Commencal Meta V4 Race - Review

May 25, 2015
by Richard Cunningham  



Commencal’s Meta V4 Race looks pleasantly simple from any viewing angle. Its shock is tucked into a forged-aluminum pocket, welded into the top tube’s midsection, while the rocker system which drives it is styled to blend into the frame’s conventional-looking double-diamond profile. Its rear suspension is intentionally low tech. The single-pivot swingarm, with its clevis dropout pivots and semi-rectangular stays could have been ordered from the Sears catalogue – and that may be a good thing, because its kinematics are the stuff of which all the fancy patented mechanisms are still measured by, and the stuff of which precious few have managed to better.

Our V4 Race was painted blazing hot in Day-Glo yellow and black accents, but it probably should have been left bare. This is not one of those narcissistic carbon dandy bikes that are plastered with decals that shout out every nuance of their ANTIFLAB carbon frames, their patented wobbly-link this and proprietary WTF that. It does not beg for likes on its Supa-Travel Facebook page. By contrast, the Meta X4, stands quietly at the ready, unashamed of its welded aluminum chassis, its mid-level SRAM X1 drivetrain, and its house-brand components. It looks like a soldier returning for a second tour of duty, strong, lean and confident, and it conveys the sense that when it comes time to rock and roll, failure will not be an option.




Details:

• Purpose: All-mountain/trail, enduro racing
• Frame: Aluminum, 6066-alloy chassis, internal hoses and housings, single-pivot swingarm with linkage-driven shock, 150mm travel. PressFit BB92 bottom bracket, ISCG 05 mounts.
• Wheels: 27.5” Commencal Alpha, 28mm tubeless ready aluminum rims.
• Shock: RockShox Monarch RT3
• Fork: RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air, 160mm stroke
• Drivetrain: SRAM X1 11-speed with RaceFace Turbine Cinch crankset, 32t chainring.
• Brakes: SRAM Guide RS, 180mm rotors F, R
• Seatpost: KS LEV dropper, 125mm stroke
• Sizes: Small, medium, large
• Colors: Day-Glo yellow or black
• Claimed weight: 28.4 pounds/12.9kg (actual: 29 pounds/13.2kg, medium size)
• MSRP: $4399 ($3999 USD, direct)
• Contact: Commencal USA, Commencal Andorra

Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s


Construction

Commencal make a point in its literature that it has no plans to make carbon-framed bicycles. The 150-millimeter-travel Meta V4 chassis is sturdily constructed from a slightly tougher and stiffer version of the popular 6061 aluminum alloy, designated 6066. The chassis makes extensive use of forged parts, which can be seen at the clevis-type rear dropouts, bottom bracket shell, top tube shock mount, and linkage pivots. Welding is beautifully done, with second-pass, smoothing welds used to minimize the visual impact of the head tube junction and where the flush-mount shock segment is attached to the top tube.

The compound rocker linkage is also forged-aluminum construction, and it employs the yoke-type shock driver which Specialized introduced on its more recent FSR models. One key advantage of the yoke arrangement is that it helps to reduce the rate that the linkage geometry changes as it cycles through to full compression. It’s no secret that longer-travel suspension systems favor much milder rate changes, which may explain why a number of top all-mountain contenders have employed the concept. Unlike the Specialized configuration, which uses a proprietary threaded shock interface, Commencal’s yoke arrangement bolts to a conventional shock eyelet – which means that customers will not be stuck in a time warp with only one shock option.

Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
Compound pivot locations on the Meta V4's rocker link are used to control the leverage rate curves.
Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
Plenty of tire and mud clearance here, but the seat stays are too wide for proper heel clearance.


By the numbers, the Meta V4 is refreshingly modern, in that kits top tube and reach are usefully long, should its owner want to use the shortest stems available and its 13.3-inch tall bottom bracket (337mm) is set low enough to corner properly at the expense of banging the cranks and pedals on regular occasions. It is also prudently unfashionable in that its 17.2-inch chain stays are a tad long for present tastes. In addition, the 66-degree head angle, is only mildly slack, which makes for a far better handling bike in the larger sense. Trail-riding proponents of DH-slack head angles may be perfectly happy to trade good climbing, low speed agility and sharp reflexes for the single purpose of bashing down the one or two difficult trail segments that they hope to encounter each ride, but that seems like an incredible waste to me. Commencal strikes a much better bargain: The V4’s numbers give you all the agility you’d ever want, with enough handling in the bank to get any decent bike-handler down those same trails at pace.

Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
Nesting the shock makes room for a water bottle inside the front triangle and puts the suspension loads more in line with the center of the top tube.


Commencal includes just enough detailing to keep the Meta V4 from falling prey to post-modern critics, with a single down-tube-mounted water bottle option, ISCG 05 tabs on the bottom bracket, internal cable and hose routing and a tapered head tube that is provisioned to accept adjustable cups. The post-mount rear brake boss is tucked inside the left chainstay to keep it out of trouble, and in case you are not privy to an internally routed dropper post, the top tube has additional ports to route an eternal-type arrangement. Two items you will not find on the Meta V4 are threads in the bottom bracket (PressFit 92) and a front derailleur mount. No tears shed there.

Commencal V4 Geometry 2015


Standout Spec

Judging by Commencal’s selection of components for the V4, its intent was to avoid expensive name-brand items, where doing so would not harm the bike’s performance, and then use those savings to pop for high ticket items that could not be compromised. As a result, the Meta V4 Race is suspended with a 160-millimeter-stroke RockShox Pike RCT3 Solo Air fork and a matching Monarch RT3 shock. Stopping duties are in good hands with SRAM Guide RS Trail brakes and 180-millimeter rotors. Its cockpit and wheels are “Alpha” house-brand items, and the internally routed dropper is a 125-millimeter-stroke KS LEV. Commencal understands that tires make a difference, so the V4 gets a 2.3-inch Maxxis High Roller II up front and a fast-rolling 2.25-inch Ardent in the rear.

Commencal cherry picked SRAM, by spec’ing its sweet-performing mid-priced X1 one-by-eleven drivetrain and shifter, and then pairing it with a race Face Turbine Cinch crankset. Besides looking sharp, the Turbine’s left-side crankarm can be popped off with an eight-millimeter Allen key to access its direct-mount chainring. Switching chainrings can be done in less than ten minutes, because the bottom bracket remains in the bike, which makes it practical to match an upcoming ride with a larger or smaller chainring – something that we took advantage of during testing.

Meta V4 Race: Components
Specifications
Release Date 2015
Price $3999
Travel 150mm
Rear Shock RockShox Monarch RT3
Fork RockShox Pike Solo Air RCT3 160mm
Headset Semi-integrated, tapered
Cassette SRAM XG-1180 10-42T, 11-speed
Crankarms Race Face Turbine Cinch 175mm
Chainguide ISCG 05 tabs
Bottom Bracket PressFit BB92
Pedals NA
Rear Derailleur SRAM X1
Chain KMC X11 silver
Front Derailleur NA
Shifter Pods SRAM X1
Handlebar Alpha 750mm
Stem Alpha 60mm
Grips Commencal locking
Brakes SRAM Guide RS, 180 rotors
Wheelset ALPHA 650B, 32H, 28mm, Tubeless ready
Hubs Alpha
Spokes Alpha
Rim Alpha 28
Tires Maxxis Ardent 2.25" (R), High Roller II 2.3" (F)
Seat Commencal Meta, chromoly rail
Seatpost KS LEV Integra, 125mm travel, remote






Commencal’s target audience has always been all-mountain and gravity riders, so it would be strange if the Meta V4 was not an admirable descender. That heritage becomes apparent within the first few meters under saddle. The steering is calm, the suspension is firm at slower speeds, but wakes up quickly as speed increases. The long-feeling chassis positions the rider closer to the center of the bike, and the 750-millimeter handlebar, while not excessively wide, feels just right when the front tire needs to be ordered around. The bottom bracket has enough drop to give the impression that the rider is inside the chassis, more than on top of it, and neither wheel seems to be weighted excessively, so it is possible to precisely lift and place a tire should the need arise. The Meta V4 feels familiar and intuitive.

