Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle first ride review£3,400.00

Fun-loving all-mountain ride

The Meta AM has been around a while but Commencal isn’t resting on its laurels. So how different is this latest version, the Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle?

Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle spec overview

  • Frame: Triple-butted 6066 aluminium
  • Fork: RockShox 
Lyrik RCT3, 170mm (6.7in) travel
  • Shock: RockShox Super Deluxe RC3, 160mm (6.3in) travel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM X01 Eagle (1x12)
  • Wheelset: Formula hubs on Mavic 427 
rims, Maxxis High Roller II 3C (f) and Maxxis Minion DHR 3C (r) tyres
  • Brakes: SRAM 
Guide RS
  • Bar/stem: Ride 
Alpha, 780mm / 
Ride Alpha, 50mm
  • Seatpost/saddle: RockShox Reverb Stealth (dropper) / Ride Alpha
  • Weight: 14.04kg (30.95lb), medium size without pedals (claimed)

Small tweaks help the new Meta AM outclass its identical-looking predecessor
Small tweaks help the new Meta AM outclass its identical-looking predecessor

Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle frame and equipment

Commencal has stuck to its alloy roots with the V4.2. The geometry has only been adjusted slightly, with half a degree taken off the head angle (65.5 degrees) to account for a longer fork (170mm), while changes to the suspension kinematics aid pedalling performance. Commencal’s unique top tube, which half encloses the rear shock, has been tweaked to accept the new metric shock standard, which they say improves tunability and sensitivity.

The devil is in the detail though, and the Meta AM’s frame is well finished, with smart cable routing under the bottom bracket, a new down tube protector and more space for the rear brake calliper.

Because Commencal sells direct to the public, its builds are often very competitive, and the V4.2 is no exception. SRAM provides the bulk of the kit with its new smooth-running, 10-50t, 12-speed X01 Eagle groupset and superb RockShox Lyrik fork taking pride of place. The matching Super Deluxe shock’s large body gives improved hydraulic performance for a super-supple ride. Commencal is speccing wide 27mm (internal) rims on all Meta AM models and they give the Maxxis tyres a great profile, boosting grip and cushioning.

The hollow in the top tube has room for a metric RockShox Super Deluxe shock
The hollow in the top tube has room for a metric RockShox Super Deluxe shock

Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle ride impression

If we’re nitpicking, the old Meta AM V4’s climbing performance wasn’t brilliant. With only small geometry changes, Commencal has changed the bike’s nature and the V4.2 is noticeably happier going up. The extra sensitivity and support from the shock increases traction and means the bike doesn’t wallow in its travel as much during harder efforts. Although the 74-degree seat angle hasn’t changed, we felt like we were in a better position over the bottom bracket.

The fork and shock work together seamlessly to give rich traction and plentiful feedback

The main story is about going down though and the V4.2 continues the trend of Meta AMs being highly capable when the trail descends. It’s not the longest bike, with a reach of 425mm (medium), but it’s slack enough to give confidence over rough terrain and its 1,180mm wheelbase makes it easy to flick from berm to berm or hoick over trail debris.

There’s just enough give in the frame to aid cornering traction without it feeling overly compliant. The fork and shock work together seamlessly to give rich traction and plentiful feedback, and repeated blown-out bike park runs never resulted in over-fatigued arms or hands. The wider rims and tacky tyres just add to the grip and control.

The Boost-spaced back end lacks heel clearance, especially for duck-footed riders, but if you want a bike that combines descending confidence with fun, playful handling rather than flat-out speed, the Meta AM V4.2 is a blast.

The Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle
The Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle

Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle early verdict

Fast, super-specced ripper of a ride from the Andorran masters of shred.

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Tom Marvin

Technical Editor, Tech Hub, UK
Tom's been riding for 15 years, and has always chopped and changed bikes as soon as his budget allowed. He's most at home in the big mountains, having spent nigh on 30 weeks riding the Alps, as well as having lived a stone's throw from the Scottish Highlands for four years. Tom also enjoys racing events like the Strathpuffer and the Trans Nepal.
  • Age: 29
  • Height: 182cm / 5'11"
  • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
  • Waist: 81cm / 32in
  • Chest: 97cm / 38in
  • Discipline: Mountain
  • Preferred Terrain: Steep and super tech or fast and flowy
  • Current Bikes: Canyon Spectral, Pivot Mach 429SL, Mondraker Vantage R +
  • Dream Bike: Transition Scout
  • Beer of Choice: Gin & tonic
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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