Video: Tom Bradshaw's Commencal Meta HT AM - Bike Check

Mar 30, 2021
by Tom Bradshaw  

Pinkbike presenter Tom Bradshaw is taking it back to the basics with his new hardtail, a Commencal Meta HT AM. This will be Tom's daily driver until his new full suspension bike turns up, so join Tom for a run down of the spec and details of his new bike.


Tom's Commencal Meta HT AM Details

Frame size: Medium
Head Tube Angle: 65
Seat Tube Angle: 74
Reach: 420mm
Reach:Chainstays: 432mm
Wheel size: 29"
Rear Shock: n/a
Fork: RockShox Lyrik Ultimate
Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle 52 - 10 tooth
Cranks: SRAM GX 170mm
Pedals: Time Speciale 8
Rear Derailleur: SRAM GX Eagle AXS
Handlebar: Deity Blacklabel, 780mm width, 15mm rise, 31.8mm
Stem: Deity Copperhead 50mm
Grips: Deity Lockjaw
Brakes: SRAM Code RSC
Rotors: 200mm front, 180mm back
Wheels: Zipp 3ZERO Moto
Tires: Front Schwalbe Magic Mary 2.3, Super Gravity - Rear Schwalbe Hans Dampf 2.3, Super Gravity
Seatpost: RockShox Stealth 150mm, 1x Lever
Saddle: Deity Speedtrap



Settings
Tom’s Carcass: 78kg / 172 lb
Height: 175cm / 5'8"

Tire pressure: 23 front / 25 rear
Inserts: No

Fork pressure: 82psi
Rebound: 8 from closed
LSC:
15 from closed
HSC: 3 from closed
Tokens: 2















140 Comments

  • 92 1
 "This will be Tom's daily driver until his new full suspension bike turns up" ..... So bike non-availability is even effecting industry insiders... Dam. Nice ride, tho.
  • 15 1
 its insanity, rocky mountain rep cant even staff deal his own fat bike for 2021/2022 winter... I kid you not!
  • 40 7
 @BoneDog: first world problems.
  • 11 4
 affecting*
  • 1 0
 I very much doubt it will slow him down...
  • 4 0
 But he is still able to get just released GX AXS and other parts....
  • 4 9
flag DERPOWaterpig (Mar 30, 2021 at 17:52) (Below Threshold)
 I just made it 69 upvotes xD
  • 1 1
 @jmhills: mate anyone could have ordered gx axs the day it came out
  • 2 0
 @mackay66: Yeah, I can order anything I want right now. Actual stock in order to take delivery though? That is a COMPLETELY different scenario.
  • 76 22
 Still think it's dumb when a HT doesn't have two water bottle mounts.
  • 4 3
 Agreed, so much space. That's my only regret on mine!
  • 61 5
 if you put mounts on the seat tube, you can't slam the dropper post. you might even be lucky to get one in
  • 13 0
 @JSpeedy: B-Rad it!
  • 3 1
 @jackdwalker: understood but downtube is huge, could easily allow for secondary mount to house addition bottle cage or other attachment.
  • 6 3
 @JSpeedy: B-Rad it!
  • 20 1
 Do you want super short seat tubes or do you want two water bottles?
  • 3 0
 @JSpeedy: B-Rad it! Wait.... what does B-Rad mean?
  • 7 8
 @alexsin: two water bottles of course. Seat tubes have gotten too short. Look how much seat tube is sticking out of this bike, and usually even more seat post sticks up. It looks stupid and it's structurally inferior.
  • 8 1
 Finally a frame that fits a water bottle and still need another lol. Pink Bike commentators are the best. Looks like a session too.... Oh wait that tire or brake rotor is mounted backwards too.
  • 1 0
 @JSpeedy B-Rad4 it and put a 50oz water bottle in it, you are set for days of riding, and even for drinking at home.
  • 1 0
 @JSpeedy: Cotic's new hardtails do this right, they just litter the downtube with mounting options
  • 7 2
 @jackdwalker: That's only true if they make mounts flush . They can weld on bosses that stick out from the tube and thus don't interfere with the interior of the seat tube.
  • 8 1
 @ryanbouma: For "vertically challenged" people like myself, short seat tubes are great, I wouldn't trade this for an extra waterbottle.
  • 5 0
 @ryanbouma: Now that I put a 210mm dropper post on my hardtail, maximizing seat post drop is one of my top frame requirements.
  • 5 1
 @kcy4130: what person would down vote this? This is genuinely what is done by actual frame builders.
  • 4 2
 Water bottles rattle around like hell on an HT
  • 1 0
 @MountainJnky: Allow me to be the guy who kills the joke by giving an earnest answer... The Wolftooth B-RAD system might allow him to get two bottles on the downtube. I'd probably go with a Two Fish quick cage or another strap on cage on the seat tube. I've explored both options and I was nervous about using one set of bottle bosses to carry two bottles like how the B-RAD operates. But a steel Commencal is gonna be exponentially stronger than my fantastic plastic frame.
  • 2 0
 @ryanbouma: it looks sick w/ the dropper slammed tho; needs a 200+mm dropper
  • 1 0
 @MountainJnky: Wolftooth components B-Rad cages, you can fit a larger water bottle (like a nalgene) to your bike frame and just lash it on with a ski strap
  • 1 0
 @ryanbouma: yeah but if he didn’t have to run an RS seat post he could have just fitted a longer dropper.
  • 2 0
 @justwan-naride: I’m not even vertically challenged, but I still like a super short seat tube on my hardtail. Not worried quite as much on a full suspension bike.
  • 1 1
 @jackdwalker:
Giant Fathom 2021 have 3 bottle mounts and dropper
  • 1 0
 @CustardCountry: you are absolutely correct about short seat tubes on hardtails getting full rowdy. Got to let that back end go buck wild and not worry about the seat at times. It amazes me how many "hardcore" hardtailers (and manufacturers) don't get this (ex- Kona, GG, etc..), they put huge seat masts on them, ugh!!!
  • 2 0
 @JDFF: yeah, I really hate the look of seat tube braces on frames, I’d rather just have a shorter seat tube - keep it low