Setup: My typical suspension tune for an all-mountain bike is 20 percent sag up front and 30 in the rear, so I have extra support while braking and so the suspension is balanced for technical descending. The Meta V4, however, has 160 millimeters of fork travel and 150 millimeters of rear-wheel travel – not a huge bias, but noticeable nonetheless. I found that a slightly firmer shock (25-percent sag) provided a better balance in all aspects of the bike’s performance envelope. With the rebound set moderately fast to handle the local rock gardens, the result was a firm feeling ride at slower singletrack speeds, with a supple feel at pace. Dumping the stock inner tubes and converting to tubeless (we do this with almost every test bike) further enhanced the bike’s ride at the slower end of the scale.

Traditionally, PB test riders won’t put up with stems longer than 50 millimeters and bars narrower than 760 millimeters. Our medium-sized V4 felt fine, however, with the original, 60-millimeter stem and 750-millimeter-width bar, so we left it stock. While dialing in the cockpit, we had some trouble with the KS remote seatpost lever slipping on the handlebar. In theory, the “Southpaw” lever is a wonderful design, which incorporates a sliding post that allows the remote to be clamped inboard of the brake lever. The sliding element is then adjusted to position the remote lever as close to the grip as needed. After a half dozen attempts at being nice. I smacked the clamp with a hammer to increase its grip, which achieved the desired goal.

Climbing/acceleration: Commencal bicycles are not famous for brilliant power transfer, and the Meta V4 reinforces that legend to some extent. The V4 puts on a good show in the pedaling department. It gets out of tight corners well. Its suspension kinematics create just enough anti-squat to firm up the rear end when the time comes to jump out of the saddle and maintain momentum over rolling climbs. The length of the chassis, combined with the bike’s 66-degree head angle kept the front end pinned to the ground while we worked our way up technical steeps, and its centralized rider position meant that the Commencal’s pilot is free to steer the bike at will without the distraction of exaggerated weight shifts to maintain climbing traction. Such accolades should have earned the V4 high marks for climbing and acceleration, but it achieves those lofty goals with a sense of indifference. This is not a chassis that feels coiled and ready to spring when a rider commits to the first ten pedal strokes out of a turn, or up the face of a hill.
Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
bigquotesTest riders quickly learned that we could ignore the slippery rear tire and trust the V4 to charge over around and through the pointy sections.

Corners and steering: What the V4 may lack in pedaling pep, it more than makes up for in the handling department. The steering is precise, without feeling on edge, so the bike corrects and corners in a very unforced manner, even when it is being asked to pound around edgy rocks and roll off-angle lines. The chassis feels flex free and its 66-degree head angle works in harmony with the RockShox Pike fork’s 42-millimeter offset to keep the front wheel tracking exactly where it is pointed with minimal effort at the handlebar. The Commencal can be cornered with a heavy hand like a super slack enduro racer, set up to dig in, spray rocks, and hold a line regardless of what may be in its way. Or, it can skate around the turns, weaving around the ugly bits and drifting in short, controlled spurts. Either way, the Meta X4 feels calm and capable, which gives its rider more options to deal with trail features.

Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
bigquotesThe Commencal can be cornered with a heavy hand like a super slack enduro racer, set up to dig in, spray rocks, and hold a line regardless of what may be in its way. Or, it can skate around the turns, weaving around the ugly bits and drifting in short, controlled spurts.


Technical and downhill: Some of the Commencal’s descending potential was obscured by its wimpy 2.25-inch Maxxis Ardent rear tire. To its credit, the Ardent rolls quite fast and it doesn’t weigh all that much, so until we needed the extra traction and security of a real knobby tire, the compromise was a beneficial one. Exceeding the Ardent’s capabilities, however was an easy task aboard such a capable trail bike. Even with the exceptional modulation of its SRAM Guide RS brakes, skidding and drifting became the signature sounds of V4 whenever it was pushed hard on the downs.

Conversely, its 2.3-inch Maxxis High Roller front tire was well matched to the Commencal’s appetite for steep and technical. Its Pike fork backed up the High Roller’s ample grip and tactile control with lots of support in the mid-stroke. Duplicating the High Roller in the rear would have been the better call. That said, the Commencal was not entirely hobbled by the Ardent. Test riders quickly learned that we could ignore the slippery rear tire and trust the V4 to charge over around and through the pointy sections. All bets were off, however, when the rocks were wet and off camber, as we discovered during a slippery week of welcome rain in Southern California.

Beyond its tire choices, the V4’s suspension was well balanced. The single-pivot swingarm’s adverse braking effect was minimized to the point where we could brake late in rough corners without upsetting the bike’s ride height or getting bounced around by chatter bumps. The fork and shock were smooth enough to keep the tires on the ground most of the time, and there was just enough “push back” in the mid-stroke to make it easy to pop the V4 into the air over small jumps and outcrops.
Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
The V4's front end stays put while climbing, which removes a lot of the workload.

Issues: Commencal’s design team took extraordinary measures to weave the V4’s chainstays around the crankarms and to clear the rider’s feet – but the engineer who penned the frame’s seat stays didn’t get that memo. The stays are ridiculously and unnecessarily wide where the shoes pass by, causing heel rub at inopportune moments. An S-bend, similar to the treatment used for the chainstays would easily have solved that glitch.

Although not exactly the fault of the bike, we were struck by the KS LEV (Least Evolved Version) dropper curse once again, with an intermittent refusal to extend completely – or at all in some cases. The sticky post did get better with time, but never fully healed.

Finally, while we completely understand Commencal’s aversion towards carbon frames, we could not resist dreaming of how much more fun the Meta X4 would be to ride had it been significantly lighter weight and livelier at the pedals. It may be blasphemy, but a carbon V4 would be a sweet ride.

Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s
bigquotesWhat the V4 may lack in pedaling pep, it more than makes up for in the handling department.

Component Report

RockShox Monarch damper: A pattern seems to be emerging with suspension designs that use yoke-type shock drivers. Pinkbike blew up two Cane Creek Inline shocks on the Specialized Enduro FSR, and did the same to the Commencal Meta V4's RockShox Monarch RT3 damper. In all cases the dampers either leaked fluid or sucked air, which caused the shocks to feel undamped and notchy in the first third of their travel. Is it coincidence, or a trend?

KS LEV dropper: Once we got it to clamp securely to the bar, its Southpaw remote lever is one of the better examples we've used. The LEV may be the least worse alternative for cost conscious bike designers who learned the hard way that selling a trailbike without a dropper post is like arming soldiers with umbrellas. That said, there is no excuse for the LEV posts' spotty performance. KS needs to get its products to the next level.

Race Face Turbine Cinch crankset: Quick-change gearing was an unexpected plus from this good looking and reasonably priced crank. Once I discovered how simple it was to switch out the direct-mount chainring, I used a 30-tooth round ring for big climbing days and experimented with a 32-tooth oval ring for some of the review as well.

Alpha 28 wheels: Nothing to shout about, but Commencal’s 28-millimeter-width rims are wide enough to be considered next gen, they mounted up tubeless with a floor pump – and they proved to be quite durable.

SRAM Guide RS brakes: Strong and sensitive. The more I ride them, the more I like them.
Commencal Meta 5 2015 Iron Mountain and Ted s



Pinkbike’s Take:
bigquotesCommencal's Meta V4 Race spans the growing chasm recently created in the long-travel trailbike marketplace, as dedicated enduro racing designs begin to evolve from their all-mountain trailbike roots and morph into gravity bikes with single-crown forks. The Meta V4 has the courage and the handling to tackle enduro, but it refuses to sacrifice its playfulness merely to serve the vanities of the dour gods of professional competition. The Meta V4 is as pleasant to look at as it is to ride - definitely one of the brighter lights in the all-mountain/trailbike category. - RC




View Larger and additional images in the review gallery.




