Commencal Meta AM 4.2 Long-Term Test Update

The obligatory suspension fiddling:

With sag gradients on the fork and shock, getting your baseline sag set is fuss free, but we’re still making refinements to the setup. After a bit of internet trawling, we initially set the rear end up with about 25% sag (some reviewers out there felt the Meta rode best with less sag than would be common for this style of bike). We’ve subsequently dropped the shock pressure to give about 30% sag, and things feel a lot more settled now in our opinion.

We’re 50/50 on the shock’s remote lockout. It’s a blessing on smooth climbs, but you do sacrifice adjustability to have the on-the-fly convenience.
The Lyrik just feels like a downhill fork. Superb.

We’re loving the performance of the Lyrik once again. This fork dominates, it looks bad-ass with its super wide stance thanks to the Boost hub spacing and it just chomps up the ugliest terrain. As we’ve noted below, the long 170mm-travel fork is tall, so we were planning on running it at 25% sag and adding some Bottomless Tokens to the keep the stroke supportive (the Meta comes with just one Bottomless Token fitted).

The SD Components Dynamic Volume Chamber is an Australian made piece of kit, available for RockShox Pikes, Lyriks, Boxxers and FOX 36 forks.
Installing the DVC was simply a matter of unthreading the old top cap and Bottomless Token and threading in the new unit.
One valve controls the main air spring, the second controls a smaller chamber that dictates the spring curve’s progressiveness.

Instead, we picked up a neat suspension mod from SD Components, the Dynamic Volume Chamber. This cool little unit allows you to independently adjust the main air spring and the end-stroke, so you can get a buttery soft initial spring curve, and still have good support in the mid/end-stroke. We’ve only just fitted it, so we can’t comment on performance yet, but it adds a bit of ‘factory’ cool we think!

Hitting the lockout lever helps keep the bike up in its travel which greatly improves the bike’s tendency to wander on steep climbs. The downside is that you sacrifice a lot of rear wheel grip, as the tyre doesn’t follow the terrain as well.

The rear shock doesn’t offer a lot of adjustability, just air pressure and rebound. With the remote lockout, you lose any kind of  independent low-speed compression adjustment in favour of the convenience of being able to lock things out on-the-fly. We’re still on the fence about this… We’ve found the lockout useful, as the bike isn’t the most willing climber, but you do sacrifice quite a lot of rear wheel grip as soon as you hit that lockout lever. It’s best used on smooth fire roads or on the tarmac.

The DVC’s valves do look mighty exposed there, let’s hope they don’t get damaged.

High rise, maybe a bit tall for shorties: 

With its 30mm rise bar, the Meta is pretty tall up front, especially for a shorter rider like our tester. When the trails point down steeply, it makes for a very confident position, at the expense of being a little ungainly on technical climbs. You’ve got to really consciously keep the weight over the front end to stop it lifting and wandering when negotiating steep pinches. We’ll be experimenting with the fork setup, running slightly more sag (and a more aggressive ramp-up) to see if this improves things. We might look for a bar with less rise too, 15-20mm would be ideal.

With the long fork and 30mm rise bar, the Meta is tall up front. Some riders will love it, others might want to get lower.

Rubber choices:

You’ll never hear us complain about the performance of Maxxis Minions. The stock tyres on the Meta are some of the grippiest and most predictable going, but we’ve just received some new 2.6″ Maxxis Forekasters to try, so on they go! The Forekasters are a little lighter than the Minions (785g vs 960g) and we’ll welcome the reduced rotating weight, but we hope they can match the Minions in terms of reliability, durability and traction.

We’re giving the wide 2.6″ Maxxis Forecasters a try on our Meta. They’re a fair bit lighter than the Minions they replace, so hopefully they’re tough enough.
Maxxis bill these tyres as a good option for dampish conditions, but we’ve had good reports about their performance in loose and dry conditions too.

We’re excited to see how this system performs… when we finally manage to fit it!

CushCore frustrations:

We also took the opportunity of swapping out the tyres to try and fit the new Cushcore system. Note we said ‘try’…. While the in-tyre damping/rim protection system sounds very promising, fitting it proved too time consuming and we gave up after an hour of fighting it. We did try to follow the instructions, but perhaps we missed a step? We’ll return with a cold drink, plenty of spare time, and a better frame of mind and try to install it!

The CushCore system mounted to the Meta’s rim. Getting the tyre on is the tricky bit…

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