First Look: Commencal 2014 Meta Range

Aug 21, 2013
by Matt Wragg  
bigquotesIt's about being able to go wherever you want and not feel like you can't do something because the bike won't let you do it. - Nico Menard, Engineer

Commencal's Meta range hold a unique place in enduro history. The Meta 6 was, arguably, the first bike designed with the then-emerging race format in mind. Its predecessors, the Pasta Power and Meta 5 were ahead of their time, all-mountain bikes for more aggressive riding, but the 6 was the one to push the travel out to a full six inches and slacken the geometry a step further, a blueprint that is now almost standard-issue on the international enduro circuit. Today that DNA has been passed on to an entire range of Metas and Commencal pride themselves on producing bikes that are designed to be ridden hard.

Based just a few miles from the Vallnord World Cup DH track, it is those steep mountains that have shaped their approach to making bikes. Engineer Nico Menard explains, "The most important thing is to have fun. For sure, people find fun in climbing, but in our case, we find fun in technical terrain. Whether it's downhill or more all-mountain. It's not just pedalling, it's like finding that feeling a bit like you get in downhill where you have to find your line. That is the philosophy behind all the Commencal bikes, but especially the Meta. I could do the [Vallnord] World Cup track on my Meta SX and enjoy it a lot..."

Like all bike makers, Commencal have been drawn into the Great Mountain Bike Wheelsize Debate. It's something no bike maker can avoid right now, although Nico empathises with their customers, "I totally understand that it's something that people get lost with. They maybe don't understand or have a lot of questions. Most people don't get the opportunity to try different wheelsizes." To offer riders choice, for 2014 they will offer the Meta range in all three sizes: 26", 27.5" and 29". Each of the three versions are similar, based around their desire to make bikes for technical terrain, but with unique characteristics to define them.

Meta 29

Photo Commencal Sam Decoute Meta 29
Photo Commencal Sam Decoute 29 details

"We believe, we strongly believe, this bike is for riders looking for extra confidence." Says Nico, "Stephane, our product manager, likes the 29 so much because it gives him confidence. Some people say 29ers aren't as fun, but for him it's more fun as he has more confidence he can do things he cannot do usually. Maybe he'll jump something he wouldn't jump on his 26 as he doesn't feel as sketchy. That's the thing... It's more for smooth riders. It's also depends on where you live, if you have tight corners everywhere, then probably the 29 isn't the best choice." The Meta 29 was Commencals first foray into larger wheels and remains unchanged from last year.

29 Geo

Meta AM

Photo Commencal Sam Decoute Meta 275
Photo Commencal Sam Decoute 27.5 details

For the AM this year the wheels have swelled up an extra inch and a half to 27.5" for the all-round option in the middle of the range. The compromise wheel size was the natural choice for them and it is Megavalanche legend and current number five in the Enduro World Series, Remy Absalon's race bike this year. With Nico and his mechanic they went testing with the three wheelsizes. Anybody who has been following the discussion on wheelsize in the mountain bike media will not be surprised to know that he chose this bike because it's a "very good compromise." The problem with the 29 was that the dual ply tyres he needed for racing made the wheels unmanageably heavy and preferred the extra confidence of the bigger wheels, ruling out the 26" bike. In the end, he felt that the 27.5" bike was the best all-round for him and his top five ranking in the Enduro World Series stands testament to how good he feels on the bike.

To adapt the 26" Meta AM to the larger wheels there were a number of changes to the geometry, as Nico explains, "The bottom bracket drop is one of the most important things. People are saying 'I could fit 650B wheels on my bike,' but the handling would be crap, in my opinion. The BB-height would be far too high. This is one of the aspects that changes the behaviour of the bike, having the BB-drop gives you that kind of DH feeling."

