The Tempo's suspension layout gives it a clean look, but tucking those short links behind the swingarm does make it more of a hassle to work on compared to the aforementioned Santa Cruz Tallboy. On the Tallboy, the bearing are contained in the links, and the lower link has a grease gun fitting to make it easier to keep them lubed and running smooth.
With the Tempo, most of the bearings are pressed into the frame, and they're not that well sealed from the elements – I ended up pulling the frame apart to clean and grease the bearings after I noticed how gritty they'd become after just a couple months of riding. Granted, those rides took place during the wettest and muddiest part of the season, but it still seem sooner than I would have anticipated.
Even taking the shock off is a little more involved than I expected. In order to remove the rear shock bolt two additional bolts on the swing arm need to be undone, and in general no matter what bolt I wanted to reach on the linkage it always seemed like I needed to remove another one to move a frame member out of the way.
And of course, there's that thru-headset cable routing. Prototypes of the Tempo had ports in the downtube; it's unfortunate that Commencal decided to eliminate them for the production version. There's no getting around the fact that this style of headset allows more water to get in, especially in this configuration, where the housing enters ports in the top cap. When I pulled the stem to check, the bearing were spinning smoothly and had plenty of grease, but the inside of the top bearing, the steel portion that rests against the steerer tube, had developed a patina of rust due to water ingress. Now, I've had this happen on other bikes with standard headsets, so the water / rust isn't totally unusual, it's just that this design makes it more likely to occur, and requires more preventative maintenance, especially for riders in wet climates.
I wouldn't call it a deal breaker, especially considering how much fun this bike is to ride, but it is a shame that fashion took precedence over function in this instance. That said, the ZS56 headset does make it easy to drop in a reach or angle-adjusting headset. With some stick-on cable guides (and maybe some wireless components) it'd be possible to get rid of the headset woes and open up some experimental geometry potential.Shimano XT brakes:
It makes me happy to see that powerful 4-piston brakes are becoming more common on shorter travel trail bikes. I'd rather have the slight weight penalty and be able to stop rather than suffer with anemic braking power. The XT brakes have plenty of bite, although they did suffer from, you guessed it, a wandering bite point. I've had better luck with the consistency of XTR brakes lately; for some reason the XT models seem to act up more often. Fox 34:
I'm sure there are riders out there planning to run a beefier fork, like a 36, and maybe a piggyback shock in order to maximize the Tempo's downhill abilities. There's nothing wrong with going down that route, assuming you're fine with the weight penalty, but the 34's performance shouldn't be overlooked. I called it the 'short travel standout' when I last reviewed it, and that sentiment still holds true – it's a very good fork, and works well with the overall feel of the Tempo.
Let's stop this crap by calling it out as a Con until bike companies get the message.
I would never buy it there either, but still kind of get it on road bikes, where all the cables are hidden entirely, but on mountain bikes headset routing really is a (bad) joke.
Fixed that for you.
Maybe that's overstating it for a aluminium steerer, but the thought of slicing into a carbon steerer is terrifying - I had a friend sheer his steerer tube on a road bike coming into a corner at 30mph.. The image of his bars turning one way and his front wheel going the other is indelibly etched on my brain!
Is there something in there that ensures the hoses don't end up rubbing against the steerer?
Having seen comments from brand reps here, often senior ones, and how many of them have historically genuinely considered opinions about their products, I think it's fair to say this medium isn't insignificant to them. It's condensed customer feedback. As an example, I don't think it's coincidence that the Transition Relay doesn't have headset cable routing and I will bet a 6-pack that the next update of the Repeater won't have it either.
Scott for example was able to make the headtube area of the Spark 20% stronger compared to the last-gen model while saving 60 grams of weight in just the head tube area. Love it or hate it, but switching to headset routing enabled a frame design that is simultaneously stronger and lighter. That might not be relevant to Trail- or DH bikes, but it certainly is a factor for high-end XC bikes.
Personally, I'm not super fond of headset routing either, but I think it's really not a consideration for anyone except us (comparatively few) enthusiasts who work on our bikes ourselves.
Another factor could be that product dev can take place years before any outlets or commenters have a chance to put in their two cents. It can then take a few years for companies to course correct. There's definitely a point of no return when it comes to production and I'm sure some product managers would have changed their mind if they hadn't have already invested "x" amount of overhead into a certain product.
Just seems weird to complain because there is too much seat post exposed. The key thing is that you can get the longest dropper to use its full range and have it at the correct hight for seated pedalling. If you can then loosen the seat clamp and drop it even further if you ever need to, bonus.
cheaper (to make) stronger frame is lighter (less holes less reinforcement), one less frame QC point.
weird headset cost frame cost savings
On aero bikes or high end XC bikes, it makes total sense.
I still hate it on commuters and entry level bikes/midrange bikes, time consuming and ugly imo, but that's where the cost savings are mattering for the manufacturers
But the new rise's headset is objectively uglier than the old one.
And explaining cable housing replacement will be even more $$$ unless done as part of an overhaul with fork drop is always fun.
@FuzzyL: I'm very aware of the variation in leg length, I'm on the far end of the spectrum. Like @WillW123 I'm also 6'1 (1m86 ) and the seat tube on the XL is plenty short enough for me. In fact, for me they could make it 40 mm longer and I'd be happy. I think something around 450,460 is a good compromise on a 490 reach / 640 stack bike.
There is also a diminishing return for longer drop lengths with short legs. You can see that the rear tire is already around the same height as the top of the seat tube on the picture above. This is on flat ground with no sag, so in the situations where you want the long drop, that becomes a lot worse. At some point the saddle just isn't the limiting factor anymore.
