Bike Check: Tom Bradshaw's Commencal Meta AM 29

Aug 23, 2021
by Sarah Moore  

Pinkbike presenter Tom Bradshaw took it back to the basics with no rear suspension this spring on the Commencal Meta HT AM, but he says he's cheating on the hardcore hardtailers now that his Meta AM 29 has arrived. It will be his daily driver and enduro race bike, while the Supreme DH 29/27 will be his DH race bike and bike park machine.

Bradshaw went for the Meta AM 29, with a 170mm fork and 160mm of rear travel for maximum chunder-eating ability. Tom's a fit guy, with an all off-road Everest on Fromme Mountain on Vancouver's North Shore in his back pocket, as well as some World Cup XC racing under his belt when he was a junior and he says he has no problem pedalling a bigger bike.

Bradshaw loves that weird type 2 fun (miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect) that borders on type 3 (not fun at all, not even in retrospect) and in his most recent Pinkbike video, he tries to ride 100 trails in a day in Cumberland, BC on the Meta AM 29.

Rider Name Tom Bradshaw // Pinkbike Presenter
Age: 28
Height / Weight: 176cm / 5’8”, 79kg / 174 lbs
Hometown: Squamish, BC
Instagram: @bradshaw_tomnz

bigquotesI wanted the big machine for confidence on steep, fast, chunky trails here in the Sea to Sky as well as on EWS and other enduro race courses if I can make it there! I’ve got no problems pedalling a slightly longer travel bike all day too, I really value the confidence, and bigger insurance policy I get from the bigger suspension platform, particularly when I’m trying to follow people I have no business following, or hitting features I have no business hitting.Tom Bradshaw

Meta AM 29 Details
Frame: Meta AM 29
Size: Medium
Wheel size: 29”
Shock: Rockshox Super Deluxe Ultimate
Fork: 170mm Rockshox Zeb Ultimate
Wheels: 29” Zipp 3ZERO MOTO, ZM2 Hubs
Seat Post: RockShox Reverb AXS 170mm
Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.4 Super Gravity soft compound front, Big Betty 2.4 Super Trail casing soft compound rear
Drivetrain: SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS 10 - 52T, 34T chainring, 170mm cranks
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
Saddle: Deity Speedtrap
Cockpit: Deity 50mm Copperhead Stem, Deity Ridgeline 15mm rise, 770m wide
More info:

The medium frame has a 470mm reach, which Bradshaw pairs with a 50mm stem and low 15mm rise bars. The low rise is probably a throwback to Bradshaw’s XC glory days, and he’s experimenting with the higher rise Deity bars.
The head tube angle on the Meta AM 29 is 63.6 degrees, which is only .8 degrees steeper than the Supreme DH bike.

The wheelbase is 1258mm, which is a much more stable platform than the 1178mm wheelbase on the Meta HT AM.

Bradshaw rides Schwalbe's Magic Mary tire on the front paired with a Big Betty in the Super Gravity casing and soft compound.
Bradshaw doesn't ride tire inserts with his 29” Zipp 3ZERO MOTO wheels. His tires, which are set up tubeless, have 23 psi in the front and 24 psi in the rear.

The 170mm RockShox Zeb Ultimate has a 44m offset, 60 psi and 2 tokens with the Charger 2.1 damper. Bradshaw rides 4 clicks of HSC from closed, 14 clicks of LSC from closed, and 12 clicks of rebound from closed on his local Squamish trails.

The rear shock is a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, and Bradshaw rides it with 3 tokens installed. He rides 151 psi in the rear shock, with 4 clicks of LSC from closed and 4 clicks of rebound from closed.

200mm front and rear rotors for the SRAM RSC Codes.

Bradshaw says he runs his bite point dangerously close to the bar, as he feels more comfortable with his fingers closer to a fist.

His drivetrain is SRAM's XX1 Eagle AXS with a 10-52T cassette, 34T chainring, and 170mm cranks.

Tom rides a 170mm RockShox Reverb AXS on the Meta AM 29.

Never not stoked to ride.

Tom's Pinkbike content is supported by Commencal, RockShox, Sram, Zipp, Schwalbe, Deity, Garmin, Pit Viper, 7idp Protection.


