The Little Bike that Can - Max Max by Commencal

Feb 13, 2008 at 2:04
Feb 13, 2008
by Jordan Holmes  
 
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In 2000 a small French company was started, brandishing the name Commencal. Since that time they have been producing high quality bicycles, that appeal to all audiences. The Max Max hardtail was created as an affordable bike, but with a high quality frame. Created with the idea in mind that riders would purchase the bike at a young level, and slowly build it up over time to a bike of a higher caliber. The Max Max frame uses a very comfortable frame design, matched with good entry level parts. What's this mean to the rider? A sick frame, for an even sicker price. What else could you ask for?

Check out the Max Max.

Riding a little bike is something I have missed for a few seasons now. After I made the transition over to a full suspension, the idea of having only front suspension was something I didn't want to think about. I was quite pleased with my 6" bike, rolling around town late at night, with no intentions of doing anything. However, this winter I had a change of heart. After a lot of thought about my riding style, and my skills on the trail, I felt I could better myself by riding a hardtail for a while. In riding a hardtail, I felt that it would force me to be a better rider, not only on the street, but on the trails. Most people I talked to about this agreed, by saying "if you're smooth on pavement, you're smooth on trail". Simply put, if I could better myself as an everyday rider, once I hit the trails I would be good to go.

So after much thought, and analyzing of the bank account, I decided that a hardtail was something I wouldn't mind investing in. However, that being said, the money tree couldn't withstand another clear cut season, so I decided to look into the "best bang for my buck". After carefully studying of a lot of bike companies, Tyler mentioned to me about the Commencal Max Max. At first I was turned off by the thought of a rigid fork, but at the age of 19 I still have strong wrists, that are more than willing to take a bashing once again.

A few weeks went by, some phone calls, and my new little $599 bike was in my hands. Yes, $599 is the base price on the Max Max (and I got a sticker pack worth like $100 on its own!). Some people may ask why I didn't pay a bit more to get a bike with front suspension, or better brakes, so I will explain it to you.


The Max Max is quite a unique piece of work. Marketed as a base hardtail, it came stock with a rigid fork, v-brakes front and back, and 26" wheels. A lot of the components are Commencal branded, which makes for a fairly cheap building price. The part that really stands out to me however, is the 6061 T6 aluminum Absolute frame, which is the exact same frame as is featured on all the higher end Absolute build ups. Commencal's belief when making the Max Max was that if you manufactured a bike, that had a very nice base frame, but built it up with affordable parts, more people would ride your bikes for longer and just upgrade parts instead of frames, which in my eyes is 100% true. Utilizing a very comfortable frame, Commencal began to build up their Max Max with as many "in house" products as they could use. The result? A bike built completely out of Commencal branded parts, with the exception of the cranks. This has allowed Commencal to set a really low base price for the Max Max, making it an ideal bike for a lot of groms, and kids who can't afford a high end street bike.

Full Bike

Full Bike

<center>Rear</center>
Rear
<center>Front</center>
Front

Now, let's talk about the frame. The Absolut AL frame is constructed out of 6061 T6 Aluminum. It's utilizing a 21.65 Inch top tube length, and a 13.58 Inch seat tube length. At its shortest setting, the Max Max is 40.15 Inches hub to hub, and the horizontal drop outs allow for about an inch of growth, up to 41.33 Inches at its longest setting. Utilizing a 69 degreed headtube, and 73 degree seat tube, the Max Max feels quite comfortable, but still short due to its shorter top tube length.

Head Tube

Head Tube


Rear Drop Outs

Rear Drop Outs


Component wise, the Commencal is fairly basic. As stated, most parts were produced either in house by Commencal, or out sourced to a different factory. We will go from front to back. The front fork is Commencal's own Hiten Steel fork. Fully rigid, really basic, but still very comfortable feeling. I am yet to take a shot to the wrists from this one, but I am sure it will feel good. The Max Max is using a Commencal FR stem, with 60mm of reach, that clamps onto the 6061 Double Butted 2" rise bars, that yes, Commencal produces.

<center>Commencal Bar</center>
Commencal Bar
<center>Fork</center>
Fork
<center>Fork Decals</center>
Fork Decals

The Max Max utilizes Commencal's v-brakes front and back, which rub against a set of Commencal Deluxe rims, which are produced by Alexrim. The rims roll on a set of Commencal Deluxe hubs, both of which are bolt on, and the whole assembly is driven by a set of Trivativ Ruktion cranks. The Ruktion crank set was new to 2007, and was targeted towards the Freeride and Downhill scene, as a cheap, but reliable crank setup. In turn, they should work fine for some street and urban riding.

