We’ve just come away from the Commencal pits at the Lourdes World Cup, with details of the new V4 DH bike that the Riding Addiction team will be aboard this weekend.
Over two years of development has gone into the V4, with the main – drastic – departure from previous designs coming by way of a very high pivot point and idler roller. That's nothing like previous offerings from Commencal, and makes the new ride one of very few bikes out there to be sporting an idler roller and high pivot setup.
Nico Menard, the bike’s designer, explained that initial development was done on an enduro bike platform, and that it took a while for Max Commencal to take notice and let development continue on the HPP (High Pivot Project) bikes. This only really happened when Max realised the enduro HPP Mule was constantly unavailable for him to ride – because the other staff would be fighting over it at weekends!
The development started on a new DH bike with a high pivot point, with the main aims of the design being that the bike shouldn’t lose speed over rough ground, should inspire confidence and should be more forgiving.
Two years down the line, the DH V4 is here. It has undergone some serious development work both on the suspension and geometry, as well as the general aesthetics of the bike.
The new V4 DH is one of the very few bikes currently out there to be sporting an idler roller and high pivot set-up
The suspension uses a linkage driven single-pivot design, with the pivot placed high and an idler roller to minimise pedal influenced forces. The high pivot creates a drastically rearward axle path, with no forward movement anywhere in the travel. To compensate for this, chainstay length on the V4 is super short, adjustable between 425mm and 430mm. Travel has been increased by 20mm over the V3 to 220mm, and the leverage ratio has progressivity throughout the travel, which should mean plenty of support and that the V4 isn’t easily bottomed out.
Plenty of thought and attention to detail has gone in to the frame’s design too. Commencal has stuck with an alloy item – made from 6066 tubing – with the idler roller being integrated into the swingarm, so no nasty looking bracketry here! All the bearing faces are machined after welding too, so alignment is perfect. The 1.5 head tube can be fitted with supplied inserts to adjust reach by +/- 5mm, 8mm, or 10mm, and the whole dropout changes to adjust the chainstay length between 425mm and 430mm. The head angle remains static through all these changes at 62.5 degrees, with each reach insert selection having a different stack height to achieve an adjustment of height at the BB. Finishing touches include fork bumpers, a mudguard, idler cover, down tube protector and seatstay protector to keep the bike quiet. Well thought out indeed.
The DH V4 will be rolled out this weekend under the team riders, including Remi Thirion and Miriam Nicole, so we wouldn’t be surprised if the bike touches the podium in either the mens or womens events. Only time will tell!