  • 65 4
 We can extend the type 1,2, and 3 fun thing further:
if: Fun = FUNction(Expected, Achieved, Retrospective)
and: Expected, Achieved, and Retrospective can take values of Low, Variable, and High,
then: Type 1 Fun = High Expected, High Achieved, High Retrospective
and: Type 2 Fun = High Expected, Low Achieved, High Retrospective
or: Type 3 Fun = High Expected, Low Achieved, Low Retrospective

This gives us the options of 27 types of fun. Type 8 fun is basically a bad hangover after a raucous party: High expected, High achieved, low retrospective
  • 43 0
 Too much math for a Monday, but I’ll take your word for it.
  • 4 0
 I’m so here for this.
  • 11 0
 Type 27 fun: scheduling a cage fight with a professional MMA fighter and getting your face beat in then?

Terrible expectation of fun,
Terrible achieved fun,
and terrible retrospective??
  • 1 0
  • 40 3
 such a good looking bike. I'd take one of these over high-end carbon any day.
  • 6 21
flag numbnuts1977 (Aug 23, 2021 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 Look at it size by side with the WRO Arrival and try to say that with a straight face :-)
  • 6 2
 I own one and it is a wildly capable bike. With the long front triangle and slack HTA the front of the bike is a full-on weapon. You can point it at (or down) anything with confidence. The extra weight from the aluminum build is a actually a blessing as it feels more planted and stable at higher speeds. Its almost a perfect bike.
  • 7 0
 @numbnuts1977: The WRO is a pretty bike, but so is the meta. If both are pretty I'm not sure a 2 or 3 pound weight penalty is worth an extra 5 grand
  • 1 0
 @lastminutetech: I have to agree. My only real complaint is the creaky shock mount on my bike. I ran into one other Meta am owner who has not experienced the creak. I must ask… Does your meta creak? If so, any tips to silence the awful creak?
  • 3 0
 @TKRRRG: Mine would creak/pop when I pushed laterally on the BB with the bike sitting on the ground (cornering load). Rebuilding the lower shock mount, and putting a dab of grease on the ID and OD of that metal bushing solves it for a few months.
  • 1 0
 @lbro23: Thanks for the tip!
  • 2 0
 any idea what this thing weighs? $1,500 frame and a 3k set of wheels. yeehaw.
  • 1 0
 @TKRRRG: there are some sounds but i think its fork and i only notice it climbs or on parts of trail that i dont care for. When its game on i never here it so Im good with it. Absolutely love the bike and a good upgrade in design from the previous frame
  • 4 0
 Any day, do you mean before March 2022 ?
  • 2 0
 @jpnbrider: Worth the wait IMO
  • 2 0
 I have one and love it.. I'm no longer racing.. so i figured that i didn't care about the weight (first non carbon bike I've owned in a long time). Thing is, it's faster than my old carbon jack... and that was faster than the sb6 and nomad 4 that i tested.
  • 1 0
 @MrZ32: For sure...with the long wheelbase the bike just keeps slow and at high speeds.
  • 1 0
 @TKRRRG: I have no creak on my meta ive had for 4 years now..
  • 26 0
 Neat, the rear shock holds the bottle in place.
  • 9 0
 @ridebullit haha I need some Swiss precision and patience in my life - that's what I get for finishing the build dangerously late the night before, could fit a cowbell in there now.
