mean green machine is ready to rumble. With a slack and adjustable head angle, chain guide tabs, and a carbon fiber swing arm, it's one trick speed machine. But does it all come together on the trail where it counts? Keep reading to find out how the 160 mm travel Meta 6 VIP performed. Great riding video inside as well!Read on...Commencal Meta 6 VIPWatch the video to learn more about the Meta 6 and to see it in action!
Commencal's Meta 6 is designed to be ridden as an aggressive bike that can cover rough ground at speed, play in the bike park, or be comfortable on long days in the saddle that will cross challenging terrain. That describes a lot of bikes these days, especially since the 6" travel category has taken off like wildfire. The Meta 6 VIP does have some unique traits that separate it from the pack though.
Commencal Meta 6 VIP
The Meta 6 uses Commencal's Contact System to control the bike's rear suspension. The Contact System is comprised of a single pivot swingarm and a compact linkage that controls the bike's Fox RP23 rear shock. The main pivot sits just slightly above the middle chainring and rotates on large sealed bearings and a big diameter aluminum axle. Activating the shock are two stout links - a connecting rod attached to the swingarm, and a rocker link that compresses the shock that let Commencal dial in the exact suspension rate that they are looking for on the Meta 6. Giving the back of the green bike an easy push shows that it it's rear end is incredibly sensitive and eager to enter the first stages of its travel, but as you get further into the stroke it quickly ramps up to prevent hard bottom and increase stability when the bike is ridden in anger.
The Meta's Contact System
One noteworthy feature on the Meta 6 frame is the adjustable head angle that uses a rotating sleeve as opposed to different shock mounting locations. This allows the user to adjust the handling without their affecting their suspension preferences. The sleeve can be turned by hand and is held in place with pinch bolts. The stock head angle is 67.5 degrees and our medium test bike came with a sleeve that allows for plus or minus one degree of adjustment, as well as a zero degree sleeve. The large and extra large sizes feature use the same system, but allow only half a degree of adjustment.
An internal eccentric sleeve can be rotated to change the head angle up to a full degree
Our green machine is built around Commencal's high end VIP frame that is updated with a carbon fiber swingarm that is claimed to be not only stiffer than the standard aluminum version, but lighter as well. At the very back you'll find modular dropouts that can be swapped from the stock quick release setup to a burlier 12 x 135 mm thru-axle if you're looking for something more secure.
The VIP version of the Meta 6 frame features a carbon fiber swingarm
For 2010 you'll be able to find chain guide tabs (ISCG-05
) on the Meta 6 that will allow you to run a guide without any extra hassle, or even install a HammerSchmidt. The fact that there are still plenty of 6" travel bikes out there that don't sport ISCG tabs amazes me, props to Commencal for adding them for '10. Other nice touches include cable routing for a telescoping seatpost (our Meta came stock with a Joplin
), and a toptube that slopes more than the previous years for added standover clearance.
Commencal Meta 6 VIP details
Replaceable dropouts can be swapped from QR to a sturdy 12 x 135 mm thru-axle
• Intended for enduro/all-mountain/general trouble making
• 6.29/160 mm of rear wheel travel
• Fox RP23 XV rear shock
• Single pivot with linkage activated rear suspension
• Carbon swingarm with modular dropouts (QR, 12 x 135 mm, or Maxle )
• Adjustable head angle via internal sleeve (+/- 1 degree)
• Built in routing for telescoping post cable
• ISCG-05 tabs
Commencal Meta 6 geometry, size medium
Based on a 535mm axle to crown fork with a 26"x2.3" tire
|Head angle||67.5 , +/- 1 degree via adjustable sleeve|
|EFF Seat Angle||68.5|
|EFF Top Tube||572 mm|
|Bottom Bracket Drop||8 mm|
|Actual Frame Size (seatube length)||450 mm|
The Meta 6 is available in four sizes, small to extra large, that should accommodate the majority or riders. Have a look at Commencal's geometry page to find which size will suit you best.
It won't take a keen eye to spot that our green machine is built using different parts than Commencal specs as stock. The build kit on our Meta 6 is not something that you'll find in the Commencal catalog. BTI is the North American distributor for the Andorran bikes and the parts that adorn our Meta 6 VIP frame are all carefully chosen from their catalog. I've always felt that it must be a bit tricky to pick and choose the parts for any of these capable 6" travel bikes as they can see such a wide range of use. It isn't as simple as deciding what sort of bits to bolt onto a dedicated DH or XC bike because a rider who owns a Meta 6 may take it into the park and ride lifts all day, or he may want it to weigh in under 27 lbs and spend their time bagging alpine passes. BTI has done a good job of putting together a bike with capable parts, including a RockShox Lyric Solo Air that uses a 20 mm thru-axle, and power increasing 7" rotors, while keeping the pedal hounds happy with a relatively light DT wheelset and two chainring and guard/front derailleur combo. There's no getting around the fact that the Meta 6 isn't anywhere near being the lightest 6" travel bike out there, but it does everything you'll need to allow you to ride it pretty much anywhere that one could want. The Specs
|Frame and Size||Commencal Meta 6 VIP|
•160 mm travel
|Rear Shock||Fox Flot RP23 XV Boost Valve|
|Fork||RockShox Lyrik Solo Air, 160 mm|
|Crankarms||FSA Gravity Lite|
|Bottom Bracket||FSA Gravity|
|Chain||SRAM PC 991|
|Cassette||SRAM PG990 11-32|
|Rear Derailleur||SRAM X.9., long cage|
|Brakes||Avid Elixir, 7" rotors|
|Front Wheel||DT Swiss 340 Trail wheel|
•20 mm thru-axle
|Rear Wheel||DT Swiss 340 Trail wheel|
•10 x 135 mm
|Tires||Front, Kenda Nevegal 26 x 2.35"|
Rear, Kenda Nevegal 26 x 2.35"
|Saddle||WTB Silverado SLT Ti|
|Seatpost||Crank Brothers Joplin|
Suspension is a joint Fox and RockShox affair, with a 160 mm travel air sprung Lyric up front and a Fox RP23 out back. Commencal has chosen to spec the Fox shock with its larger volume XV air can to fine tune the suspension feel, but riders have the option of purchasing the smaller air can for a more progressive feel if thats what they are looking for. The RP23 features Fox's three position Pro Pedal lever which can be quite important on a 6" travel pedal bike, as well as the usual rebound adjustment. There are plenty of adjustments to fiddle with up front, with the Lyric having adjustable beginning stroke rebound, both high and low speed compression dials, Floodgate for the smooth climbs, and finally air pressure to determine the spring rate.