<center>Hoops</center>
Hoops
<center>V-Brake</center>
V-Brake
<center>Hubs</center>
Hubs

Ruktion Drive Side

Ruktion Drive Side

Non Drive
Non Drive

The thing what struck me about the Max Max was the attention to detail on all the welds. Each weld is perfect, right down to the finishing bead. Commencal was not lying when they said "The Max Max is built around the frame". Regardless of the "lower" standard of components, the frame makes up for at least 2/3rds of the cost. The re-enforcement on the rear side of the seat tube struck me as a great idea. Not only would this gusset help with forward motion on hard impacts, which would stress the welds, but it is also aiding on reverse stress, and horizontal flexing. Commencal also introduced a different way of connecting the chain stays to the BB yoke. They used a straight connection, compared to other companies, using a mounting bracket of form. This closer connection allows the tire to be very close to the frame, creating a shorter bike, and with the use of a 24" wheel, could be much shorter feeling.

<center>Headtube</center>
Headtube
<center>Rear Support</center>
Rear Support
<center>Seat Stays</center>
Seat Stays
<center>Underside of Support</center>
Underside of Support

All in all I couldn't have asked for a better deal. I took the Max Max out for my first rip the other night. A calm, rainy, Wednesday night. What a better time to ride. The Max Max felt right at home hopping up ledges, and cramming into window sill wall rides, and it's awesome when all you can hear is the hub. No clinking, or clanging, just the quiet "tick, tick, tick" of the hub. The rigid fork laid a beating on my arms, but no pain no gain, so I will have to stick it out, and teach those arms how it's done. Commencal has really hooked the market up with the creation of the Max Max. So many bikes nowadays are "sick" but cost a "sickening" amount of money. The Max Max is definitely 599$ well spent.


Future Plans


The plan with the Max Max is to build a bike on a budget. We over at Pinkbike realize that by testing all these high end bikes gives you guys a taste of what your bike could be, but may not be due to your budget. So, the plan is we will build this bike over the summer months by searching for the cheapest, yet best deal on the products we will replace. So stay tuned to see how this budget build goes, and I hope you guys enjoy reading what I write. If you want to request any idea's for parts, drop me a message through the Pinkbike message system.

Commencal can be reached at Commencal.com
As well, check out my album for all the pictures of the Max Max.

Grip it, and rip it.

Grip it, and rip it.

Jordan.
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71 Comments

  • + 15
 sorry, but Commencal is easily as good a bike company as specialized... if not better.. they have more podiums... are not where near as mass produced and arn't as common.. and look cleaner.. i know what i'd rather
  • + 11
 I think this bike is quite a good idea. I hear a lot of people with nicer bikes criticizing it but when you do not have $1000 to spend on your bike I think it's a great option to have, and for those who think v-brakes and no suspension are horrible, they should understand that well set up v-brakes can provide sufficient power for street and dj, and while the lack of suspension is of course hard on the wrists, it actually turns you into quite a smooth rider while you save up to get a suspension fork...

I have a 2008 maxmax and am very happy except with the wheels --> the rims are Alex Ace17s, which are officially XC rims, and get bent easily.
  • + 3
 I think the fact that most people have said it would be a good bike if you put X, Y or Z component on there just proves the point they are trying to make.
Get this as a cheap entry into the sport and then you have a frame that is instantly ridable, but is more than capable of growing with you as you get better. We all change parts on our bikes, but the frame IS the bike.
And this is a really good start, watch out for some of the bigger companies doing something similar.