Even on a full suspension bike I don’t like them.
  • 1 0
 @UnInc126: or Chris king... I think, have clamp on mounts.
  • 48 1
 Long time hardtailer here. absolutely nothing to worry about just ride it like a normal bike and send it!
  • 6 0
 Where's the super like button on here?!
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: Yep 100% it's a normal bike, just huck and pray like any other!
  • 46 1
 back to basics: axs?
  • 2 0
 Beat me to it - my thoughts exactly.
  • 6 0
 GX AXS. It’s all relative.
  • 10 0
 Cheaper by far than those wheels...
  • 36 2
 @tombrad because you asked about hardtail tips.....
1. You may want to entertain the idea of a tire insert in the rear wheel. This will allow you to prop psi down to 20(ish) and still charge harder and smooth out the bumps.
2. If the opportunity is there maybe try an alloy wheelset, you may find it a bit more dampening than carbon wheels (not all carbon wheels ride the same, but its often not a good match for a hardtail that you want to rally on your trails.)
3. You may also end up setting your high speed compression a tad firmer as you will likely adapt to riding a bit more "nose heavy" on bigger drops. Not in a bad way, but in a controlled "I'm going to let the fork do the work" way. Slightly different than a full squish bike. Therefore fork settings won't be exact.
4. This bike should not be compared to your 2014 Friday Fails XC whip, two different animals. If you have the mindset they are similar it will hold you back.
5. Look for different lines on familiar trails. They will be there as speed and technique adapts.

