Field Trip: Commencal's $2,599 Meta TR Ride - A Tough Trail Smasher

Apr 2, 2020
by Mike Levy  



PINKBIKE FIELD TRIP

COMMENCAL META TR RIDE

A Tough Trail Smasher



Words by Mike Levy, Photography by Anthony Smith



Commencal is one of four direct-to-consumer brands included in this year's Field Trip value bike reviews, with a $2,599 USD charge on your credit card being all that's needed to see the 130mm-travel Meta TR Ride arrive at your front door. The sharp-looking aluminum trail bike gets a 150mm RockShox Revelation RC fork, 29" wheels shod with aggressive, tubeless-ready Schwalbe tires, and a 12-speed drivetrain from SRAM. That adds up to a 33.5lb weight that might sound a bit chunky compared to competition costing twice as much, but that number is comparable to the other seven value bikes included in the Field Trip.

Our Meta TR test bike is a size-large with a 475mm reach, and it gets a 66.5-degree head angle, 76.5-degree seat angle, and 434mm chainstays. All that puts the axles 1,218mm apart.

Meta TR Ride Details

Travel: 130mm
Fork travel: 150mm
Wheel size: 29"
Frame construction: Aluminum
Head angle: 66.5-degrees
Chainstay length: 434mm
Reach: 475mm (lrg)
Sizes: sm, med, lrg (tested), xlrg
Weight: 33.5lb
Price: $2,599 USD
More info: www.commencalusa.com
The aluminum frame uses a single-pivot, linkage activated suspension layout to deliver its 130mm of rear-wheel travel, and it's controlled via a simple, air-sprung RockShox Deluxe Select+ shock that offers rebound and pedal-assist controls. You might think you need more dials, but you don't. There are a handful of frame details worth pointing out as well, especially given the Meta's price. This includes the nicely done internal routing that doesn't look like an afterthought, and pivot hardware that wouldn't be out of place on a much pricier carbon frame.

Commencal also gives riders two places to mount a bottle, an effective chainstay protector that's far nicer than some cheap rubber wrap job, and the cutest little fender on the back of the seat tube that's intended to keep rocks from jamming up the linkage. Small things, sure, but it's obvious that the Meta is a well-thought-out bike, regardless of its relatively low cost. After all, don't forget that the entire Meta TR Ride costs less than most carbon fiber frames.




Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith
Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith


Climbing

With sturdy Schwalbe rubber, a 150mm-travel fork, and a 33.5lb weight, the grey Meta definitely sits on the burly side of the trail bike spectrum, enough so that you might expect it to be a pain in the ass when faced with a long ascent. That's not the case, however, as the Commencal proved itself to be a worthy technical climber and efficient enough for anyone's needs.

With all eight of our value bikes weighing in at well over 30lbs, none of them are ever going to feel like spritely trail bikes that jump forward at the hint of you shifting to a smaller cog. But once you get moving, none of them felt all that heavy, either, especially the Meta. The Deluxe Select+ shock was at its best when running 25-percent sag, a setting that never required either Kazimer or myself to reach for the pedal-assist switch while also giving the pedals a bit more ground clearance. The suspension also works well with a bit more sag - it's progressive enough that you can run 30 or even 35-percent without clanging off the end of the stroke all the time - but life was easier on the technical climbs when the shock had a more all-around setup.

Commencal has also done well with the geometry to keep the Meta from being a handful on steeper pitches that would trouble a slacker, longer all-mountain bike, especially the 76.5-degree effective seat tube that feels spot-on. One thing that does need mentioning is how wide the seatstays are where they attach to the linkage, so much so that some riders will brush their calves or heels while they pedal, and especially if you're using a bit of body English.


Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith

Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith
Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith


Descending

The Meta isn't the longest or slackest out of our eight value test bikes, and it's not the heaviest, either, but it's the only one of the bunch that could pass as a burly all-mountain bike when faced with serious terrain. Both Kazimer and I made separate notes, without speaking to each other, about the Meta being the most solid of the group, noting that it has that "I'm going straight through the rocks'' attitude that's not common in this travel bracket.

The 150mm-travel Revelation fork relies on the Motion Control damper rather than the pricier Pike's Charger unit, and while there's certainly a difference between the two when things get fast and choppy, only those who race at a high level will feel held back. For the rest of us, the fork tracks the ground impressively well, letting you know that you're not on the best-of-the-best only when faced with extended sections of rough trail. But unlike the Recon fork that's used on less expensive bikes, the Revelation was supportive, and I'd have a hard time justifying an upgrade as long as it continued its trouble-free action.

It's more of the same with the Meta's rear-suspension, too, although to be fair, all of the full-suspension value bikes offered surprisingly well-sorted action. The gray Commencal is versatile in that it's happy to run 25, 30, or even 35-percent sag without you hitting bottom-out more than you should, and its decent on-power pedaling manners seem indifferent to how you prefer your spring rate. That's notable for a 130mm-travel trail bike, especially given that the sturdy Commencal could see anything from all-day epics to all day in the bike park.

Timed Testing

Our timed lap for the trail bikes was around 11 minutes long and split into three distinct sectors. First, a smooth, twisty singletrack climb topped out along a technical traverse that tested the bike's slow-speed handling and traction. After that, we dropped into a fast descent that began with rough, suspension-testing corners before some fast berms, flat corners, and a few fun-sized jumps. Nothing too rowdy, but representative of the terrain these trails bikes were intended to see.

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.


Kazimer: "My timed lap wasn't all that fast on this bike, 7 out of 8. It didn't feel like it was a slow bike when I was on it, and to me that matters more than what a few lap times say."

Levy: "I had my third quickest climb, traverse, and descent times on the gray Commencal, so it's no surprise to see it have the third quickest time over the entire loop."
It's a quick bike in the corners, too, especially when it was loose and marbly, which is every day in Sedona. While I felt like I had to sometimes 'catch' the other trail bikes when they'd start sliding over the cat litter-covered singletrack, the Meta has a more relaxed, "I'm gonna slide, but everything's cool, dude'' way about handling itself.

