Commencal Meta AM - First ride £3799

All-new design

BikeRadar score 3/5

The Commencal Meta firmly established a place in our hearts many years ago as one of the early trail-style, do-it-all machines. It also saw its fair share of glory thanks to the likes of Remy Absalon, who’s been instrumental in the development of the all-new AM and has since won the Megavalanche on one.

Ride & handling: Low centre of gravity and slack head angle make this great at speed

Our medium frame size sample provided our 5ft 8in test pilot with the right all-mountain ride position – enough stretch in the top tube and a steep enough seat angle to keep climbing balanced, with weight in just about all the right places. Yet it was still short enough for us to attack the trail at the shift of a gear and with plenty of stability.

We’re big fans of Fox’s new RP23 shock with Adaptive Logic but the shock tune on this pre-production version of the Meta AM didn’t quite offer the suppleness or support we were after from the 150mm (5.9in) of rear wheel travel. Commencal have assured us they're working on a new shock tune though, which is great news and will certainly make this great frame shine.

Our only other real niggle was the constant rattle from the internal cabling, which is easy enough to rectify. The revised rear end felt really stiff and was happy being slammed sideways into turns or soaking up the odd out-of-shape landing. The complete build weighs 13.2kg, so the Meta AM is nimble enough to be flicked around the trail.

Frame & equipment: Awesome chassis with masses of potential

It’s hard not to draw comparisons to the Meta’s bigger brother, the Supreme DHv3, as piloted by the Athertons. Like it, the AM has had a complete overhaul that’s helped lower its centre of gravity. It also has a slackened head angle – now 66.8 degrees – and has been designed around a 2x10 transmission. The shock penetrates the seat tube through the ‘shock tunnel’, helping to remove stress from the down tube, which can be made lighter as a result.

Commencal have opted to use Shimano’s press-fit standard bottom bracket along with a semi-integrated Cane Creek tapered head tube. This not only increases stiffness but also allows for the use of a Cane Creek AngleSet. Other notable features include a post-mount rear brake mount, ISCG 05 chainguide mounts, internal cable routing and a 142x12mm rear axle.

Our test bike came with some of the finest kit on the market – Fox’s 32 FIT RLC fork and new RP23 rear shock are quite brilliant. The Easton Haven finishing kit also helps keep standards high while the Formula brakes worked in every condition we threw at them. SRAM’s X0 transmission shifts with a lovable snap and helps keeps things in check weight wise.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine.

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