MENTIONS: @COMMENCALbicycles, @SramMedia, @Maxxis, @lambertphoto, @iMountainBike


203 Comments

  • + 142
 Well done to Commencal for not going down the carbon route and sticking to their guns. Carbon is not necessary and it keeps the price down.
  • + 25
 To bad they think to have a good climbing bike it needs to be carbon. They didn't even really say why the climbing wasn't good.
  • + 3
 Yeah your right. I think it's a great looking bike and nice to see them producing good bikes again as they did loose their way a bit.
  • + 34
 The caption on the front page should read "Andorra's new offering will make you want to ride everyday. But you won't be able to, because if you do, the rear hub will seize in under three weeks, and our clearly inadequate warranty department is unlikely to help you anytime soon. Also, if you notice yourself pinch-flatting more often than usual it's because you may have gotten one of the many bikes we shipped out with 25.5mm external width rims. Yes we will make you pay to upgrade to our 28mm rims, even though that's what we advertised, and what you already paid for"

Although I guess that isn't quite so catchy.
  • - 2
 Eh, if im spending 4k on a bike i want carbon. Santa cruz bronson "c" starts at 3600, comparable build to this would be 4700. For the extra $700 i get carbon, vpp, a threaded bottom bracket And lbs support. Yes please.

Hell, their aluminum heckler with single pivot, alloy frame and pike is under 3k.

The direct to consumer model is suppose to save you a ton of money, but I don't see it here. Is a damn nice looking bike, though.
  • + 16
 But if you were to get the same spec as this Meta on a Carbon Bronson, the price would be around $3k more. Commencal's direct sales save the customer an assload of money
  • + 30
 You never get a cheap price with imported products, you have to pay for some exoticness.

If i return the situation, here i can buy a bike Meta V4 race plus for the price of a Bronson C.... frame only. Smile
  • - 1
 ya umm thats a good price for the spec of the bike.... lol I personally hate carbon its hard with the shaping, weakening of the material. I'm defiantly happy with this bike for 4k good job to those guys over seas
  • + 2
 I think the problem is those wheels are shit ass heavy
  • - 5
flag Pmrmusic26 (May 25, 2015 at 10:27) (Below Threshold)
 Every material serves a purpose....carbon allows for fine tuning of a design....
  • - 5
flag UtahBikeMike (May 25, 2015 at 16:14) (Below Threshold)
 @brodieman96 what carbon frames have you owned? That's an attitude of people whom generally have never owned a carbon bike.
  • + 5
 Bronson C starts at 3600.... mmmm yeah 3600 CAD for the frame only!!! 3800 for the cheapest alloy version and 4650 for the ''C'' version, still in CAD. If you want slx, xt, pike, it starts at 6050$ CAD. Is that the version you're talking about at 4700 US !?
  • + 3
 I'm in 'merica, so i mean 3600usd for the entry level c "r" build. The step up is 4700usd. If i want the exact or better build as the commencal you need to get the "cc" frame and then it adds several grand to the cost

r build has a pike and 2x10 setup but i prefer that as a negative as i can upgrade when stuff wears out. Can't upgrade the single pivot, aluminum frame or pressfit bb at a later date.

If you cant rely on a lbs you need to fire them and go somewhere else. I had an issue with a lbs jacking me around with a warranty, went to another that carried the same brand and now im waiting on a frame and apend money there.
  • + 18
 Hi all! Thanks a lot for your comments! @bderricks, the reliability is one of our priorities! Sorry if you've encountered some issues with the rims. Now, the customer service is done in Carlsbad for the US (and not in Andorra). So we will be more reactive than before. Feel free to contact us regarding the issues you've had.
In addition, we have a new version of this bike called: Meta AM V4 Race + (www.commencalusa.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=14720181) for $3999. You will have a High Roller II at the rear, a Monach + Debonair, an RS Reverb... Everything to enjoy even more the ride!
  • + 2
 That's great to see, it's good that you have made improvements so early on. Would be good if other brands could do the same thing!!
  • + 2
 @COMMENCALbicycles while you're here... Ive the meta V4 origin+ and its an absolute gem of a bike. Really stoked with the performance of parts spec to price ratio, awesome job on that front.

My one question is on the suspension set up. The marz 350CR with espresso coat are fantastic. plush in the initial stroke with a progressive increase in compression as you move though the travel. They don't spike in the rebound stroke but are super quick to recover. Love it, a real pike hunter.
But I'm struggling to match the shock to that tune, what set up do you guys reccomend? or is it that the RLX simply doesn't have this kind of tunability?

Cheers guys!
(70kg rider. competent weekend worrier but nothing to shout about)
  • + 2
 @commencalbicycles It took over a week to hear back from the warranty department. I'm now over two weeks in, and no closer to receiving a new rear hub, or the 28mm rims that were advertised as coming with the bike. I haven't received a response to an email since 4am on Friday morning, even though i respond to yours with all the information you ask for within hours everytime. Multiple people have come to me experiencing the same issues with the hubs, undersized rims, and inability to get a proper response from you guys since i posted comments here and in forums. Fix this. My bike worked for 20 days before the wheel stopped spinning and it's already been 15 days to of slow/no responses to get it back moving. I want 28mm rims and a new rear hub that works.
  • + 2
 And if you want a more detailed version of my issues refer to my comment a bit lower down. Or you could actually read and respond to the email i sent on Friday morning. You should check the commencal forum too.
  • - 3
 Agreed. I'd rather have a carbon frame with a lower quality build kit than a Alloy frame with a high quality build kit. You can upgrade down the road and you have a kickass frame. Aluminum is nice but lets be honest, carbon is the future and not just for bikes...
  • + 7
 Says who?? I couldnt disagree more. Carbon is an alternative product and not a solution! There is nothing wrong with a steel, aluminium or titanium frame! I would much rather have a great aluminium framed bike with a great spec and great value because let's be honest...it doesnt actually need to be carbon!
  • + 1
 I can agree with your statement there. Everyone is different but from an engineering standpoint carbon fiber is a superior material in terms of what you an do with it. Metal frames have a place and of course some prefer them. But as someone who prefers carbon frames, I'd rather have a good carbon frame with a lower quality build than an alloy frame with a higher quality build kit.
  • + 0
 Also carbon is better in some cases and for certain people so to say "It's not necessary" can be said for aluminum, steel, and titanium
  • + 3
 That's exactly my point, no material is necessary. They are all just alternatives to each other. The reason why I get so annoyed about carbon is that people bang on about it like it's a solution to all of the other materials problems and its just not!
  • + 6
 @JMK92, thanks for your feedback! Glad you like your bike. About the tuning of your shock, the recommendation is to have 25% to 30% of SAG. For the rebound, the ideal is to have the same kind as the fork. Like most of shocks, you don't have many other settings. If you want to have a personalized one, do not hesitate to ask to an X-Fusion service center. They can put a custom setting by working directly on the inside of the shock.

@bderricks, I know that Sebastien is in contact with you regarding this topic. He is doing everything he can to help you.

And @AlexArmanetti and @Matt76, it's a very interesting topic! We've chosen aluminium frames for many reasons (reliability, possibility to play with the stiffness, less impact on workers than a carbon frame,...) and truly believe that it's an awesome material!
  • + 4
 Good stuff. Also its really good to see a bike company directly responding to people on here...that doesn't happen very often!
  • + 1
 Agreed
  • + 2
 I've never ridden a Commencal bike but they look awesome! Hopefully, one of these days I'll have one in my garage!
  • + 1
 Agreed too. :-)
  • + 1
 @AlexArmanetti @Matt76 If only they were so diligent about responding to their customers outside of the public eye. 54 hours and counting since I last heard from them. 16 days and counting since I first contacted them. Wheel still sitting on my bedroom floor with a freewheel that doesn't spin, and a 26mm rim that they STILL advertise as 28mm www.commencalusa.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=14720252 Reputable indeed...
  • + 6
 As my final post on this topic. Commencal has offered me a solution to my hub and rim issues that I think is fair and adequate. While i wasn't stoked about the timeframe or the process of dealing with my issue, I am perfectly content with the outcome.
  • + 52
 Every other review of the meta v4 had everybody saying climbing was spot on. Oh wait commencal doesn't make carbon bikes. Of course it can't climb well if it's not carbon.
  • + 12
 I feel like if the words "single pivot" are mentioned, the climbing ability is scoffed at.

