I must admit to being slightly adverse to anything with names such as ‘Flower/Bliss/ Diva’ when it comes to female specific products in the extreme sports world, so when it came to the women’s Commencal Meta AM Girly you can imagine my scrunched-up nose response. However, I confess I have eaten humble pie in a BIG way this time. There’s not a flower, lipstick or My Little Pony in sight and the Girly has become one of my favourite bikes. It handles everything with aplomb and just makes you want to go faster, gnarlier and with more braaaap!Buy Enduro Bikes on
On the trail
The Meta AM Girly was an absolute joy to ride. I found myself getting excited about biking, no matter where it was, the style of trails or even the weather.
The bike instantly felt comfortable, like swinging your leg over a long-lost lover (admittedly a not particularly lady-like analogy, but it fits!) The cockpit area was pretty much perfect, without needing any tweaks or changes. I often find myself wanting to change to a shorter stem in order to feel more at home, but being built with the female form and sizing in mind (generally we have slightly shorter arms than men), it was spot-on from the off.
The Fox CTD works perfectly both at the front and at the rear, and really compliments the ‘all-mountain’ focus of the Meta Girly. Locked out the bike almost feels like a hardtail, apart from the slacker geometry, but that doesn’t really have much negative impact and it climbs with ease. On rougher climbing terrain, when in Trail mode, the bike still performs really well and you don’t notice any pedal bob or energy being wasted through the bike.
The Meta AM Girly really hugs the trail when cornering, helped of course by the Maxxis tyres and low centre of gravity. Teamed with the well-tuned and hard-working shocks, and the 27.5 wheels the Girly seemed to glide and gobble up everything in its path.
The geometry of the bike instilled plenty of confidence when pointing downhill too. Given its female-specific sizing, getting the weight back on steeper terrain, and feeling totally in control just came naturally. I found myself nailing parts of familiar trails that had once been my ‘nemesis’ without even a second thought, and enjoyed bombing down new trails without overly-panicking about what lay ahead.
I could probably wax lyrical about all the components and how wonderfully they perform, but there’s not really any need. They work well. Really, really well. Not once have I been caught whinging or moaning about something creaking or clicking, or missing a beat, and the bike has been ridden over some extremely varied and taxing terrain.
From tight, twisty singletrack climbs and big drops and rock gardens in Scotland, to more XC-orientated jaunts round our rooty local loop, and plenty of mixed trails in between, the Meta AM Girly fitted right in every time. I’ve always been a little sceptical as to whether you truly can have a ‘do-everything’ bike, but in this case you honestly can. The Girly would be equally as happy chowing down on Alpine runs as it would be on your regular Sunday pre-roast dinner ride. Although, with such a capable beast you will find yourself yearning for the Alpine trails more often than not!
I previously mentioned that there wasn’t a flower or pink unicorn in sight, but that’s not to say they haven’t spared a moment to give the Girly a fashionable cloak. The spearmint green in a matt finish with subtle purple detailing is very en vogue and had me drooling.
You could be fooled into thinking that the frame and build is just a fancy painted regular Meta AM, but you’d be wrong. The seat tube has been shrunk by 8mm, and the top tube by 15mm, to give a better reach and all-round fit for the ladies, and avoids you having to over-stretch.
The frame itself is made from high-end 6066 Aluminium, it is very strong and even comes with a five year warranty. Although 150g lighter than the previous model the Girly AM3, it’s admittedly not the lightest wolf in the pack. Lifting it over fences and gates and onto lifts wasn’t a problem though, and with the impressive price tag you’re not expecting to have a feather-light carbon-esque beast! In fact, the slightly weightier aspect of the bike helps it to feel more grounded when you point it downhill, so every cloud has a silver lining…
The designers at Commencal have paid special attention to internal cable routing and the bike looks clean and uncluttered. Rubber seals where the internal cable routing starts are a neat addition and prevent mud and gunk getting inside the frame.
