Field Test: 2021 Commencal Meta Power - The Aluminum Sledge Hammer

Sep 14, 2021
by Henry Quinney  


PINKBIKE FIELD TEST

Commencal Meta Power



Words by Henry Quinney, photography by Tom Richards


Commencal is a brand based in the high mountain of Andorra and is known for their World Cup downhill exploits and their era of enduro domination under Cecile Ravanel. To many, they’re that brand that seems to sponsor half the World Cup field, but to others they’re the brainchild of Max Commencal and a continuation of much of the success he enjoyed while working for Sunn.

So, how do these racing credentials translate to their eMTB offering, the Meta Power? And can they still offer their same unique flavour of alloy, high performance and good value bikes when there is a motor bolted to the down tube?
Meta Details

• Travel: 160mm rear / 170mm front
• Wheel size: 29"
• Head angle: 63.5°
• Seat tube angle: 78°
• Reach: 475mm (lrg)
• Chainstay length: 453mm
• Sizes: S, M, L (tested), XL
• Weight: 54.8lb / 24.85kg
• Price: $6,999 USD
commencalusa.com

Before we get into the geometry and how this bike rode let’s just get one thing out the way - the Commencal Meta Power 29 in the Team build we had on test wipes the smiles off all the other bikes’ faces when it comes to value. This bike is $7,000 US dollars. Now, that’s still a good chunk of cash but it’s no exaggeration to say you could have two of these for the price of some of the others. That’s a big difference, and it’s not as if the Meta Power is light on spec either.

This bike is the only alloy framed bike on the field test, non e-bikes included, which is one way it keeps the cost down. The other is their direct-to-consumer sales model.

So, the price is right but what about the bike? The frame is built around the ever-more-common 78-degree seat tube angle which is matched up to an amply slack 63.5-degree head tube angle. The size large on test had 475mm of reach and sizable 453mm chainstays. The linkage-driven single pivot provides 160mm travel and it’s paired to a 170mm fork. The geometry dimension that draws your gaze, though, isn’t one of the more talked about but rather the potentially troublesome 465mm seat tube. Some people might not find this problematic, but that wasn't the case for me - more on that later.

The bike has a really solid spec, especially for the previously mentioned price. The SRAM and Rockshox build offers Utlimate level suspension components and high-end Code RSC brakes. These feature a 220mm rotor on the front, which is something I really like on most bikes, let alone with the added weight of an e-bike. This is paired to a GX drivetrain and some E13 alloy cranks. The wheels are the H1700 rims on 350 hubs from DT Swiss. There is also a KS Lev Integra 175mm seatpost.


The Shimano EP8 motor features across the entire range. It’s combined with a 630Wh battery, which is the same setup used on the Yeti. The EP8 also features on the Norco that we have on test. All bikes provide 85Nm of torque.

One thing that I didn’t like about the frame was how rough the inside of the seat tube was. It absolutely chewed the pre-installed seatpost to bits. To remove it we had to soak it in lubricant overnight and then try and twist it out. Even then, it wasn't just a few scratches but it scarred the not exactly cheap seatpost horribly. We filed down the rough parts but by that point, the damage was done.

On the test, we had the middle to high range Meta Power. The base model starts at a very reasonable $6,000 and features a solid Fox Performance and Shimano SLX/Deore mix. There are higher versions too, with the range topping $7,600 models coming with a choice of either Fox Factory or Ohlins suspension and a Shimano XT drivetrain and brakes.




Climbing

The Meta Power is a bike that offers a comfortable climbing position. Although the frame stack isn’t particularly high at 620mm, the high rise 40mm bar helped me get into a window of usable range when I wanted to shift my weight around. I ended up running the stem with several spacers above it as a way to not compromise the 475mm reach and tried to recoup the bar height with the generous bar rise.

The bike, while offering plenty of traction, doesn’t offer the same platform as something like the Yeti 160E or Specialized Kinevo. It’s happy to spin out a gear and winch up climbs, but doesn’t have that same supported feeling when you have your weight hovering above the saddle on technical pitches.

The biggest inhibitor to my personal experience on the Meta Power was the overall fit of the bike. Because of the tall 465mm seat tube and steep 78 degree seat tube angle, I found that I couldn’t get the saddle low enough to be out of the way on descents. I alleviated the problem by running the saddle further rearward on its rails.

It still climbed well, but I didn’t feel my weight was as well centered on the bike and that becomes slightly problematic when dealing with the power of an eMTB. I never really felt like I was able to hit that sweet spot of centered traction as often or as immediately as I would have liked.

All in all, the Commencal feels slightly more rough around the edges than some of the other bikes and this is more apparent on the climbs than anywhere else.



Descending

For all its quirks on the climbs, can this bike make it up on the descents?

All in all, I really enjoyed riding this bike. I’m going to say it once and then not bring it up again - the seat tube is too long. Apart from that I think it’s a very capable descender. I love the 63.5-degree head angle. With the extra weight of an e-bike it’s my belief they need to be slacker to give you more stability when you’re braking hard, especially on the front brake.

Timed Testing

The enduro and eMTBs were all tested on a section of trail that included a mix of everything you'd expect to find on a race track. There were tight corners, a few drops, some sidehill sections that get trickier the faster you go, along with some higher speed, open corners.

Don't forget that timing is just one of many ways to judge a bike, and fast doesn't always mean it's the best for everyone.


Henry Quinney: "The Commencal had the quickest time of all the eMTBs with a 2:53.6. It's easy to ride nature proved a hit."

The rear suspension delivers a supple feel that tracks the ground well. It hunkers to the ground when you apply the rear brake, which I really like, and helps keep all that e-bike weight nice and low. It’s a very planted bike that offers ample stability. I wouldn’t be averse to it being slightly longer in the reach especially on the smaller sizes, or have a larger amount of stack for that matter. I think the sizeable rear end and plow-like suspension feel really warrants it.