If only we had some sort of lever to lock out the rear shock... Oh wait
  • + 3
 Personally I find the climbing to be mint. Minor brake jack is the only negative of this bike
  • + 30
 Why call it X4 when everywhere on the Commencal store it's a V4 ? :/
  • + 9
 Yup i'm confused too.

Started looking at commençal website to see this new "X4" version, because afaik they did X4 frames in the past
  • + 4
 thanks for pointing this out! so anyone knows what's up with this naming convention?
  • + 12
 Probably they did not use the metric system. Big Grin
  • + 5
 That's a mistake, its is still called a V4
  • + 2
 special name for american market Smile
  • + 6
 im I the only one who came looking for a 4x bike review?
  • + 25
 Duooooh! My mistake: V4/X4 Chalk it up to a dyslexic writer and the wonders of search and replace. ;-( :-)
  • + 2
 Haha np RC Smile
  • + 20
 It's a V4 according to the stickers on my bike and the receipt. A couple things of note: my rear hub seized completely after owning the bike for twenty days. it took over a week just to get a response from Commencal's warranty people, and in our 6 days of communication, have made it as far as them asking me for pics.

Second thing is the wheels on my bike and many others, which are advertised both on the commencal site, and chainreaction as 28mm, actually have a external width of 25.5mm. Not only has commencal given the 'solution' of allowing us to pay a discounted rate to upgrade to their actual 28mm rims (read: what we actually paid for), but they haven't even changed the specs on their website, even now that this has been brought to their attention.

As an owner: great bike, love how it rode, however come Friday it will have been an ornament for longer than it was ever rideable, and with the slow and shitty response time of their warranty department (mixed with the fact that they only want to send me a new hub and have me get the wheel built myself), it will be some time yet before i can pedal it around, as one might expect from a brand new bike. Not how i wanted to be training for race season. Mix that with the blatantly false advertising and lack of customer support on the 25.5mm rims, and you have a sour customer. 10/10 would recommend putting your money in a different companies pockets.
  • + 2
 Good to know. If they're willing to cheap out to the point of pressfit on an alloy frame they're probably cheapin out on a lot of other stuff that doesnt show up on the spec sheet.
  • + 2
 Appear to be a few bad reviews about the wheels- probably best to go a la carte and splash out on something a bit better... False advertising is crap though. They should send you some new wheels. Not sure what the whole deal with 'cheaping out on a press fit bottom bracket' is all about though - They aren't exactly hard to install, and they help to increase the stiffness of the frame. Wasn't keen on the idea on my meta SX, but after realising you can get away with a rubber mallet to install, it really wasn't a deal breaker. Plus most external threaded bottom brackets are crap anyway.
  • + 1
 I'll be sending them the bill for my new rims that will be arriving this week!
  • + 2
 Yeah, same experience here, got 21mm inner width rims instead of the advertised 23mm ones, and the rear hub eventually got loose while pedalling....
  • + 1
 It starts off by getting loose here and there- you notice that you can tighten the axle further than before as well. Eventually it just seizes altogether. It's happening to tons of people. Gabgee, order a replacement now, cause your wheel doesn't have much longer, and commencal is unlikely to help you within a month or two
  • + 1
 @bderricks @COMMENCALbicycles Dude, it's not garbage, it's a perfectly normal four-pawl hub with an axle that screws together in the middle. If you ride any hub loose it's going to die, as the pawls come out of alignment with their race. I have the same hub in my 2015 V3. I noticed movement in the wheel while it was in the bike, took it out and tightened down the axle. That's all it took. Yeah Commencal's customer support is slow at the moment, but cut them some slack - with no dealer network, they have to handle every single problem themselves. Sebastien is the same guy who took care of me when my rear mech died, and I'm sure he's got a million other warranty claims to deal with besides my mech and your hub. It's never nice to have a new bike stuff up, but accept at least some responsibility (no bike breaks unless someone rides it), and try to be a little generous, before you blast a relatively small company on one of the most public forums in mountain biking.
  • + 0
 @Jubbylinseed No shit, when the wheel gets loose, you tighten it.... Do you think I was just ripping around with half an inch of play in my until the hub blew up? I have been riding mountain bikes for 7 years and have never had a single issue with a hub, save for having to replace the bearings once in a while on old, tired bikes when they developed a bit of movement in them. I take meticulous care of my bikes. I check for play in the headset, linkage, wheels, and cranks before, during, and after every ride. Keep riding your bike; keep tightening the axle; maybe the hub will hold up, maybe it won't. I'm not making any predictions about your hub. Mine didn't hold up. According to Strava, I put around 9000m of vertical gain/descent over 180km in the 20 days that I owned the bike. I will take full responsibility for riding my bike. I will not, not, however take responsibility for negligently letting the hub waste away through mistreatment over the whopping 16 or 17 rides I put on it.

It is their decision not to have a dealer network so that they can sell their products at cheaper prices. If their customer service suffers because of that, then it is a completely worthwhile point to bring up in a review. I have no problem personally with Sebastien. He has been friendly and polite. Perhaps the problem if he has a million other warranty claims like you estimate, is that they need to hire 2 or 3 more Sebastiens.

I posted an opinion along an account of my personal experience. You don't have to listen to it, or agree with it. I posted it on one of the most public forums in mountain biking because my private emails with them have gotten me absolutely nowhere. It's been 20 days since the last time I was able to ride on my Alpha hub, and 16 days since I first contacted Commencal. I haven't heard from them at this point in over 48 hours. You are welcome to your opinion of what constitutes reasonable customer service, just as I am welcome to mine. In my opinion, this is not reasonable customer service.
  • + 0
 OK, this is the answer to my email:

"On your Meta AM V4 Essential LTD, you're right, the rims are 21mm inter / 26mm external width
There have been a mistake on the website specs at the beginning , it's has been corrected since.

21mm inside width is a good size for an All Mountain bike like Meta, if you check a major Brand like Mavic, their XMAX Enduro is 21mm, and their XMAX ST is 19mm.
I don't think there is any problem to fit tires up to 2,40

As a comercial gift, I can offer to you a Commencal jersey, just check on our website for model and size.

Hope we can solve this misunderstood"

Wow.
  • + 2
 Hahaha you at least got offered a jersey. What a slap in the face though. "We effed up. These rims are less than we promised, but still good enough. You deal with it. Here's a jersey to wear so you can proudly represent our brand from the side of the trail while fixing your pinch flat, or while walking the streets while you wait for a replacement hub that still isn't in the mail yet."

My initial response was : "About the rims, there have been maybe some mistakes on rims specs. The Meta V4 Limited have 28mm rims, and Meta V4 Plus have 26mm rims. We changed rims supplier on last production, but same quality level." .... Oh, my bad for expecting the rims specced on YOUR OWN website, which still hasn't changed as I write this www.commencalusa.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=1472025 I told them this was unacceptable. It's been over 2 days later and I still haven't heard anything back.

They could have "solved this misunderstood" with me if they'd responded to my first email within a reasonable frame of time and sent me a hub that worked on the correct sized rim. I wouldn't have even said anything about the front wheel if I didn't feel from day one that they were ignoring/taking a shit on me.

