Commencal's Prototype DH Bike - Lourdes World Cup

Apr 9, 2015
by Mike Levy  
Commencal DH bike prototype

Commencal's current production bike hasn't been on the market for that long, and Rémi Thirion has had some good success aboard a race-tuned version of that very machine. Regardless, the Andorran company has seen fit to develop an entirely new chassis that's nothing like the bike Rémi has been racing on for the past few seasons. That said, the basic suspension layout does harken back to one of the most successful downhill race bikes in the history of the sport, albeit with some more contemporary design cues.


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Commencal DH bike prototype
An extremely high main pivot location provides quite a bit of rearward wheel travel.
Commencal DH bike prototype
The linkage is located low on the frame.


Suspension Design


The new 650B wheeled bike, which Commencal is calling the Supreme DH V4, sports 220mm of rear wheel travel via a design that's very different to what the company employed on their last downhill bike, although it is still classified as a single pivot system. An extremely high main pivot is combined with a linkage that's located low on the frame, and there's also an idler pulley mounted inline with the pivot in order to prevent massive amounts of chain growth that would occur otherwise. Commencal is calling the layout 'High Pivot Point', which is pretty self explanatory, and it was first tested on a 160mm travel all-mountain bike to see if they liked how it performed and to fine tune pivot locations.

The V4's high main pivot gives them the rearward axle path that they were looking for: ''Why a high pivot point? To obtain the correct rear wheel path, which avoids stumbling over obstacles and carries a greater speed through rough sections. It goes back to a fundamental concept for downhill - speed.'' As mentioned above, Commencal knew that they needed to employ an idler pulley to route the chain over the main pivot, and they spent some time tinkering with different pulley placements to find the sort of pedalling performance that they wanted, saying ''specifically, by setting the idler on the swing arm in a precise place, we wanted to create an anti-squat value high enough to be lively when needed, out of a corner, for example.''

The 267mm eye-to-eye shock is mounted nearly as low as possible on the frame, and it's compressed via a tidy linkage that is said to provide a very similar feel to Commencal's previous downhill bike, at least in the first 200mm of travel, before supplying a hefty amount of ramp-up in the last 20mm to keep the rider off the bottom of the stroke.
Commencal DH bike prototype
The chain is routed up and over an idler pulley that's inline with the main pivot.


Commencal
Commencal tested the high pivot layout on a 160mm travel all-mountain bike before starting in on a DH version.



Commencal
Axle path comparisons, with the new V4 being very different from the older bikes.



V4 Geometry


The new V4's geometry is all about adjustability, although Commencal have gone about it in a much cleaner looking way that the usual array of different mounting options and bolts everywhere. They're calling it 'Modular Geometry', and while the bike's head angle is fixed at a slack 62.5 degrees, its reach is adjustable by way of four different offset headset cups that allow for eight possible configurations: -10, -8, -5, 0, +5, +8 and +10mm. The bike's rear center length is also very different from the old bike, with Commencal shortening it up from 447mm on the V3 to 425mm on the V4, and it's also adjustable by using different bolt-on dropouts. However, keep in mind that the 425mm number will grow as the bike goes through its travel, which is something that some racers have found can alter the bike's handling in corners too much for their liking. To this end, Commencal have actually lowered the height of the main pivot compared to what was used on some earlier prototypes, although it's obviously still quite high. It will be interesting to see how their racers, as well as the average rider, get on with Commencal's decision to go with such a high main pivot.

Commencal



155 Comments

  • 58 2
 Why such the short reach numbers? 425mm reach on an "XL" is extremely small. Even with the plus 10mm headset cups installed 435mm reach is still short for an XL.
  • 19 0
 Frown I'm 6'6 why so small
  • 12 5
 The stack is much taller than usual which makes up the difference.
  • 33 16
 Cuz French people are small
  • 6 0
 Yes for the stack and don't forget that you have to compensate for the rearward axle path Wink
  • 13 1
 Kyle Strait is most definitely not small...
  • 13 0
 v10 XL stack 610,4mm reach 450,8mm
Commencal v4 XL stack 617mm raech 425mm (435 with adjustment)
Giant glory 2015 XL stack 604mm reach 480mm

