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)
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.
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 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.
Commencal Meta AM V4.2 Race Eagle early verdict
Fast, super-specced ripper of a ride from the Andorran masters of shred.