Chainreaction (who I have nothing but great things to say about from all my transactions) at least offered me an $100 gift voucher, since I bought the bike from them, but apparently we can't pursue the matter legally with Commencal because of this cute little clause they have on their website:

Article 7.1:
COMESPORT S.A. displays products for sale on their website with the necessary characteristics to allow the potential consumer to discover, before ordering, any essential information on a particular product required before buying.
The descriptions, characteristics and illustrations of our products are produced with the greatest of care. Errors can appear however, as well as modifications carried out by COMESPORT S.A. We therefore take no responsibility for such disparities, nor can the validity of the transaction be called into question.

Basically, it's up to the customer to do their research as to whether the advertised product is the actual product they give you, before you order it. Second of all, even if they modify or make a mistake on anything listed in the product specifications or pictured, the purchasing contract remains legally valid and there is nothing you can do about it but bend over and take it.

I maintain my earlier stance of 10/10 would recommend putting your money in a different companies' pockets
  • + 1
 Same problem here, I ordered a bike with 28mm rims according to Commencal´s website and got 26mm instead in my META V4 Also the Marzzochi 350 has a sticky feeling and stanchions are loosing the "gold coat " in 3 months. It´s an awesome frame and geometry even though.What should I do Commencal?
  • + 1
 As my final post on this topic. Commencal has offered me a solution to my hub and rim issues that I think is fair and adequate. While i wasn't stoked about the timeframe or the process of dealing with my issue, I am perfectly content with the outcome.
  • + 1
 tonijou
I'm surprised by the 350 losing its coating... and that's a p*sser.
Re. the sticky feel it's true that in the car park or at home it feels 'sticky' but on stutter bumps or down steps it's butter smooth so I put it down to the valving. Car park suspension tests are never worth a damn anyway.
  • + 0
 totally understand the hub should be replaced...and they should be honest with their specs. BUT...

lets be honest, 2 or 3 mm rim width doesn't mean squat when it comes to your race results or ride performance. Jérôme Clémentz did pretty well on like what, 21 or 23mm Mavic wheelsets. If you did a blind AB test, you wouldn't even know the difference.

I guess my point is, focus on the stuff that matters, but stop busting a small companies balls over 2-3mm of rim width that will have 0 performance impact on your ride.
  • + 18
 66 degrees is ONLY 'MILDLY' slack for an AM/Enduro bike?
I can think of ONE(my Trek Slash as it would be) that's slacker. Every other AM/Enduro bike is either 66-66.5 degrees IIRC.
Speaking of my Slash, for almost $500 MORE, you get a lower-level Monarch, a HEAVY 2x10 drivetrain featuring RaceFace cranks that are basically two-and-a-half-times cheaper, and THREE-HUNDRED grams HEAVIER, wheels that are also MUCH heavier and narrower, Shimano second-tier(if XT is first tier) two-piston brakes, compared to the Commencal's Guide RS 4-pistons, and Pike RC forks, compared to the Commencal's RCT3's-although with the Slash getting the Pike Dual Positions. In my experience, apples to apples, the DP's have WAY better damping compared to the Solo Airs I've owned 3 sets of Pike Solo Airs previous to the DPs on my Slash, and ALL of them needed rebuilds from SRAM at one point or another to 'fix' the Solo Air's leaky check-valve, which creates a VERY harsh ride.
So you sell the Solo Air's, and take the money combined with the $400 you save by buying the Commencal over the Slash, and go buy a set of Fox 36's.
You STILL have much better components, and oh by the way, your bike weighs THREE-POUNDS LESS(I weighed my Slash sans pedals, and it came out to 32.04lbs. It took me spending $600 on Roval Fatties, and $200 for a pair of Raceface Turbine Cinch cranks(saved $40 by buying them through the good-'ole PB classified section) just to get my Slash down to 30.03 lbs-still a pound heavier than the Commencal, and costing [now] $1200 MORE than the C-cal.
I wish I had read this article 3 weeks ago.
  • + 21
 Plus

the SB6C
the YT Capra
the Transition Patrol

I think RC is right stating that 66° is only "mildly" slack for an Endure bike...Of course 66° is already quite slack but the trend is to go even slacker than that...
Now the question is: is it necessary? Personally I like these new long and slack sleds, but I can imagine how a lot of people would prefer different geometries.
  • + 8
 Note that this is a 150mm travel, the proper name of the bike is Meta AM V4. If you want to compare it with other bikes, pick bikes in the same travel range (SC Bronson, Spe Stumpjumper, ... The "real" gravity oriented enduro bike from Commencal is probably still the Meta SX.
  • + 3
 In fact it's 65.5° with 160mm pike, 66° is with 150mm revelation (lower priced build).
Since Commencal sells limited batch builds it's quite difficult to track for test.
Mine is an anodized version, 160mm pike with monarch RC3, "a la carte" build. This is quite nice to purchase frame with only the component you need, there is only a few mail order who do it (Rose do it on full bike I think).

Pretty much agree on the test, only that on the pedaling department, it is really the first "pedaling" Meta from Commencal. I think that they could do a better job on the weight reduction, but it's a really tough frame. Heel clearance is an issue, but I do not bang bases any more now...
  • + 1
 My Meta SX from 2014 has a 65 headangle ..
  • + 2
 Not everyone likes them but Orange Alpines are still valid and sit at 65*. Also if you don't like the geometry of your bike, just order a Works Components Angleset or some Burgtec Offset Bushings. Geometry is a big thing hut can be changed and "fixed" relatively easily.
  • + 1
 My 2015 Meta SX also has a 65 degree headtube angle.
  • + 1
 Rune has a 65 degree HA too
  • + 14
 "Traditionally, PB test riders won’t put up with stems longer than 50 millimetres and bars narrower than 760 millimetres." - Sorry to hear that.
  • + 12
 You forgot to add: The Rock Shox Monarch was just a preproduction sample. So dont worry, they will have this sorted out for the production.
  • + 2
 So does the seatstay.
  • + 13
 press-fit bb? wrong, try again.
  • + 9
 I have a V4 race, enjoy it, and unless you ride very heels in you won't don't clip. Plenty of clearance for me with size 12 shoes on an XL frame.

My bike is c. 31lbs with flats and tubeless (wheels are Novatec Diablo and c. £500 alone, holding up well)

Rear tyre clearance with the ardent is massive.

Used Sugru to block the hole where internal routed cables emerge.

Managed to get a piece of hell tape under the cables to stop BB rubbing.

Put a rear enduro guard on the chain stay to stop crud flying into that area.

Pedal strike a little - price of a lower BB for better cornering.

All clean and fine...

A super price for a super bike.

Jules
  • + 8
 I've been riding mine a ton and love it. I did quite a bit of shopping before pulling the trigger and ended up going for the Race Plus model. There wasn't really a better deal to be had for the spec at the time. The Capra was pretty close but no cigar, and carbon was not a selling point for me. I was more sold on the v4's numbers since its a little longer and I prefer to have more space to play. I have zero issues with the way the bike pedals, coming from a Mojo HD I thought it couldn't possibly compare but there's really nothing to complain about. It begs to be ridden hard and is extremely playful, this is exactly what I wanted and am glad I found it.
  • + 7
 I have one and im very pleased with it, however I've found one problem, there is an opening at the bottom of the seat tube where the cables enter the down tube. And it is right in the firing line for mud and with no drainage hole by the bottom bracket the water collects in the bottom after washing it. I've email commencal and they said they are working on something, but I was wondering if anyone else is having this problem? Oh and I thought it was called the V4...
  • + 2
 I stuffed some Moto foam in mine, helps with the mud issues. Not so much with the water though. Just have to hang the bike after washing to drain it out. Also by pushing the foam up in the frame, stops the annoying rattle of the internal routing.
  • + 4
 I have the V3 650b downhill bike and I'm experiencing the same problem, as well as a very small amount of mud clearance at the rear
  • + 43
 Buy a pet turtle that likes playing in mud and teach him to hang onto the bottom bracket while you ride... They make great riding partners, don't talk much and unless you really suck at riding, you're gonna be faster than him if he has his own bike to ride.. So you get a total ego boost for ya every time you ride together!
  • + 5
 Maybe just drill a small drainage hole in the bottom bracket shell yourself? I done this with a few bikes that has the same problem, no issues since.
  • + 5
 i wish i could upvote that comment a hundred times. thanks six66, you made coffee come out my nose
  • + 1
 I have a foam plug on mine, it does the job well. And it's nice to have a really big opening, no nightmare to internally route 3 wires.
Only minor downside is that I found a lot of sand/mud on the lower headset bearing. Don't know if it's come from pre-foam plug or after...
  • + 2
 Oh BTW bottom bracket is fully closed, no need to drill it.
  • + 3
 It is a good idea to drill a 1mm hole in the BB of any un-vented frame. It lets water out, but the hole is not so large that significant amounts of water can make its way in. Considering that most bikes have leaky internal cable routing ports makes the vent hole even more important.
  • + 2
 @RichardCunningham Whoops, I drilled a 1 inch hole in mine which might be just a smidge too big, yeah?

