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Commencal META AM 1 29 | Bike Test

Whatever your opinion on these “modern-day penny farthings”, a lot of bike companies have been weighing in on the 29er all–mountain market. We put the Commencal META AM 1 29 through its paces.

DIRT ISSUE 131 – JANUARY 2013

Words by Ali Todd. Photos by Ben Winder

Commencal seem to have taken a simple approach to designing this bike – take a frame that you know already works well (the Meta AM), put a magnifying glass in front of each wheel, fiddle with the geometry a little bit, and hey presto. Sounds good, right?

At around the 30lb mark this bike isn’t especially light, and with 130mm travel, it’s neither an XC beast or a 160–look–alike downhill monster. So what is the point of this bike? Well, it’s to do exactly what many people expect from an all–mountain – go and hammer it around an enduro loop in the morning, then put it on the uplift and hit the downhill runs after lunch. Exactly what we did with it then.

FIRST THOUGHTS

One of the things I always hear about 29ers is that “they’re too serious for hard riding”, usually coming from someone who either sits commenting on web articles too much, or whose only ‘ride’ on one has been a flat car park test. The figures on paper speak for themselves in this regard: a 68º head angle (half a degree slacker than the Yeti SB95 we featured a while ago) is a good start for a bike that claims to do ups and downs with equal weighting. Kit–wise, the RockShox Reverb adjustable seatpost is good to see, but the internal cable routing sadly doesn’t stretch to a Stealth (internal) model. The suspension is taken care of by Kashima–coated Fox on each end, with the new 34 fork on the front placing this bike right between the Meta SX (36 fork) and the Meta AM (32). A reasonably big hitter then.

The linkage, like all the Metas, goes back through the seat–tube: great on paper, but surely ready to get filled up with mud at the first sign of a British winter? Is that how you really want to treat these expensive shocks? Depends where you ride I guess, but like the Meta SX we rode previously, this continued to work without fault. A smattering of own–brand kit from Commencal takes care of the bars, stem and grips, and mid–range Sram X9 drives everything forwards. Finished off by Formula brakes, the bike looks ready to roll out of the box. Mixed feelings then?>>

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