It's comparison time, and you know that the $2,599 USD Meta TR Ride has to go up against its German mailorder frenemy, the $2,299 YT Jeffsy AL Base. The YT has more rear-wheel-travel, is 5mm shorter in the reach department, half a degree slacker up front, a half-degree steeper out back, essentially the same chainstay length, and an 8mm longer wheelbase. Small differences on paper, but the two bikes are quite different on the trail.

Both Kazimer and I came to the same conclusion: The YT prefers to dance a bit and feels lighter on its wheels, despite being nearly a full pound heavier, slacker, and longer than the Commencal. And to make it even fairer, I hadn't looked at either bike's numbers until testing was nearly wrapped up, as per usual. If you're looking for more of an all-around trail bike, the YT delivers. But if you want a trail bike to chase all of your enduro friends, and don't shy away from a sender or three, you'll prefer the Meta.


Commencal Meta TR Ride review photo by Anthony Smith





Pros

+ Versatile rear suspension
+ An all-mountain rider's trail bike
+ Extremely sturdy feeling for a trail bike

Cons

- Might feel like a lot of trail bike to some riders
- Wide seat stays might contact heels or calves
- Doesn't suit slow, rolling terrain




The 2020 Pinkbike Field Test was made possible by support from: Smith, 7mesh, and Over The Edge Sedona.




Photos: Anthony Smith
Additional footage: Lear Miller



The 2020 Pinkbike Field Trip was made possible by support from Smith, 7Mesh, and Over the Edge Sedona.



202 Comments

  • 153 2
 Thanks Pinkbike for entertainment during this time. Appreciate alot. Stay safe brothers and sisters.
  • 9 0
 This website is about riding bikes? Can't recall for sure the last time I did that.
  • 147 6
 "Commencal also gives riders two places to mount a bottle".. stop it, my penis can only get so erect
  • 58 0
 Saaaaame
  • 14 1
 Fortunately, they spec it with a thick downtube protector!
  • 6 1
 Not now, Krueger!
  • 66 8
 Commencal's HA and SA numbers are misleading. They base the numbers off a fork with the same travel as the rear suspension. So in this case the geo numbers are based off a 541mm axle to crown yet it's a 150mm fork. That means the SA is way slacker, as is the HA (by about 1 degree each). If they are going to sell bikes with 150mm fork they should be reporting geo for an equiv. axle to crown. It's misleading and f*cking stupid.
  • 28 1
 If anyone cares... Axle to crown for a 130mm Revelation/Pike is 541, 140mm is 551 and 150mm is 561.
  • 12 0
 Was comment on that as well. They do this on several bikes, including the Meta AM 29. Reach is also about 10mm shorter with the 150mm fork
  • 4 0
 It does look a bit parallel to the fork, doesn't it? But the Mikes seemed to think it climbed fine, so maybe it's only a problem for games of bike geometry top trumps, with the seat tube base so far forwards. Though I guess the Mikes aren't super tall...
  • 2 12
flag ramblor (Apr 2, 2020 at 7:44) (Below Threshold)
 @fernrob: A fox 36 150 is 539 mm, your numbers don't sound right..
  • 31 2
 @riblor: A fox 36 150mm 29er is 557.1mm as per the fox website.
www.ridefox.com/fox17/help.php?m=bike&id=805

You are quoting 27.5 numbers. Very 2016
  • 22 0
 @fernrob: You are absolutely right!
  • 11 3
 Can confirm that the HA on my TR 29 with a 150mm 36 is about 65.5.
  • 3 1
 Can also confirm but on a totally different level. My supreme SX is rated at a 65* HTA with a 180mm lyrik. I built mine as frame up with the same 180mm Lyrik and the HTA is 63*, just like the supreme DH. When I was running a 2.6 DHF and a 2.5 DHSS rear it was 62.8*. No complaints as it performs really well, but id rather it were 65* so i could adjust with a works headset, or have the option of running it as a mullet.
  • 3 0
 @ATXZJ: I noticed that on the Supreme SX too. I almost sent the bugger back because if I’d wanted a DH bike I’d have got the Supreme DH
  • 4 0
 This is great info! It's not something I would look for. Thanks for pointing out the differences. Smile
  • 1 0
 yep. it's an awesome bike, i have a custom frame up build with DPX2 and Lyrik 150. measured HA is 65.5 with an accurate gauge. it is silly that they publish figures with a 140 fork though. they offer the bike with different builds, some with 140 fork, some with 150 but don't adjust their numbers.
  • 5 0
 @jamesbrant: The geo they publish is for a 130mm fork. 541mm axle to crown. But they sell it with a 150mm fork (561mm axle to crown) so you get to see geo that has an incorrect HA, SA, Reach, BB height, standover and so on...
  • 3 1
 Why is this a linkage driven single pivot? Is that not a pivot near the axle??
Looks like a four-bar/Horst
Can someone please enlighten me...
  • 6 1
 @BambaClaat: Horst is when the pivot adjacent to the axle is on the chain stay. This one is on the seat stay. Single pivot = axle and main pivot are connected with no interruptions.
  • 2 0
 This is a really good callout; I'm pretty surprised this is still on Commencal's website, very misleading. Also interesting to note that Kazimer & Levy both said this bike felt "good
  • 2 0
 This is a really good callout; I'm pretty surprised this is still on Commencal's website, very misleading. Also interesting to note that Kazimer & Levy both said this bike's geo felt on point, but at the same time, anything that has a 75 degree or less SA is more outdated.

