Commencal have enjoyed huge success in recent years on both the World Cup series, as well as the world championships. In fact, between their Commencal-Mucoff team, and the sister Dorval AM Commencal team, having their bikes on the podium has been something like par for the course.
Since helping usher in a new age of high-pivot frames with the Supreme V4, Commencal has seemingly gone from strength to strength. While they of course did have success on the world stage before, most notably with Remy Thirion in 2013 or, previous to that, when the Atherton's were riding their bikes, there wasn't much to suggest the dominance of both male and female elite categories that the brand would embark on.
Surpeme V5 Details
• 27/29" platform
• Aluminum frame
• 63.2/63.7° head angle
• Chainstay length: 440/442mm (+ / - 6mm)
• Sizes: XS, S, M, L, XL
• Price: $5,700 - $7,400 USD
Even though the DH29 was an enormously successful and popular bike, the development continues, and they now finally release the V5. And finally might be the appropriate word - this is a bike that has already enjoyed a large amount of success including 9 World Cup wins and 28 World Cup podiums. While the team riders were using frames that were production-ready, details were often hard to come by. However, there were some clear and defined features, which we can report on with more certainty now.Suspension Layout
The V4/DH29 used a linkage-driven single pivot, with the stays of its swingarm almost echoing the position and orientation of the shock that bolted into the downtube. That bike had a higher pivot and a chain that ran along the top side of the upper stay. As the axle was driven into the bike's stroke, a link connected to the swingarm would pull the linkage to drive the shock.
The V5 is a very different story. It uses a six-bar linkage and a slightly lower main pivot than its predecessor. Starting with the stout lower link, you can see a rod connecting to the link that drives the upper link. Without this yoke - rear of the bike would move, but would not drive the shock.
On closer inspection, you can see that the upper assembly isn't as simple as it could at first appear and is far more refined than an earlier version of the prototype
. Now, its made up of three distinct pieces - two outer plates that connect the upper stay to the frame, and are connected together by a large diameter two-piece axle. This axle is also what the inner link, which sits between the separated seat tube and is driven by the connecting yoke, rotates around to drive the shock.
It seems that six-bar layouts are becoming more common, or at least the labelling of bikes as six-bar. However, there is a small distinction to be made. A true six-bar, such as the Commencal, is defined by six links and seven pivots. Whereas something like the Knolly system or Specialized Enduro could perhaps be better described as a four-bar that drives a shock.Frame Features
We're also seeing more confirmation of the frame features and there's innovation here, too.
There are two fore-aft positions for the shock, as well as flip chips to also chose between high and low, giving four different positions. Commencal says that the flip chip orientation is there to tune geometry and adjust the head angle, BB height, whereas the fore-aft adjustment is there to adjust the shock feel, with the front position giving a more linear spring curve compared to the more progressive rearward position.
You may have also seen that there is also a bridge across the upper stays of the linkage that can adjust the stiffness of the frame. Commencal provides two bridges - thick and thin. The thin will provide an easy turn-in by letting the bike flex more, whereas the stiffer, thicker plate will give a more precise feeling for riders who put a lot of energy through the bike. It could also be used to tune the bike feel depending on the track.
Finally, the chainstay adjustment not only gives three positions to choose from (+ / - 6 mm) but also features flip-chips to let the brake mount slide along also. This means fewer spare parts to carry, and an end to having to swap out your brake mount, which should also make it quicker as you shouldn't need to realign the brake.
The linkage bolts also use expanders to ensure that things are less likely to wobble loose. This colletted system means that you set the torque of the bolt, before fitting a second smaller bolt and wedge system into the axle.Geometry
The geometry is largely what you'd expect for a modern downhill bike in 2022. The reaches grow by around 15 or 20 mm for the medium and large sizes, while the small and extra-large stay in the same ballpark. There is, however, the introduction of the extra small, with its reach figure as low as 400mm.
The stack height on the bike is also relatively high, even for a downhill bike. A large, when compared to the outgoing model, sees the stack increase by as much as 25mm - this is a sizeable change. A higher stack height will center the rider's weight more when riding steeper tracks. However, it can come at the cost of the ability to weight the front wheel in flatter turns. This consequence to the weight distribution can be finessed with longer stays for yet more stability. It's also worth noting that at just over 63 degrees, this bike isn't outrageously slack, which could play into that compromise further.Models & Pricing