Guess stack height is quite important
  • 18 0
 Doesn't a high stack shorten the effective reach?
  • 7 1
 No, stack is purely vertical from the center of the bottom bracket to the top center of the head tube. If you calculate the diagonal, straight line from bb to head tube, the Commencal is a bit shorter than the Glory and V10 judging from those numbers above, but it's only 3mm off the V10 if you were to use the 10mm offset headset cup to lengthen it.
  • 1 0
 Ahhh, ok, i see, thanks for clearing that up!
  • 15 0
 If you want a big XL.....check out the 2015 JEDI. Its the biggest DH bike in the industry! Parallel link and reward-travel! Its a proper size for the the giants out there!
  • 2 0
 I'm 6ft5 and ride a large V3 and I don't find it cramped, and the V4 is longer if I remember geo of the 26 V3 rightly. If only I had a good paying job I'd be saving for a V4 right now
  • 7 0
 Hey @gollub01 , you are mistaken, the XL Jedi is 12mm shorter in reach than the Pivot Phoenix XL
  • 6 21
flag chriskneeland (Apr 9, 2015 at 13:25) (Below Threshold)
 Wow...what a disappointing design. There was nothing wrong with the V3.
  • 3 0
 I didn't see Kyle Strait testing ? Smile
  • 2 0
 Those numbers are still bigger than my Large TR500. Im 6ft (pretty small compared to some of you guys) and with the 800mm bars it feels pretty comfortable to ride. More comfy than a Demo.
  • 2 0
 yep compare to my custom TR500 LG+ , new Commencal V4 size's look odd but even then my old custom LG Commencal V2 had odd size's but was so comfortable to ride, although the TR500 is more stiff and reliable somehow for some odd reason
i still miss the filling ... Wink
  • 1 4
 Good point about the bar width Ben. The difference in reach hetween using 800mm vs 760mm must be 15mm or so. Plus you can get dm stems now from 25 to 65mm. I really like this new frame. I loved the v2 also, but was never a fan of the v3. The athertons weren't either by all accounts, and by the sound of this video, some current team riders too. I wonder how it stacks up against the Zerode v2. I respect Commencal's no carbon policy but I feel they are missing out on a fair few top end sales because of it. I for one would not consider spending three grand on a metal frame again. For top dollar, it has to be carbon.
  • 2 3
 Just when I start considering a com they go and mess things up
  • 1 0
 @Bikerguy13: Andorran.
  • 1 0
 @jdotr: I stand corrected
  • 39 0
 I like the idea of new designs like this that don't follow what big manufacturers are doing. Innovation like this can only be a positive thing for our sport.
  • 5 0
 I agree. This design will be polarizing but at least it's interesting.
  • 2 0
 Plus with the high pivot, 220mm travel design I bet it goes like anmofo.
  • 1 8
flag FranckR (Apr 10, 2015 at 14:22) (Below Threshold)
 "new design" isn't that appropriate. It's just a total rip-off from Canfield Brothers ... But well, that's how big brands call it when they copy a smaller one.
  • 1 0
 which canfield model is it copied off?
  • 2 0
 Franck djm35 could have said that better, as know it's not a totally new design, but it is an interesting execution of it. I can't think of many bikes that are "new designs" and that's because there's no need, when there's so many ways to optimize what is already available. and they're probably the best ideas anyway. Canfield is probably the least closely related idler bike and it doesn't predate other idler bikes anyway.
  • 1 0
 ok so we have seen the idler thing before (Brooklyn Machine works did it first I think, also Canfield and Zerode) but have we seen it with a suspension setup like this?
  • 1 0
 corsair maelstrom is pretty similar
  • 1 0
 djm32 I guess not. Depends how fanatically you look at it. Brooklyn had a jackshaft(although the same effect). It's linkage was similar to the Comencal in having small links, but differant design(moto link?). Yeah Canfield similarity ends at the idler and axle path, Zerode same design as Commencal just executed differently. SUNN was also similar, so was GTs RTS, Lahar. All used the linkage pull rod as a chainstay though accept the BMW. So no not really seen Comencals shrunken linkage and solid swingarm before I can think of. Anyone else?
  • 1 0
 Maelstorm is very similar accept shock driving linkage has shock at opposite end.
  • 1 1
 Well thanks NoSkidMarks and jaame. however, these companies that we are discussing, Canfield, Corsair ect, are not the big, globally significant manufacturers that Commencal are becoming. This innovation needs to reach the masses so the people can decide if it works for them.
  • 3 0
 I'm not pissing on it, at all. The Maelstrom was an awesomw bike. I would love to try this. I bet it goes like a train.
  • 19 3
 bet you'll see those chain growth things on a lot of bikes ahead. Canfield Bros have executed it best IMO. Honestly the V3 is the best looking commencal of all time, that won't change with this bike.