The 453mm chainstay length on this bike is the same irrespective of size. For the large and extra-large this isn’t a problem but on the smaller sizes it could be at risk of dwarfing the 430mm or 450mm reaches of the small or medium. In the version I rode, the large, I found it to be well proportioned.

When all you’ve got is a hammer then everything looks like nails and that was definitely the case with the Commencal. It’s an easy bike to ride that encourages you to treat both it and the trail with little sympathy. I really liked it and think it offers great value. That said, I think the difference between this bike being excellent and merely very good are several small but significant geometry tweaks.


Pros

+ Great value compared to the other bikes on test
+ Confidence-inspiring and easy to ride

Cons

- Seat tube is too long
- Not the best climber
- Frame details could use refinement




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible with support from Dainese apparel & protection, Sierra Nevada refreshments, and Smith eyewear and helmets. Thanks also to Maxxis, Garmin, Freelap, and Toyota Pacific.





202 Comments

  • 150 5
 faster than a bike double it's price with better spec - nuff said.
  • 155 6
 It's not turquoise though. Checkmate.
  • 9 97
flag mtb-scotland (Sep 14, 2021 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 @Jvhowube: not relevant
  • 30 1
 Everyone; I wouldn't spend more on a bike because it is faster

Also Everyone; The cheapest bike is the fastest so it must be the best!
  • 49 0
 @Jvhowube: with the $5000 leftover I can wrap it in gold leaf if I want to.
  • 3 0
 what about the speed trap? Wink
  • 2 0
 like the Capra was then.
  • 14 2
 @rookie100: The Capra test was a joke. Comes out as the most nimble and agile, one of the most pedal friendly, best specced yet cheapest and fastes bike of the bunch. Still loses the test because the suspension "felt a bit harsh".
  • 2 0
 @stefkrger: Fair point, but what I read into that is the other bikes were more fun to ride.
The real lesson for PB there is to do timed runs with normal riders as well as ex-WC racers, IMO.
  • 4 0
 @chakaping: „more fun“ is probably to most subjective metric there is for judging a bike. This field test really felt like the testers had a bias towards certain brands as also pointed out by others in the comments. That really made me lose a lot of respect for the crew. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t plan on buying a Capra or any other YT bike. I’d much rather have the Transition, but still this was rather unprofessional
  • 3 0
 @stefkrger: I think it was also the fact that the capra was the smallest bike and Henry was too big for it making him dislike it the most.

I own a capra and a commencal meta power, so I am both delighted with the timed training results and frustrated by the test conclusions. Like here, the meta power is one of the most bombproof bikes in existence and clearly its suspension layout can't really be degrading performance (at least on the downs). How can you recommend a bike twice the price from a company with a terrible track record for breaking bikes and maintenance schedules, implementing yet another quirky suspension layout they will probably give up on in 3 years?
  • 3 0
 @stefkrger: It was definitely poorly thought out, and some follow-up testing might have been worthwhile. Either with more riders, or on varying tracks - or ideally both.
Yes "fun" is subjective, and I'd consider buying a YT, but "harsh suspension" is a red flag to me and I'm glad the reviewers raised it.
  • 1 1
 @chakaping: I’d suggest you give it a try instead of just striking it off your list based on this review. I‘ve ridden bikes with a similar progressive leverage ratio and once you ride them a little deeper in the sag they become alive quickly. In return you are rewarded with a super active suspension deeper in the travel. There is always pros and cons in suspension design.
  • 1 0
 @stefkrger: It has a shit shock coupled with the leverage ratio makes it harsh.
  • 107 46
 Ski season is almost here!!! I am so excited to put on my telemark skis and stand at the bottom of a ski lift and scream at a bunch of lazy, unskilled, rich, 40 somethings and their lack of trail etiquette for not earning their turns! CHEATERS!!
  • 55 4
 If you are telemarking inbounds you’re kinda doing it wrong
  • 18 1
 Something something free the heel, free the mind.
  • 58 4
 This is a weird comparison... and not a good one. Ski hills are much more like a bike parks (well actually, they are?), lift accessed terrain. When I ski/snowboard in the backcountry I don't use a motor assisted legs or skis/snowboard to help me get to the top... I just hike.
  • 31 4
 @islandforlife: The analogue of an e-MTB is using a sled to backcountry ski.
  • 6 1
 @Jvhowube: That's a good point.. kind of... but sledding is it's own thing entirely. Just further points out that this comparison just doesn't work.
  • 9 2
 @islandforlife: Sure sledding is it's own thing but sled skiing is pretty much a direct analogy to shuttling an MTB. Sled skiing the sledding is not really the main activity, it's just a means of getting to the top of the hill so you can ski down.
  • 2 2
 @BullMooose: this. Lol
  • 16 1
 Your comparisons, while amusing, don’t even matter. What @PHX77 meant to say was:

“Ski season is almost here!!! I am so excited to sit in this office chair and complain on a ski forum at a bunch of people I will never meet in real life.”

No one is screaming at anyone outside of here.
  • 6 0
 you can ski in Phoenix?
  • 10 0
 @islandforlife: if someone made e-skins, I'd buy the shit out of them. Just sayin.
  • 17 0
 @toast2266: I got a couple battery powered belt sanders, hold my beer!
  • 6 1
 Doesn’t seem like an apt comparison. Probably more than 95% of skiers/boarders ski exclusively via lift-access. I’d guess that close to 90% of MTB riders are on non-motorized bikes still.

