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.