Oh well, I'll pack some Bondo in there, grind it down, brush some leftover house paint on, and it'll be as good as new. Wink
  • + 1
 @Upchuckyeager- You're living up to your name!
  • + 1
 Worst thing is that this mud can get to headset bearings! I needed to clean it twice before noticing WTF. When I have found some stones in head I noticed that bottom tube is open and mud/stones etc. from above bottom bracket can get to head. Filled it with some foam and will see if this helps.
  • + 7
 "bike designers who learned the hard way that selling a trailbike without a dropper post is like arming soldiers with umbrellas." You haven't seen "Kingsman: The Secret Service." If you had this statement makes no sense. Good review though. Thanks!
  • + 10
 Well Ian Rush's career has taken an unexpected turn
  • + 6
 Came of a Nukeproof Mega AM to this. The meta is miles better. Not sure what the reviewer is on about but it climbs like a treat in comparable to my previous bike and is very reactive to pedalling. Maybe he should play around with his shock settings? It's just a very playful thing. The problems it has are easy to live with. Just put some tape on the chainstays if your heels rub. No bike is perfect but this one is for me. It's not some mini DH like half of the bikes out there and you don't need to sell a kidney.
  • + 5
 "After a half dozen attempts at being nice. I smacked the clamp with a hammer to increase its grip, which achieved the desired goal"
Why didnt you just use carbon paste?, thats what I use and mines is solid, no movement at all

Commencal now spec all Meta AM V4's with Maxxis HR2's front and back
  • + 1
 This isn't the only instance. Slipping is common with that lever design, so I took KS to task in the review to "encourage" them to make a better clamp for 2016. Sometimes it takes a nudge. Good news on the HR2s.
  • + 1
 I agree the design isn't the best for the clamp however since using the carbon paste mines hasn't slipped once, well done for bring it up with KS though
  • + 8
 Ewww. Pressfit bb. Thats a dealbreaker.
  • + 6
 Threaded BB and rear brake caliper on the outside and this would be my next frame.
  • + 1
 Why do you prefer caliper on the outside? Easier to work on, or?
  • + 0
 The caliper on the inside is the reason the seatsays are so wide causing heal rubbing.
  • + 1
 Ahhh, makes sense. Thanks for the reply Smile
  • + 2
 Press fit on an Alloy bike?!? Why o'why!!
  • + 9
 $15 cheaper to make, that's why!
  • + 2
 must be cheaper for manus to spec push fit as its just normal tubing as opposed to threaded tubing.
  • + 5
 Well its machined still... just they ream/cut out shelfs for the bearings/bearing cups to press into instead of thread the shell. Its not really cheaper to do but it does allow more room for larger bearings.
  • + 8
 And the larger shell diameter makes for a stronger frame. They're also lighter than traditional thread-in bottom brackets.
  • + 2
 The issue with PF bb's is almost entirely in tolerances, and installation. You have two different companies making the mating surfaces to two specs that at the end of the day will be slightly different from eachother. One day there's a fresh cutter making the BB shell seats and the BB being installed in was made with a fresh tool on the lathe, so the frame is in the least material condition and the BB is also in least material condition and what do you know, you have the maximum amount of play and minimum amount of press fit.

Also, grease your BB's for god's sake people (in accordance with your frame manufacturer, some carbon frames should NOT use grease)
  • + 3
 No mention of the pretty slack seat angle? 72 degrees is slacker than the V3, and going against the industry trend for steeper seat angles (in conjunction with longer top tubes). Doesn't it make climbing harder than it should be?
  • + 1
 Mine climbs much better than my covert I had
  • + 1
 Mines climbs much better than my V3 Meta SX
  • + 2
 I've found seat angles of less than 73° quite noticeably harder to climb than those of 74-75°.
It'd be great if somebody could confirm the SA on their Meta V4 because Commencal have it at 74° on one chart and 72° on another.
My suspicion is that it's 74° virtual as its off set and 72° is the actual seat tube angle.
That would mean bikeradars testers are idiots. Ride the bike blind before looking at charts pls guys, we're perfectly capable of reading geo charts ourselves. If I'm wrong, my apologies.
  • + 2
 Just measured mines and it's coming up at 72
  • + 1
 Nice on Medacus but is that the actual tube or to the centre of the BB?
  • + 1
 Got one too and it climbs perfect. Position just feels right and the kind of long chainstays hammer your frontwheel to the ground when pedaling.
  • + 2
 @ThomDawson that was on the tube, the bottom bracket is a bit harder to measure, it was fluctuating between 73 and 74
  • + 1
 ThomDawson: 72* real angle, 74* effective, that's from designer mouth.

I really like when real angle is close from effective, better position when dropping seat a couple of inch for some semi-pedaling section, and better for the dropper post long term reliability (hey my Lev is 2 years now, still good).
  • + 1
 Thanks again Medacus, that's what I expected. How do you find it manuals? I'm riding a YT Capra with short stays and it's nice to manual again after super long stays on the Mega I had last. I've remembered what it's like to have some fun on the trails rather than just plowing everything in my way!
Seriously considering the V4 next but lack of demo options is a worry!
  • + 2
 Sorry, YT Wicked! Capra would have been nice for the same price!
  • + 1
 Thanks Mac-Aravan, that's what I was hoping for. I don't particularly like off set seat tubes unless they make them super steep actual angle cus with the seat up you'll get somewhere between actual and effective. But in order to get a nice long reach with a steep seat angle I think its the way most designers are doing it now. Steeper the better for me, I still have the seat slammed right forward on 75°!
  • + 3
 I've always wondered about those yoke type shock drivers ever since I laid eyes on one for the first time. It always seemed to me that they must put extra stress on the internal shock bushes with the increase in length over the standard eyelet type.
  • + 3
 I've had my v4 race plus medium ( 5.10 ft ) for 3 weeks and so impressed with the whole deal . It felt comfortable within minutes, climbs better than my stumpy comp 2012 , wheels seem to stick to the ground . Dh - seat down chin up and relax as it handles most descents with ease ( grinning from ear2ear ) . Chainstays arent an issue unless you got HULK feet !
Grips are abit thin and always keep a eye on your stem nuts !
  • + 2
 I have just bought one of these and love it climbs well decends even better the spec is unreal for the price haters going to hate try one before you slag it off I had a transition covert before rides 10 times better than that
  • + 2
 I bought my Meta V4 Essential limited a few months ago and I love it! I was looking to upgrade my chainset and chancing my luck contacted Commencal to ask if they would do me a deal on a RaceFace Next SL set. They couldn't of been nicer and I saved myself a whack of money. I've had some minor foot scuffing, but quickly covered those areas up. Been using it for a variety of riding from local woodland loops to Scottish enduro trails, can't fault it.
  • + 2
 Alpha 28 wheels: Nothing to shout about, but Commencal’s 28-millimeter-width rims are wide enough to be considered next gen, they mounted up tubeless with a floor pump – and they proved to be quite durable.