Good luck and have fun! Looking forward to the follow up report edit!
  • 5 0
 I'd stick a higher rise bar on too, a high front end helps account for the 'nodding' effect of the fork diving, plus I just find the riding and body position seems to benefit, even more so than on a full sus bike.
  • 8 6
 20 psi... only if she's 5'3"!
  • 13 2
 If you need more comfort might as well try 2.6 tires. It was a noticeable difference on my hardtail.
  • 3 0
 @Trouterspace: depends on tire casing also. Assuming he is running heavy duty casing/sidewall. And an adequate tire insert, 20 psi should be pretty good on BC trails, hardtail and his body weight. If burping, or rolling off rim, moving up a psi until sweet spot is found. I suspect it would be between 20 and 22, for the combos I mentioned above.
  • 3 0
 @JDFF too good! This thing is a beast, looking forward to sharing the 'findings' with you soon
  • 3 0
 also would be worth a shot at 27.5+, as its not much smaller than 29x2.35, and will help dampen the trail, especially on the alloy frame
  • 2 0
 @ltharris: one thing to consider with 27.5+ heavy duty tire casings aren't likely an option. For @Tombrad 's riding ability and the trails he is riding, he most likely be needing a very stout (heavy duty casing) rear tire. I don't know that there are any 27.5+ rear tires that have casings worthy of Tom's situation.
  • 3 1
 The Zipp Motos are flexier than any alloy rim, but otherwise all good tips.
  • 1 1
 Hans dampf needs to go unless you’re only riding mellow tracks with lots of peddling. Put a purple Mary on the front and stick the orange on the back. Use schwalbes tire doctor for tyre pressures. 25 psi sounds high for a super gravity.
  • 2 0
 These ZIPPs are the most comfortable wheels I've ridden on a hardtail. With commencal's super stiff alloy frame, these wheels will make a huge difference.
  • 2 0
 @hardtailparty: yeah, I haven't ridden the Zipps, but recognize they are single walled and relatively different from most carbon hoops. I tried being careful in my initial comment, not putting all carbon hoops in same category. How do the Zipps hold up?
  • 2 0
 @JDFF: totally. And your comments are spot on. 95% of the carbon wheels i ride make a hardtail feel even stiffer. The ZIPPs have been flawless, I've had zero issues with them. I feel like their "ankle compliance" helps them deflect when you have fun strikes. They're not light, but they've really impressed me. If you pump corners extremely hard, you'll feel a bit of flex, but they're one of my favorite wheelsets for hardtails. Plus their lifetime warranty gives me confidence that ifnsometgingjsoild happen, I'm covered.
  • 2 0
 @Tombrad: one more thing....It will take a few rides before you find the hardtail groove. Honestly, the first ride may be miserable. Stick with it and after about two weeks (assuming you are riding 5-6 days a week) it will click. Your body actually has to adjust also, little muscles here and there. In other words don't judge the hardtail until you've been on it for at least a couple weeks.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: I’ve heard the same, was chatting to someone on the trails who said they’re much more forgiving than his previous SC and Enve wheels.
  • 7 0
 got the 2019 model as my daly driver as you liked to call it. Did it all, raced an enduro race, ride to work, bike packed, explorational riding, even a run down the megavalanche track in France. What a bike. I think I keep it forever.
  • 10 0
 Nothing about the weight...as a woman never tells her age ..
  • 10 0
 ... nor her weight.
  • 3 2
 My money is on 13,6kg/29lbs.
  • 4 0
 @nozes: I’d say over 30
  • 9 0
 Is that reach a typo? 420mm?????
  • 4 1
 It's the same on the Commencal site. 1178 wheelbase. Very short for a modern bike, in my opinion, but I've never ridden one.
  • 3 0
 not a typo medium is 420mm
  • 3 0
 It's such an interesting mix of modern and "pre-modern" geo. Sixty give degree headangle, but short reach and slack seat angle. Whatever, I'm sure it rips.
  • 7 4
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: It's a hardtail. It steepens and reach gets longer under sag. So effectively you have something like a 66.5 deg with 440 reach (did not calculate it, just guessing).
And that's becasue if you want to go fast, you should probably choose a fully instead, so extreme geometry is not really needed. I know, hardcore hardtails look cool but it's a niche.
  • 6 0
 I just built up a medium 2020 norco torrent which 450 reach which Norco says is for a 5 foot 7 person. My main bike is a Stumpy evo 480 reach . I am 6 feet .
I thought it would be too short , but turns out it is actually perfect for the riding I use it for . It’s like riding a giant dirt jumper . Made all of the regular trails much more fun . I think a huge reach hardtail would take away from the nimble feeling . ????
  • 3 6
 @lkubica: I agree that hard tails don't need extreme geo. My Trek Stache has a reach of right around 420 and I'm 5'10", I think 440-445 with a 67 deg HA would be just about perfect.
  • 5 2
 I rode a meta ht for a season, it is way too small. I sold it for a longer bike
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Definitely not needed, but if it increases the fun factor I'm all for it. It would be interesting to trade bikes for a day. I'm also 5'10'', my hardtail is 470 reach, 64 degree HA, 1240 WB, 27.5x2.8
  • 2 0
 From what I've gathered - reach can be comfortably much longer on a full suspension bike. When you need the bars to come up to your body, say when levering the bike up onto a feature, the rear suspension compresses and helps the process along - folding the bike in half underneath you.
  • 3 0
 Yeah I'm 5'11 on a 425mm reach hardtail, though with a 60mm stem. Feels weird when I jump on it from my big bike, but for sketchy winter rides where it gets used the most, the shorter length makes it an absolute weapon.
  • 4 0
 I actually have this exact frame in the same size. I was sceptical about the 420 reach as well but that was what Commencal suggested for my height and style (5"10"). I can say for sure that the 420mm feels like the 440mm on my Supreme SX. So yes, on a hardtail you don't need as long a reach to get the same effective feel due to the rear sag on a fully (which effectively shortens reach) and the front sag on a hardtail (which effectively lengthens it). Hardtails are also typically ridden differently as well ( at least in my old school style) and more off the back of the bike which feels better with a slightly shorter reach.
  • 2 0
 @Grave: to each his own. If I am rocking 470 reach and 64 degree HA I probably want to be on a full squish for the terrain where those numbers make sense. But I'm on the east coast, so a shorter, snappier bike is what I'd look for in a hardtail anyway.
  • 1 0
 @lkubica: Oh cool, thanks for the explanation. I hadn't realised that for some reason.

