in a pleasant comfy place for lengthy rides and technical trails whereas the drops have been extra in keeping with the hoods on my race bike. So I used to be in a position to get low and secure within the drops however have a really comfy place on the hoods for various terrain.
The principle triangle supplied loads of house for 2 bottles and a small body bag, in addition to a number of mounting factors for including on baggage or fenders. I arrange the bike a number of instances with my body bag and handlebar bag filled with my favourite snacks and provides. That is the place the URS actually stands out to me. For those who’re in search of one thing to spend a complete day on, this bike could be the ticket.
Chock Filled with Tech
The URS is stuffed with off-road options, beginning off with a dependable 1x Shimano GRX Di2 groupset and extensive DT Swiss wheels with huge ol’ rotors (180 entrance, 160 rear). The body additionally consists of built-in safety on the dropouts and downtube, which is appreciated as rocks begin flying. Maybe the obvious characteristic is the “Micro Journey” constructed into the seat stays, it affords you 10mm of “uh oh” safety and a touch of smoothing. I say “uh oh” as a result of it’s actually most famous if you hit a pothole or unsuspected rock, and it simply takes that little little bit of shock out of the affect, which can prevent from fatigue or a dreaded flat tire.
The simplest smoothing characteristic is huge tires and dialing in tire strain. Huge clearances imply you may journey as much as 45mm tires at low strain for max smoothing. The inventory 40mm WTB Riddler tires did a fantastic job sustaining grip on variable terrain and didn’t really feel too buzzy on pavement. An added bonus of the built-in cables make tossing on a handlebar bag and body bag simpler with little danger of cables getting in the way in which or rattling throughout on tough roads.
On the Street/Gravel
Get within the drops and stomp on the pedals; the bike powers on. Get again off the saddle and level it down a tough part of fireplace highway and it doesn’t get too overwhelmed. The added Micro Journey does take a few of the harshness out of highway vibration and absorbs unintentional onerous impacts however don’t anticipate it to really feel such as you’re using on a cloud, extra of the sleek journey comes from voluminous tires.
The bike feels nice on lengthy stretches of blended terrain and when requested the URS responds to energy switch and floats over imperfections higher than a standard bike. The URS actually appears to come back into its personal when requested to go on longer journeys or bike-packing. Though not examined in a race, I imagine the URS would supply a fantastic platform for longer gravel escapades the place a clean journey is vital to lowering fatigue to maintain the adventures rolling.
To the Restrict (Pretending it’s a MTB)
For those who do end up on rocky singletrack with the URS, you’ll definitely admire the bigger tires and extra relaxed geo. The bike is assured and holds its line. Nevertheless, the micro suspension is rapidly overwhelmed, which isn’t a shock. One other notice is that the bike feels too locked to a line at instances, on technical trails. Don’t anticipate many fast line adjustments, higher to be on alert and select your line with precision. Sure, I’m conscious that singletrack shouldn’t be the meant floor, however it’s one thing that’s encountered on bike-powered adventures every now and then. With that in thoughts the URS does a fantastic job faking it as a mountain bike to get you to the following part of smoother gravel or into the again woods to your chosen campground. This isn’t to say you might want to keep away from technical trails as a result of there’s some enjoyable available within the problem of using an easier machine on tough trails.
All in all, the BMC URS succeeds in being a clean, endurance-type gravel bike, in a position to deal with mellow long-distance bike packing journeys or hustle its approach by means of your gravel race of alternative. If I needed to choose this bike for one facet of biking, I’d attain for it on a long-distance tenting journey with a whole lot of unknowns. I favor a extra conventional, light-weight, race-geometry gravel bike after I’m trying to be on the entrance of the sector at a gravel race. That’s to not imply it wouldn’t be a fantastic race bike on your 2021 gravel world champ’s bid. With a number of tweaks to setup I imagine the URS may go from feeling like an all-day journey machine to extra of a racer, primarily by choosing a decrease entrance finish place.
On the finish of the day I had enjoyable on the Unrestricted, pushing its limits to see what the machine may do. I do imagine that’s the level of this bike, to simply get you on the market whether or not it’s on the native path or on an epic gravel journey.