The previous Meta TR impressed us with its no-fuss climbing manners during the Value Bike Field Test
, and that sentiment carries over to the new version. It's not light, or particularly nimble, but the 78.6-degree seat tube does an excellent job of hiding the bike's length. It creates a centered position that makes it easy to keep the front wheel weighted, free from any wandering, and it virtually eliminates any worries of looping out on extra-steep climbs.
That upright, centered position also makes it easier to remain seated while climbing, rather than needing to stand up and lean forward, or to balance precariously on the nose of the saddle. It is possible to have too steep of a seat tube angle – I thought the 80-degree angle on the Privateer 161 I recently reviewed was borderline excessive – but the Meta TR's position was comfortable even on the relatively flat three mile pavement / gravel spin that leads to my local trails.
I'd put the Meta TR in the middle of the road when it comes to climbing efficiency. There's plenty of anti-squat to keep if from going too deep into its travel, which makes it a relatively calm climber. I did make use of the climb switch to gain extra support on longer ascents on smoother terrain. That blue lever is easy to reach (once I got used to the new position compared to the previous generation X2), and since it's not a full lockout there was still plenty of traction to keep the rear wheel stuck to the ground.
At the end of the day, the Meta TR's climbing manners are still more in line with what I'd expect from an enduro bike compared to a more traditional trail bike. That didn't bother me in the slightest, especially once I figured out what this bike could do on the descents, but it's worth remembering that with the new geometry and additional travel, that TR acronym probably doesn't stand for trail anymore...