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Commencal Meta SX – Bike Review

“Hard charging, confidence inspiring and fun to ride”, we take a look at the new commencal meta SX all-mountain bike>>

From Dirt issue 127 – September 2012

Photos by Steve Jones

Wonderfully low and colourful, and very much of the moment amongst the European all–mountain mindset, Commencal describe good enduro bikes as “not an XC bike that can descend but a downhill bike that can climb.” During a time when increasing amounts of downhill racers are making the switch to competitive enduro the search for the ultimate machinery is gathering speed.

The SX is very much weighted towards the gravity side of the enduro spectrum that’s for sure. Whilst the Meta AM is a 150mm frame with a Fox 32 fork, the SX is 160mm with the 36. In terms of load Commencal quote 14.3kg (31.5lbs) for the SX and 13.238kg (29.2lbs) for the AM, which drops in around €400 more.

These numbers remind me that we’ve been riding 33lb 150–160mm bikes for nearly a decade now, and I really believe we should be riding sub thirty–pound versions given the advancement and weight loss of downhill bikes.

I also say this relative to the lighter (although far more expensive) 26lb carbon Specialized Enduro and 27lb Lapierre Spicy competition enduro bikes. As great as the Meta is, we would still love to see a lighter version for more all–round competition ability and a coil version for real extended gravity attacks.

Anyhow, just a thought. Lets get back to the job in hand, workmanlike componentry, great angles. With internal and external cable routing, a hole for slotting a Reverb Stealth adjustable seat post, 142x12mm rear axle, superb tyre package in the Maxxis Ardent 2.4/2.25 mix the SX is pretty much good to go. Overall my first thoughts are to its race pedigree with Remy Absalon behind the bar, its low standover, long wheelbase, striking presence and fresh lines. How would it move, how could it dance?

The Meta gives cause for worry in that shit and mud must surely affect that rear shock given its unprotected positioning close to the rear wheel. There are tidier, more water–tight internal cable inlets, the bars are a strange shape, Formula brakes are not what they used to be and the fork, for much of the time, felt pretty lifeless.

Even though we’re getting towards the end of the 2012 season the bike you see here is pretty much the same as next year’s (2013) and available very soon.

However for 2013 the SX loses the X Large size but keeps the same angles. That said it has less beef up front with a Fox 34 fork replacing the 36, and is a couple hundred Euro more. Commencal have opted for 10 speed not twenty, but still I feel a fork with more combative compression and girth to it would win this bike considerable more points >>

Nearly everything about the Commencal is upbeat, a bike that gives priority to the pursuit of berms, weathered grounds and pacey descents. The angles offer balance and the beautiful choice of rear shock in unison with the suspension system allows for a rider to hunt down the grip.

This was even more the case when we fitted a Marzocchi 55; it also gave an edge to the overall balance, because in relation to the absolutely sparkling back end the front Float R was pretty comatose. We put this lack of life down to a bout of trapped air within the fork, we found by emptying the air and refilling remedied the problem short term and gave the fork more feel, but as it’s something we’ve found on several versions on this fork it clearly needs sorting.

The angles offer balance and the beautiful choice of rear shock in unison with the suspension system allows for a rider to hunt down the grip

It’s been a tough winter…sorry summer,
yet given the prone position of the rear shock we’ve not had any reliability problems. What we have had are bikes covered in mud – 33lb bikes regularly becoming 40lb. Just make sure descending is given precedence when choosing, otherwise consider the Meta AM.

A superb vintage of the Meta then. Through even the toughest terrain the rear suspension on this bike is energized and simple, probably one of the best rear ends and angles on any 160mm travel bike currently available. Moving around the chassis is easy, forward motion good. It has the edge in gravity all–mountain performance. Hard charging, confidence inspiring and fun to ride, we’d pick it in our top five list of enduro bikes.

SPEC

Frame   Commencal Meta SX, 160mm
Shock   Fox Float RP2 XV Boost Valve
Fork   Fox 36 Float R 160mm tapered
Headset   Integrated w/sealed bearings
Stem   Commencal VIP OS
Bar    Commencal VIP 1.5” OS 740mm
Grips   Commencal Lock–On
Brakes   Formula RX internal 180/180
Shifters   Sram trigger X7 2×10
Front Mech   Sram X7 direct mount 2×10
Rear Mech   Sram X9 10 speed
Cranks   Sram S1000 Press fit 36/24
Chain Sram   PC1030 10 speed
Cassette   Sram 10 speed PG1050 11–32
Rims   Mavic EN321
Hubs   Commencal disc 20mm F, 142x12mm R
Spokes   Stainless black
Tyres   Maxxis Ardent 2.4 F, 2.25 R
Seatpost   RockShox Reverb 31.6mm
Saddle   SDG Circuit for Commencal
Sizes   S, M, L, XL
Colour   Cab Yellow
Weight   14.3 Kg (31.5lb)

Price: Complete £3499 (Frame only £1249)

www.decade-europe.com

Try the following links for more from Commencal:

Commencal’s 2014 Meta Range: Three by One

Dirt 100 2014 – Commencal VIP Meta AM

Rémy Absalon – The Last Commencal Interview

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