AM Geo

Meta SX

Photo Commencal Sam Decoute Meta SX
Photo Commencal Sam Decoute SX details

Rounding out the Meta range is the 26"-wheeled, 65-degree head-angled SX, which in the current market could arguably be labelled as a niche bike. What is interesting is doing a straw poll in the Commencal product office, this is the most popular bike among the staff right now. Nico Quere has also chosen one as his race bike for the Enduro World Series this year. As Nico says, "He is an aggressive rider, he is riding his enduro bike like you would ride a downhill bike and for that the SX is perfect. With this we reached the limited, we won't go further. The speed you need to get the aggressive riding style to be able to ride the bike well, especially when it's not too steep, means you need to work a bit harder on the bike to get the great feeling. I see this bike as being almost as capable as a downhill bike, just not as smooth, and you can climb too. I think 80% of the time I can go as fast as with my downhill bike, you just need to pay extra attention to the lines and everything. You can go really fast."

SX Geo

Photo Commencal Sam Decoute Dust
Photo Commencal Sam Decoute AM
  Over the two days we rode some of the best trails Andorra has to offer.

First impressions:
We had a couple of days with the whole Meta range available to us and a selection of some of the best trails Andorra can offer. On the steep, technical trails that surround Commencals headquarters we found ourselves reaching for the Meta SX time and again. In that environment it put the biggest grin on our face. Running the steep, loose trails off the side of the Vallnord bike park the playful suspension and slack angles added up to a lot of fun. If you don't happen to have big, steep mountains on your doorstep and prefer to ride within the comfort zone of your bike, we don't doubt that the bike would be somewhat limited for you, it's designed at the outer limits for this kind of trail bike, and the 27.5" or 29" would probably be a better bet, but on these trails it made us understand why it's the most popular bike in the Commencal office. And yes, our favourite bike from the range is a 26", aluminium-framed mountain bike... - Matt Wragg



www.commencal.com


121 Comments

  • 95 2
 Those bikes look sick!!!!
  • 11 9
 that would make a killer slopestyle bike
  • 18 0
 that SX geometry looks nice.
  • 7 26
flag jeff444 (Aug 21, 2013 at 15:21) (Below Threshold)
 Love the colours and the spec just not the linkage
  • 10 0
 sick is an under statement!
  • 8 4
 slack head angle is no bueno for slope. look at hardtail frames, 69 ha.
  • 17 0
 Meta AM the best looking 27.5 I have ever seen. "AMust have"
  • 17 0
 Yeah they look great, and Commencal does a better job with restraint in graphics than a lot of other companies. Wish they were more available/prevalent in the USA, I'd love to try one.
  • 26 1
 Great looking frames but oh my goodness, too many cables! It's like a Taiwanese electrical box hanging off the handlebars!
  • 6 0
 twozerosix: Restraint??? That type looks like it came on an 80's Heavy Metal album cover! Maybe that's why I love it...
They are superb looking bikes. I want an SX for the color alone!
  • 3 1
 Interesting that for all the given sizes the 650B has the shortest wheelbase. Because each frame's design is so similar the geometry is unusually interesting for the different characteristics of wheel size.
  • 4 0
 @nickbit, well yeah, they are BRIGHT. But there is consideration between the overall paint scheme, and the relative smallness of the 'decals', with artful placement of the logos. Plus the decals of bike model are abstracted in a way that complements the frame design. Its different than the typical BIG COMPANY LOGO on the downtube style of most bikes. They look good!
  • 2 1
 Would totally try of of these if they were available in the US
  • 1 0
 the last picture looks so fun im gonna put something like that in my trail
  • 4 2
 I loved that old cyan colour, not so keen on the new reddy pink oranges
  • 1 0
 Those are some pretty busy cockpits! Holy cables Commencal! Sick looking rides though...
  • 1 0
 their stock build includes FD, dropper, and remote rear shock. that's three cables that aren't absolutely necessary.
  • 2 0
 So sick, but that CTD crap, seriously the amount of cables is insane, and then someone decided it was too hard to turn a switch and it needed a button..
  • 2 0
 Can you get a reverb with a lever instead of a hose and button? I quite fancy trying one, but I wouldn't clutter my bike with the remote.
  • 68 1
 26 is not dead. Long live 26. Props to Commencal for reacting to the market without eliminating choice or alienating existing mountain bikers.
  • 5 1
 I don't care about wheel size I just wasn't a hot pink frame! No joke though I really do. Building up a Canfield Nimble 9 right now that's gonna have a set of pink i9's wheels.
  • 6 0
 long live mountain biking, regardless of wheel size (and frame material/suspension/hta/bb/color/shoe size/favorite food/etc)
  • 6 0
 I was against 29ers after a demo ride im pro 26 as thats what I know, im gonna sit on the fence re 650B until I ride one at least, but does this not show that real world riding means people go to 26 given the choice. What would happen if all brands gave us the choice would the bigger wheelers die?
  • 3 1
 Meta 29... Meh. Meta 27.5... Meh.
  • 3 0
 I am amazed that most of the big brands are the ones who are pushing big wheels and not giving the choice, I would have expected the small brands to be pushed into making the choice first.
  • 31 2
 This is what more bike companies should: offer all three.

