BMC heads off-road with the new URS gravel bike
What does URS stand for? UnReStricted
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BMC has been busy this last month. Hot on the heels of the new Roadmachine endurance bike and the Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike comes the new URS.
BMC says that it’s aimed for a bike that can be used for all off-road riding from gravel races to extended exploration of gravel back roads, and has been developing and testing the bike in the Swiss Jura mountains near its HQ.
It’s also involved the wider gravel community, using the ISPO Open Innovation platform to discover more about how gravel riders would use the bike and enlisted three gravel riders with different riding styles to test the prototype over several months. So it says that it’s aimed for a bike that will satisfy the needs of the gravel racer, the high mileage adventure rider and the long-haul bikepacker. Claimed frame weight for a medium is 1050g with the fork adding 550g.
To meet these gravel riders’ needs, BMC says that it’s developed a new Gravel+ geometry for the URS. That includes a slack 70 degree head tube angle and long reach for stable handling. That’s coupled to short stems, either 55mm or 70mm, for good manoeuvrability.
BMC has also added cockpit integration – the latest trend in bike design also found in the new BMC Roadmachine and bikes like the new Scott Addict RC and the Wilier Zero SLR. The stem and bar are separate, for adjustability, but cables are routed internally for a clean look and a muck-resistant front end. Plus, you can fit a computer and GoPro via the compatible stem faceplate.
As with the Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike, there’s a microsuspension system built into the rear triangle, with 10mm of damped travel built into the top of the seatstays.
As you’ expect for a bike designed for gravel, there’s a lot of tyre clearance: up to 45mm 700c and 47mm 650b and the bike comes specced with tubeless ready wheels and tyres. It’s also single ring only with no front mech hanger. There are bash guards on the bottom of the downtube, the chainstays and the fork dropouts.
Plus you get mudguard compatibility, lots of mounts and internal cable routing through the right fork leg for a hub dynamo. Or you can swap out the bike’s rigid carbon fork for a Fox SC AX suspension fork.
As with the Roadmachine, you can hook up BMC’s Dfender AssSaver-like rear guard, which fixes securely to the D-shaped seatpost. There’s compatibility with 27.2mm dropper posts, with internal dropper cable routing.
BMC URS specs
The BMC URS comes in four different spec options and four sizes from Small to XL.
Top of the range, the URS One comes with the new SRAM Eagle eTap AXS 12-speed rear mech and a 10-50 cassette, paired to SRAM Red eTap AXS 38 tooth chainwheels and shifter. There's an Easton EC70 AX carbon gravel bar and DT Swiss GRC 1400 Spline db 42 carbon gravel-specific wheels.
Drop down to the URS Two and there's a Shimano single ring set-up using the new GRX groupset with a 40 tooth chainset and 11-42 cassette, with shifting using the GRX RX817 Di2 mech. You get an Easton alloy gravel bar and DT Swiss GR 1600 Spline db 25 alloy wheels.
The URS Three has a mechanical Shimano GRX groupset and Mavic Allroad Disc wheelset, while the URS Four comes with SRAM Apex 1 shifting and DT Swiss C1850 Spline db 23 alloy wheels.
All specs come with WTB Resolute 42mm tyres and are tubeless ready. They all also include the Dfender rear mudguard.
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Paul started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2015, covering cycling tech, new bikes and product testing. Since then, he’s reviewed hundreds of bikes and thousands of other pieces of cycling equipment for the magazine and the Cycling Weekly website.
He’s been cycling for a lot longer than that though and his travels by bike have taken him all around Europe and to California. He’s been riding gravel since before gravel bikes existed too, riding a cyclocross bike through the Chilterns and along the South Downs.
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