The green Meta 6 VIP looks to take the same stance as a lot of all-mountain type bikes, that is, it doesn't strive to be the best descender or the easiest to climb, but a fun all around bike that an aggressive rider will have a good time on and most everyone should be able to take advantage of its versatility. It sports three chainrings, but also has chainguide tabs, it comes with a quick release rear wheel, but can be converted to run a 12 x 135 mm thru-axle for some extra stiffness, and the head angle can be slackened out a full degree if you frequent the steeps or spend your saddle time trying to keep up with buddies on DH bikes.
The Meta 6's roomy toptube makes for a comfortable climbing position, especially on longer pitches where a more cramped cockpit would hinder extended ascents. Riders like myself who run short 50-60 mm stems on their all-mountain bikes will greatly appreciate the slightly longer toptube for this reason. While the Meta comes stock with a Crank Brothers Joplin seatpost, it was also nice to see that it sports a full length seattube that will let you completely slam the saddle if you're getting really rowdy, while still having enough length to raise it up high enough.
The Meta's Contact System provides a very easy entry into the RP23's stroke, which does wonders for traction, but does make for a very active rear end while climbing. Without the Fox shock's ProPedal engaged it gently strokes through the first part of its travel under while under pedaling loads or even the slightest body movement. This is greatly reduced when the PP is engaged, although the dampers stiffest setting isn't a strong as I'd like it to see it. The key to getting the most out of the Commencal when climbing is the same as a lot of other 6" travel bikes - sit and spin your way to the top instead of mashing and flailing about on the pedals while standing. The upside to such reactive suspension is traction is abundant when making your way up rooty or tricky ascents.
The Meta 6 is a very confidence inspiring descender that will have you pushing yourself to the limits of your comfort zone quickly. Commencal's Contact System suspension has been tuned to deliver a very sensitive beginning stroke and the green Meta didn't disappoint, somehow making the tiny Fox RP23 feel like a lightly sprung coil shock. The bike constantly wants to go fast because of this and doesn't seem bothered by trail chatter that may upset a less forgiving 6" bike. The forgiving nature of Kenda's 2.35" Nevegal tires also added to the equation, the result being a bike that I trusted in the trickiest of situations. Once past the 50% mark the Contact System ramps up the suspension rate quickly enough to prevent the bike from using all it's travel when you don't need it, but setup takes trusting the the pushrod and rocker arm to do it's job - which it does quite well.
|The bike constantly wants to go fast because of this and doesn't seem bothered by trail chatter that may upset a less forgiving 6" bike. - Mike Levy |
You aren't forced to ride over the front or back of the Meta in order to get the tires working, it seems to hook up well no matter how you're hanging off the bike. When pushing hard I was able to feel some flex coming from the back of the bike, not enough to hinder the bike or even close to causing tire rub, but more than some other bikes. Swapping the dropouts to accept a 12 x 135 mm thru-axle rear wheel should go a long way to erase one of the Meta's few faults. Other Notes
The DT Swiss 340 wheels may not be the flashiest wheels around, but they proved to be stiff and reliable throughout my time on the Commencal. No truing or tensioning required at any point.
The Crank Brothers Joplin telescoping post works as advertised... sometimes. Ours was slow to return to full extension and the seat clamp rotated under me more than once. I'm excited to try their new 4" travel offering, the Joplin 4, as I didn't have much luck with this model.
The Meta's adjustable head angle is altered by rotating an eccentric sleeve within the headtube. Once you're done you simply lock it in place via pinch bolts found on the front of the headtube. It's a simple system that works well, but can be prone to making noise when ridden in dry and dusty conditions. It's worth noting that the version on the front of the Meta 6 was perfectly quiet during the entire test despite every sort of trail condition imaginable.
Although I didn't get to ride the Meta 6 in overly muddy conditions, I can see the lack of tire clearance possibly being an issue when things get really goopy. There is certainly less room between the tire and the swingarm than can be found on other bikes.
The official word in the Commencal catalog is that the Meta 6 is a "marathon DH bike", but I think that it's better described as an all around trouble making bike that can excel under advanced riders, or make a timid rider more comfortable. The Meta's versatility is impressive as it can go from being a triple ring bike with a front derailleur and quick release rear wheel, to a fun play bike that sports a chainguide or HammerSchmidt, stiffer thru-axle rear wheel, and 1 degree slacker head angle. This is a bike that can excel in many places and under many riders.
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to see their entire lineup of bikes.
Commencal bikes are distributed by BTI
in North America and their Total Choice program
allows you to build up your dream machine however you'd like.