Commencal Meta V4 Race  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Commencal Meta V4 Race 2015

Reviews / Enduro Bikes

Commencal 146,149

At A Glance

The Meta V4 line up is an impressive one; it features four levels of bike, the Origin, Essential, Race Plus and the World Cup. All of the models feature the same 6066 Aluminium Triple Butted hydroformed frame based around the new Contact System suspension platform. The new design mounts the shock on the top tube and uses a simple two-stage rocker linkage. The aim of the new set up was to simplify the frame design, improve access to the shock, reduce weight and offer better performance on the trail.

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The Race Plus model we have on test features some considerable upgrades over the Essential version. As the name suggests this bike has been specced ready to race right out of the box. There are some headline components here, namely the SRAM X1 drivetrain coupled with the Race Face Turbine crankset, and RockShox Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock coupled with the excellent Pike RCT3 Solo Air 160mm fork up front.

There is a healthy amount of Commencal’s own Alpha brand of components too, namely the wheels and cockpit with the exception being the Reverb Stealth seatpost. You get a lot of bang for your buck here, backed by years of experience in the bike industry, as you would expect from a brand like Commencal.

“A Swiss Army knife of a bike with a penchant for the rough stuff”

On The Trail

I’ve ridden this bike before at the press launch, the version I rode then was a 150mm front and rear BOS Suspension set up with all the bells and whistles. The Race Plus sees RockShox take care of the suspension with a few other changes too. The 160mm front suspension adds a little something, 10mm of travel to be precise, but it also puts arguably the best MTB fork on the market right now on the front of the bike.

The ride on the Meta V4 is exceedingly well balanced and hugely confidence inspiring. It’s a bike that loves to be railed around corners and hammered on the descents. The ride is so sublimely plush that you might be scratching your head trying to figure out why. The answer lies in the cunningly specced Monarch Plus RC3 DebonAir shock.

The Monarch Plus RC3 has been around for a while now, but the DebonAir is a relatively new addition to the fold. Essentially, the DebonAir adds a new dual chamber air sleeve that adds volume to both the positive and negative air spring. This almost entirely eliminates any stiction that the previous incarnations of this shock had.

The set up takes a lot more air pressure than you may be used to, so ensure to get the sag set right. There is a handy guide on the shock to help here and don’t be afraid to get some air in there. With the shock and fork dialled in the symmetry with the contactless system is sublime and the bike feels like a magic carpet over the trail.

There is loads of small bump compliance, eliminating the trail chatter and letting you concentrate on pointing the bike where you want to go. Over the bigger stuff we’ve yet to bottom out and the shock ramps up progressively and smoothly. Lets just say I loved the Meta V4 running BOS, but in this RockShox guise I think I have fallen in love with it even more.

The grip through the corners is immense and the bike feels exceedingly nimble and playful underfoot. You’ll be railing it through the turns and pinging it out the other side with a finesse you may not have thought possible. Perhaps our only gripe would be the weight, it’s not the heaviest bike in its category, but it isn’t the lightest, and you could certainly shave a few pounds here and there.

On the climbs the bike pedals very efficiently and with the low speed compression setting on “firm” the energy from the pedals heads straight to the wheels for an impressive turn of power.

Overall

A Swiss Army knife of a bike with a penchant for the rough stuff, the Commencal Meta V4 Race Plus combines the excellent RockShox suspension with the new Contact System platform to offer a sublimely smooth ride down the trail. The bike pedals exceedingly efficiently and is very good on the climbs considering its stature. It is when you point it downwards that it truly comes alive however, the small bump compliance is fantastic and the ride is smoother than Burt Bacharach smothered in honey wearing silk pants…

Specifications and Geometry

Frame: New 2015 Meta Am 650b, Travel 150mm, 6066 Triple Butted Hydroformed, Integrated Postmount, Top Tube Channel, Integrated Housing
Shock: RockShox Monarch Plus Rc3 Debonair, 200x57, Travel 150mm, 3 Positions Lock/Platform/Open
Fork: RockShox Pike Rct3 Solo Air 160mm, 15mm Axle, Tapered
Headset: Semi Integrated,Tapered Zs44/56, 1.5 Crown Race, Sealed Bearing, Alloy Cups
Stem: Alpha, Alloy 2014 Forged, 50mm, O° Rise, Ø31,8mm - New –
Bar: Alpha, Alloy 7075 Double Butted, 20mm Rise, 750mm, Ø31,8mm
Grips: Commencal Lock On, Ø30mm, Soft Compound, Neon Yellow Logo
Brakes: SRAM Guide Rs 200mm/180mm, With Matchmaker - New –
Shifters: SRAM X1 1x11 Spd
Rear Mech: SRAM X1 11 Spd Type II
Bottom Bracket: Race Face Bb92, Sealed Bearings
Cranks: Race Face Turbine Cinch, Narrow Wide 34t Direct Mount Ring, 170mm On S, 175mm On M/L/Xl
Chain: Kmc X11l, Silver
Cassette: SRAM 10-42 T, Black
Rims: Alpha 650b, 32h, 28mm, Handbuilt, Tubeless Ready
Tires, Front, Rear: Maxxis High Roller II 2.3, 60 Tpi, Kevlar Bead, Tubeless Ready - New -
Seatpost: Rockshox Reverb Stealth, 125mm Travel, Ø31,6mm, 380mm
Saddle: Commencal Meta Am, Crmo Rails
Accessories: Chainstay Protector
Colour: Yellow Neon, Black Matt Finish

Bike Weight 13,3 Kg
Frame Weight 3,15 Kg / 1,42 Lbs
Weight w/o pedals 29.3lbs

Lapierre Zesty TR 429 Medium

Seat tube 440mm
Top Tube 591mm
Head tube 115mm
Chain stay 437m
Wheelbase 1167mm
BB Drop 12mm
Head angle 66°
Seat angle 72°
Reach 423mm

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This review was in Issue 36 of IMB.

For more information visit Commencal

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By Rou Chater
Rou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.

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