I’d also add that a 4,000’ day skinning feels like the physical equivalent of an 8,000’ day of climbing on MTB.
  • 2 4
 @BullMooose: "shuttling a mtb" correct, as you do at a bike park, as you ride lifts at a ski resort...making an analogy of sled skiing to Ebiking is incorrect...you still need to pedal in flat sections, out of turns, etc., while going downhill at a park. Ebikes still providing power all over. The whole comparison to skiing is just plain retarded, let alone the cook OP and his joke to tele-skiing.
  • 4 8
flag bordn21 (Sep 14, 2021 at 13:18) (Below Threshold)
 @everythingsucks: true, but we are tired of PB having articles on motorbikes we care zilch about. Thats the main gripe.
  • 1 0
 Aspen Basin has now implemented an uphill pass for inbounds skinning, so I've heard
  • 2 0
 @BullMooose: Ya but once you've owned a sled... ya you use it to sled ski/snowboard. But then you end up using the sled for, you know... just sledding which is super fun without the skiing/snowboarding part. Blasting pow turns, dropping cliffs, big airs etc. Which is I say it's kinda it's own thing. With an emtb, you're still just riding bike.
  • 2 1
 @toast2266: What if they weighed 20lbs? Ot at least a weight that you noticed on the way down and made going down less enjoyable? Ya, it's a good point... but not really a good comparison.
  • 1 2
 You never earned your turns? You should try it, it's awesome.
  • 2 1
 @islandforlife: emtb provides access to rides and zones you’d otherwise not have, either by saving time or extending range/climbing capability. That’s sort of it’s own thing too, imo. They ride quite differently than regular bikes…fun fitness / all mountain rides on the regular bike, dh epics on unsanctioned / hard to access trails on the ebike (usually on weekends when the other trails are crowded - added bonus).
  • 3 1
 @islandforlife: my good hearted, dickish post was about turn earners vs turn trust fund babies, such as myself, that like to drive mopeds around the hills and how another mountain based pastime gets along just fine with both methods of getting to the sweet turns we all love. As @everythingsucks correctly pointed out, nobody really says anything in real life.
  • 5 9
flag PHX77 (Sep 14, 2021 at 15:09) (Below Threshold)
 @bordn21: I saw on the Huffington Post that you can’t say the word “retard” anymore. Even if we use it with the inflection on “tard” like Zach Galifianakis did in the hangover. I checked. It’s listed as one notch below the N word now in the White Guilt Handbook of Approved Thoughts, they said. I know man. I’m with you. I was heartbroken as well. We can still make fun of white, Christian males tho! They can’t take that from us!!
  • 1 0
 @bordn21: then stop commenting or interacting with the posts. These are basically ads, if they get 100s of comments each time there’s a ebike post they’re gonna keep going up.
  • 1 1
 @MikeyMT: No, it snows here about once a decade. Flagstaff tho. Sunrise is good too but of course, nothing like the paradise you live in. Cheers, my man.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: I could deal with 20lbs of skins in my pack on the way down.
  • 47 0
 I own a 2020 Meta Power Team. The company philosophy, which translates to the trail more than you'd expect, would for me be best summarized as unfocused. While I still consider it a good value, the cost to get the price that low is evident from the moment you click confirm order.

I actually had to return the first bike because Commencal posted the wrong geometry for the 2020 Meta Power Ride. The geo chart claimed the reach was 475mm, but in actuality was the old model's 458mm.

The $1500 more expensive Team seemed better in every way... except the tires which were 2.35 SG Magic Marys vs the Ride's 2.5 Assegais. The Ride also came with the more expensive Shimano charger (4.4A vs 1.8A).

The first few rides were a bit unnerving. Commencal spec'd a block lock headset on the Meta Power that felt tight on the stand, but loose on the trail. Turns out the crown race wasn't pressed on the steerer fully.
I had an Eagle GX drivetrain on my MKIII Nomad, so I had experience with how finicky it can be to get precise shifts across the whole range. That being said, I was able to get the Nomad shifting perfectly after dialing it in.

This was not the case with the Meta Power, which never shifted perfectly, right up to the point where after 100 miles it started slipping the chain while in the 4th sprocket. Inspecting the cassette revealed a chipped tooth on the cassette.

When I tried to warranty it through Commencal they told me cassettes are wear items, and despite the low mileage, the failure did not fall outside of what would be considered normal life for the cassette. I ended up giving the cassette to my friend, and replacing the drivetrain with a Shimano Hyperglide +. If I was going to be replacing cassettes every 100 miles, I wasn't going to spend $200 each time. My friend slapped it on his bike, and low and behold... it shifts perfectly. Meanwhile my Hyperglide +, while considerably better, is still not up to the level I'd expect from a brand new Shimano drivetrain.

It was around this time that I started experiencing an unnerving feeling while feathering the rear brake going over rough terrain. The Code RSC have fantastic modulation, and yet I was always finding myself unexpectedly locking up the rear wheel. After eating it pretty hard on a steep and gnarly trail, I decided to do a deep dive into the bike to try to figure out what was happening.

What I found was a significant amount of lateral play between the hub and the rear end. To be clear, this isn't leverage induced deflection, but a distinct click clack indicative of the presence of excessive clearance. I swapped wheels to see if it was a flaw with the hub, but the click clack persisted. I busted out the dial calipers, and the axle checked out fine. I even put retaining compound between the axle and the hub just to ensure the play was in fact not coming from the axle to hub interface.

As of right now the source of the click clack still remains a mystery. It does however seem to be the source of the imprecise shifting and accelerated cassette wear. What it most likely will end up being is one of the bearing bores in the linkage being too large, resulting in the bearing shifting under load.