@mikelevy & @mikekazimer I know it's basically impossible to do a blind test on a bike, but it would be interesting to see the difference between how a bike's geo feels on the trail and what the numbers say on paper. For example, give the bike a few runs prior to knowing the bike's geo, then look at what the numbers actually are and discuss what did/didn't feel right.
  • 2 0
 @bforwil: I like this idea. In the field tests it seems whatever had the slackest head angle, longest reach, and steepest seat tube angle was the best, but I wonder if it's placebo or not
  • 1 0
 @Arierep:

@Arierep:

The published numbers for the 2020 Meta AM 29 maybe don't seem quite as far off as some of the TR numbers. It's sold in most built bikes and a la carte builds with a 170mm fork. The geo chart shows 571 for fork length. The fox charts posted here imply a fox 36 in 170 is 577.1.

So if they are off by 6.1mm, we might get what, 0.5 degree slacker HA and SA? 1 degree slacker? (and BB higher?)

But goes this also depend on fork setup and sag? Are the published numbers trying to account dynamic ride height or whatever? or are all bikes supposed to be measured unweighted?
  • 1 3
 @kinematix: I have to correct you, Sir. The Axle is in the seatstay. The link is above the main axle. So maybe it's no horst, but not a linkage driven single pivot either, is it?
  • 5 0
 @SlurmMacKenzie: the axle is on the same stay as the main pivot. Therefore the axle (and wheel) path is only controlled by the chain stay and main pivot. So it's single pivot, just like a Kona. Then there is a linkage via the seat stays to the shock, so it's linkage driven.
  • 1 0
 same did GT with Sensor 29 when they moved from 130 to 140mm forks
  • 1 0
 @ATXZJ: you could run the Works HS to steepen the HA 2* you are looking for which would allow you to do everything else you wanted. Just sayin'
  • 2 0
 @ronufoh: Would but that opens up a whole other can of worms with STA and BB height.
  • 1 0
 @jamesbrant: Would you ever put a 160mm fork on it?
  • 32 0
 Levy and Kaz should have a competition to decide who is a better rider. I've sensed a building tension in these Field Trip videos...
  • 66 0
 There will definitely be some sort of Mike vs Mike on-bike video at some point. I wonder how much Kazimero will lose by?
  • 98 0
 Guess who got the KOM on our test loop? Hint: it’s not Levy.
  • 32 0
 @mikekazimer: was Sarah there? She's my pick if so.
  • 10 1
 @mikekazimer: KOM on a bike under $3k? That pretty much says everything pink bikers need to hear. Well, either that’s all we really need OR we all need to lose 40 pounds...
  • 2 0
 @mikekazimer: and that's allnthat matters.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: isn't that uphill though? Doesn't count, pbers know that.
  • 4 0
 @sethius, nope, that's for the whole thing - up, down, and traversing.
  • 2 1
 @mikekazimer: which trails you guys frequenting? I may give that KOM a go.
  • 20 0
 My only real problem with this bike is the lack of a $3000 option. The Meta 29 AM Essential comes with a 36, DPX2, and full SLX for $2999. In the TR line, there is this bike, and then the $3900 option with a Pike and GX. A 29 TR Essential with the same spec as the 29 TR AM would be perfect.
  • 5 0
 100% agree with this!!
  • 4 0
 Agree, I find the ~3000 EUR option missing, If a SLX/Fox Rhythm build was available for the Meta TR I would have seriously considered it, now I went with a last years YT Jeffsy CF, for about 3000 EUR.
  • 4 0
 They had a similar version last year and it's the bike I bought for ~$3000.

Meta TR 29 Essential (2019): Full GX Drivetrain; SLX Brakes; Fox 36, DPS shock
  • 1 0
 They had that last year and you can still buy it
  • 17 0
 Get mine tomorrow. So excited, haven't ridden an mtb for 20 years and I can't wait to get back in the saddle. Going to make my coronavirus lockdown daily exercise so much more fun.
  • 8 0
 Welcome back and congrats on your new ride!
  • 14 0
 @CircusMaximus: thanks. I haven't been this excited in a long time. Thanks lockdown + a bit too much whisky + paypal credit Smile
  • 2 0
 @nineseven: Now THAT'S the way to do a lockdown my friend Big Grin
  • 2 0
 Unboxing and building my meta AM was one of the happiest days of my life. It quickly dropped down the rankings though as I then got to go out and ride it haha
  • 1 0
 Wow what a bike. The last bike I rode was an original 3inch travel Rocky Mountain Element with Rockshox Judy DH and crikey have things changed This is an absolute beast - loving it. God I missed mountain biking
  • 20 2
 I'm liking this upduro bike, Commencal are smashing it out the park lately as are Norco
  • 16 2
 The brand to beat right now as in UCI everything, women’s EWS Commencal, UCI DH Commencal, even the local racers here in SoCal is Commencal. Commencal is just awesome.
  • 6 5
 Not sure you can say UCI everything when they don’t even make a XC bike.
  • 1 0
 I cannot agree more. I have ridden so many different brands and honestly, Commencal Meta (v 4.0, v 4.2 and metapower) are far the most confidence inspiring ones I have ridden here on the North Shore. Great job Commencal and you have a customer for life.
  • 6 2
 @Thisisbenji90: XC doesn't really count tho
  • 3 1
 @Thisisbenji90: but pink bike is more Enduro/DH fan page so Commencal rules them all
  • 2 1
 @nlibot33: UCI cyclocross, UCI road racing, UCI track racing, UCI short track, UCI cross country , UCI BMX (racing and freestyle), and UCI trials.

but ya UCI EWS that has only been UCI for what a year and downhill.

I believe that four of the above sports are Olympic sports. You might not care about the above disciplines, but in the eyes of the UCI the two gravity disciplines are the least important of the group. On the UCI website if you go to mountain biking they list 4x above EWS.