Edit: I take back what I said about Canfield bros executing the chain growth roller best, I totally changed my mind. Seeing how it's hidden behind the arm on the Commencal is actually really really cool. I do not take back what I said about the V3 being the best looking Commencal though, that statement remains true.
  • 27 4
 Zerode does it best, gearbox? So awesome.
  • 10 4
 The V3 has such clean lines and just looks so good.
  • 13 1
 Nah man, the V2s that the Athertons raced on were SO nice
  • 3 0
 @anchoricex I've never liked how open high pivot idlers were and this one being tucked in there is nice. Will the chain make it through without rub and extra wear though? Hopefully, because more designs the merrier in my eyes. Let the riders have choices and choose what aspects of suspension to highlight or compromise on.
  • 7 0
 I used to race xc on my Trek Session 10 back in the day and crush it. The idler pulley is where it's at.
  • 2 7
flag game (Apr 9, 2015 at 12:45) (Below Threshold)
 zerode looks like the pivot is too high IMO. The key with these high pivot bikes is not over doing it, otherwise you end up with funny weigh transfer and bad cornering.
  • 7 1
 @game are you implying Zerodes are bad at cornering? Because that is absolute bullshit.
Just look at footage of Reece Potter riding. Granted, he is obscenely skilled, but what he does wouldn't be remotely possible on a bike with "bad cornering"
  • 2 1
 not necessarily, more so speculation based off my experience on a balfa bb7. There's a distinct trade off with a high pivot design regarding cornering and weight transfer, though this was probably amplified by the fact the balfa didnt have the stiffest rear triangle going on. So no im not saying the zerode cant corner, im just saying its most likely not a STRONG point of the design as the pivot is very high and placed far back. I'm sure they absolutely destroy rock gardens and straight sections though and major props for them utilizing a gearbox design.
  • 7 0
 The bb7 had a 15" bb height, that probably had more to do with cornering not being the best than the rearward travel.
  • 2 0
 no, not the 2002 and on, mine measured out to a 13.75" bb height. Pre 2002, yes the bb was much higher. Head angle also sat at about 64 degrees, I should have taken a picture of it beside the 2010 demo.
  • 4 0
 Don't forget 2stage, must be a kiwi thing having chain idlers
  • 3 0
 @anch...I have a 2015 jedi. Now I can't comment on the V4 roller setup functionality, but I actually like how it is more exposed on the jedi. Riding in nasty NW conditions, it sheds mud, gunk and debris really well. Plus being Ti it's got great wear resistance. It would seem like the setup here would clog easily.
  • 2 0
 Judging by the Corsair facebook page, a lot of riders have had trouble getting replacement cogs and bearings for the idler pulleys on the Crown and Maelstrom frames. Not helped by the company changing hands three times in the past five years or whatever, but still you have to wonder about bespoke parts replacement a few years down the line. Although now I think about it, it's probably no different than trying to get a replacement gear hanger.
  • 3 0
 I used to have a session 10 and replacement parts were actually very easy to get hold of even 4 years or more after they stopped making them. Depends on the company I guess.
  • 1 1
 im 14 and 6'1''
  • 5 0
 Cool
  • 21 1
 Where is he? Where is protour?
  • 23 1
 I heard he is on honeymoon with waki
  • 7 0
 Reminds me of Corsair's Maelstrom... anyway. this. "Commencal is calling the layout 'High Pivot Point', which is pretty self explanatory, and it was first tested on a 160mm travel all-mountain bike..." Waht all mountain bike is being discussed? exciting! Go Commencal!
  • 11 2
 I like how Commencal said "all-mountain bike " instead of enduro bike…..because THAT'S WHAT IT IS!
  • 3 1
 This. I've never really understood the fuss around the term (both positive and negative)...it's just a race format after all.
  • 7 0
 AN XL! praise 8 pound baby jesus! being 6'4 is not easy trying to find a bike when your options are slim to a few companies but I'm glad they are going to make an XL
  • 12 0
 But with a reach of 425mm? Thats not much of an XL. Thats 5mm longer than a Medium Demo.
  • 10 0
 @brodieman96 if you are 6'4" and ride and XL with a 425 reach, you will look like a bear in a circus.
  • 9 2
 Definitely Commencal is looking back to his days at Sunn Chipie. Pivot and linkage is a refined version of the old Sunn bikes.
  • 7 0
 The old Balfa Nouveau Riche comes to mind.
But dont take my word for it: www.balfa.wooyek.pl/Historic/Balfa-NR-Nouveau-Riche-review.jpg
  • 7 0
 Balfa was ahead of its time
  • 3 0
 There is no doubt about that. It is a shame that they are not around anymore.
  • 4 0
 yup, my 2002 bb7 had nearly the same geo as my friends 2010 demo 8, it was crazy seeing them beside each other on a roof rack
  • 5 0
 I might just dig my BB7 out then...
  • 1 2
 yikes, geo was ahead of its time, but >50lbs is hilarious
  • 1 1
 the suspension concept and implementation was ahead of its time, but definitely not the weight.
  • 2 0
 much of that weight was due to the parts ran back then. Atleast for the bb7, i cant speak for the nr which was a heavier frame.
  • 5 0
 sub 40lbs is easily achievable on a bb7 with some modernish components.
  • 8 0
 check out my old account's blog about my "modern" bb7 build. 37lbs.
www.pinkbike.com/u/drsanchez/blog/balfabuild2010.html
  • 1 0
 sick build. its funny how the frame itself looks dated, but the bike as a whole looks really good. shows how geo is probably a larger factor regarding 'modern' appearance than tube shape itself.
  • 3 0
 My 2004 BB7 with boxxer wc's and air rear shock weights 18.1kgs...With lighter wheels & components i can save more than 0.1kg
  • 3 0
 i can save more than 0.5kg, i mistyped earlier
  • 2 0
 all about Balfa..my groupe on Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/Balfa
  • 6 0
 always liked the high single pivot design. stoked to see Commencal try it. Wish more bike companies werent afraid to step away from today's cookie cutter bike layouts and try different stuff.
  • 7 0
 Thanks commencal... if remy takes this to whistler, there wont be any trails for us left to ride!!
  • 3 0
 trying to figure out the reach lenght Commencal v4 Medium stack-607mm reach-392mm toptube-593mm Giant glory 2015 Medium stack-595mm reach-426mm toptube-584mm I am to tired and drunk to figure out why the reach is 34mm shorter on the v4 with only 9mm in toptube difference
  • 8 3
 Tip: Look at the seat tube angle
  • 2 0
 Why botabota is neg proped ? He's right.
  • 4 1
 fuuuuuck !! I'm done ! I'm so expected from Devinci carbon 275 ! but with that V4 ( I'm already have V3 also) I'm in love ! I liked like Ghost Dh frame has interesting chain guide , but this one even gone further !
want it !!
  • 1 0
 Looks like Commencal is taking a cue from Horst Leitner's Horst-link design for the ATK which has been implemented successfully by other bike builders.

