It’s big, it’s burly, and it’s oh so shiny. Welcome to Flow, you gorgeous thing.
The new Commencal Meta AM 4.2 has just joined our ranks of long-term test bikes. We’ll be riding this one for the next 12 months, using it is a the test sled for all manner of Enduro and trail-oriented products. That’s a prospect that brings a big smile – our last experience on a Commencal was almost ten years ago, and we can still remember the buttery smooth performance of that bike, the way it seemed to float. It’s great to be throwing a leg over one of these Andorran machines once again.
Don’t know much about the brand?
That’s not surprising, they’ve had a bit of a hiatus from the Australian scene. During that time, the brand has really consolidated what it is they’re about. There’s a unique ‘fun comes first’ attitude with Commencal that we appreciate. Max Commencal, the brand’s founder, has been a behind the scenes figure for many of the sports’ greatest riders, and he gave us a fantastic interview recently where he stressed his belief that mountain biking should not be about suffering. In his opinion, mountain biking must be all about enjoyment – it needs to stand apart from the world of road riding. Even traditional cross-country riding isn’t really on the Commencal agenda, their range is dominated by aggressive trail bikes and enduro bikes.
There’s a unique ‘fun comes first’ attitude with Commencal that we appreciate.
Where do I buy one?
The return of Commencal to Australian shores is timely. Like other European brands such as Canyon or YT, the brand operates via a direct sales model – you purchase them online, and they arrive boxed with a small amount of assembly required. It’s a concept the Australian market now understands and embraces, and it allows Commencal to nail some impressive price points too.
And yes, the frame is alloy too, which we know will draw applause from the many carbon sceptics out there.
So what is this model?
The Meta AM is Commencal’s line up of enduro rigs. 160mm/170mm travel, with frame construction that is clearly built to go the distance. There’s nothing under-gunned about the assembly, with reassuring 8mm and 10mm Allen-key fittings for all the pivot hardware.
And yes, the frame is alloy too, which we know will draw applause from the many carbon sceptics out there. In fact, you won’t find a single carbon bike in the Commencal range – it’s another point of difference and a topic that Max Commencal is very passionate about.
Our test model is the ‘Race’ version, $5299, running full SRAM spec with E13 wheels and Maxxis rubber. There’s nothing about this bike we’d rush out to change, but that’s not going to stop us from making plenty of tweaks of course!
It does look bloody good too, doesn’t it?
Oh yes, it sure does. The brushed alloy finish is wicked, and the angry looking graphics set it off perfectly. The lines are great too, especially with the Trunnion mounted shock tucked right up into the top tube. This bike has some serious racing pedigree as well, with Cecile Ravanel absolutely dominating the women’s EWS series on board her Meta, winning just about every stage of every round.
What was the build like?
Assembly was straight forward, the only elements that might irk some purchasers being the need to trim the dropper post line (it was very long) and the fact the bike didn’t come supplied with tubeless valves, which is annoying. Otherwise it was all smooth sailing – the gears and brakes didn’t need adjusting, and the wheels were true and tight out of the box too.
We’ve got a bunch of product already lined up for this bike; we’ll be using it as the vehicle for a head to head FOX and RockShox test, plus we’ve got new rubber from Maxxis and much more on the way too. But for now, it’s time to get acquainted with our new Andorran buddy!