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: Where is the duster ?
  • 2 1
 exactly. water bottle clearance much!?!?!
  • 2 0
 looks like the bottle mounts could be a good 30-40mm closer to the BB
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: You drink out of a cowbell?
  • 19 3
Bradshaw loves that weird type 2 fun (miserable while it’s happening, but fun in retrospect) that borders on type 3 (not fun at all, not even in retrospect)" -I swear that was lifted word for word from an earlier article.
  • 5 0
 I think it was from the Cumberland article (100 trails in a day?) from a couple weeks ago.
  • 5 1
 How do you know these articles are not written by bots?
Many articles online are written by bots, maybe PB is going the same direction.
  • 5 0
 @abzillah: skynet will take care of you if you keep that up...
  • 2 1
 If it was relevant to the previous article, and its relevant to this article, what's the issue?
  • 3 0
 @abzillah: Yeah, PB actually hired the commenter that made the "excited pinkbike commentator" bot. He made "excited pinkbike presenter" aka TomB for them.
  • 4 0
 I find that it's best not to try to be too creative when dealing with definitions.
  • 13 0
 @sonuvagun working on the interpretive dance introduction for next time, will definitely be type 3 for anybody to watch...
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: That dance better not be behind a paywall.
  • 8 0
 I think we all need to see Tom rip some Squamish trails in SPD sandals
  • 6 0
 @sjma it would be a pleasure, will have to be the full jandal/clip flop option
  • 6 1
 "Tires: Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.4 Super Gravity soft compound front, Big Betty 2.4 Super Trail casing soft compound rear"
Seems to be a typo, should be Super Gravity rear, or?
  • 2 4
 Nah, that would be a typical set up, and is the way the tryes are set up in the photos as well.
  • 2 0
 @willyheff: generally you ride with a thicker casing in the rear and not front
  • 1 0
 guessing - perhaps he wanted to run ST F&R (as SG are 1400g beasts), but the MM soft is available in SG only?
  • 3 0
 Tyre shortages. Run what you can get hold off. Purple super trails might not even exist.
  • 1 0
 @thenotoriousmic: Not yet, wink wink
  • 2 0
 @Simzesun: AH my bad, totally misread the comment. Thought that @skulichkov was pointing out the tyre type. ie: Grippy Mary out front and the faster rolling Betty out back.
Personally, I run super gravity front and back.
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad your front Mary does appear to be on backwards in these pics too.
  • 3 0
 Im surprised that COMMENCAL hasn’t just moved the water bottle mounts back about 30-40mm so the bottle can clear the shock with room to spare.
I put a Wolftooth B-rad mount underneath to push it back, worked a treat, but was a bit annoyed I had to do it for a such a otherwise well designed bike.
  • 1 0
 With large frame and new Fidlock bottle there's around 10-15 mm of clearance
  • 6 1
 This bike is so overlooked, looking for a review in the future
  • 4 0
 I waited for 6 months and when nothing happened, I bought one anyway Big Grin
  • 1 0
 @pakleni: how do you like it? Just sold my bike today and looking for replacements
  • 4 0
 @Noeserd: The bike is great. And heavy. But I expected that. Both.