A great bike with more options is always a good thing.

Cheers for not being Giant A-holes, pun intended.
  • 2 21
flag forkguardian (Aug 21, 2013 at 18:26) (Below Threshold)
 are you making fun of specialized? also, shouldn't giant have a lowercase g????
  • 17 3
 It's been a while since elementary school grammar but I'm pretty sure Giant is a name there for is correctly capitalized.
  • 3 2
 fuck yeah take that grammar police !!
  • 1 1
 It also had nothing to do with Specialized...
  • 5 1
 @jtayabji- Specialized should be capitalized.
  • 1 1
 @all of you...lol for ever thinking i was serious.
  • 1 0
 @ridingthemoment also, just to do it, 'there for' should have been 'therefore.' pinkbike education...
  • 2 0
 I've been riding and racing an SX for 18 months and have sold a number of SX's and AM's to people both large and small. They are excellent go anywhere bikes that climb very well and descend with authority. The stock shock in the AM and SX 2's and 3's is not the greatest tune but works for the majority of riders. An RP23 BV with high volume air can works great with these bikes, most of the stock shocks don't come with them and slightly faster compression works well for technical riding. The 2014 model bikes will take the new Float X piggy back shock, but not a coil. If you are having issues with your stock shock, talk to your local Fox tech center and they should be able to tune it to your requirements.
  • 1 1
 Wow look at the post dates...
  • 26 4
 I had the 2013 meta AM . Great handling bike but the rear shock lets it down Evan with a custom tune buy TF . It's not great to ride uphill it drags like hell. Bottomed out easy blows its travel to fast . And no choice of putting a rear shock with a piggy back on it to give more support really does let it down . Not what I'd call AM as its way to active and climbs really bad . Now sold
  • 25 0
 Typical pinkbike, the only person who actually owns one gets neg propped for his real world input, despite all the pb users complaining recently that the pinkbike reviews are too positive and just 'marketing bs' it seems they don't like bad reviews afterall.
  • 3 0
 I have 2012 AM and I love it, but you are right about the rear shock blowing thru travel. I don't really have that much of an issue going uphill as long as I don't try to compare it to my 29'r XC bike Smile I just hope by new 2014 AM will have a better shock, and I'm pretty sure you can fit a shock with a reservoir on it now.
  • 2 0
 Thanks for the honesty, guys -- as someone actively seeking an AM bike that will fit me perfectly for training and whatnot, I like seeing honest feedback from actual owners and folks who ride the bikes. Smile No neg props here for that!
  • 1 0
 I looked at a Meta AM a couple of years ago but that was what put me off. Can't fit a coil shock on it. Then they released the Supreme FR which is just a bit too much bike and also quite a bit more expensive. It obviously is possible to make a bit more room in that area and I think they should do it, and at the same time get rid of the front mech mount on the SX.
  • 5 1
 I also have a 2012 Meta AM and I have an X-fusion O2 rl rear shock and for a while I was bottoming out far too often for a while but I finally got the air pressured dialed. I don't that issue now that until I deserve it. Which is all the time. That's probably the issue with most people bottoming out too often. It's because this bike want's to get pushed, HARD. I've thrown everything I can at this frame and it's brilliant. I think It climbs great if my position is adequately balanced. But that could be because I went with a medium when I probably should've went with a large (I'm 5'10" ish) The pedaling platform is great too at the expense of small bump compliance. But wow, when you get this bike into it's midstroke, it feels so damn good. Constantly begging to be rallied like a downhill bike which it practically is. The only issue I've had thus far is cable rattle and routing which appears to be fixed on the new bikes. I'd love to get one of these but I know this frame will last me forever and It'll always be fun.
  • 6 3
 Excuse my typos errors. I only comment after I've been drinking..
  • 1 0
 most air shock tend to blow through their travel - this is not a special trait for this bike it just they way air spring is. I'm not sure why can't you put a pigiback shock there, but I don't think it would solve your issues. I have Specialized Enduro that I've re-valve many times in an effort to solve the blow through and nothing seems to solve this issue, my friend's Enduro EVO with the same frame but with coil shock work some much better that I wish I could replace my shock with coil as well, only problem is - the shock on the Enduro is proprietary and cannot be replaced. If you want to lessen this issue put more air in the shock - it would make it less supple but at least more suportive. BTW I have the same issue my Fox 36 fork it is simply tool soft in the middle unless I put 10PSI more than the recommended air pressure, even after revalving it to be much firmer than stock