Of course being direct to consumer, the warranty process requires video evidence of such an issue. Capturing freeplay on the order of thousands of an inch is much better felt than seen, and given that the current projected availability of Commencal's bikes is at the earliest late spring 2022, I'm viewing the warranty process as a last resort.
  • 25 0
 You made quite an effort with this description!
  • 6 7
 that's anecdotal experience, my Meta just shreds, no issues at all...get the experiences from another 98 owners and you will have good data to come to a decent conclusion, let me know how it goes.
  • 5 1
 @Narro2: the issues are way too common. Even the test bike here had QC problems where the seat tube wasn't reamed correctly and someone at the factory just jammed the post in anyway.
  • 4 0
 @Narro2: I had an issue with the rear wheel at the start, they fixed it within a 2 week return. Lost my downtube protector, they sent my out a new one, and then a third one when the redesigned to be tougher. After 3 years I had some issues with the rocker, they sent out a brand new one (updated version) with bearings and bolts. All free and all with very low waiting time.

In my experience, the best customer service I have had over 10+ years riding.
  • 1 0
 @salespunk: 96 to go, both experiences look quite objective, tbf.
  • 1 0
 I wouldn't necessarily attest this to being that specific brand and model being the issue as a whole. There are duds in every bike.Some people have flawless bikes that work 100% of the time, while others experience issues. I mean look at the bikes that have broken, cracked, etc. While the company does it's best to make sure quality control is optimized, there's always going to be an instance of a bad bike out of the batch. There's no avoiding it. So I would chalk it up to be bad luck more than I would state that specific model as a whole is the issue.
  • 2 0
 @stumphumper92: but thats exactly the topic of discussion, the reputation of a brand cannot be generalized due to 1 or 2 bad experiences, it needs way more data, and not just from that brand and model, it needs the same data from the closest competitors. If 50 Commencal's fail out of a 100 that's bad compared to Specialized's 10 failures, but not bad compared to 90 Huffy broken frames.
  • 34 0
 Capra: 2:46.01
Fastest eBike: 2:53.6

Were these timed on the same track? Was the fastest eBike nearly 8sec slower???
  • 4 28
flag KJP1230 (Sep 14, 2021 at 9:21) (Below Threshold)
 Two different riders - I think Matt (former pro) was the rider for the enduro bikes, Henry is the rider for these bikes.
  • 49 0
 Yup, they were all tested on the same track and same conditions. The eMTBs did timed testing with their motors turned off.
  • 62 1
 @KJP1230: Nope, Matt did timed testing on all of the bikes. We wanted to keep it as consistent as possible.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: thanks. Wow!
  • 6 0
 I am curious about this as well. Perhaps there will be a separate video, but it would be nice to see the track via Gopro/Trailforks, etc.
  • 20 0
 That's been my experience with demo'ing a few different ebikes and why I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon yet. It's a ton of weight to toss around corners, up and over obstacles, hit jumps, side hits & little obstacles, slow down and to just generally muscle around on all-mountain trails. I liked the power assisted climbing... I didn't like riding a 50 lb pig back down. I like to f*ck around and it was hard to do that on such a heavy bike. Like using a DH bike on local trails but way worse. And my bike's not light... my daily driver is a 36/37 pound enduro bike. But 12/13 lbs is a lot of extra weight. Then there's the price. So when prices and weights become closer/comparable... that's when I'll look more seriously into e-bikes.
  • 3 0
 @mattbeer @mikelevy: Were there pedal sections that caused the eMTB’s to lose time? Or was it a mostly downhill, pedal-free track?
  • 8 1
 At a local Enduro race 3 local Pros raced their Enduro bikes as well as E-bikes on the same course, same day, mixing them up.
On 1:45 minute runs (short runs here in TX) all were 5-8 seconds slower on the e-bikes.
  • 1 1
 @mikelevy: which track? That "Enduro" trail? Super tight and twisty with lots of uphill sections? Behind bars?
  • 2 0
 Not a surprise at all. E-bikes are generally slower on the downs. For me it comes down to braking and pumping small rollers etc.
  • 9 1
 @islandforlife: Have you demoed a Levo SL or Orbea Rise? I think the lightweight eMTBs are the way forward. Enough boost to get you to the top and make flat trails fun, still light enough to be fun and feel "normal" on the way down. Really looking forward to the Kenevo SL review.
  • 5 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: 100%. I took a orbea rise out last weekend in Squamish and was blown away at how un-e bike’ish it was. Super poppy. Super quick. Easy to toss around and only 3-4 lbs heavier than most analog enduro bikes. After demo’ing a full power, full fat kenevo, I can’t say I’d want anymore power than the Rise. It had more than enough and still felt like a normal bike.
Kinda disappointed we haven’t seen more brands jump on this platform. I’d love to see what Santa Cruz could come up with along the same lines.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: I wonder if testing the ebikes with the motor on would make a big difference in downhill time as well.