Why not just call it what it is. Commencal makes really good gravity bikes, all mountain bikes, trail bikes, downhill bikes, enduro bikes?
  • 4 0
 @georgiamtbiker: what are the Olympics...asked someone from 2020
  • 5 0
 How does one get a bike under 30 lbs without going crazy? I have an xl Banshee Prime, aluminum obviously, with carbon bar and crankset, full xt, Ardent tires (tubeless), hope/flow wheel set... Still sitting at 32lbs...unless I put even crappier tires on (it’s very sandy where I live), or swap to carbon frame and wheels I can’t really see any way to get under 30 lbs...
  • 33 2
 One beer after every ride instead of three and take a dump before your ride.
  • 4 0
 I've learned not to care. I mostly ride slop style and street tho.
  • 4 2
 @kookseverywhere: beer? I’m no frat boy...more of a stoner...
  • 10 0
 @unrooted: what about cocaine?
  • 9 1
 easy, spend $10k.
  • 4 1
 @DaFreerider44: I’ll stick with coffee...don’t really need to grind my teeth away, and I already talk about myself too much...
  • 10 0
 @unrooted I used to stress a ton about this, and then I looked at all the enduro pros weights and they're all aup above 30 with some as high as 35. It really doesn't matter unless you're interested in climbing fast for the sake of it. Otherwise be stoked you have a bike that will rail like a banshee on the way down and don't stress about a couple lbs.

If weights is really you're thing go buy a shorter travel carbon bike. I think its pretty hard to justify twice the money for a couple lbs and similar descending prowess.
  • 2 0
 @PhoS: I’d like to retire before I’m 70...
  • 5 1
 @zmums: Not to mention those guys are riding DD, EXO+, DH, or Cushcore, on dual assegais. If you want to climb faster train for it and bike weight will be become trivial.
  • 1 0
 @unrooted: YOLO?
  • 2 1
 There are quite a lot of things where one can save weight without going crazy. That wheelset is far from light, even for aluminium. XT cassette isn't light either. Just because a handlebar is carbon doesn't make it light by default. Stem? Saddle? Seatpost? Pedals? Fork?
Obviously, since you are on an XL frame, there are limits to how light you can go due to rider weight.
  • 21 1
 Bike weight doesn't matter. Okay, it does matter a little, but it's maybe 17th on the priority list after bike fit, suspension setup, brakes, tires, stiffness, durability, cost, etc
  • 16 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: What's 18th on the list?
  • 1 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: pedals and shoes
  • 14 0
 @mikelevy: your mum
  • 2 0
 Easy answer-you don’t. Even a carbons framed, carbon wheeled enduro bike usually ends up over 30.

The frames use beefier tubing than shorter travel bikes, you want sturdier rims and tires, and you want a 35-36mm stanchion fork and piggyback shock. All that stuff adds up.

Then again, I’ve never felt like my 31 pound aluminum Slash held me back climbing (even on 5k plus vert days-at altitude), and it slays descents, even at a bike park.

I’d say just don’t obsess over bike weight. If you’re over 10% body fat, that’s where you can trim some heft.
  • 5 0
 you're not even trying. i bet if you threw 4 grand at it you could do it. think XX1 drivetrain and the most expensive xc wheelset in production, you can do it!! bust out the spreadsheet and start calculating weights on every component and let the wife know it's going to be a lot of mac n cheeze for 2020.
  • 39 0
 @mikelevy: 18th is color-matching your chainring to your stem bolts
  • 4 0
 For reference, the "toppest" of the line SC hightower xtr build carbon reserve wheels, costing $9899, with EXO casing tires, is listed as 29.41 lbs on the SC website.

You could try a Cannondale raven from 2001. Maybe with some sweet sweet Panaracer Fire XC Pros, redstripe sidewalls=always fast.
  • 7 2
 Buy an downcountry bike. Laugh at everyone riding bikes not suited for 90% of the trails we actually ride.
  • 1 0
 @Planetx888: 29.41 without pedals And a size small or medium?
  • 5 1
 @zmums: I guess I'm going to be the only one to admit I ride alone 95% of the time.
And trying to get in the top 15 Strava on all my favorite trails is my past time.
Being that my terrain is rolling a bike that carries speed and is light helps in that regard.

