BMC URS Review
Gravel bikes have changed a bit over the past couple of years. As we discussed in our article about gravel bikes, there are a few different types. The URS falls into the category of adventure gravel riding. This means it has a longer top tube and a slack head tube. This makes the URS a very capable bike. What makes the URS stand out from most bikes on the market is the built-in elastomer between the seat stays and the seat tube. The elastomer gives the URS ten millimeters of suspension and also helps to manipulate frame geometry. Some simple technical details about the URS, the frame is one-by specific, can fit up to a *measured 700x45 mm tire, designed for 100x12mm front and 142x12mm rear wheels and propriety seater tube and stem design (normal bearing sized and handlebars). So let’s break down why the URS is the future of gravel.
To start, I think it’s important to mention that the URS quickly became one of my favorite bikes. Having tried many bikes in and around this category, it quickly became clear this bike wasn’t like any of the other bikes I have tried. Like most modern mountain bikes the URS sports has a very long top tube and comes stock with a very short stem. This makes the URS stable yet still very mobile. The “mountain-bike-like” body position is very comfortable right away, especially for those who spend a lot of time on mountain bikes. With the bike pushing your body into a more upright position, I felt much more confident on fast technical descents. Unlike many modern mountain bikes, the URS positions your body in a lower position very similar to many road bikes. We found the URS to sit much lower than many comparable gravel bikes which make for better cornering and enhanced stability. When in the drops, the URS feels unlimited. For those that haven’t experienced how much more control you have when in the drops of a gravel or road bike, it is like night and day. You immediately gain a lot more leverage and control of the entirety of the bicycle.
The URS frame geometry is extremely capable. While it might not have the slackest head tube angle, I have found that the fork is quite raked out which makes the bike extremely stable. There are many numbers to analyze like with any bike, but the URS is truly a very sound platform. The URS seems to sit much lower than other similar bikes. When riding in the drops, you do not feel slammed forward or down low.
As mentioned earlier, the URS has a built-in elastomer on the seat stays. The elastomer gives the bike 10 millimeters of suspension. While it might seem gimmicky, it is truly is one of the best things ever put on a bike. When doing a J-hop style “bunny hop” the URS, you easily load up the elastomer and then push off to jump even higher. This makes the bike extremely playful. While it is only a few millimeters, it truly goes a long way. Personally any more and the bike could begin to feel soft. I have also found that when riding down steep trails with water bars at higher speeds, the elastomer does a great job of helping you get in a position to pump through the divots.
Sometimes when in the drops and descending at fast speeds it can be sketchy or physically difficult to bunny hop. Because the URS allows you to manipulate the geometry of the frame to make it even slacker and more stable, it makes for a more sound and solid ride experience. Even with the more upright geometry and suspension, the bike still feels much more efficient than even some top-level road specific bikes.
When taking the URS on single-track with aggressive mud tires, the bike felt much smoother than any other gravel or cyclocross bike I have ridden on rough terrain. Keeping in mind that tire pressure makes a large difference on any bike, I made sure to try different pressures. No matter which tire pressure zone (softer, medium, harder) I had the tires at, I felt that the frame truly did yield a smooth ride than many other comparable frames. There is a lot of engineering involved in frame layup design which will have a profound impact on how the rider’s body is affected by the terrain.
Like most of the BMC bikes, the URS comes with a D-shaped seat post. While there are countless arguments for why a normal 27.2 mm seat post would have been a much better option for this type of bike, I came around and realized how much I enjoyed it. The URS can actually fit a 27.2 seat post when fitted with a shim. The front of the D-shaped post was constructed to be the same size as a 27.2 mm post for this very reason. It is pretty cool when a company has the forethought to make their proprietary technology compatible with universal parts. While a dropper post might be more hip and modern, they truly feel horrible when pedaling seated when compared to a carbon 27.2 seat post. D-shape seat posts are designed to have a lot more compliance than virtually any cylindrical post. While riding the URS I never found myself wishing I had a dropped post. Whether a result of frame geometry or bike set up, I know the URS was properly thought out.
While testing the URS, I have found that tire and wheel combinations can significantly change how the bike behaves. While this is true for every bike, I find it can have an even larger effect on the URS. Testing the URS with mud tires, adventure-style tires, and fast gravel tires have proven the URS can do pretty much anything extremely efficiently. While tires can help a bike out, they cannot completely change the way a bicycle behaves. As mentioned before, the URS can fit a measured 700x45 mm tire or 650B x 47 mm tire. It is crucial to be conscious of the difference between the printed measurement on a tire versus the width it actually sits at when on a rim. Modern rims are generally hookless and much wider. This causes the tires to effectively become much wider. It is important to check to prevent frame rub from the tire as it can result in compromising your frame.
Want to see for yourself why the URS is the future of gravel bikes? Come try one of our demos or spec one out for yourself.
TECH Specs From BMC:
FRAMEURS 01 Premium Carbon with Micro Travel Technology, Gravel+ Geometry
• ICS Technology
• TCC Endurance compliance level
• PF86 bottom bracket
• Integrated Seatpost binder
• Flat Mount Disc • 12x142mm thru-axle
FORKURS 01 Premium Carbon
• ICS Technology, stealth cable routing
• TCC Endurance compliance level
• Flat Mount Disc
• 12x100mm thru-axle
• 50mm offset (Size 47-51), 45mm offset (Size 54-61)
| BMC URS GEOMETERY