Trail and Enduro Bikes

Commencal Meta AM V4.2

Premium aluminium in the enduro category

Always a favourite here at Dirt, Commencal’s Meta range just seems to get better with age. With two entries in the 2017 Dirt 100, here we take a look at their longer legged enduro racer, the AM V4.2.

Back in the summer of 2016, we packed our bags and took a trip out to see Max Commencal and his crew at their HQ in Andorra. The reason? To sample the latest evolution of their all mountain and enduro racer, the Meta AM V4.2.

Hard hitting long travel bikes, with single crown forks, have been a big part of Commencal’s line up for years, sitting in just under their Supreme range of DH bikes. With Trail and SX versions of the long lived Meta series, we were there to take a look at the 160mm travel AM, a bike that was a hit for us last year. The AM and Trail bikes share similar frame layouts (with further tweaks for 2017) whereas the single SX model carries on with the pierced seat tube design.

It’s all aluminium and no carbon for Commencal and it’s been this way for five years now. It is a decision they made and have stuck with and we’re more than happy with that. Some of our favourite bikes of the last year are those with metal frames – Radon, YT, Nicolai and Orange are all producing premium long travel bikes with only carbon showing up as handlebar or rim choices.

So what’s new with the AM V4.2? “The only thing that’s changed is everything!” – those are Commencal’s words on this new and improved version.

The shorter travel Meta Trail sits at 140mm/130mm F/R travel with good numbers when it comes to angles and dimensions. The AM takes these figures and ups the game for a more gravity biased ride. It’s running on 27.5” wheels again, with 30mm more travel front and rear, meaning a 170mm fork mated to 160mm at the rear. These are numbers we’re seeing as standard on bikes that are firmly planted in the enduro category rather than ‘long travel trail’. For 2017 the head angle is now half a degree slacker at 65.5 and the wheelbase has been stretched a touch, resulting in a more planted feel. Sizing is interesting when compared to say a Radon Swoop – to get the reach measurements we required meant upsizing on the Meta, which brought a taller seat tube into the mix. Normally not a problem, but add a 150mm travel dropper seatpost (standard on the L and XL) and this meant that in reality our tester was split as to what size suited him best. It’s a touch longer than the YT Capra, another bike with similar travel and intentions.

“I found that I was able to throw the Meta down all the full–on downhill tracks out in Andorra and it was able to hold its own”

The spec of the bikes (now Commencal have gone to a direct sales business model) is excellent across the range. It could be argued that they’re cutting costs with an aluminium frame, but the triple butted tubing, excellent finish and realistic weight (around 3.3KG) results in longevity as well as performance.

The ‘Race Eagle’ spec we’ve featured here is a very classy and understated looking bike but is dripping with premium hardware. RockShox Lyrik RCT3 fork and metric Super Deluxe shock, SRAM X01 Eagle 1×12 transmission, Guide RS brakes, mid width Mavic 427 rims and well chosen Maxxis rubber leaves little to be desired. All this for 4599 Euros. With the ‘Origin’ model starting at €2449 (budget for adding a dropper post) there is an AM model to suit most budgets.

A quote from our Commencal visit shows that this big hitting bike is not just a one trick pony: ‘It was also fun on the jumps and was still playful despite the wheelbase being so long; so all in all it seemed perfect for the alpine terrain I was riding’.

Commencal Meta AM V4.2

With well-mannered (and improved) damping, spot on geometry and a sorted spec, Commencal have nudged the Meta AM up to another level and it again scores a place in the 2017 Dirt 100.



Selected for Dirt 100 2017

View the full 100
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