Well done guys :-)
  • + 3
 well, i put halo's on mine haha
they are really good bike to buy and upgrade, i mean, i got mine on a deal for £250.. and have spent almost double that adjusting it to exactly how i want.. and its better than buying a £250 frame because you can ride it whilst saving up for the parts you want.
  • + 3
 thats an awesome idea, i wish more companies would do that. and rigid rigs make you such a smoother rider, i didnt think it would until i tried it. it seems like i rely alot less on my supsension and pick smoother lines when i ride trails. and just because its rigid doesnt make it bmx, totaly differant qualities between the two disciplines, its like comparing DJing and Trials.
  • + 4
 like the sticker sheat concpet:P dont think i would put stickers on mine id give it a new paint job:P(stickers for the laisy onesBig Grin )
  • + 2
 "and the whole assembly is driven by a set of Trivativ Ruktion cranks. The Ruktion crank set is new to 2008, and is targeted towards the Freeride and Downhill scene, as a cheap, but reliable crank setup. In turn, they should work fine for some street and urban riding."
the ruktion isn't new to 2008. this link to the 2007 norco ryde shows it in their part specs. www.norco.com/2007bikes/templates/model/enlarge.php?id=33&view=&deets=2
i also remember seeing it on someones bike.
  • + 2
 Thanks for the heads up.
  • + 1
 it is not the crank that is new for 2008 but actually the bb and crank interface, it is a major improvement over the 2007 product
  • + 7
 ur a idoit^^^
  • + 2
 My friend has the 07 MaxMax with a 80mm goldlabel and a avid bb5 on the rear and its a very light bike. Super flick-able and fun. I have the 07 p.1 and after riding the MaxMax my bike feels like a lead weight.
  • + 2
 I think it's a cool little bike it's good seeing a high profile company caring about the younger guys. You put that much money into a norco or kona and you end up with plastic.
  • + 1
 sweet idea i useto haveta suffer without a bike when i had no money but now i can buy one of these puppys and later make them into to a bull and thats where your headshot came from never could figure out what the hell it was
  • + 3
 sick bike, something different, which is apparently quite difficult for many pb users to grasp..
  • + 2
 i got n 06 one... have fun when u fit a rear disc... you will need to run a qr axel. and on horizonal.. that ain't fun.. i love mine, but thats a pain in the arse
  • + 3
 Dont like the fork!. rest of it nice i think Smile
  • + 3
 you know what would make this bike so much better?
If it was mine..
  • + 0
 yeah i just got my 08 Max Max i put a juicy 3 in the back and a DJ comp in front, and an ethirteen bashgard and put in better pedals and now its perfect
  • + 1
 well i have nothing against the bike- my LBS keeps trying to pressure me into buying one hhahahaa
  • + 0
 ballochnutter... i had the same problem as you... throw some chain tugs on there... makes it so much easier to work with a disc brake...
  • + 2
 nice idea, but i think i'll stick with 24seven
  • + 1
 Looking good Jordan,Looks like a pretty tough lil HT,hope to see ya at prospera rippin er' up this spring!
  • + 1
 that would make a great trials bike. For the price u pay
  • + 0
 they are really nice bikes look foward to seeing them at djs and ass sorts of riding
  • + 0
 That bike would be tight with some of those Atomlab DJ forks. Idk if I could go from my bike to no suspension though.
  • + 0
 i've heard those are damn heavy and they really suck. (a guy i know had those, but he swapped them after a view weeks because it felt so damn heavy)
  • + 0
 when you buy it new does the frame have any stickers on it?,

please reply...
  • + 1
 mine did - see my profile pics
  • + 1
 yeh as far as i know, thats wat i got on mine...
  • + 0
 i rpobe it and is a very good bike whit 24" its realy littetl but it sooo cool
  • + 0
 not too much, mines fairly light.. pics are on my profile.. its an 06 though.. and thats an 07
  • + 2
 That's actually the 08 version. What you have is the 07...this one did not come out until october 2007, therefore it's the 2008 version.
  • + 1
 I just had it on the scale, it pulled out 30 pounds 1 ounce. However, with the usage of a better fork (either a lighter rigid, or a suspension fork) it could easily be in the late 20's.
  • + 1
 Although I haven't weighed it myself, I did hear that the suspension fork is like an anvil. 3kg by some accounts, and although I find it hard to believe, it definitely is pretty beefy.
  • + 1
 hmmm i myself would just go with a p.1
  • + 1
 the bike itself looks pretty sick
  • + 0
 ya i cant afford anything so im totaly into that
  • + 0
 No i shuld get it. oh shit that was my previous comment.
  • + 0
 where can i get one in canada, looking at that limited edition one???
  • + 0
 nick we have 30 dealers across canada, Hub cycle in nova scotia can get them or email and i will send you details for a store or go to www.kmi.ca, then to dealers and pick one! thanks pete
  • + 0
 It looks wicked
  • - 1
 good conecpt, inexpensive entry level bike, im all for that. But it is absolutely ugly as hell.
  • - 1
 gosto mais da minha vag dp dual pro series
  • - 1
 Only my bike can make the difference !!!!!
Big Grin
  • + 0
 How much does it weigh?
  • + 3
 27.8lbs
  • - 3
 all around i dont like it at all
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