Sea Otter 2012: Commencal unveil 29er Meta AM

Plus big-wheelers from KHS, Grammo, Moots and Titus

Big wheels were the order of the weekend at Sea Otter, with Commencal showing a new 29er version of their Meta AM, KHS set to unveil a 650b downhill bike, Grammo heading upmarket with a titanium hardtail, Moots's MX Divide reaching production and Titus making a 29er El Guapo.

Commencal Meta AM goes 29er

Commencal's new 130mm-travel Meta AM29 sports a 68° head angle, 142x12mm rear axle, tapered head tube, ISCG tabs and routing for RockShox’s standard Reverb dropper post. Let's hope the Andorran company have ironed out the shock tune issues that marred our experience with the 26in version.

It'll be available in the US mid-May in a single top-level build for roughly $4,500. More models and a frameset ($1,800 without shock) will become available later in the year. UK pricing and availability is still to be confirmed.

Commencal's new Meta AM29

KHS choose 650b for gravity racing

KHS have deemed the 26in wheel obsolete for racing. On the cross-country side, they say the 29in wheel reigns supreme, and at Sea Otter their gravity racers were out to prove the 650b size ideal for all-mountain riding and gravity racing. The team raced the 120mm-travel (4.7in) SixFifty656XC in Sea Otter’s downhill event and said the wheel size proved perfect for the event.

Team manager Quinton Spaulding told BikeRadar that KHS would have a prototype 650b-wheeled downhill bike ready for World Cup racing this season. It's called DH650b for now, and the team plan to run it for a year to shake out the design, ultimately with plans for production.

KHS say they'll race 650b wheels in World Cup downhill competition this season

Grammo release US-made Ti 29er

Grammo are best known for their budget priced carbon frames and components but at Sea Otter the highlight of their display was a new US-made titanium 29er. The Lynskey-made Toa sports clean, fluid lines and arcing seatstays that meet the top tube past the seat tube intersection. It can be set geared or for singlespeed use (it incorporates a Press-Fit 30 eccentric bottom bracket to tension the chain for the latter use) and sports a tapered head tube. The bike comes with a lifetime warranty for US$1,650.

The seatstays on Grammo's Toa bypass the seat tube and mount to the top tube to allow more comfort-adding flex

Moots's MX Divide reaches production

While Moots showed their new MX Divide in prototype form at Interbike, Sea Otter provided the first showing of the production models; the company had a demo fleet on hand for test rides. The 29er offers 100mm of travel through a simple single-pivot rear end designed by Sotto, with a carbon shock link made by PMG, the same company Moots use for their forks.

It’s built for cross-country riding and racing, and sports plenty of contemporary features, including a 142x12mm rear end, post-mount rear brake mount with replaceable barrel nuts, two bottle mounts and the use of 10 cartridge bearings throughout the suspension system. 

The MX Divide exemplifies Moots’s approach to titanium frame manufacture, with exquisite welds and use of mechanical cable bosses (made by Paragon Machine Works) instead of zip-ties. The asymmetric chainstay section is made from 6061 alloy by Zen Bicycle Fabrication in Portland, Oregon. The 19in frame is claimed to weigh 6.25lb with the included Fox RP23 Adaptive Logic Kashima shock. Moots reckon the complete build as shown comes in at 25.5lb. Frame and shock price is US$4,995.

The two-part top tube increases standover clearance and makes for a svelte shock mount

Titus working on El Guapo 29er

Titus are working on a 29in-wheeled version of their El Guapo all-mountain bike, with plans to formally launch it at this fall’s tradeshows. They offered us a sneak peek at the 140mm-travel big-wheeler, which incorporates a near-identical feature set to the 26in-wheeled version. 

The bike sports a tapered head tube, thermal-formed (Titus describe it as using heated gas to soften the tubing then forming it with a clamshell mold) down tube and choice of 142x12mm or quick-release rear ends. Titus say while the feature set is close to set, they’re looking to spend the next few months making final geometry tweaks. The main area of contention is chainstay length, and their influence on the bike’s total travel.

Titus's prototype El Guapo 29 is already looking fairly well sorted

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