And last but not least, to mount a long dropper you also need enough insertion length. That's the reason I ride a 210 dropper on my current frame, which has a seattube that is 508mm, which for me is short enough for the 240. But I couldn't fit the 337 mm of insert length. I don't see the max insertion listed but it might be a limit here as well.
@mikekazimer: @brianpark we need you to supply us these kind of numbers with reviews. We can all look up the geo charts on manuf websites but they don't all supply all the numbers we need. Actual seat angles, max insertion length are two examples. It would really add to the value of the review.
I don’t even think this makes a ‘stronger’ or ‘lighter’ head tube. Seems more like cost cutting to me since it looks easier to manufacture- problem is it’s clear the savings aren’t being passed on.
And yeah the Essential TEMPO is within $500 of the Izzo Core 3 which has a very comparable build but carbon frame. So definitely a direct competitor, just depends on availability and interest in carbon (or not).
Yeah that might be true if you're riding somewhere chill like BC, but let me assure you that you ain't getting round the blue trail at Swinley on anything less than 170mm with at least DD tyres.
Or at least I assume that's the case from the number of bikes I see with that spec.
And yeah, of course you can slap a regular headset on. I think some brands (including Hope iirc) allow you to only buy the top part of the headset so that you're not wasting too much.
For example, Bike24 currently has that brilliant Norco Fluid FS on sale. The Fluid FS A2 goes for the same price as the base-model Commencal Tempo. Easy choice, really.
Regarding headset routing, seems like the mob has spoken.
I'm not a weight weenie, or at least I try to not be, but bikes are getting pretty heavy these days.
That sounds like fun
You could make this bike weigh 45 lbs and it would never feel like an enduro bike.
I'm curious if bike companies are making headset routing because buyers are asking for it; ie roadies.
I would never ask for this ^ PITA!
I re built a Canfield Lithium over the weekend, and as much as I love how a Canfield rides, the rear brake mounting through the frame is just dumb; esp. on an enduro bike.
So yeah, no internal routing of hydraulic line!
The broped crowd is only going to make this worse.
I see the TEMPO has a bit longer wheelbase than the AF, but seems similar in ride characteristics that this review provides.
And if your toolkit is old enough-the now useless headset press you might already have works juuust fine for press fit bbs.
Crummy headset and pivot bearings on the other hand……
The FSA BB diameter is half a 1/10mm smaller then the Shimano plastic PF BB.
Also the plastic seems to make up for small imperfections in the carbon BB shell of the frame.
So we hope that using that bigger plastic BB will help cure that problem.
I had a conversation with someone working for a brand that went PF for their bottom brackets; he tried rationalizing it as being in service to the consumer (some spiel about how that way, you don't run the risk of the BB thread on your frame getting messed up and causing a really expensive repair), but in the end admitted that it's mostly about cost (threading is an extra step, plus tolerances need to be tight for that to work whereas there can be a little slop with PF because there's always threadlocker to fill that). I think it's one of those shortsighted, stupid things that we'll keep looking at and eradicating over time - but in terms of low hanging fruit in the bike industry, it's probably outweighed by all the single use petroleum based packaging.
If I just go buy whatever bike I want, I know that if the BB starts creaking (which is not guaranteed) there's a solution out there. In any case, I've owned 2 PF frames and neither of them had any issues (I actually bought the Wheels BB because of a crank compatibility issue, not because I had BB problems). But anyway, I guess I *slightly* prefer threaded, but not enough that I would compromise basically anything else on my bike purchase for it (because I know a thread-together PF conversion is available to fix any issues).
Tallboy R is $4549 USD
I'd love to see a ~$4k trail bike shoot-out:
Smuggler v. Tempo v. Fluid v. Izzo v. Hugene v. Stumpy
Not sure on geo but pretty sure the travel matches 140F/125R ?
Haha, good one!
I am also interested @mikekazimer whats the comparison?
With the Tempo, you've got more travel to get you out of a jam, and running a 36 or piggyback shock wouldn't be unreasonable.
It really depends on what type of riding you'll be doing the most - the Spur's an excellent aggressive XC rig, but its limits will show up before the Tempo's do. There's also no alloy Spur, or carbon Tempo for that matter if frame material matters at all to you.
The Tempo's geometry is closer to the Optic. I prefer the pedaling position of the Tempo - the steeper seat tube and shorter front center made it a little more comfortable for me. Both bikes have a very similar wheelbase, although I'd say the Tempo has a little bit more snappiness to its handling. They're both great examples of how versatile bikes in this travel bracket can be.
- More surefooted
- Better power transfer
- Overall probably a better bike for most
- No headset cable routing
Izzo it is.
I’ll pay a little more (or not any more for my Ripmo AF) and just do an annual tear down.
No magazine talks about how after 2 years all Shimano brakes have significant vapor loss of mineral oil and Shimano doesn’t offer seal kits.
Codes are good enough, and serviceable enough I may switch…….and I’ve been a SRAM/Avid hater (and Shimano brake user) for a LOT of years.
I attribute it to the conservative reach and head angle creating a more reasonable / manageable (~1,200mm in large) wheelbase than most of the sleds coming out today.
More bikes like this please! Focus on fun instead of fast…creates a playful bike even with 29” wheels
I don’t see the use of these bikes when they weigh the same as an enduro bike with 170mm….
Surely the engineers at Cane Creek, Hope, etc are already done designing properly sealed headsets for all these new bikes that need replacements soon?
I bleed brakes every few months. I replace headsets every few years. I don't see the problem really.
With modern geometry, the trail bike segment is the most under rated segment in the market today. This Commencal will be a great everyday bike for people that have regular trails to ride on.