People that primarily ride park, downhill, freeride, street or some other disipline where weight truly doesn't matter wouldn't understand.
  • 1 1
 @jamesbrant: I have a lcfs958 open mould frame. It has 130mm flexstay suspension. And weighs 2450 grams frame only.
Has a 125mm revive dropper, di2 xx1 11 speed mash up.
Carbon bars, shimano tharsis pro stem.
Shout fork, King hubs lb carbon rims.
Trickstuff Piccola brakes, fsa carbon cranks, ht me03 magnesium pedals, chinese carbon saddle and Magic Mary 29 soft compound snakeskin front and rear.
Total weight 27lbs 11oz.
  • 2 0
 @reverend27: I ride alone a decent amount of the time, but my KOM focus is down the hill, not up. Like I said in my original comment, when you care about pedaling up stuff a light bike matters. If you live somewhere thats up and then down durability and ease of part replacement are a bigger concern(i.e. bellingham style trails). I'll happily ride a cheap 34 lb. bike that rails on the downs over a 28 lb. carbon whatever. @jamesbrant sounds like the kinda dude that likes to go uphill when weight matters.
  • 3 1
 @rooted it's really easy buy a bike with 26 inch wheels. My 2012 giant reign 1 weighs 28.5 lbs with 150mm travel front and rear and that's with a dropper and a full dh cockpit.
  • 1 1
 @mhoshal: I’m much taller than 5’ 5”, so I like the way 29” wheels fit me...
  • 2 2
 @unrooted: I'm 6' and have no issues but I'm also not a trend dick rider either.
  • 5 1
 @mhoshal: sorry, your comment history makes you seem much shorter...
  • 2 1
 You buy an XC bike. Your XL Banshee frame probably weights around 9lbs with an airshock, while a carbon XL XC frame with an airshock will be around 5lbs. Throw on a 120mm XC fork and you'll lose another 1-1.5lbs. XC pedals, 160 rotors, and an XTR cassette will save you another pound, so now you'd be in mid 20s without having to go with stupid wheels and tires.
  • 1 0
 I'm on a 40 pound '18 E29. Full coil, heavy wheels, etc. Still takes me up 8000' days just fine. Of course, I weigh 145 pounds, and put on more miles in a year than half the population drives, so, that helps me climb more than bike weight does.
  • 1 0
 "I'd have 8 beers..."
  • 1 1
 You’re so cool @unrooted:
  • 1 1
 @CrispyNuggs: too kind.
  • 3 0
 @JSTootell: Damn, my aluminum Wilson DH bike didn't weigh that much.
  • 1 0
 @DaFreerider44: It's a helluva drug
  • 6 0
 So if the trail loop were rowdier, this bike would pull away from many of its competitors? That's another way of saying this bike will grow with the rider's capabilities more than the other bikes will.
  • 9 0
 Yup, for sure. It's more capable than just a "130mm trail bike."
  • 2 0
 Can confirm. Bought the $3k fox/gx build last year after riding XC bikes forever. Riding things now, at speed, that super scared me / I thought I'd never ride a couple months ago.
  • 2 0
 Definitely! Bought one in 2017, best trail bike I ever had. Without doubt the bike felt as if it had a lot more travel than 130 in the back. So much so that I upgraded the yari from 140 to 160 and the bike got even better descending! (And a little worse going up)
  • 3 0
 Looks like a great bike, hitting a sweet spot for a bike that needs no upgrades for a while. Curious though if it is worth the $600 stretch over the Vitus. I guess that's the real question for value bikes - is it worth paying just a bit more.
  • 7 4
 A 76.5 virtual seat tube angle that felt spot on but also that you had to slam the seat as far forward as possible on. Ok. Why not mention how slack the actual seat tube angle is? Surely this matters at full extension?
  • 4 0
 It's a roomy frame, and they're both on the smaller end for a large. I'm taller (6'+) and rode mine the first season with a 30mm stem and still had plenty of space.

The head angle with the 150mm fork is 65ish, and you can put on a slightly longer shock(210x55) for more travel.
  • 3 0
 I'm 6'2" and ride an XL metal am 29. While the actual seat tube angle is slack I don't feel way over the back wheel with my seat up like other bikes I've ridden and owned.
  • 2 0
 Maybe they slam saddles on all bikes. I have a Meta AM29 and also a slammed saddle. Yet the position is great whereas on previous bike with slammed saddle it was barely acceptable. So, the best bike for me would have 78 deg. But they also judge bikes relative to the competition. Non of other bikes had 78 deg SA.
  • 2 0
 @C0yotekid:

Off subject? Willing to bet they moved the seat forward to make up for their lack of reach. 50mm stem on this bike. The SA doesn't really feel slack at all. All the manufacturers are playing this number game, virtual numbers a bunch distractive non-sense.
  • 1 0
 @als802: I am also 6'2" and considering an AM for weekend warrior bike park stuff. I was mostly looking at size L. Would you advise against that?
  • 2 0
 @yeahdog31: I don't ride park much but the bike is more than capable. I use it as my do it all bike. The little park riding I did do I was not held back by the bike, only my skill.
  • 1 0
 @als802: Thanks for the input. Mostly I was wondering if I should be looking at L or XL.
  • 2 0
 @yeahdog31: I'm happy on my XL, it has a 170mm dropper and I could run longer. I have a 35mm stem on it, came with a 40mm. I wouldn't want to be on a large.
  • 2 0
 I gotta ask about that damper in the fork again. I've been trying so hard to get good performance out of my yari with the motion control damper for 2 years and I feel like I just can't get there. Do you really feel the damping is good enough to deal with mobbing through the burliness? I feel like the the difference is more substantial than slight differences in high speed chunder.
  • 8 0
 If someone has ridden a fork with a Charger damper, they'll notice the difference through the rough stuff. I didn't feel like it would ever hold me back on the less aggressive terrain Smile
  • 3 1
 Ι was about to quote that part of the review and express my disagreement. As a Yari owner of 4yrs, no, Motion Control is not good enough for anyone but racers. Even with the latest debonair airspring, lighter oil in the damper (I'm 68 kg) and rebound as open as I could without going full pogo, the fork feels terrible if you hit rough terrain fast enough. If the hits are spaced apart enough it's ok. Flow trails, more than fine. But rocky, natural trails longer than 5 minutes I'm getting armpump and hanging on for dear life. I experimented with tokens, air pressure, oil viscosity, rebound settings, nothing would bear a result good enough. Finally I got a chance to upgrade to a slightly used DVO Diamond. Amazing. Had to get used to the extra speed. Also rode a friend's bike for two weeks with an older Pike RCT3. Way better than Motion Control, no comparison really. The RCT3 is probably good enough for anyone but racers, the MoCo is just good enough for smoother trails. I'm the definition of average when it comes to speed, and I need a better for than that.
  • 2 0
 @mikelevy: Cool, thanks for the clarification. I ride with a bunch of dudes on 36's and we'll all be a happy pack of fun and then hit some big steep chunk and I just have to go a little slower to not die.
  • 2 0
 @justwan-naride:
as a light rider on 65kg i agree, except for that i didn’t (2018 rev rc) even experience that it was good on mellower trails either. After 6 months i gave up and bought a manitou mattoc. i should have done it earlier ???? Even the manitou minute comp, that i had on the bike before were way better, even though it had alot of flex...
  • 1 1
 Put a Vorsprung smashpot in your Yari and you will have the plushest fork going, I put one in a 36 and it is unreal.
  • 1 0
 Given that the pike and revelation chassis are basically the same, couldn't you just put a Charger 2 damper in the revelation for like 150 bucks and then it would become a pike? Seems like a pretty good deal to me. I'd almost rather have that than a heavier fox rhythm which supposedly has better dampening.
  • 2 0
 @Bizzle78: I actually considered getting a charger damper upgrade, then discovered that the anodising on my brake side stanchion had faded significantly and decided not to invest in a fork with questionable future. The DVO I switched to rocks anyway.
  • 1 0
 No way an air pring upgrade would help to cure a shitty damper, you cannot compare a yari or a poke with the dvo on quality and tuning options as well @justwan-naride:
  • 2 0
 I have 2019 Meta AM 29 team. If you ride clipless make a point to run long spindle clipless pedals (like Crank Bros Mallet E LS) and the calf issues mostly go away. LS gives you more stable platform for descending anyway. I only really rub mine on descent when using lots of body english, and then only the rearward pedal leg.

