Commencal Meta 6 £2799

Fun cross-country/downhill crossover

BikeRadar score 3.5/5

Commencal’s Meta is designed to be a 160mm (6in) travel machine with the versatility of an enduro rig and all the fun of a downhill bike. With its lightweight frame, adjustable head angle and awesome RockShox Lyrik Fork it gets close to that ideal. It’s still more long-travel cross-country bike than downhill sled but it’s a barrel of fun.

The aim with the Meta family is to produce a range of bikes of differing travel, built around the same Contact System rear suspension and, uniquely, the same tubesets.

Ride & handling: roomy but suspension tuning needs work

The first thing you notice when you swing your leg over the Meta 6 is the very roomy and pedalling- friendly cockpit. With the saddle dropped, the extra length is noticeable, but doesn’t affect the bike’s handling when in gravity assisted mode. The uninterrupted seat tube allows full saddle drop too. 

On the trail, you can feel flex in the swingarm, and the rear wheel finds its way around rocks and roots. This only becomes an issue when compressing the bike hard on angled jumps. As you pop out of it, the side loaded flex pings back, throwing you off balance. The optional Maxle dropouts and a compatible hub would combat this, but they’re not fitted as standard.

The compression ratio is linear for the first four or five inches of the travel and ramps up severely at the end. When set correctly with 30-35 per cent sag, the bike blew through the travel and a sharp spike was felt through the pedals as the rate shot up at the end. We got round this by running 25 per cent sag. Gone was the sharp spike, but the plush trail compliance was compromised. 

The shock needs more rebound adjustment too – we had full rebound wound on, and it still wasn’t quite enough.

On the plus side, the bike handled great in the 67.5 degree setting – the bottom bracket height was spot on, we loved the tyres, the Lyrik fork performed faultlessly, and the fairly light weight gave an agile ride.

A cross-country compatible with the fun of a downhill machine? Not quite – it’s more of a 6in travel cross-country bike, but it’s certainly fun.

Frame: tweaked for longer travel

The frame uses the same gauge tubes as the rest of the range, but the geometry is tweaked to suit its 160mm (6in) travel. The head tube angle can be adjusted with 0 degree- and +/- 0.5 degree- angled sleeves in the head tube, giving head tube angles from 68.5 degrees to 67.5 degrees, in 0.5 degree increments.

Commencal’s legendary Contact System is employed with a modified linkage to eke out that extra travel. The new moto-style swingarm is claimed to be stiffer than the previous incarnation but also lighter.

Equipment: mix of light & durable

Up front is RockShox’s Lyrik Solo Air fork, which is easily set-up and very adjustable. There’s a Fox RP2 shock out back. The kit is a bit of a mix of lightweight and burly stuff. 

The light RaceFace Deus crankset, SRAM X.0 rear mech and SDG I-Beam saddle and post shave the grams where possible, and mid-weight Mavic X321 rims and Maxxis High Roller single-ply tyres add strength and bulk where it’s needed.

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