Bike Review: BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Cross One
BMC ALPENCHALLENGE AMP CROSS ONE
With a celebrated legacy that includes everything from Tour de France victories to major mountain bike cross-country wins, BMC is a brand that has applied itself to a wide range of cycling pursuits, which is reflected in
With a full range of electric-assist bicycles, BMC Switzerland offers four models of the Alpenchallenge AMP—Sport, Cross, City and Road—and each aptly named model comes with a parts spec tailored to conquer a specific task. We chose the Cross One model for its all-road versatility and were curious to see just how adventurous we
The foundation of the Alpenchallenge AMP is a svelte carbon frame and fork. Clever design integrations are hidden throughout, which lend to its clean, overall aesthetic. Internal cable routing is utilized from tip to tail of this bike. Electronic cords are inlaid in the handlebar, and the front brake’s hydraulic housing is even discreetly hidden inside its fork. The whole bike features sleek styling with smooth contours.
A straight-blade fork meets the head tube’s shape with exact precision, giving the front of a bike an ultra-modern look. The rear of the bike is as mechanically innovative as it is visually sharp, with lowered/dropped seatstays and an integrated seatpost clamp that hides the fastening bolt from view and helps keep the clever D-shaped seatpost tight. The rear disc-brake caliper is neatly tucked away via a flat mount, nestled between the chainstay and seatstay, and out of harm’s way.
Another integrated piece of tech that you’d nearly need pointed out on first appearance is BMC’s Micro-Travel Technology (MTT). Based on a design used by BMC’s cross-country mountain bike race bikes for several years, the MTT suspension provides 10mm of travel via an integrated XCell damper, along with chainstays and seatstays that are designed to flex and help take the harsh thud off abrupt hits.
The Alpenchallenge AMP battery placement is on the seat tube to allow one traditional water-bottle cage on the inside of the downtube.
BMC didn’t skimp on the working parts. Shimano’s UR800 brakes and 160mm rotors provide ample power, with consistent modulation even on extended descents. The SLX drivetrain proved crisp and precise throughout our testing with little need for adjustments. DT Swiss’ R500 rims boast a 22mm inner width to help support the knobby WTB Nano 700x40c tires.
Shimano’s E-6100 motor is quiet under operation and offers 60 N/m of output power. Keeping appearances sleek is Shimano’s compact display unit that’s safely tucked behind the handlebar next to the stem, which helps keep it protected yet visible. It also features a single button to access display modes to remain simple. Toggling between power modes—Walk, Off, Eco, Normal And High—is handled by another simple, two-button mount near the left grip. The cockpit is tight and tidy, thanks to these condensed-shaped units.
Shimano’s largest-capacity battery, the STEPS BT-E8010 504 Wh, offered an honest range. Powering the 250-watt motor over hilly terrain—and using a lot of time on High assist mode—we were able to access 50-mile rides over a mix of ride surfaces.
“The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Cross One is attractive to any bold e-biker that won’t shy away from a dusty road, trail or path.”
The charge times we experienced for the Shimano STEPS battery were generally about two hours to refresh to 100 percent, with a fully drained battery taking just under four hours to regain full power.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR
Blurring the line between cyclocross and gravel potential, the BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Cross One is a flat-bar bike with an eye towards adventure. And for riders looking to go off the road to experience, the occasional mountain bike trail certainly isn’t far-fetched. The flat handlebar puts the pilot in a comfortable upright position to maintain steering control and support rider weight—a posture conducive to a large backpack for commuting or adventuring with supplies.
While the BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Cross One is not a mountain bike, it is designed to be all-terrain-friendly. While we never shied away from mixing up our route to take the most direct line to every location, the rigid fork was the best reminder of what the bike’s limitations were. Still, commuting on a wide range of surface opens up your creativity. Steering responsiveness is a strong suit of the Cross One, thanks to its 12x100mm thru-axle fork that kept everything solid, even under heavy braking. Long descents were never anything to worry about as the bike’s 180mm front rotor substantially helped to increase the bike’s stopping ability, no matter how steep or sustained
Initially, we were a little concerned with the 44-tooth chainring potentially running out of gearing before reaching the Class 1 pedal-assist cutoff at the 20-mph mark, but we were pleased to find that the 11-speed drivetrain with 11-40-tooth cassette provided enough range for even the most aggressive test rider.
Rider contact points like handlebar grips, saddle and pedals are often subjective. While most personal preferences vary, we found the BMC’s spec to be acceptable for a range of testers. The Selle Royal saddle was comfortable, and the asymmetrical grips offered excellent palm support. We also liked that the flat pedals featured grip tape for added traction. Void of jagged pins used on mountain bike pedals, we could avoid damage to the soles of our nicer office dress shoes.
The Shimano E-6100 motor performed best at a cadence range behind 55–80 rpm. When the tempo was around 55–60 rpm, the engine’s pedal assist was able to provide strong torque to help get the bike up to speed. And when the crank’s rpm increased to 75–80, the slightest audible hum reassured the motor was still providing assistance to maintain the bike’s momentum.
The BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Cross One is an attractive choice for any bold commuter who won’t shy away from a dusty road, trail or path to get to their destination. An urban cyclist with an appreciation for avant-garde tech and design that matches purpose-built performance will admire what this bike can offer. Well-thought-out features like powerful disc brakes, wide 40mm knobby tires and a flat handlebar help the Alpenchallenge be capable of much more than simple commuting or supplemental fitness rides and could open up light-duty off-road possibilities that you might have never previously considered.
BMC ALPENCHALLENGE AMP CROSS ONE
Motor: Shimano STEPS E-6100 250W, 60 N/m output
Battery: Shimano STEPS BT-E8010 504Wh
Charge time: 2.5 hours
Top speed: 20 mph
Range: 30–50 miles
Drive: Shimano SLX
Brakes: Shimano UR300
Controls: Shimano STEPS E-6100
Fork: Alpenchallenge AMP Premium carbon, flat mount, 12x100mm thru-axle
Rear shock: Micro-Travel Tech, 10mm travel
Wheels: DT Swiss
Tires: WTB Nano, 700x40mm
Weight: 36.2 lb.
Color choice: Off-white
Sizes: S, M (tested), L