My personal Sonder Transmitter has a 482.5mm reach and 65 degree head angle but it still feels pretty nimble.
  • 1 0
 Although reach is shorter than most I have one myself in size large and it rides very well, a lovely frame.
  • 3 0
 @Jonzi: I'm 5'10 and have a Transition Throttle HT size L which has a 450 reach and a Patrol size L with a 475 reach. The trends say I should use 475 on all bikes, but 450 feels and fits better. I need a super high rise bar on my Patrol, but can get away with normal on the Throttle. I test rode a Stumpjumper evo in the 450 reach and preferred that to the size of my Patrol, although otherwise the bike was too similar to justify an upgrade.

I think that many people have wound up on bikes that are slightly too large. For lots of riders though, I think the increase in stability is an advantage that offsets the loss of maneuverability.
  • 1 0
 @alpinecycles: i wanted to like mine but it was to harsh for my old bones.
  • 2 1
 Anytime the reach is shorter than the chainstays, it feels off to me. Commencal has crazy short reaches on their hardtails. Same with vitus and Nukeproof.
  • 7 0
 @Tombrad mate didn't you go OTB on a hardtail on the deadwood leg of karapoti loop and get flown to Wellington hospital?
  • 4 0
 I love this guy, Tom is a great pb presenter! Honest question: why have the high speed compression so closed, while having the LSC so open?
  • 4 0
 Pretty sure there's only 4 clicks of HSC on the Lyrik Ultimate. So it's almost fully open.
  • 7 0
 Thanks @Jibofo, @HeyBaumeister is spot on - the Lyrik Ultimate only has 5 clicks of HSC. A lot more compression than my ankles and knees
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: Am I correct that the "from closed" settings on your fork indicates the number of clicks from fully fast? For example, your rebound is 8 clicks out from the fastest rebound setting possible and your LSC is 15 clicks from its fastest setting possible? Is this right or do I have it backwards?
  • 4 0
 @dirtcrasher: Other way around. Remember that compression and rebound circuits are controlled by controlling the flow of suspension oil. As you turn the knob clockwise (righty tighty lefty loosey) you are restricting the flow of fluid and slowing the circuit down. So, fully closed is all the way clockwise with the slowest fluid circuit (slowest rebound, most compression dampening)
  • 1 0
 Nice build! What rise are those bars?
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: they are old Enve Dh bars that i bought on here, i think they are 46mm.
  • 3 0
 I heard that this bike is equipped with pedals that are compatible with open-toed-plastic-strap-closure-equipped-beach-centric footwear.
  • 3 0
 @Quinn-39, it's a definite possibility....
  • 1 0
 @Tombrad: oh excellent.
  • 1 0
 I have these exact tires (MM and HD in 2.35) on my Trek Fuel but in the lighter Snakeskin casing. I would have gone for those over the Supergravity as mine have been super-durable without the extra rotational weight.
  • 2 0
 Are those some Jagwire cable bridges that I’m not aware of? I’ve only seen the ones for a Di2/brake line.
  • 3 0
 Hey, I saw Tom with this on Fromme!
  • 1 0
 This build is quite different from what Ben Yorke - Mr. Hardtail has on his YouTube. Would love to see Tom and Ben ride Whistler together and share their Meta HT experiences
  • 1 0
 Flimsy carbon wheels on an aggressive aluminium hardtail seems an odd choice
  • 1 0
 Those wheels rock on a hardtail.
  • 1 0
 Hey Tom Absolutely bloody awesome to see you on Pinkbike and even awesomer to see you join the Commencal club. Chur!!
  • 1 0
 I built a NS Bikes Eccentric 27.5+ hardtail for winter and I love it. Pic in my profile. Still needs a dropper post though.
  • 1 0
 It's a thing of beauty! Anyone know the max tire size out back?
  • 2 0
 you can easily go 2.6
  • 1 0
 I've put a 27.5x2.8 Rekon on the rear of my 2020 HT
  • 1 0
 i believe its either 29x2.35 or 275x2.8
  • 1 0
 Looks bloody awesome. Loving Commencal bikes at the minute.
  • 1 0
 Great bike check. Way to keep things light.
  • 1 0
 Thanks Tom for reppin' the hardtail!
  • 1 0
 I love how he assumes we are all patient for our bikes.