yeah........ check that: www.pinkbike.com/u/yoyo21/album
  • + 1
 Is yours the 28mm or 26mm rims?
  • + 1
 yeah is mine, rim explode in a small Xc track.....
  • + 1
 Don't know what you guys do to your rims. I ride rocks, all the time, angled weathered slate, so all my wheels are ghetto tubeless by necessity. It's what we've got in this part of the world. If a wheel isn't up to the job it'll be toast in no time, and not even DH tubes will last one ride without pinch-flatting. These wheels, despite losing all their spoke tension in less than a month and needing some TLC accordingly, haven't given me any other problems in over five months of hammering. The very wide wheels on my mates top-of-the-range 2014 demo are trash, and need straightening every weekend. I'm not saying you're wrong. I'm just saying that for budget wheels I feel they're good, and that width isn't a guarantee of strength. I agree with you that what they advertise on the web page should be what you get, no ifs and no buts.
  • + 1
 I feel your pain mate, I got the AMv3 2015, same wheels, bearings started to grind after 200km/10,000m, and now it's been 1 months I'm constantly breaking spokes (8 spokes in 1 months) even putting new ones and truing the wheels each time. I was about to setup the rear for Tubeless but at the moment staying tubetype is the only acceptable option ...
  • + 2
 Rite. Just spent a hour reading all this! !! I got mine last year direct of the Commencal stand at the Megavalanche in Alp d'huez for a bargain(thanks again Yolo). It's the AM V4 Race I immediately swapped the bar and stem for the Renthal combo (narrower at740mm) off my Foes fxr got the suspension set up by the team mechanic and had the week of my life. I have since put some Ibis 741s on , super wide and still plenty of clearance and reckon that there is no better 'all purpose' (and I thought the Foes was!) bike out there. Yes the stays catch occasionally and so do the pedals but the confidence it gives is in a different league.
The guy with the wheel issue, I get your frustration but in a months time, like now you'll be having so much fun on that bike you'll have forgotten and forgiven. Mine came with XX1 as a bonus and Yolo through in some team shorts and a T shirt to boot. Except for not winning the Mega I can't fault it but that's probably more down to being 51 than the bikes ability! . If your debating, don't bother just get one, you won't regret it! !!☺☺☺
  • + 2
 and your issues with the hub... are they a real problem or just cheapo bearings that have given up the ghost as someone suggested?
I wouldn't bang my head against a wall and get pissed off while not riding.
I'd swap out the bearings for some quality replacements and go ride.
  • + 2
 Sold my Carbon Nomad to buy the AM V4 Origin and asked them to stick a 150mm Reverb on it at the factory. Total price 2000€.
Two thousand.
Only.

I swapped the stem for a 50mm and put a wider bar on it.
Yup you need to put some tape on the stays if you've got size 46 feet like me. It's NOT a biggy.
The Marzocchi is frankly superb and I don't care that it's 150g more than a PIKE
The bike is a blast. Best bike I've ever owned. Absolutely delighted.
For that price it's a steal and I find it hard to justify why anyone would spend more.
  • + 2
 You probably overtighten the seat clamp and that's why you had issues with the KS Lev.
Working in a shop where we sell KS (also LEV) we had no issues with it. Of course can happen that one seat post came malfunctioning - that's why you have (2 years) warranty Wink
  • + 1
 I've had 3 KS LEV's and 1 LEV Integra and never had a single issue with any of them. One got a little slow to return, but after a rebuild was like new again ( just needed to be re-greased. Can't say the same for the Reverb, both of my friends had a issues with them. Not sure why the LEV gets a bad rap; they are super reliable posts in my experience.
  • + 1
 I've only ever had one issue with my KS LEV and that was when I got caught in a storm and clogged up the lever with mud and grit. Took me 10 minutes to clean it out and she was back in action. You guys may be having issues with your kit because you thrash the hell out of it and don't take care of it, I guess that's what happens when you have an endless supply of free bikes to ride.
  • + 1
 Anybody had issues with the Alpha wheels? My V4 Race goes well, but have had issues with the wheels, broken spoke (when cycling on a flat track) hard to blow up tubeless, buckle easily. I notice for 2016 commencal have changed the wheels from Alex/novatec hub to E13. Also, don't think that you are getting their €500 wheelset on any bike other than the WC version. You can hide a lot behind a brand !
  • + 1
 This may be slightly unrelated, but does anyone have a cure for this: "the dampers either leaked fluid or sucked air, which caused the shocks to feel undamped and notchy in the first third of their travel"? My 2015 RM Altitude 730 definitely sounds like it's sucking air and it also feels notchy (Fox CTD evolution I think...)
  • + 1
 I dont know what version of the V4 that you are reviewing but one thing for sure is it's not a race, the race comes with a Monarch Plus and a Reverb and not a Lev. You seem to be reviewing a cross between an Essential and a Race
  • + 2
 Appears the race plus has the reverb and monarch plus. Race is Lev and no piggyback: www.commencalusa.com/PBSCProduct.asp?ItmID=14720204
  • + 1
 That will teach me for not looking on the American website
  • + 1
 Nice to see a bike company engineering a frame to last. Nothing stronger than cold forged Al. The chain stay pivot is so close to the cassette that i don't see the suspention being affected all that adversely by the braking. Well thought out frame. Minimal hype!
  • + 1
 I have one. Bought the frame and built it myself. Very happy so far. Main thing is that the fit is good. Medium frame 5foot9 rider. A few small issues- seat stays, too wide. Stick some tape on where shoes rub. Cables rub on top of bottom bracket. Noticed this after 1st ride. Tied a piece of inner tube to bb. Crude but stops cables rubbing through bb shell. Rear monarch plus shock is notchy feeling after 3 months riding. Sounds like mine's not the only one. Time for a service. Had to get shock bushes custom made as the rear one is an unusual size. Still, love riding the bike. It's around the 30lbs mark but capable of long rides in the hills.
  • + 1
 i have its cousin, the metta hard tail special edition plus (also in a medium ). It has the exact same cockpit setup and i didn't really bat an eyelid at the fact it had a 50mm stem as it still rides very nicely, i say if it feels natural why consider changing it (apart from the bars . 750mm is horrible) . as well but like the tester im having trouble with the seat post remote, thanks pb looks like im not the only one !!!! Smile
  • + 2
 The best bike I've ever ridden, so fast and easy to handle, perfect for my riding style. Yesterday I was riding bike park, and some demos and glorys were having trouble to follow a 150mm v4.
  • + 16
 There are always demos and glorys at bike parks under riders that would struggle to follow my nan to the shops and back.
  • + 1
 tossup between this and a rose granite chief with a few custom parts ( DT swiss EX1700 Wheels /DP pikes ), went with the rose in the end trouble free and love it geometry is a degree tighter but I do more trail than AM
  • + 1
 Got the WC version a few weeks ago and love it, coming off a kona process the wide stays arent that much different so I barely notice it as being an issue, a bit of tape to protect and job done.
  • + 1
 What is a tyre clearance like at chainstay?
  • + 1
 @Fire-Starter, can I ask why you are moving to the Commencal instead of the Process? (I'm considering buying a Process, so I was wondering if there was something that swayed you towards Commencal.) Also was yours the older four-bar or newer "rocker independent" style Process?
  • + 2
 @o5ka Clearance is fine, I've just put a couple of pics in my gallery, plenty of room, that's with a high roller fitted, A little less on the drive side due to the guard but still fine.