www.americandirtbike.com/Perf406-24a.gif
www.amp-research.com/company/history
  • 5 2
 Reminds me of a Sunn mixed with an M-Pire's linkage. I'll bet it rides very well.
  • 3 0
 The video was super interesting and entertaining all the way through. More like this for release vids, bike companies!
  • 2 0
 some of the best filming and music on a technical team video to date imo. Totally absorbing watch. Can't wait to see their results this weekend. Remi is a beast.
  • 3 0
 This bike would eat up square edge bumps. Looks like it has no trouble tracking the ground. Dam fine DH race machine.
  • 2 0
 Will they wear out clutched mechs or cables prematurely due to chain growth below swing arm? Or can they rotate guide enough? Oldschool clutchless might be the go.
  • 1 0
 Ah everyone's talking technology, let's talk about more important things like paint. I just hope they make the paint a little less prone to chipping. Mine's gonna need a nice flat black powder coat in the near future.
  • 3 0
 Thank god for the French. The world would be a much more boring place otherwise
  • 1 0
 Supreme DH V4 have same older design Balfa NR ( Nouveau Riche ) 1998 with a BB7 chain design . The high pivot = 3" chainstay extension in full compression suspension . Good luck on a corner !
  • 3 0
 are you going to hit the down tube in front of the bb? looks interesting.
  • 1 0
 My first thought as well. That down tube will get so beat up that we will have to shoot it to put it out of its misery.
  • 1 0
 a couple of iron alloy mixed in the linkage.. maybe?
  • 4 1
 Similar design principles to Zerode albeit without the gearbox
  • 8 1
 Or a canfield, a ghost, a bulls, a corsair, a balfa, a..... bikes that actually works, I guess.
  • 4 3
 So, the new frame is a painted Bulls DH frame? Wow, this is the first time the "Looks like a..." comment is actually true. NICE! Smile
  • 2 1
 Someone reads team robot
  • 3 0
 I really like it! Some fresh air on a DH bike!!!! LIKE, LIKE LIKE!!!
  • 4 2
 Looks sick and an XL is available, good job
  • 3 0
 That's greasy
  • 8 6
 Fucking hell it must be carrying 3 lbs in chain !
  • 3 0
 It'd be .5 chain extra.
  • 3 0
 hahahaha trust you no skiddies Wink