  • 1 0
 I got my Meta as a frame only and got a Fox RP23 Kashima from TF and with 4 clicks of rebound and 170psi I do not even notice the back end. After looking at my rear linkage I would think you could fit a piggyback shock in if you installed the rear shock the other way round.
  • 1 0
 I did a spot of internet research at the time - the consensus is that piggybacks don't quite fit.
  • 1 0
 No piggy back will fit this . I emailed commy.....they also said they are working on a meta with a shock with a piggy back .so you may see a new meta soon
  • 1 0
 Avalanche suspension make their shocks with detached piggyback that would fit, check them out
  • 1 0
 Coolio
  • 2 0
 Commencal has released some chainstays for the meta that will let you run a piggyback: www.commencal-store.co.uk/commencal-meta-piggy-back-chainstays-c2x14018492
  • 11 0
 YOuuhouuuu!!!!!! 26" inch, not only 650b!!!! The meta is so raaaddd
  • 3 1
 Yeah, especially when you see a lot of Enduro bikes upgraded into a proper slopestyle bike... I also notice that a lot of slopestyle riders use 26" enduro wheels, as they are very light but also pretty stiff and burly... Imo, aggressive enduro like alpine enduro in really rough and steep terrain can only be ridden by 26" if you want handle and feel of the terrain.
  • 2 0
 same here, less massive things but the wheels(custom build nukeproof hub Mavic EN321 rim ) and they works perectely. I 've done some big hits and rough terrains (2 landings on the rim) and just a little poke on it. Never thought they would survive more than a year!
  • 9 0
 It is good to have a full choice.
  • 8 0
 Bikes look amazing! Genius to make all 3 wheel sizes available.
  • 5 2
 Dear pinkbike, 650b wheels are not 1.5" bigger, they are more like .75" bigger, 27.5" must be some marketing slogan, I actually think 650b wheels look better but I will only ever ride 26", i'm not a professional and don't need the big wheels to get my times down
  • 1 0
 Exactly. Why are pinkbike towing the company line like that?
FFS, we deserve better. This site should be for the consumer to spout bullshit, not the industry.
  • 4 1
 wish more of the larger companies capable of producing multiple wheelsizes in frames would(giant trek), just seems like common sense to not phase out the 26 so rapidly and put all the eggs in the 650 basket. I hope consumers reward those that stayed true...
just saw someone else's comment, what the shit no bottle mounts, step it up commencal and banshee
  • 3 0
 Since when bikes like the Meta SX became a niche category? I think bikes with 160mm of suspension and forks with 36mm stanchions are the perfect middle ground and do-it-all bikes for agressive riders and/or rough terrain. For some reason it seems that the market is trying to push this category into niche by letting us believe that the new 27.5 150mm enduro bikes with Fox 34 can take their place. But even this article states that they are not as capable. I just sold my V10 Carbon because I found out that my Nomad Carbon with a custom tuned Fox 36, Fox RC4, and fully slacked out HA (65.5) rides almost as well in bike parks and at the same time it's a bike that can be pedalled all day (weighing ~30lbs).
  • 1 0
 actually I think that the real question is - why would anyone buy the other offering when you have the prefect bike with the SX? 10 years ago bikes with 160mm and 67 HA use to be the exception, now they become the most common traits for middle of the road trail bikes - 65 HA is prefect for someone who is actually in to the category is real MTB where you actually need a bike that handle well at any reasonable speed outside DH racing. For me at least this is the perfect bike I'm really hoping buying it, only problem I have to find where can I get one..
  • 3 0
 The comment about the bike blowing through it's travel is unfounded IMHO. The bikes linkage design is quite progreessive (2.84-2.44) and paired with an appropriate rear shock, you'll have very little chance of blowthrough....i should know as i weigh 240 lbs and have zero issues with my MetaAM. On the climb propedal takes care of things. Smile
  • 3 0
 Big props to Commencal for giving the customers a wheelsize options and not telling them what to ride instead. These bikes looks absolutely sick. Commencal are doing great things as usual. And we all know that the Meta SX gonna win it as it seems to be the bike that gives the most fun Smile