Still loving my Meta after one year. The bike that makes you want to straightline everything.
  • 1 0
 "The Meta ... [is] the only one of the bunch that could pass as a burly all-mountain bike when faced with serious terrain."

Uh oh Norco Torrent, I guess Norco didn't classify you right seeing as they squarely place you in the All Mountain category in their lineup!
  • 1 0
 Excellent point!
  • 3 1
 I like Commencal but geez that Seat kink...how is my 210mm dropper fitting in there? I'd be worried about a 185mm. Weird design and also makes us tall guys sweat as we know the actual STA is going to be a bit far back...
  • 1 0
 i have a 9.8 200mm dropper on my XL.
  • 1 0
 Someone who sizes down (because 475mm reach might be the new normal for larges, but it's also bigger than most people who fit in the large range really want for a fun bike), is also going to have to contend with an actual seat angle that hangs your ass way out back if you had to max out the post. That's a tough call: too long reach and have to work to weight the front wheel on downs and flats, or too long seat-to-bars and you have to work to weight the front wheel on ups and flats and hurt your back.
  • 1 0
 Hellloat of the bike for the 2500, unfortunately no shimano option, however alacarte program make it possible!

Not a big fun of 29’ however it would be perfect entry into mtb world for the person!

You can literally ride everywhere from pump track to bike park
  • 1 0
 Can I ask Mike a question? Here in Europe what should I choose eventually between this one and Radon Slide Trail 8.0 wich is just 400 € more, but it's 100% better equipped and with also great geo (about 76° seat tube and 66/65.6° HA, with also flipchip?).
I think both two bikes are a great deal, but I am a little concerned about weight.
  • 1 0
 I've got a Meta TR 29 and I absolutely love everything about that bike. Mine has the "Origin" build kit on it, but the specs are just spot on for the price. Superb value for money, and most importantly its built like a freakin tank. Riding it, you just immediately feel that its one of those bikes that are ready to party. Although it certainly isn't one for the weight weenies. I personally don't bother to weigh my bikes, but its kinda noticeable that they bought that increased frame rigidity at the expense of weight.
  • 1 1
 Reading this review and comparing it to other reviews of the Meta TR from the past, it seems that Commencal hasn't been able to fix the wide seat stays on their TR version. This was one of my main concerns with this version and I ended up buying a different bike. Is it really that annoying? Unfortunately, I wasn't able to demo one to get my view on the matter...
  • 3 0
 I felt them a few times during my time on the bike. Not a dealbreaker for me.
  • 2 0
 Speaking as an owner of meta v4.2 (27.5). It's a non-issue. You might notice it if you have your feet positioned way off and using flat pedals (I use those). On clipless I have no idea how people would manage to have problems. Dunno if there is much difference on newer 29ers.
  • 1 0
 If you ride clips it’s fine cause not much feet movement but on flats while learning your bike you’ll get a few foot to frame action. After a while just muscle memory I never hit it on flats. I wear a size 9.5 though so I guess depending on feet size
  • 1 1
 Did you guys consider any of the cheap Motobecane bikes from bikes direct. I'm looking at this one: www.bikesdirect.com/products/motobecane/full-suspension-mountain-bikes/hal-cf-boost-eagle-29er-carbon-mountain-bikes.htm since it looks like a lot of bang for the buck.
  • 1 0
 My OCD wants to rotate both tires 180˚ in the profile photo. Was looking forward to this review, having just picked up a Meta AM29 after being on the Trek platform since 2010.
  • 1 0
 I am truly loving these value bike reviews. The Mikes do a great job of describing what works and what could be tweaked while being fair and rational about what can be expected at this level of cost.
  • 1 0
 Always this whine about too heavy bikes. Better to work on your physical condition. The lightest bike climbs crappy if you have a midsection like Jabba der Hutt. Miracle of Gravity;-)
  • 1 1
 "Wide seat stays might contact heels or calves" is mentioned as a Con.

There was no mention of this in the test, was this as issue experienced, or expected? Does anyone have this issue?
  • 2 0
 Yes. Not an issue when riding, but the paint is taking a beating.
  • 1 0
 It was mentioned at the bottom of the climbing section...
  • 4 0
 Yup, the stays brushed my calves every now and then. It is in the test - it's in the cons Smile I guess we forgot to mention it in the video - bah! Good catch.
  • 1 0
 I've seen it mentioned in almost every review on the Metas in the last few years.
  • 1 0
 As I mentioned down below, for me it was a big issue during my demo. I guess it's maybe just how I ride or pedal or I have a freakish body, but it drove me insane.
  • 1 0
 Had the same issue with my Meta - what fixed it, and this probably might only be relevant for large footed flatpedal riders like me, was getting a set of crankbrothers Stamp pedals, size large. All their Stamp pedals are offered in small and large sizes. First of all the bolt is a tad longer so it sticks out a bit more and of course the pedal is larger, thus widening your platform. Now perfect and a happy bigfoot since.
  • 2 0
 To the complaint about not being able to reach the shifter...why not just move it outboard of the brake lever?
  • 1 0
 That would move it way too far outboard - the clamps are pretty wide
  • 4 0
 Because then it feels awkward to hit, whereas it just feels like a bit of a stretch when it's inboard.
  • 2 0
 @DaneL: That's definitely a possibility. However, I have long thumbs and have actually ran a shifter (GX) inboard of a set of Level T's before and thought it was fine. I prefer to have the shifter mounted to the lever clamp myself... just didn't realize this was a major issue.
  • 1 0
 Tinfoil hats on, incoming conspiracy theory. Neither Levy's nor Kazimer's segment timers add up correctly? What doesn't Pinkbike want us to know?!
  • 1 0
 Looking to get my first FS bike, looking at Commendal TR, YT Jeffsey Pro and Whyte SB-130. anyone have any preferences? Open to suggestions!
  • 1 0
 It gets points from for style too. What’s your opinion on the e*thirteen wheels?
  • 4 0
 We didn't have any issues. The stayed true and held their tension.
  • 2 0
 I've had 'em and they are ok... the hubs are crap but the rims are decent. They aren't as soft (easy to dent) as Stans Flows, but I think they are a tad heavier.