All the same, very interesting that ebikes are consistently slower on the downhills.
  • 5 0
 @b824: I have an aluminum levo sl, and between the short chainstay and relative light weight, it really does ride like a regular mountain bike 95% of the time. But so much more planted on the downs....
  • 3 2
 @islandforlife: May want to look at a Specialized Kenevo SL. 40 lbs and slays. Rides like a normal bike but has 2x power you input to assist you.
  • 4 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Both awesome bikes...especially the Rise with the extra power. Lightweight(33-34lb) around the 65nm power zone will be the everyday ebike of the future
  • 3 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: KSL is awesome. It's definitely a line blurrer. I am a bit surprised it was not the fastest on the time test given the motor off and lighter weight. It's a good sprinter, and past 20mph the resistance is nil vs most ebikes feeling like you hit a wall past 20mph cut-off. With motor off, it doesn't feel might much loss.
  • 2 0
 @dragonsback79: Yep... going in the right direction... but the cheapest option is 11k (CDN). And you only get a Fox Rythym 36 Grip fork, a Fox Float X performance shock, Code R brakes, and a GX drivetrain (with a sneaky NX chain)... so no... not even close yet. Drop it 5K, put some proper suspension, brakes and drivetrain (I'm actually ok with with GX but then the price needs to drop more) on it... then we'll talk.
  • 1 0
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Yep, have seen those bikes (not demo'd) and that platform is going in the right direction. But 11k for shit spec or 9.8K for even shittier spec keeps those bikes far from something I'd buy. When the price drops 4 or 5k with a proper spec, then we'll see.
  • 6 1
 those 25kg porkers don't handle as good as bikes 10kg lighter, who could've tell...
  • 2 1
 the argument I use to hear is 'yeah, with the motor you give a couple pedal strokes after a turn and you're back on normal speed...'. Pass.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: not sure how that relates to non ebike prices in Canada, but in the US the $7k price point seems fair compared to the non ebike version.
  • 1 0
 @islandforlife: ever wonder what the difference was on the pedal up? that’s what they’re for doomahss
  • 4 0
 It would have been nice to see times with motors on vs off.
  • 4 0
 @pcloadletter: Agreed - they definitely should have kept the main feature of an E-MTB on for time laps, or done 2 times, one with motor and one without.

What's the point in comparing these bikes under conditions in which they'd never be ridden? I can't imagine it's common for folks to turn off the motor before each descent. I can see the virtue in removing the motor from the equation if the motors are radically different in terms of output, but for this test weren't most bikes using the same Shimano EP8 system?
  • 5 2
 @rookie100: I'm more than happy to save 5k, pedal up and have a much better ride down with a much lighter bike, wayy better suspension, better brakes and drivetrain. In 10 years, as e-bikes catch up (lighter & cheaper) and I'm approaching 55 years old... we'll see. Right now, the value proposition is not good... for me.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy: great review! As someone that owns this bike, you made many excellent points. Just out of curiosity, what is the reason for the motors being turned off for the downs? They aren’t used that way in the real world. Not trolling, genuine interest. Thank you.
  • 1 0
 But ebikes go faster and need different ebike specific components.
  • 5 11
flag mikelevy Mod (Sep 14, 2021 at 16:31) (Below Threshold)
 @PHX77: I don't think people descend with the motor on that often, at least not the kind of trails that we're usually riding.
  • 9 3
 @mikelevy: Was there no pedalling at all on the test track then, i.e. all test bikes were not pedalled and it was kind of a chainless race? If it wasn’t, then it’s not a straight comparison. Also I don’t know anyone who switches their motor off on a downhill
  • 2 4
 @lev3000: I was told that the e-bikes are jerky enough that it's better to shut them off for most descents as the power delivery can upset the bike.
No matter how fair the PB editors attempt to test, people always complain about the methodology. Even I complain sometimes!
  • 6 1
 @mikelevy: I don't think this is true at all? In my experience the common move is to move it into eco setting to have more predictable pedal response, but turning it off altogether? Neah.

@lev3000- think of it this way, you don't want a runaway train on the downhills, so boost mode is a bad idea. But you do want the bike to respond when you sneak a couple pedals in. Eco mode is the way.
  • 2 3
 @withdignityifnotalacrity: Maybe the Beer kid was going faster than 20mph so the motor engagement might have worked against him? I dunno.
  • 4 0
 @mikelevy: Never have I turned off the motor whilst riding descents. Even the steepest stuff in the alps there’s normally a section where you’ll need to motor power to help get you over a root, log of technical feature.

Spinning up the pedals gives a nice kick to help out.

Unless you were above 20mph constantly 100% of the time on the trails it seems a bit strange to turn off the motors to test ebikes on descents.

I don’t know any rider that does that in real life :-)
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: I've been riding my ebike on the sea to sky for the past two years, and I don't turn it off on the descents, unless I am playing catch with a friend who is not on an bike, or I am riding something very steep and technical. And as soon as I'm done with the sketchy stuff I will turn it on right away. (Unless I forget, and then at the very first uphill section I will be reminded I am riding a behemoth).

Pedalling those things up the small uphills you find on trails is not a nice experience, and the little boost you get on eco pedalling mid trails is super cool.
  • 26 2
 Price: $6,999. Commencal gets it.
  • 42 0
 The internet called and said its $30 too expensive.
  • 2 0
 Should be 6,904.20
  • 27 6
 CONS: Not the best climber...

Maybe turn ON the engine? Or put in a fully charged battery?
  • 7 5
 Read the review....
  • 39 1
 @nickwm21:
Im just reading comments xD
  • 3 1
 Not even sure why there is a climbing section anyway. It should always read, “Climbs well, but a more powerful motor would be beneficial”
  • 2 0
 @Hamburgi: this is the way
  • 2 0
 @nickwm21: What's in the review that invalidates his comment? I've ridden a few ebikes and it literally doesn't matter on the climbs what suspension layout they have, what damper, how much they bob etc. etc. They have a damn motor. There is no such thing as a "poor climbing emtb". Climbing is totally effortless on all of them. I mean, theoretically you could have one with some weird geo making you loop out on steeps or something but it's not the case here. It has 453mm chain stays and electric assist, it will go up anything.

@gticket Agreed, the climbing section of emtb reviews is pretty pointless. The range test Mike did will be more relevant.
  • 26 8
 If I was in the market for a mobility bike, I would think seriously about this one. It's pretty clear from watching the DH world Cup racing that frame material makes little difference.
  • 18 2
 “Mobility bike” gave me a chuckle. Well played.
  • 17 0
 @henryquinney: I'm sensing a common theme with your reviews. It seems you feel "The seat tube is too long" on most bikes these days. Might I suggest a simple solution to your dilemma. www.drmartens.com/ca/en_ca/p/womens-shoes-buttero-holly-platform
  • 12 0
 Game changers!
  • 5 0
 @henryquinney: We just need to see a clip version now!!
  • 13 0
 I own this bike and the review is SPOT on.