@davemays I wanted to make a few changes to my Process, it was the 134, I wanted a Reverb as I really didn't like the external KS, New pike fork in 150mm, partly to slacken the head a touch and after riding a few pikes on other bikes my revelation just felt a bit blah :-), and go 1x11, new tyres, wider bar, by the time I added it all up I thought I may as well start looking at what else is out there, upgrading is cool but you can't beat that new bike feeling I'm probably the bike industries favorite type of person as I'm always looking at whats new Smile The Meta being slightly longer and slacker a little lighter also being able to get it in the spec I wanted (maybe a wheel set upgrade in the future but but mainly only as I'm curious to try some carbons). I'd gone back and forth between the Meta and the Giant Reign, All the reviews of the Meta come out saying it's playful, and the Reign being a bit more point and shoot straight down.
  • + 1
 Than you for the pics @Fire-Starter, good stuff Smile
  • + 1
 Cool thanks @Fire-Starter! I'm definitely looking for something with more of a playful feel than point and shoot as well. What are your thoughts on handling between the Process and Meta? The process is one of the few bikes I've been able to test on an actual trail, so being able to compare the Meta to the Process would be nice because I'm also considering a Meta (my biggest concern is there isn't really anywhere I can try one out.) p.s. your Meta looks amazing, didn't know it came in a yellow-on-black colorway.
  • + 1
 @davemays The Meta just feels like a +1 on the Process, Does everything the process does but a little better and I've not fond any bad points on it yet, though I guess it does have that new bike feeling Smile , Being a little longer and slacker I feel more confident descending, Climbing is different tho that's probably more due to being on 1x now, not worse, just different, and for me climbings just something that has to happen, but it's easy to unweight the front for getting over roots and rocks but it doesn't really wander either. It's also lighter, and whilst I didn't notice the weight too much on the process I can tell a difference now. Also the Renthal cockpit looks awesome.
  • + 1
 So many typos in this article!!! It's quite a shame. Plus the bike's name isn't the "X4", which is I believe an older version, but the "AM V4".... Took me all of 4 seconds on Google to realize that....
  • + 6
 4 seconds?...what took you so long...lol
  • - 1
 Unless they made it incomprehensible so what?
  • + 2
 Their customer service isnt the best but neter is a whole host of other bike manufacturers, one thing I know of for sure though, is that the V4 is one hell of a bike
  • + 1
 Cant really complain, they have to keep their costs down somehow and their frames are damn good value.
  • + 1
 That they are, I have a V4 and it is my second Meta, the first one was an SX, I can honestly say that the V4 is a step up from the V3 models
  • + 0
 @medacus

When you're buying a bike direct and you have a problem with the bike, customer service matters a ton.
  • + 1
 Can't rely on the LBS. TBH I think it could be a bit hit and miss depending on who reads your email. When I received my meta sx frame, they didnt include enough internal routing grommets. First guy who replied said I had to buy some, got an email address for a helpful employee from the facebook owners page and they sorted out my issue quickly. However, if I had a case of seizing wheel bearings which appears to be quite common, I think I'd take the hit and just put some SKF ones in there.
  • + 2
 @UtahBikeMike I never said it didn't, what I did say is that "a whole host of other manufacturers have bad customer service" I've had both good and bad customer service from Commencal, just like any other bike manufacturer be it direct sales or through an LBS, I've had more bad service from LBS's than I've had from any direct sales company, there is no such thing as a company having a perfect after sales as at some point you are always going to upset someone!
  • + 2
 I don't like the chainstays on Commencals as I keep whacking my heals on them. I wonder whether pedals with longer spindle would help?
  • + 3
 Since when does changing chainrings require BB removal? Moot point PB.
  • + 1
 Interesting to see the issues with the KS LEV noted here. I've been on a KS i950 for 4 years and it's been absolutely flawless.
  • + 1
 Is it worth swap 2k14 V3 frame to V4? Is it worth to spend about 400 euro?

For me only positive differences are compatible piggyback and little less weight...
  • + 0
 @BlackuR

The 2k15 V4 is way better than V3 especially with stability and stiffnes, the suspension curve is more linear and now close to the coil shocks.

My bet is on the V4, if you want more support from suspension and the frame, go for V4, V3 is ok if you don't want to hit jumps at all xD
  • + 1
 I wish they'd paint their bikes a different colour and maybe offer them in a choice of colours instead of yellow & black..
  • + 1
 def on my list for my next bike, but i'm very intrigued as to this situation of blowing the shocks up with the type of link in the suspension.
  • + 1
 I think it's only an issue with RS
  • + 4
 Big-G-84^^^ We have killed Cane Creek Inline, Fox Float and RockShox Monarch dampers in short testing intervals, so the finger points to either serendipidy or suspension. Our test group of a half dozen bikes is not large enough to rule out serendipidy, so It may not be a suspension issue. But, PB's experiece offers evidence that there is a strong relationship between yokes and dripping shock fluid. That said, I have ridden a number of Lapierres with yoke driven shocks and they have never failed. We'll be keeping a close eye on this trend
  • + 1
 It's strange because most yokes are designed to actuate the shock in a pure linear way (it's impressive on the Meta, almost no angle change). Maybe it comes from lateral forces of such setup?
  • + 1
 It is weird, maybe it's actually making the shock more active therefore just simply overheating them a lot quicker than they would normally do
  • + 3
 Press fit bottom bracket? Uh, what?
  • + 1
 Seat stays are too wide for proper heal clearance?! You got some big feet, I'm a UK size 9 (US 10??) and my feet ride through perfectly clean! Wicked bike, love it.
  • + 2
 Im a UK 10 and also have a wide foot, with my clumpy 5/10's on I haven't even managed to hit the stays
  • + 1
 I also ride clipped with 5/10 hellcats, fairly big shoes. Not a problem for me!
  • + 1
 No problem with mine
  • + 1
 no problems with mine,too. i am uk 9.
  • + 1
 I have Meta AM V4. 1st I had CB Candy and I occasionally hit with the heel(s) on the chainstay(s). With the CB Mallet DH I have no problem with that.
I suggest pedals with wider spindle/Q-factor.
  • + 1
 I use DMR Vaults that have quite a wide spindle, I also don't ride heels in
  • + 1
 maybe im one of the lucky ones to ride like a penguin and get heel rub then ! haha
  • + 2
 Dear Bike Companies, please stop saving money by spec'ing wheelsets with crappy rear hubs. Thank you.
  • + 1
 I would love a review of those Time (or are they Mavic) pedals.
Pleaaaaase?
  • + 2
 I would love a week in Fruita.
Pleaaaaase?
  • + 1
 PressFit BB92 bottom bracket - now, that's a good idea...
  • + 1
 Lol....lol
  • + 3
 My 2013 meta is pf92, never had any issue with it.
  • + 1
 I'm trying to be open minded but I just can't understand whats seems to be wrong with threaded BB.
  • + 1
 Nothing. Its just quicker and cheaper for the manufacturer to use press-fit.
  • + 1
 Cool design, but the shock position kinda limits your choices, doesn't it?
  • + 1
 In what way thought they put it there so you could run whatever ?
  • + 1
 Everything fits except CC DB air shocks apparently... I have a BOS Kirk on mine...
  • + 1
 Hey what shocks is that gretchen ? I got the Kirk on mine now but it seems to be a little overdamped
  • + 1
 Its the Kirk... I had mine custom tuned by SuspensionWerx in Vancouver, seems to be OK for me....
  • + 1
 Nice , I don't know if its the frame design or the shock but it seems really sensitive to pressure 3-4 psi above or below and it will feel off. Im at about 187 psi , 8 vol reducing o'rings and dialed all the way out on both low and high speed compression , that parts seems kind of weird to me. I think its the KI-03 tune from BOS which was spec'ed for that frame
  • + 1
 Suser sexy and a decent value for the asking price..
  • + 1
 What is the tyre clearance like at the chainstay in meta V4?
  • + 1
 A lot!
  • - 1
 Why someone create bikes with 437mm CS? I do like everything in that bike except CS length, too long to my understanding.
  • + 2
 I imagine it's for balance. It's the best-balanced bike I've ever owned... wheelies are a doddle and unweighting front or back is effortless.
  • + 6
 Agreed Yonibois^^^ A super short chainstay has to be compensated for, usually by using a steeper seat tube angle, before it can provide a balaced feel. The V4's Geo is right - beautifully balanced, up or down. I was playing with it on that drifter corner between shots and it can drift, no brakes, at speed without taking a foot off the pedals. Much fun.
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