on other matters, am i gonna be the only one to call out the fact that high single-pivot with idler's being slammed by practically every single camp-jumping trendy grom rider in existence the second that dave weagle entered the scene? oh the irony...bike fashions go round in circles much faster than clothes it would seem. they all work good, it really just does come down to how nice they look really in the end, doesn't it?
  • 1 0
 Love the looks of my C-Supreme-Racing. Commie: Make it look more like the 2009. Its a design classic.
  • 3 1
 Hopefully they have a meta v4 sx in being tested also.
  • 2 0
 Sick vid. Welcome to Cali!
  • 1 0
 maybe ok for a big bike, but an AM rig with that chain solution would be too otherworldly.
  • 2 1
 Canfield bros jedi does the same trick with trajectory in a FAR more attractive package... This bike is just weak looking
  • 2 1
 The colors are looking good, thank god. This years designs are atrocious
  • 3 1
 Mmmmmhhh, looks good !
  • 2 1
 Next time less talking n more riding.
  • 4 3
 hey look, a BULLS DH bike!
  • 4 3
 Eeh looks more like a session.
  • 1 2
 I skip the text. and glanced through the pictures, then, ...
What the f*ck does that chain up there ?
Guess I gotta read then
  • 1 0
 Chain wrap on the cog sufficient?
  • 2 0
 Superco Silencer anyone?
  • 1 0
 Looks like a balfa bb7 with round tubes
  • 1 0
 That's a ton of gold chain yo!
  • 1 0
 I want that 160mm version! I have the Meta SX and it's awesome.
  • 2 3
 CAD model looks nice but I cant see a full build being that pretty, would be hard justified to buy one...
  • 2 1
 What a beauty.
  • 2 3
 Don't like those long linkages, longer than a Maestro link!
  • 1 2
 Doesn't look like a Session fellas!
  • 3 2
 Looks like Bulls
  • 1 1
 Fuckin Slackk
  • 1 3
 PLS! Speak english....
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