The seat tube is definitely and issue and I run the bar slammed as low on the steerer as possible which make the handling feel great.
As mentioned it is not the most nimble beast but it's scary fast over rough terrain where you can just let her run. For me it is a very confidence inspiring bike and I've checked off a bunch of lines/ features that I'been eyeing for years and never had the balls to hit on any bike.

For me the slightly less refined finish is almost a pro. For the money I paid ( just before the pandemic hit so prices were even lower) I could give a crap whether I ding or scratch her. Ebikes are heavy no matter what and therefore the carbon is easier to crack. I'll take the bike that I can beat up and put away dirty.

For what it's worth. My seat post has zero issues.
  • 9 0
 I own the 2021 Meta Power 29 Ohlins. I have never come close to having this much fun on a bike. Its the best 7000 I have ever spent. I am 5'9" and on a medium frame and have no idea what they are yammering on about not being able to get behind the seat on descent. In fact all this bike wants to do is suck my gonads into the rear wheel to ensure I never procreate again. Honestly. I came from a YT Jeffsy and never had this issue. The commencal wants to suck me in! I have to make a conscious effort to stay on the seat on the downs. Which is counterintuitive to how I have learned to ride over the last 35 years of MTB. So this part of the review I don't get.
The finish is OK. But who cares. Its an aluminium downhill gonad slaying machine. I have truly never been on a bike that goes down this fast. I will probably be dead by the time PB reviews the next bike and it will be commencals fault.
My only gripe right now is that there is a creak in the rear triangle that only happens when power is applied to the drivetrain. The steeper the hill the more the creak is pronounced. So I am kinda bummed I have to chase that down at 300 miles. But oh well. The shit eating grin makes up for it after each ride.
Cheers.
  • 4 0
 @ Sandiegoroots I had the same creak. It's where the yoke joins the shock. Take it apart, grease and tighten. It will go away.
  • 4 0
 @Dustfarter: Thanks so much. Commencal called me today to do a live look at it. I will try that first. Thanks much.
  • 1 0
 100% concur - I have the Ohlins model as well and it’s the best 6 months of ownership and riding done ever full stop!
I found and fixed that same creak early on as Dustfarter says, easy fix.
I’m 5’11 and on the Large, absolutely zero seat height issues at all.
Check out www.williamsracingproducts.com for a mullet yoke for even more abilities with it, if mullets your thing for turning tighter.
Would love to try a purpose built Push coil for it, but I don’t know if anything would be close to how amazingly good this Ohlins shock is on this bike!
Someone has found the magic potion formula of both low and high speed damping tune for the fork and shock on this thing - I now have permanent wrinkles from a 6 month smile!!
Cheers Commencal & Ohlins top job.
  • 1 0
 @Lahar72: That is RAD and 100% my experience. Cheers and happy trails to you sir!
  • 8 0
 I am loving these reviews.
So the fastest bike down a hill gets told its not got it right for going down hill (as well as uphill)....
That has a long rear end and short front, which weights the front too much (does that mean front end grip which translates into a fast time).
That soft off the top rear suspension which translates to compliance on the way down, might be ideally matched to a bike that moves your weight forward for max front end grip whilst staying supple on the back.
Just a guess.

Maybe Commencal actually have something right (well, thats what the clock has indicated)!

Still cant afford an e-bike, but if I had one I would be out on it every night for sure.
  • 2 3
 I think a big part of E-biking is climbing and just generally 'trekking' long distances. The Meta-P doesn't seem great for this usage, even though it was the fastest downhill.
  • 13 3
 2 of these for 1 yeti with similar level parts. Goes to show how insane that yeti is
  • 6 0
 I do wonder if this bike, with an appropriately tuned coil shock, wouldn't clean the floor with the Yeti. Presumably, a coil shock would increase overall rear traction on climbs, especially with a climb switch (low speed compression) tune for heavier bikes/riders.

Otherwise, it seems the reviewer might have benefitted from the more comparable reach of the size XL, although that would have made the seat tube complaint worse.

Excited to see an EMTB priced appropriately. There is really nothing preventing a company like Commencal from making some tweaks that would push this bike past bikes with twice the price.
  • 9 0
 I put a coil on my meta power 29 and I think it makes it so much better in all aspects.
  • 5 0
 I coiled mine and it feels amazing. And yes. Flip the ol cheater switch on the easily accessible shock and you're sorted.
  • 1 0
 See i was thinking he should have been on a medium. He said he couldn't get behind the seat. I am on a medium and its very easy to drop behind the seat. I honestly think he was on a bike thats just too long for his torso/arms. I have zero issue with the geometry of the medium at 5'9".
  • 7 2
 Am I the only one who thinks a 50+ lbs bike will just not be fun to descend on? I mean, I don't really care how easily the motor gets it to the top if it's LESS fun than a regular bike on the way back down.

I mean, I suppose it's good weight training...
  • 2 1
 Yes, I commented above about my experience with demo'ing a few different ebikes and why I'm not ready to jump on the bandwagon yet. It's a ton of weight to toss around corners, up and over obstacles, hit jumps, side hits & little obstacles, slow down and to just generally muscle around on all-mountain trails. I liked the power assisted climbing... I didn't like riding a 50 lb pig back down. I like to f*ck around and it was hard to do that on such a heavy bike. Like using a DH bike on local trails but way worse. And my bike's not light... my daily driver is a 36/37 pound enduro bike. But 12/13 lbs is a lot of extra weight. Then there's the price. So when prices and weights become closer/comparable... that's when I'll look more seriously into e-bikes.