Big props to Pinkbike for being so objective on that article. I hope they didn't favor the Meta SX just because its pink Big Grin

At the end this all we want. Stop putting us in a wheel size war and give us all three wheel size options to choose from.
  • 6 0
 very cool that they made one bike in each wheel size. LOVING that SX
  • 5 0
 Unless it sux everything that begins with s and ends with x is going to be good. I think.
  • 8 2
 F the 27.5, give me that SX!
  • 6 0
 where's Meta Hip-hop?? 120/140 26-wheeled, 66-head angle super-fun bike?
  • 1 0
 Saw it in Andorra, looks great. Its on their website too so its coming.
  • 5 2
 Holy crap! Look at those bird nests! That's disgusting!!!!! It's nice all the cables route into the frame, but that's not going to save the disaster they've created. Some of that crap has to go...
  • 4 0
 I was thinking the same thing. Cables on cables on cables.
  • 1 0
 on moar cablez
  • 2 0
 Great range, but nailed it with the SX for me and something for everyone else if that floats your boat. Nice one Commencal for thinking of us the consumers and not ramming marketing BS down our throats with graphs and crap, don't even mind the colors some great points of difference.
  • 3 0
 I am very glad, as a owner of Meta SX 2012 , that in 3 year models of Meta Sx - color , is only the one change))
absolutely do it all bike - i'm approve
  • 2 1
 Probably the best rear suspension design out there, low centre of gravity, amazingly plush yet pedals well, eats everything large pivots, great colours and great ride, no flashing tech to scam you, no pressfit crap, but... internal cables look good until you have to change them. what a headache. we've re-router outside and the rear works much better. Bit tight in the chainstay behind the bb. Must say though, given the 30 years I've been riding mountain bikes, all the Meta's kick the ass of anything out there. Tip, buy the bike, strip it, sell the crap and use the money to fit Shimano, then you have the perfect bike
  • 1 0
 My Meta has press fit BB!
  • 1 0
 Just sold my previous model Commie Absolute SX. "DJ meets trailbike" is really fun. This looks as capable as the previous model. The new rear is allright. The previous rearend on the Absolute SX, Supremes was outstanding though.