I don't think they'll hold anyone back...
  • 6 6
 At 5’7”, I can’t reasonably consider Commencals when the seat tube length on their medium frames is 440mm. Most other companies are around 400mm these days.
  • 7 0
 I am 5'8", had a 2018 Meta for a bit. Great bike, zero issues, a 150mm dropper fit perfectly.
  • 1 0
 @bman33: it’s worth noting that I have short legs (30”) and a long torso, haha. Either way, I would most likely need a 125mm post on the medium, while I could run a 175mm post on an Ibis, Norco, etc.
  • 2 0
 @jcc0042: I feel your pain. 5’9.5” with a 29” inseam. That puts me at the top end of medium sizing but I could only use a 100mm dropper. Current ride has a 430mm seat tube and my 120mm dropper is about 5mm from the seat tube.
  • 1 0
 May I say that first photo is really making me miss the outside (not that it looks anything like that where I live)
  • 2 0
 What's the song you play at the start of these reviews?
  • 1 0
 > Is this thing a trail bike or an all-mountain machine?

This is deliberate self parody, right?
  • 2 0
 Isn't it always?
  • 1 0
 Levy is a helluva rider and wicked through the corners. that's some schralping.
  • 1 0
 Meow, that was a great review. Gotta be one of the best deals out there right Meow.
  • 1 0
 Rad bike, if I was not waiting for my Prime v3 to arrive I reckon I would definately consider the Commencal.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy can't wait to see commentary of meta vs jeffsy considering that in NZ they're the two direct sale brands.
  • 1 0
 Just wondering people’s thought on if the Meta TR race is worth the $900 premium over the Meta TR ride?
  • 3 2
 33.5lb, not light for a trail bike. But it's a big trail bike.
  • 4 0
 People won't notice a 31 vs a 33.5 lbs trail bike.
  • 1 2
 @Ajorda: So they won't notice a 36lbs too?
  • 2 0
 @fracasnoxteam: Likely not. I rode a 36.5 lbs aluminum Enduro sled for 2 years, I now have a 32 lbs carbon trail bike. I don't notice the difference in weight until I start hitting loose or sketchy lines. Most of what a rider will feel is how the suspension setup and kinematics play with their own weight.
  • 2 4
 I demoed one of these last year, and find the wide chainstays pretty much intolerable. Constantly hitting my calves, heels, etc. I was pretty bummed, because I loved the bike otherwise.
  • 2 0
 Platform or clipless pedals?
  • 2 0
 I demo'd both a meta and clash last summer, I had zero problems with the chainstay, but I did have an issue with the yoke/seat stays on the meta. Same problem I had on the devinci troy

Guess I'm not built like a bowlegged cowboy.
  • 1 0
 @mikelevy: platform
  • 1 0
 @truenorthsimon: yeah I forgot about the seat stays, I think that's where my calves had the issue. Just overall pretty wide back there.
  • 1 0
 I have the previous version of this bike in the Meta29. Gotta say... my seat stays have some shoe dye coloring and scuffs on them, but not in as much as i notice it affecting my riding. I've been eyeing up a refresh to the current model. I love the bike... its also about 33lbs all built up on my end, but its been trouble free since like 2015 and can take hits unlike the titanium hardtail before it that cracked a seat stay off.
  • 1 0
 thats a lot of bike for $2599
  • 1 0
 Great job guys...sweet trail bike..perfect for where I live! Smile
  • 1 0
 what knee pads is he wearing?
  • 1 3
 140/140 vitus: "you have to be careful picking lines."

150/130 commencal: "this is an enduro bike!"

What?!?
  • 2 1
 Geometry
  • 10 13
 Crazy how acceptable a 33.5 lbs bike is nowadays.
  • 15 1
 People complain too much about weight. Everyone asks for durability and stiffness, but then complains about the extra weight. Do you really want to go back to the days of 150mm forks with 32mm diameter stanchions? Or super narrow, flimsy rims paired with equally unreliable tires?

One thing that I personally don't like are the boat anchor 12 speed cassettes. By the time you start pushing 600g on your cassette, I'd rather lose a gear to save the weight. But again, we ask for nothing but 12 speed, so that's what manufacturers provide.

Finally, think about dropper posts. You gain ~300g by adding the dropper post, and take enough of the budget that the manufacturer is forced to spec a cheaper groupset/suspension/wheels. At this pricepoint, I'd rather get no dropper and instead get a better fork (I'd replace the dropper anyways), but without a dropper, this bike wouldn't sell.

If you want a light bike, get a Giant Stance, replace the dropper with a fixed post, put a 10 speed groupset on it, switch to a FOX 32, and switch to some 2.2" XC tires with 20mm rims. Report back and let us know how much better it is than this 33.5lb bike.
  • 10 1
 Crazy how crappy performance and durability was acceptable some years ago
  • 5 5
 @DaneL: I find it annoying that so many people ask for "durability and stiffness". As a light-to-average weight person with a relatively smooth riding style i have never felt the need for more of either.