Taking on the new trend for 27.5 wheels the Girly gains a number of advantages. For instance, the lower bottom bracket height, which in turns gives a lower centre of gravity, and benefits from a smoother, more stable ride. Fortunately, Commencal have ensured that the BB isn’t too low though, so you don’t have the issue of pedal-bashing which can sometimes be a consequence of this kind of set up.
Fox Float CTD shock takes care of the rear suspension, whilst a Fox 34 27.5 Float Evolution gives 150mm travel up front. As mentioned the CTD function complimented the Meta AM Girly’s objective perfectly and we had no issues with the forks at all. They gave a smooth and sound ride, working hard in all the right places.
The new model Formula C1 brakes take their job seriously, and work just as intended. With 180mm rotors they’re not going to overheat on scorching days, or steep slopes that require lots of use.
Alpha provides cockpit steering with a forged Aluminium 2014 stem and triple-butted Aluminium 7075 handlebars in 750mm (laser marked should you wish to shorten them easily). The handles bars have an intuitive shape - Up sweep 5° / Back sweep 7° / Rise 0,75°. Both components have been microblasted and then anodized in matt black, with laser engraving, for a good-looking and long-lasting finish.
A SRAM groupset takes care of the drivetrain duties, with an X5 front, and X7 Type 2 derailleur, all controlled with the new softer X7 shifters. The X7 rear clutch mechanism prevents the chain from banging around and ensures it is controlled more accurately. There’s a SRAM S1000 crankset featuring a 24/38T double chainring, offering the perfect balance for all-mountain adventures.
The very welcome dropper seatpost is from KindShock, and is the Integra model from their LEV family of offerings. It’s an air/oil operating system that gives 125mm of travel and is controlled with a neat press-lever at the handlebars. Internal routing, as with all cables on the Meta Girly, keeps things tidy. The seatpost had a little habit of ‘sticking’ occasionally when it had been ridden fully down for a bit and then was required to ‘stand to attention’. A gentle nudge of the seat sorted it out, but it’s worth remembering that dropper seatposts do shouldn’t be overlooked when maintaining and servicing your bike.
Jalco 27.5b wheels were shod with MAXXIS ‘mix ‘n’ match’ tyres – High Roller II 2.3 up front, and an Ardent 2.5 at the rear. With the Jalco wheels claiming to have the handling of a 26” wheel, and the traction and grip of a 29er, you would expect good things. I think that claim is pretty much spot on. They handled all manner of terrain competently, and really worked well on the all-mountain bike. Arguably this would probably be the first area I would look to upgrade in order to improve the overall ride of the bike though. A lighter wheelset would improve acceleration and of course shed some weight.
Commencal Meta AM650b Girly M (recommended for 5’6” to 5’10” riders)
Seat tube 430mm
Effective top tube 584mm
Head tube 105mm
Chain stay 438mm
Wheel base 1148mm
BB height to Hub -12mm
Head angle 66.5°
Seat angle 73°
Weight w/o pedals 14.2kg
We were super impressed with the Meta Girly, and loved the new 27.5b set-up. The whole bike worked well as the ‘off-the-shelf’ package, and there wasn’t an area or component that let the side down. It is a joy to ride; anywhere, anytime, up, down – you name it, this bike will probably manage it! I’ve openly had to eat my words about female-specific extreme sports equipment, and have been heard whole-heartedly recommending this little number to fellow ‘Pink Ladies’. It might be called Girly, but in reality, apart from the tailored sizing, it is anything but. A massive thumbs up from us!Buy Enduro Bikes on
This review was in Issue 30 of IMB.For more information visit Commencal
By Mary BoothMary Booth has been a keen mountain biker for decades; she grew up on the Purbecks in the South West of England and has spent thousands of hours on the trails in that area. She moved to the South East to work in the IMB office and regularly gets out to the Alps and the Surrey Hills where she loves to ride the more technical trails…