It's around 2.5 kg heavier than my previous trail bike with 135 mm of travel and I still managed to take a handful of uphill PBs.

Going downhill is a proper monster. Where I could feel that I'm riding on the edge with my old trail bike, this one is sure footed and miles from the limit. Honestly, I don't think I will ever be able to say that this bike is holding me down. Even if my technique improves significantly.

After that idiotic review on enduro magazine I was scared that my Large Meta will be somehow unbalanced because of short chainstays (my old trail bike had 450 mm) and that my front wheel will wash out whenever I don't pay attention... Never happened. On my firs 3 rides I was expecting it in every turn. I almost felt disappointed when I found out that bike just rails through the turns like it should.

However, there is a trail on my local hill that is some kind of narrow manmade light downhill pumptrack with a lot of flowy but tight turns. On this bike I can't get anywhere near my old PB.

Also, very steep seat angle is fantastic for climbing but on flats (I have around 15-20 minutes of riding through the city to get to the beginning of the uphill trail) you can feel that pressure on your hands is significant. Especially on the way back home after the ride.
  • 2 0
 @pakleni: Yeah that enduromag review put me off and since there is no other proper review then them i got away from the bike. I have no problem with weight since my last bike was 37 lbs Big Grin might start to reconsider the meta again, thanks for your input
  • 3 0
 The bike is a monster.. mine is a medium so I can't speak for the enduro mag comments but the medium is not a small bike by any means. They are incredibly capable and can bomb trails like no one business but climb tech sections like you wouldn't believe either. They aren't light but neither was my build.. but as some have already said, it actually helps a bit on the rough descents. Love mine.
  • 3 0
 @pakleni: Thank you!! This cemented me getting one, I was dead set on one and then I read that enduro mag review and was like oh no……but I’m glad to hear that real riders don’t see that as an issue and now I’m definitely going to get on the list for one!
  • 1 0
 @Kovacs5211: Swing by. Take it for a spin Wink
  • 1 0
 Are those suspension specs correct? Riding 4 clicks from closed on HSC and 14 from closed from LSC does not make sense to me. You want the bike to not squat during slow, clean take-off and you want it to "eat" everything from fast bumps and holes.
  • 2 0
 Tom blew by us on Somewhere Out There yesterday with a greeting and a smile. Can’t say I got much of a look at the bike. That boy can ride!
  • 1 0
 @bikingduker hope you had a good ride, what a day for it! Would've usually stopped for a yarn but was having a blast trying to keep up with the young fellas
  • 1 0
 That's a lot of compression damping @Tombrad
I've got the same fork and shock, and I find 4 clicks of HSC on the fork to be super harsh. I ride 1 for trails, and 2 for park.
And YES we'd like to see that type 3 ride soon.
  • 1 0
 What are the yokeamajigs on the valves?
Something to do with measuring pressure? Do you have to put counter weights on the opposite side of the rim to balance them out?
  • 2 0
 They are Tirewizs and measure tire pressure.
  • 1 0
 It looks like that shox hits his water bottle. I have seen that close tolerance on other people's bikes, is it a thing for a water bottle to jam up the shox travel?
  • 1 0
 That part of the shock doesn't move. Only the rear of the bike compresses the shock. So it doesn't matter. Looks weird though.
  • 1 0
 I’m surprised COMMENCAL hasn’t fixed this, they could move the water bottle mounts back about 30-40mm and give heaps of room to clear the shock. My only frustration with the frame.
  • 1 0
 Yeah.. it surprised me when I built mine up... had to get an offset mounting piece.
  • 5 5
 How do people not run bashguards? One little "oops" in the backcountry -- a bad line, miscalculated up-and-over, or even just a kicked-up rock -- and you're stuck with a strider.
  • 3 0
 If only there was a company that made something like that...... hmmmm.... I wonder who? Wink
  • 2 0
 Interested to know @Tombrad 's experience on those Time pedals as a SPD user
  • 3 0
 @Arierep yea they go good, I was on SPD for years. They don't look as clean as they do in the photos now but they do their job
  • 3 0
 34T chainring on that big bike in BC?! Impressive legs mate!
  • 3 0
 Rider info is wrong: "176cm / 5’8”"

176cm > 5'9"

5'8" < 173cm
  • 1 0
 I noticed that too.
  • 1 0
 Yeah still waiting for the day PB gets height conversions right haha.
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad Any insights regarding picking the Meta AM rather than the Meta TR (especially since you also have a Supreme, you lucky duck)?
  • 1 0
 XC race guy builds a trail bike the exact opposite of Weight Weenie (exception is the drivetrain).
  • 1 0
 Strong fit guy can handle pedalling heavy bike?
  • 3 1
 @tombrad how much does your bike weight?
  • 1 0
 tom does it ever creak? I want a commencal but my friends is like a creak machine
  • 2 0
 Mine definitely creaks like crazy. I’m gonna give ibro23’s tip a try, hopefully it helps. However, the bike has limitless potential so I will happily live with that creak as long as the bike allows because it is amazing otherwise.

My previous rides were a Devinci Troy and a YT Capra and I quickly found their limits, despite my best efforts the Meta has yet to reveal a single weakness beyond a slight aversion to the tightest of switch backs.
  • 1 0
 None doesn't.. i assembled it myself, with molly grease going in all metal on metal pieces.. never creaked.
  • 1 0
 A 34T chainring on such a hefty bike speaks volumes of your past as a pro XC racer. Hats off to you, Mr. Bradshaw!
  • 1 0
  • 1 0
 Commencal are pretty great bikes. The 2019 clash still hasn't let me down.
  • 1 0
 Tom has an amazing energy! Wow!
  • 1 0
 Whats on the tyre valves? Pressure monitors?
  • 1 0
 Stopped reading after 50mm stem hahaha
  • 1 0
 i knew all those hardtails and stuff was fake bussines
  • 2 2
 Yep. my meta pow is just beyond
  • 1 0
 It's Purrrrfect
  • 1 0
 Jandal life
  • 2 3
 No Mullet Fads to be seen here!
  • 1 2
 Strange build
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