  • 1 0
 So Tom's off his Yeti SB150?
  • 1 0
 Sweet bike. Want one. Can't get one.
  • 1 1
 I love attention to detail in these builds, the oil slick matched brake lever bolts is a nice touch.
  • 1 0
 Sweet bike. I loved mine until it got stolen.....
  • 1 0
 Noice! More hardtail content please!
  • 1 0
 Finally I see the purpose of the TyreWiz
  • 1 0
 Sick build! Grip it and rip it.
  • 1 0
 Love the comment about the brake levers being the right way around!
  • 1 0
 love that bike but that's definitely not a 51mm offset.
  • 1 0
 What’s the fork travel?
  • 1 0
 Any reason you didn't go for the AXS dropper post too?
  • 1 0
 Fat chance with dare I say it modern geo??
  • 1 0
 How do they get parts!!!!Frown
  • 1 0
 My wolf whistles over this bike just made my wife go upstairs.
  • 1 0
 beauty....
  • 1 0
 Thanks Ever Giver !
  • 1 0
 Unfucked with a vengeance--6k USD hardtail
  • 1 0
 Love the accent Smile
  • 1 0
 More Tom!
  • 1 0
 No scale at PB's office?
  • 9 10
 Aluminum hardtail is a no go for me. Steel is the only way for an HT
  • 16 5
 Nah I just don't buy that any more, when you have 150mm travel forks, flexy 800mm bars and dropper posts, big fat tubeless tyres and inserts, on bigger wheels. Frame compliance is still a thing granted, but it's a fart in a jacuzzi compared to all the other stuff.
  • 5 0
 @pbuser2299: My first steel hardtail was an older Nimble 9, then a Honzo. Jumped off the steel is real bandwagon and decided to give the aluminium Chameleon a go. I 100% support this logic.
  • 6 2
 To each their own. Most things you rattled off are on the front end of the bike, not the back. Once I get my steel hardtail up to speed, I can literally feel the back end giving me compliance. I havent felt that on a aluminum frame. Depends what trails you ride it on I guess too...I'm talking Pisgah Gnar. I also dont use plus size tires and inserts.
  • 7 0
 That is an oversimplification. It is true that steel is usually more comfortable, I certainly prefer it, for hardtails. But Al can be okay if done right. Generally smaller diameter tubes mean less stiffness. Steel bikes have to have relatively skinny tubes, because otherwise they'd weight a ton or the tubes' wall thickness would get eggshell thin, and thus dent easily and be more prone to material defects and buckling. That said, a lot of Al hardtails are now designed to be more compliant than they were in the past. One thing that I hope everyone can agree on is that titanium is the best material for hardtails... aside from cost that is!
  • 3 0
 you should look at the banshee paradox. while i dont own one myself, i have tried one that i ran into at the local trails. its very supple, but not dead like steal. my nukeproof scout feels similar but slightly less supple. alloy hardtails are getting more and more supple, but still much lighter than steel
  • 1 0
 @ltharris: I built one up for my friend and have ridden it a few times. I have a nice carbon throttle HT and the Paradox is probably better at soaking up chatter from the trail.

Hardtail party has a lot of content on this and actually just did a head to head between a steel and alloy bike with the same geometry and the alloy bike rode better with the exact same build. He recommended the Paradox to my friend and it has been a great decision.
  • 3 0
 @defineindecline: the Chameleon is supposed to be very compliant I've heard. The Orange Crush is another and I'm sure there are more which have been well designed for compliance so comfort levels are probably closer to steel than they used to be. Steel 'was' real.

Saying that, I ride a steel hardtail. Only because ti is too pricy.
  • 7 0
 Some steel hardtails ride great, some don't. There are a handful of aluminum hardtails that ride better than many steel frames. The banshee paradox, sc chameleon (alloy, not carbon), alloy Ragleys, and the old timberjacks to name a few. So many steel bikes are being overbuilt these days that they lose that supple characteristic we all came to love from bikes of old.
  • 1 2
 Do they have a version for male rider ? Wink

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