New and fresh was this Mk3 Supreme DH.
Look inside for photos and information which give you the low down on this great new looking bike from both Max Commencal and the designer, Nicolas Menard.
updated with video!
The new Commencal Supreme DH Mk3 is a very different beast to that which went before. A lower centre of gravity, completely redeveloped linkage design and a fantastic attention to detail all help set it apart from the three year old Mk2 with ease. In development for nearly two years, the intention will no doubt be for it to continue with the winning ways under the helm of the Athertons.
Floating shocks may not be new, but they are increasing in popularity for sure. Fixed between two moving points of the suspension linkage; the rocker and swingarm, it helps provide increased small bump sensitivity.
So low has everything been moved that the shock is now offset towards the non-drive side by 7mm to help provide clearance to drive train components. Not shown is the press in Shimano bottom bracket to free up yet more space. A 3" stroke shock provides a low leverage ratio on the 8" travel frame and helps to place less stress on suspension components. It also creates a shock curve which is easier to manipulate with tuning as each mm of shock travel is controlling less at the wheel than with high leverage systems, the overall progression rate being similar to that of the old bike.
Chips have replaced the previous threaded wheelbase adjusters and provide more security. Here are adapters for the middle setting which comes in at 17.4" but an alternative set will be available with an offset to use for shorter and longer settings which are currently +/- 0.32" (7.25mm).
A shot of the dropout from the drive side shows both the mech hanger and the internal chainstay routing for the gear cable to keep things tidy and help reduce damage from chain slap. Between this early prototype and the production model the dropouts may be slimmed down although pocketing on the reverse side of these means that this frame is the same weight as the current model. The target is of course to reduce this by production in early 2011.
Internal cable routing starts at the headtube and runs all the way to the back end. This is where the cable and hose enters at the front, a rubber or plastic bung will finish this off and hide the bare edges before going on sale. The only downside may be a little trimming being required to number boards when racing to allow the cables to run unhindered.
The cable routing continues here where you can see one of the few sections of exposed hose on the bike as it passes from mainframe to swingarm. Features like this scream out an attention to detail although the downside is the ease (or lack of) with which a rear brake may be swapped out should the need for a quick change be required when away racing.
With the pivot here on the seatstay the bike is still a single pivot like the Mk1 and Mk2 designs. Even at this stage of prototyping the design by Nicolas Menard (seen presenting in the video) is super slick and looks like it could go into production tomorrow. As with its predecessor the Mk3 carries a 150mm back end which looks clean and tidy.
Where the previous design always had a tall top tube which made it difficult for shorter riders, the Mk3 manages to significantly lower standover height. This is achieved as can be seen here, with the top tube joining the seat tube lower down and a gusset tube providing reinforcement to the join.
Large pivots increase stiffness, the durability of bearings and enable aluminium hardware to be used throughout which helps to keep the weight in check.
Revised headtube design is now 1.5" and allows for zero stack headsets to be used in conjunction with integrated offset headset cups which as standard will enable the headangle to be altered +/- 1 degree from the standard 64 degree position. This photo also shows two notches in the heactube which will make lining the offset cups child's play. Side by side schematics also show the new frame to have a lower bottom bracket than the Mk2. Currently this is approximately 7mm although as with other geometry details this may change with input from the Athertons.
This close-up of the back end in profile shows the main pivot to have moved forwards and higher to alter the rear wheel path slightly. The higher pivot enables a more rearward path for the back wheel to follow and thus help it to ride rough terrain better with less feeling of 'hook up'.