Commencal Meta AM 3  2014 Mountain Bike Review

Commencal Meta AM 3 2014

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Commencal 140,783

At A Glance

Commencal have always had a logical approach to designing and building mountain bikes and that is set to continue. Rather than come down heavily on one side or another in the great wheel size debate they have released the Meta in all three. Pick the one that best suits the way you ride and the trails you ride. Simple.

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On test we have the Meta AM, 150mm travel coupled with 27.5 wheels, in that lovely eye catching Commencal Yellow.

Tech Heads

Our test rig was a Meta AM 3, this is the lowest spec complete bike, but comes with exactly the same frameset as the more high-end machines.

Construction is focused on strength and outright suspension performance; oversized tubes, large welds and chunky linkages and bearings all shout that this is a bike that not only can be abused, but wants to be!

The suspension design is a four bar floating shock arrangement that places the main weight low and central, add to this a low bottom bracket, long wheelbase and slack head tube angle and the nature of the bike is plain to see.

Features include a tapered head tube, ISCG mounts, 92mm press fit bottom bracket, 12x142 rear axle and internal cable routing.

A Fox Float CTD Evolution rear shock is tucked away deep in the front triangle, a neoprene protector comes with the frame to save it from flying muck off the rear wheel. Up front a Fox Float CTD Evolution 32mm 15thru fork looks a little out of place on such a burly rig.

Drivetrain duties are handled by a full Sram X5 set up with a 24/38 double up front.
Braking comes via a set of Formula C1 brakes, these are a new sensibly priced model and they behaved well throughout the test.

Wheels are from Jalco and are serviceable rather than exciting and these are clad with Maxxis rubber; a 2.25 Ardent out back is easy rolling and gives good drive while the 2.30 High Roller 11 3C gives great traction when you have the Meta AM leant over.

A 31.6mm standard seat post is crowned off with a pretty comfortable Commencal saddle and up front a 65mm Alpha stem clamps a set of 750mm wide low-rise bars.

Commencal Meta Am Large

Seat tube 490mm
Effective top tube 620mm
Head tube 115mm
Chain stay 435mm
Front triangle 743mm
Wheel base 1178mm
BB height (drop) -15mm
Head angle 65.5°
Seat angle 72.5°
Reach 450mm
Stack 600mm

Weight w/o pedals 33lbs

On The Trail

Hit the trails on the Meta AM 3 and the nature of the bike is apparent immediately, a solid, planted feel that exudes composure.

Part of this is down to the geometry, long, low and slack, make it very confidence inspiring. This is also enhanced by the feel of the suspension which tracks the ground sweetly and gives plenty of feedback. Some of the feeling is also down to the weight, at around 8lbs for the frame and shock and 33lbs before adding a set of pedals and a dropper seat post the Meta AM is no lightweight flyer.

It does, however, pedal very well with almost no bob seated or out of the saddle. We rarely, if ever, used the Climb mode on the shock. Seated, steady effort will see you gain height and we found that we span up quite comfortably in taller gears than we had expected.

This lends itself well to the ‘winch up, plummet down’ type of riding that makes up a great deal of our riding.
Once on undulating trails the wonderful nature of the suspension comes alive, rich levels of feedback and true forward momentum in response to pumping the trail make it a joy to ride.

The Meta AM carries speed well and it is possible to build the speed and flow to a truly amazing level, we recorded several PBs on sections where we were just having fun!

Aim the Commencal down anything steep or fast, or preferably steep and fast, and boom! ‘The bike comes alive’ (can we really roll out that old cliché…) Yes we can.

The softly progressive rear end is a joy to experience, the traction in high speed turns is immense, big hits are dealt with like a brick being thrown at a huge bean bag, and stability when connected to the ground or in the air is superb.

For

Excellent suspension design, the Meta AM pedals well, gives excellent feedback and responds brilliantly to pumping.
Dedicated geometry, this bike is squarely aimed at gravity riders that are happy to earn their turns. This is backed up with solid frame construction.

Against

Being the entry-level model some of the spec is a compromise rather than something you might choose to keep. That said at the price point the bike is placed at it is very well equipped, and the frame is superb, if a little heavy.

Overall

The Commencal Meta AM 3 is a cracking bike. If you want something that can handle just about any terrain, and offers fantastic value, you won’t be disappointed. However, if racing to the top of the hill is your thing then the Meta AM might prove a little heavy. If you are looking for a bike that will get you to the top via honest effort, ready to then hammer the descent then this bike may well be the one you have been looking for.

An engaging, confident ride that would be great at say, the Alps or the Pyrenees, but can also see you round your local loop the Meta AM is a must try for the gravity focused rider… and it comes in a striking colour too!

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Videos

This review was in Issue 26 of IMB.

For more information visit Commencal

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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