Its especially crappy when shopping for XS/S size bikes for kids or girlfriends. Those come with the same boat anchor components which are supposed to hold up under the 100kg+ guys on their XL frames.
  • 1 0
 Go ride a sub 30 pound "trail bike" from 5 years ago and you may notice a huge difference in stiffness. Older trail bikes feel like wet noodles in the corners.

New trail bikes also very rarely crack or break like old ones used to. I haven't heard of anyone that I know that has broken a front triangle in ages. (Cracked chainstays are another issue... but at least they are cheaper and easier to replace).
  • 4 0
 @DaneL: I have a 27.5 Trail bike that's 32.5lbs and a 29er xc/light trail bike that's 26lbs. You can definitely tell the difference in weight on long climbs and 20+ mile rides. Both are durable and stiff but the trail bike is just more planted on rowdy descents and the xc/trail is more playful and poppy, and climbs significantly better. Weight can/does matter depending on the situation.
  • 3 0
 @mmarkey21: attributing the efficiency difference between those 2 bikes to weight alone is a limited analysis.
-the weight difference might by heavily (pun) concentrated on tyres/wheels
- you can have a heavy bike pedaling and climbing amazingly and a light one feeling like a drag. Just changing the geometry and suspension kinematics like the anti squat can achieve you that
  • 3 0
 I don't want a super heavy bike either but I've been experimenting with weight a bit with my 8yro grom on his FS. A bit of extra frame weight etc isn't a big deal within reason. However, extra weight in the wheels and tires is a MASSIVE thing. You can really see the stark impact with a kid because weight effects them more. The rotational weight is a big part of it but is is the weight at the end of the "lever"...aka at the front or rear of the bike". A short but heavy bike is much easier to deal with than a new school extra long bike simply because the weight is way at the end of the lever and further from you. Having a bit of extra frame/suspension weight might actually have some improvements in stability certain areas to balance the cons...that's conjecture tho.
  • 3 0
 @Ttimer: I'm ~70kg and I definitely appreciate added stiffness. I can see how you wouldn't care if you are riding smooth singletrack at low speeds, but it makes a pretty massive difference when it comes to holding your line in rock gardens or when cornering. I can't see why you would want a suspension if you weren't doing those things. Also, most components don't hold up well to 100+kg people that are hard on their bikes. That's why those people usually spec heavier wheels, forks, brakes, etc.

Regarding XS/S bikes, I know where you're coming from. My girlfriend is ~153cm & 52kg, so finding bikes for her is a challenge. I'm definitely more willing to spend extra to lose weight on her bikes. For components, I think you have to take a different approach than a typical rider. You might have to do a fully custom build or plan to swap a few components. She might not need DH brakes with 200mm rotors, so you can spec trail-rated brakes with 180mm rotors instead. Rather than a 160mm Lyrik, spec a 160mm Pike. Spec trail/all mountain wheels rather than enduro/DH wheels. Use slightly thinner casing tires. There aren't many components that don't have a lighter, less stiff/capable counterpart.

One thing you have to remember, though, is that weight isn't always bad. It's almost always a benefit for descending (sprung weight, at least), and until you're carrying your bike up big features, it doesn't slow you down that much.
  • 1 0
 @mmarkey21: That's really not a good comparison since they're completely different bikes. Go demo an aluminum Trek (they tend to put weight before stiffness) and demo the same bike/build spec with a carbon frame, but add weight to the frame to match the aluminum frame. Go ride some rough trails and try to tell me that the less stiff frame rides just as well. Next, ride one bike with and without 2lb strapped to the frame. Think about how big of a difference there is in ride quality and how much you would spend to lose 2lb.
  • 1 0
 @DaneL: this is simplistic but right on the money. Weight is critical but overall bike weight as a measurement is somewhat useless. If you want to know how it rides regarding weight, just weight the crap the crap that spins and go from there. Rims, hubs, spokes, rotors, tires and maybe cranks/pedals if you are getting detaile
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: Unsprung rotational mass matters a ton, but cranks/pedals are one of the last places I'd be looking to shed weight. They're the lowest sprung mass on the bike, and the inertia while you're pedaling has a pretty negligible effect.

If people are complaining about how heavy a bike is, they're typically not considering where the weight is or even how it will effect the ride. Most people won't say 'why didn't they spec a rigid post and an 11 speed drivetrain in order to have some money left over for wheels that weigh 200g less?'. Instead, they're saying 'all I care about is that it has a dropper, 12 speeds, at least 130mm of travel, looks cool, weighs less than 30lb, and costs less than $2k'. They just don't realize that making a frame lighter comes at a cost, and all of the new features both add weight and detract from how much money goes into the other components.
  • 1 0
 @Arierep: You’re right and I won’t argue. I didn’t specify where all the weight loss was from and some is in the rims/tires, a bit in the crankset and cassette, but half is in the frame as well. Geo definitely helps too and yes, my heavier trail bike might climb slightly better if I used a lighter wheel/tire combo.

Either way, extra weight does increase the required output for each stroke over time and my legs feel it. The percentage of that that comes from the increased rotational weight of the wheels vs frame weight? I have no clue.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: So let me get this straight. Because you are small and don't ask for much in the way of performance of your bike you are annoyed that other people do?
  • 2 1
 @heffernw: No. Because I'm a healthy weight and don't abuse my gear I am annoyed that there are no complete bike options which cater to people of my style.
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: please define "healthy weight"
By the way, a number of known Enduro and DH racers hoover around or even over 90kg.

For lighter weight builds, go check Last. They have several versions of the Glen
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: There are all kinds of great XC bikes with a 200 pound weight limit, a fox 32 stepcast fork, wheels that will crumple if you so much as look at a drop over 3 feet, maybe even a skinny brain shock if you choose to go with a Specialized. I don't know what you're on about.
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