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Mountain Gear

Review: All I want for Christmas is an Allied BC40

The playful, efficient, and capable mountain bike from Arkansas brought me so much joy to ride in 2022.

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This is a both a bike review and a letter to Santa.

For five glorious months this year, I got to brap around on the Allied BC40, the cross-country mountain bike that Allied Cycle Works brought to market in July.

The BC40 joined an ever-increasing lineup of ‘downcountry’ short-travel mountain bikes, but with a pretty notable twist: all Allied bikes are designed, built, and produced in-house at Allied’s Rogers, Arkansas factory.

Although I got to take to take a BC40 on a quick rip on its home trails in northwest Arkansas during an October visit for a gravel race, the majority of my time on the bike was spent in Crested Butte, Colorado, which, for me— sorry, not sorry — is the real mountain bike capital of the world.

My test BC40

Allied sent me a size small BC40 in the XT M8100 build.

My test bike had Fox suspension (a Performance 34 120mm fork and Float DPS shock) and dropper, Industry Nine 1/1 Trail carbon wheels with Maxxis Recon tires, and an FSA cockpit with carbon bars.

This version costs $7,255.

I forgot to weigh the bike, but according to Allied, a large frame with the Sid Luxe Ultimate fork weighs a very reasonable 1950g.

Read also: Payson McElveen’s ‘climbing rocketship’ is dialed for the Leadville Trail 100

There is a hearty menu of customization options for each BC40 build — the bikes can be built around Rockshox or Fox suspension, with SRAM or Shimano components, carbon or alloy wheels from Industry Nine, and painted to a customer’s preferred palette.

Pricing begins at $4,495 for a frameset (fork, rear shock, and headset), while the luxury SRAM XX1 (with power meter) build will set you back $12,470.

Or, $14,000 gets you a complete Payson McElveen limited edition BC40, which features an Eagle XX1 drivetrain and McElveen’s signature paint job. The Payson frameset (fork, rear shock, and headset) costs about as much as the no-frills XT build at $7,360.

On the trail with the BC40

My first ride on the BC40 was a Crested Butte classic — Teocalli. ‘Teo from town’ is a 27-mile ride with 3,000 feet of climbing on pavement, dirt road, and singletrack.

It’s also one of (don’t freak, I didn’t say the) the best wildflower rides in CB.

The ride starts with a fast spin from downtown CB out Brush Creek Road. After a few miles, the dirt road splits and heads left toward Deer Creek, another CB classic, or pitches steeply up toward Teo.

The BC40 is unsurprisingly great for linking up roads to singletrack. There’s not really even a need to lock out the suspension when you’re not on trail — the pedaling platform is super efficient.

The bike’s geo — a fairly tame 66.5-degree front-end and 76-degree seat angle — also makes it very pleasant to ride to the trail. There’s nothing I dislike more on a downcountry bike than being too far back on the saddle — make it comfortable and efficient for pedaling and climbing and then let the dropper post do its thing on the descents.

So yes, the BC40 has many of the characteristics that would make it a great XC race bike, but it’s also so much more.

The first bit of Teocalli is an anaerobic nightmare — narrow singletrack clambers up pitch after pitch, and it’s hard to catch your breath. Fortunately, there’s a nice lunch spot with a view before the the going gets really tough.

The trail gets steep again where it enters the shadowy canopy of spruce and fir forest. It’s rooty, and depending on snowmelt and rainfall, eroded. Line choice is tantamount and cleaning this section is a real victory.

I’ve ridden Teo countless times and had my best Strava time here on the BC40 last summer. I know all the spots where I often lose my front end and buck backwards, but it didn’t happen on the BC40, even if I wasn’t doing my best at getting my weight forward. I maintained traction on some of the steepest sections and didn’t feel like I was forcing it.

I didn’t clean it, but still.

Although I love riding uphill, the Teo descent is pure joy. First, it’s sporty and fast through the dark woods, and then swoopy through a big cluster of fat aspen trees. There are some steep bits in there, and I found myself having to pay a bit more attention to my speed and line choice as the “business in the front” of the BC40 isn’t quite as forgiving as something slacker.

However, the 120mm rear suspension is capable of nearly anything and allows you to ride this bike like something ‘bigger’ than it is. When Teo noses out of the trees into the open meadows, it’s full speed ahead, and the BC40 can go fast.

The BC40 was the perfect Crested Butte bike, not just on Teocalli, but on all my other favorites: the all day lung-buster of a climb up to Star Pass at 12,300, the rooty, rocky Westside/Happy Hour descent on the ski hill, my favorite after-work sprint up Baxter Gulch followed by the techy traverse over to Green Lake, and on pretty much every other trail south of the Paradise Divide.

I miss summer just thinking about it.

BC40 geo, etc.

The BC40’s geometry is based around the very useful 120/120mm front/rear travel combo, but for those who like to go superlight, the bike can set up around 110 or 100mm of travel by utilizing different fork and shock options.

Tire clearance is 29×2.4 on all sizes, and there is room for two water bottles in the center triangle on all bikes, as well.

allied bc40