Commencal's downhill bike has come on in leaps and bounds since we first laid eyes on it some years back, now adding World Champ titles to its list of impressive achievements. While many will find the Supreme Team Replica out of budget, this shorter travel variant is lighter on the purse strings but still delivers.
Ride & handling: Could be easily upgraded into a race winning machine
The compact feel of the frame and the low centre of gravity thanks to the Contact System suspension platform inspires confidence straight off the line. The slanting top tube offers plenty of standover height and ample room for manoeuvring, while the 160mm of travel at the back end works just as intended.
The Contact System helps dictate the spread of the rider’s weight across the bike, in this case 70 percent over the rear and 30 percent over the front. There’s sufficient feedback to ensure you know exactly where and what the rear wheel is doing, but it still sits perfectly balanced.
Let it loose over the rough stuff and the Supreme carries speed amazingly, and can be thrown onto any line without hesitation. Get the rebound dialled in on the Marzocchi Roco Coil R shock and it does the job just fine – and without excess bob when the power is being put down.
The lack of pedal bob does increase the bike’s versatility, and it could easily attack singletrack. There’s also ample room to upgrade to a piggyback shock for increased volume and adjustment.
The 2in-rise bar lofts the front end up a little too high but this seems eclipsed by the main issue with things at this end of the bike: the Marzocchi 55R fork is a pain to dial in and get the correct setup.
You can tweak it to your heart’s content, but due to the inconsistent nature of this fork things rarely seem perfect. With a notchy feel and occasional top-out, the fork struggles to track the terrain and doesn’t like being smashed hard into turns.
The rest of the bike performs well and could be easily upgraded into a race winning machine by switching forks. The reasonable weight lets the white powder coated Commencal wheels skip over bumps rather than plough through holes, and the fail-safe shifting from the SRAM X.7 shifter and mech keeps things dependable.
Frame: Well designed chassis that encourages fast riding
The Supreme 2 uses the same frame design as the Athertons' race bikes with a couple of alterations thrown in to enhance the fun factor and increase its rideability. The brown paint scheme is less than appealing but the classic clean lines and no-frills layout make this one of the best looking frames about.
Commencal’s Contact System is forced nice and low, with the Roco Coil R shock slicing through the beautifully machined seat tube and linkage area, fixing itself to the hydroformed front triangle, complete with neatly plated gussets. If a front mech is needed, the Supreme 2 is supplied with a stub mounting tube.
As with the other suspension bikes in the range, the Supreme 2 has an adjustable head angle, courtesy of the pinch bolts located at the top and bottom of the head tube. This allows you to run a head angle of 67.5 degrees, plus or minus one degree, and a zero-degree sleeve is also supplied.
Cables are routed neatly down the down tube and threaded under the shock out of harm’s way, helping to maintain the classic clean look of the frame.
Equipment: Solid transmission and drivetrain plus brilliant brakes, but fork holds bike back
Commencal may not have the buying power that some of the other, bigger brands have, but they have put together a well thought out spec sheet for the Supreme 2.
The Avid Code 5 brakes are powerful and great in all conditions but do weigh in around the 445g mark, adding to the 18.6kg (41lb) total.
Unfortunately for Commencal, the Marzocchi 55Rs with 160mm travel are weighty, they struggle to perform and the 20mm through-axle is a poor design.
The Kenda Nevagal tyres are great in loamy, softer earth and clear well, but they can come unstuck in the gloop. Commencal’s boomerang chain device coupled with Truvativ Ruktion cranks proved reliable and solid throughout.