It's also why the e-bike times were quite a bit slower than the normal enduro bikes.
  • 2 0
 I got the Meta Power SX (27" version) and a size L, and it rides lighter than my 29"xl downhill bike. You feel the weight in certain situations but far fewer than you would think. I've gotta hit the gym before I'll be able to manual on that beast though.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: I've got the same thoughts after riding a few ebikes. They're fun but a different kind of fun, almost like a different sport. Like you, I don't think I'm ready to buy one; I like the feeling of a normal bike a lot more on the descents.

But I will definitely keep renting them sometimes when in new to me riding areas far from home. That's the one thing they are brilliant for in my mind: making the most of limited time on holidays.
  • 3 0
 I am glad that somebody finally said something about the overtly large seat tube lengths on commencals. I know its important to serve riders of all sizes but with these bikes riders of smaller size actually suffer because you genuinely just can not get out of the way of the saddle. It isn't possible to get it far enough out of the way. Also intruiged by the lack of comment about the size of the top tube on these commencal trail bikes. Lots of knee banging going on trying to move these boys around.
  • 2 5
 The large size bike has a large size seat tube. If it's too high you need a smaller size. It shouldn't be a problem unless you have size medium legs and size large arms.
  • 3 0
 @dthomp325: Nope, the large-sized bike's seat tube is way too long. Unlike 1997, you can't look at just seat tube length; all the numbers have to work together, and the 475mm reach definitely doesn't work with the 465mm seat tube length. The reach is in the range for 6' tall Henry, but the seat tube is too long.
  • 3 0
 @mikelevy:

For sure it’s taller than a lot of similar bikes. But at just-a-few mm’s shy of 6’, I could fit a 210mm dropper on this frame—- so its not so far off the mark. Plus 1997 was awesome.
  • 4 2
 Interesting what they did on this vs the L Meta AM 29 with 495mm reach and 433mm CS. Looks like they took 20 mm off the reach and added it to the CS to address all the complaints about an unbalanced FC/RC ratio. Makes sense to me - the Meta is a hoot when ridden well with commitment on the front end but also tiring to ride. I bench 185-225lb for reps and can do ~20 dips....but still have tired triceps after longer rides.
  • 5 0
 @CaMKii Your bp is irrelevant, change handle bar to more backsweep such as pwn or sqlabs, cut it properly;
U will see tremendous improvement in arm fatigue due to more proper positioning in general
  • 1 0
 @nickmalysh: Not trying to flex (har har), but just to say that I'm not an anemic roadie or anything...

I'm not opposed to trying it, but I don't see how a more backswept bar would help? If anything I imagine that would put me even further behind the front wheel and thus having to work even harder to weight the front end. If anything I am thinking about going to a 50mm stem instead of 40mm.
  • 2 0
 @CaMKii: Putting hands (elbows, shoulders and palm ) in more advantage position to be able to work harder, depending on the frame stem adjustment could be needed ( in case older frames with shorter reach)
  • 1 0
 @CaMKii I had similar-sounding fatigue issues on a bike with 475mm reach.

The issue for me was being too far behind the bars. Thus requiring an awkward shift forward to get my full body weight on the front wheel. Or use of only my arm muscles while keeping my weight centered. Using a shorter stem and bars with more backsweep ended up helping a lot for me.

YMMV of course. I found that bike most fatiguing on moderate grade, twisty or off camber turns. Steeper stuff and wider turns weren't a problem.
  • 1 0
 I have a Meta Power 29 and agree with some of the review, but certainly not all. My complaint was that I couldn't raise the handle bar high enough because Com only sent it with 10mm of stackers - apparently the opposite problem you guys had?
Also that long rear end means it will go up ANYTHING without tipping backwards - again, opposite to what you guys found.
She's a tank going down, that's for sure, but my main grumble is the lack of progression in the rear linkage, which can only be mitigated somewhat with an air shock, but it still less than ideal. It's what makes the back end wallowy too.
Great bike overall, just not a classic for the ages.
  • 2 0
 They need to sort out the quality control for their frame finishing. I had the same rough AF seat tube finish on my 2019 Meta AM29 which I had to get a local metalworker to fix for me.
  • 2 0
 I prefer the main beam to be 2.2 shorter and the jib tube to be .67 degrees to the left, whilst maintaining optimal down/up resistance with a 6.5 pulley system giving a 12.28% (give or take) gravitational increase.
  • 1 0
 "I ended up running the stem with several spacers above it as a way to not compromise the 475mm reach and tried to recoup the bar height with the generous bar rise." This is the most popular myth/false fact/whatever you want to call it that is popular on Pinkbike. You can just as well run a longer stem with spacers and a low rise bar. It is the same.
  • 1 0
 You missed the memo, modern geometry actually is non-euclidian.
  • 1 0
 If it's anything like the one they shipped me, there's not enough steerer to raise the bar very high with spacers anyway. Better to use a higher rise bar than to get a new fork CSU and a longer stem. The one nice thing is they use a 31.8 stem so there are good options for high rise bars.
  • 1 0
 @tttyyler: I would even say it is better to use a high rise bar than spacers. But I see often implied that a high rise bar does magically increase the reach, which it does not.
  • 1 0
 @cru-jones: The only downside I see with high rise bars is that bar roll adjustments you would normally make only thinking about your hand position, now move the bar forward and back a ton at the same time.
  • 2 1
 I've got one of these.

It's great, but theres another flaw with ebikes not really being mentioned.

The nearly 1000 motor is treated as disposable. There are no spare parts available. Third party suppliers make kits for *some* of the bearings but that's it. It's not like you can ride the bike without it either! A common fault is a torque sensor error, a tiny part that results in a bill for a new motor outside warranty.

