The Downhill Bike Test 2018 - Commencal Supreme 29
Will World Cup pedigree pay dividends?
Last, but most definitely not least, for the first round of the 2018 Downhill bike test is the Commencal Supreme 29. The Supreme DH has been a bike that I have liked for some time. From the high idler to the slim aluminium chassis it’s all there. This bike was the final test that Steve did before departing last year and he came back all smiles.
This year has really been something to smile about for Commencal. Firstly, the all-new Meta 29 came in and really hit the mark at the EWS with Cecile Ravanel destroying the competition. Then look to the world of Downhill and Amaury Pierron smashing the last two races onboard this very bike, albeit with a damper change, but it has to count for something.
Commencal are also a direct sale company, similar to the two 27.5 bikes here, the Canyon and the Propain. This new 29” Supreme really is a cracking looking bike too mind, with clean lines and great detailing. Available in a frame, fork and wheel only option or complete build, there is also the option to custom build a bike on Commencal’s website. There is only one build for the time being but it’s nothing to grumble about.
Commencal Supreme detail gallery:
Commencal Supreme Specification
Frame Supreme 29
Fork Fox Factory 49 Float
Rear Shock Fox Factory DHX2
Stem Ride Alpha DH Direct Mount
Handlebar Ride Alpha
Grips Ride Alpha
Brakes SRAM CODE R
Shift Levers SRAM GX DH
Bottom Bracket E Thirteen, Pressfit BB 92
Rear Derailleur SRAM GX DH
Chainset E Thirteen LG1
Wheelset E Thirteen LG1
Front Tyre Maxxis Minion DHF
Rear Tyre Maxxis Minion DHRII
SeatpostRide Alpha DH
Saddle WTB High Tail Pro
With this being the only build kit that Commencal offer, it had to be good. With the main focus being the Fox 49 Factory fork and coil X2 damper, it has some cannons to deal with the terrain. Stoppers and gearing come from SRAM with the Code R brakes and GX 7 speed gearing respectively. Wheels wise you will find a E-13 LG-1 29” setup.
Opinion - IEUAN WILLIAMS.
The final bike of the first batch is a corker! The new Commencal Supreme 29. This big-wheeled beast really had us talking in the run-up to this test. With its recent success in the World Cup, you cannot doubt the performance here. Both Miriam Nicole and Amaury Pierron have been on a mission with some amazing rides this season.
So what about the bike? It came in heaviest in the weigh-in, 17.36KG or 38.05lbs, so not a light bike, but this weight was all low down. That complex, linkage driven shock is where the bulk of the weight is, so again all low down. Pair this low centre of gravity with some high-level grip from the big wheels and it’s a winning combo. The bottom bracket does measure a little high at 350mm but this doesn’t translate to a bad ride, with the bike sitting in a good position when loaded into the sag position.
The rear suspension on the Commencal really was fantastic. After the first day getting everything bedded in there was a great, sensitive feel to the bike, taking most of terrain in its stride. This was helped by the Fox damper and long stroke length on the 250mm metric unit fitted.
The 29” platform worked well here. When comparing the bikes back to back, the Sender was the only bike that I would be able to choose over this to take out for a lap. But this is just because the chassis is so good on the Canyon that it makes up for the wheel size, whereas the Commencal has a brilliant chassis to match up with the big wheels. Not a bad combination.
With a full aluminium chassis and no carbon in sight on any of the components, the Commencal was easy and forgiving. Adequate flex stiffness paired with the higher weight and good suspension feel make for very low fatigue. This all comes together to make for a fun, relaxed ride.
Onto the specification. The bike we had did not have best parts on in the world, with only a Code R brake and the GX gearing, when in comparison the Propain had top-level parts. But when you look at the price coming in at around the €5,200 mark it’s a steal of a bike. The wheelset was not what I would have specified though after giving it a few good dings after a few days!
This bike really is a flying machine. The large that we had was more than enough, with plenty of room while keeping a fun, playful, yet planted ride feel. The Supreme is going to be a hard bike to beat and, with a similar overall score to the Sender, it is very close at this stage. I’m really looking forward to getting the next set of bikes to see how they weigh up against this lineup.
Opinion - TOM COOPER
This bike really has been one that I’ve been anticipating. With clean looks, an aluminium build and 29” wheels it ticks all of the boxes that I could want from a downhill bike. Combine that with the recent results that the Supreme has racked up and you can't really argue with its success. The build kit on the bike that was supplied did not have all the bells and whistles though, the Code R fitted is just one of the parts that would be changed if this was my own bike.
The Commencal may have been the heaviest bike in the lineup but is this really a bad thing? As Ieuan said before, the weight is all low down which provides a low centre of gravity and helps with balance. After doing a few laps on each bike it was soon clear that the Commencal was the easiest to ride over most parts of the track with smooth suspension and ample grip while cornering.
This is always a hard decision to make, with this being only the first stage of what is a big test it is hard to say what will win, but the Supreme will be hard pushed to be beaten. I look forward to seeing what else we can get for the next round.
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