Color and graphics look way better than the big vendors.
  • 1 0
 I own a 2012 meta am. I absolutely can not rate it enough. But it does come down to your riding style. Aggro riding is what these bikes are about. It's not a fantastic peddler but it will get up a mountain. Ive taken it to morzine twice the only thing that let it down was fox 32's so they went. I've never had issues with the rear travel blowing thru and run a good 3rd of sag.
  • 1 0
 That's probably the first 29er that I've seen that actually looks....completely.....right - if that makes sense? In fact, I'd go as far as to say it looks damn gorgeous! I know its not all about looks but looks certainly do kind of count when you're spending that much money on your pride and joy! Nice one Commencal!
  • 1 0
 I run a 2012 sx, with180mm 36's up front and a ctd with trail adjust on the back, I blow through all my rear travel maybe once a session , which suits me just fine. You can always take up some space in the air can if you Want to increase the spring rate and make it ramp up firmer.
  • 2 0
 I admin I'm a big 29-er hater but I helped my friend today with building Meta29 and I have to say that's the best looking 29-er I have ever seen.
  • 3 0
 Awesome looking bikes. Shame that with all that space in the main triangle they haven't included bottle mounts
  • 4 0
 26" is already a niche bike?? WUT.
  • 2 0
 Awesome bikes, this goes to show you don't need some god awful 3 tone paint job with the brand name slapped on 18 different spots to make a good looking bike
  • 5 1
 Athertons...
  • 4 0
 These look sexy as f**k
  • 5 1
 26" wins.
  • 3 0
 Dear Commencal, please make a bright blue one. kthxbye
  • 2 0
 This bikes light my fire... unfortunatly the numbers of the angles are impossible to read on mobile...
  • 3 0
 A pink bike on pinkbike
"Real men ride pink bikes"
  • 2 0
 This bike lineup and the Nukeproof Mega are the best I've seen for 2013/14 (Minus the Taiwanese electrical box)
  • 2 0
 Is it me, or have Pinkbike forgotten to mention the travel of these bikes amongst all of the wheel size bollocks?
  • 2 0
 I thought they were doing a new 4x?
  • 2 0
 Just had a party in my pants! Nice bikes!
  • 3 2
 The difference between 26" rims and 650b is 26mm/1 inch, not 1.5". That red meta sx looks sweet.
  • 1 0
 why are they so expensive, you can find way better value with a north american brand!?
  • 1 0
 better value? nope, you get a commencal for that price and it's worth it, you can even try out my supreme dh v3 if you want
  • 2 0
 those are the hottest stock paint colors ive seen in a while
  • 2 0
 That pink bike is for sure the cleanest all-around bike ive ever seen
  • 1 0
 Can't see the chainstay clearly. I wonder if they still have that stupid kink in them that cracked so easily?
  • 2 0
 Hourray for the 26" wheeled aluminum bikes! Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Why don't other bike companies make sweet colors like these?!
  • 1 0
 Very handsome the sx, very good bicycle and a very lovely color that of this year
  • 1 0
 with which spech bike would these bikes be compared to? the stumpy evo or the regular enduro?
  • 2 1
 Who is a Good dealer in the US for these Bikes?
  • 3 1
 Unreal Cycles. That's where I got my commencal and love it!
  • 2 0
 I'll take a meta sx!!!
  • 1 0
 Meta am gonna be my next bike.... in 4 - 5 years time :'(
  • 1 0
 saw that pink bike in andorra...
  • 1 0
 I've got the 2013 SX.... And I love it!
  • 2 1
 sweet...will replace my stumpy over meta 27.5.
  • 1 0
 yes gogogo 26 inch wheel..
  • 2 0
 What about Meta Hip-Hop?
  • 1 0
 Looking pretty smick!
  • 1 0
 Sx looks amazing!
  • 1 0
 Super Clean Bikes !
  • 1 0
 I am very aroused.
  • 2 5
 lol enduroshit and gayniners everywhere Razz

E: oh, forgot that middlesized insest son
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