.. and is a 2 year motor warranty acceptable? (Especially on bikes as expensive as the Yeti??)

But even with a big warranty, you still need spare parts. All it takes is a crash or pedal strike and it's new motor time!
  • 1 0
 Bit mixed feelings about the "complaints" about the length of the seatposts.. For me, with an inseam of 95cms (do the inches math yourselves please Smile ), a shorter seat tube only works if the total dropper length (extended) is long enough to meet required insertion depth. Even with a 210mm OneUp post, I still have a good couple of cms below the collar left...
  • 2 0
 For some reason the geo of the Meta Power TR seems to address some off the issues the Meta Power on test has. A lot lower seattube (42,5 in L) and longer reach 48,5. Wonder why Commencal does that???
  • 1 0
 For me Alu is the perfect frame material for ebike.
I would (and have) pick high-end wheels on an ebike over carbon frame.
The other aspect which is kind of ebike specific is taller stack. I found it makes my ebike feels better on the rough and steep staff and doesn't bother me on the climbs that much as I can still climb it even when the seat post abit lower than full extension to balance traction on the front.
  • 3 0
 465mm seat tube

Other than that, pretty spot on for my (affordable) e-bike dreams.
  • 1 0
 Rough around the edges - describes my experience with owning a Commencal as well. Not nearly as well thought out/produced as other brands I've owned. Still fun but there is a reason it was cheaper.
  • 5 1
 Cheapest and fastest
  • 1 0
 why don't we commonly see the power output figures for ebikes? that is what makes the difference for riders on the trail, not the torque figure
  • 2 0
 @henryquinney Do you still keep in touch with the GMBN folks? I guess it is a small community, so it would be hard not to.
  • 4 0
 Yeah for sure! Rich in particular. Hopefully, cross paths at some point.
  • 3 0
 LOTR marathons are never long enough Henry
  • 3 0
 That flex on the Zeb, literally unrideable!
  • 2 0
 10 minutes with a hacksaw and a dremel and you could reduce the seattube length by about 20mm
  • 3 0
 Check your insertion depth first tho
  • 9 1
 That’s what she said
  • 3 0
 Finally a cheap bike for all the dentist haters on here.
  • 1 0
 I bet the thing that broke on huck to flat was the battery extender on the specialized.
  • 3 0
 Didn't they already say that the thing that broke was the rider (Jason) due to an accident?
  • 2 0
 EP8 knock noise an issue on the Yeti but not here?
  • 8 0
 It's on all the EP8-equipped bikes, while the motor on the Specialized is super whiney. I think we talked about that in the Yeti video as well, but it'll all be covered in the eMTB roundtable video that's coming up soon.
  • 5 2
 This noise is way over-stated. If you're noticing it you're not going fast enough.
  • 20 1
 @PhoS: For $6,000 (or more), I don't want my bike to make that noise at all. I don't think that's crazy, is it?
  • 10 0
 @mikelevy: It's like a Ducati with a dry clutch. The rattle is a warning to all of my self-importance.
  • 4 0
 @PhoS: Okay, you know how to convince me haha
  • 1 0
 The EP8 rattle is loud AF. Pretty much have to wear headphones to not notice it.
  • 2 0
 @PhoS: or is it possible you may not be going fast enough to make it rattle. Just a thought. P.
  • 11 13
 You get what you pay for here. Frame details are not sorted and it is pretty obvious that the seat tube length is a result of the low insertion depth. Wouldn't matter if they cut it down to 440 mm because you wouldn't be able to get the seat post any farther down.

Suspension design is obviously a meh. Pedal platform matters even on an eBike and it is obvious the Meta isn't that great.

Is the bike cheap? Yes. Is it a good value? Debatable.
  • 4 0
 The insertion depth is a big issue. It makes the stated seat tube lengths misleading. I went with a L over an XL of the Meta Power SX largely because I should have been able to use a 210mm post. In fact, I'm stuck with the stock 175mm and 40mm of post showing below the collar because the post bottoms out on the pivot.
  • 3 0
 @tttyyler: I have the same issue on my 2019 Meta TR with a 210mm OneUp. Luckily I have long enough legs that it was solved my shimming it to 200mm and using a seat with a little less stack height, but disappointing nonetheless.
  • 1 0
 What saddle? I think I might be able to do something similar, but don't want to buy too many random parts. I see Nukeproof advertises their saddle as low stack, but no one publishes actual saddle height so I can't tell how it compares to my current one
  • 2 0
 @tttyyler: I went from a Charge Spoon (which I love) to an Ergon SM Enduro (which gives me a sore ass). It was more out of luck and wanting to try a different saddle.
  • 5 4
 And no Mullet again. This is sooo good to see. Also love Commencal bikes, look fantastic and great value.
  • 2 0
 Check WRP Racing - Mullet linkage www.williamsracingproducts.com
  • 1 1
 @Lahar72: Best place for that is in the bin!
  • 2 0
 Come on @rockymountainbike drop that new power play.
  • 2 0
 Anyone read the reviews yet or are you just heading for the comments
  • 7 0
 Just heading for the comments tbh
  • 1 0
 Hello @henryquinney , could you please include the motor in the summary box at the top of the post?
  • 2 1
 Henry is a clown thinks everyone should be on long slack low marketing bs bikes the clock don't lie.
  • 1 0
 Same thing happened to my buddy eric
  • 1 0
 The Ohlins AXS edition they showed/compared is actually the Power TR.
  • 2 0
 Weight: Two tons of fun
  • 1 0
 Soooo... It doesn't work?
  • 4 7
 How do you filter out the e bike content?
  • 7 0
 reading the headline & not clicking on it - that's a start
  • 1 0
 @endurafrica: But it's not as effective as complaining in the comment section /s
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