Commencal Supreme FR 2  2013 Mountain Bike Review

Commencal Supreme FR 2 2013

Reviews / FreeRide Bikes

Commencal 140,783

At A Glance

The Supreme FR is a freeride version of their popular Supreme DH rig, it shares many similarities with the DH, the frames are almost identical, there are just some subtle geometry changes separating the two. On paper it looks like an exceedingly fun bike to ride, needless to say we were keen to get it out of the box when it arrived!

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Tech Heads

The Aluminium 7005 Triple Butted frame utilises their NEC and XTRM technologies and offers 180mm of rear travel. The “Contact System” suspension platform is identical to the set up used on the Supreme DH V3 World Cup winning frame. It puts the shock low and compresses it from the swing arm and the rocker link.

On the front end a 180mm Fox 36 Van R O/B fork matches the Fox Van R rear shock perfectly. Preload and rebound are the only options in terms of tuning on the fork and the shock offers both preload, rebound and also a low speed compression dial.

The drivetrain on the Supreme FR is a mostly SRAM affair with an X9 rear mech, X7 shifter and a PG950 11-28 cassette. An FSA Gap DH 36t 170mm crankset completes the 9-speed set up. It’s worth noting there is no mount for a front mech on this bike, a nod to its gravity fed lineage.

Wheels are a Commencal affair with sealed bearing disc hubs, 20mm on the front and a 12mm rear combined with Commencal branded Alex rims. Maxxis Minion DHF 26x2.5 2-ply tyres complete the rolling department.

A Commencal Supreme FR by Velo saddle is held up by a Commencal Supreme seat post. At the front a 50mm Commencal stem grips a set of Commencal Supreme DH 7075 low riser OS 760mm bars. Commencal Deluxe lock on grips complete the controls.

The brakes are a real highlight, a set of Formula RX levers and callipers combined with 203mm rotors front and rear with reach adjustment.

Commencal Supreme FR S

Seat tube 400mm
Effective top tube 561mm
Head tube 120mm
Chain stay 437mm
Wheel base 1142mm
BB Drop +4mm
Head angle 64°
Seat angle 62.5°

Weight w/o pedals 38lbs

On The Trail

The Commencal Supreme FR is designed to be a park bike, it was actually conceived after the design team spent a few weeks at Whistler on the Supreme DH and felt they needed something a little more playful in a park situation. With that thought in mind the FR was born. The differences between the Supreme DH and the FR are subtle, but they add up. Combining to create a very different bike indeed.

If you study the geometry you’ll notice the DH is a degree slacker, and a little longer in the top tube. It has an adjustable chainstay too, so the wheelbase can’t be compared, but even in it’s shortest setting the DH isn’t as short as the FR. On paper the FR is a whole heap more fun to throw around than it’s bigger brother.

On the trail that feeling is beautifully demonstrated. We passed the bike around to a few different riders over the course of the test and everyone came back with the same word. Fun. One rider who works in a bike shop and said he had no love for Commencal before he rode it was instantly converted after just a couple of runs and proclaimed he loved it.

The wide seat tube tunnel and beefy rocker link combine to give the rear end a very stiff feel. You can really push the back end as hard as you can and the lateral stiffness is very impressive, everything feels taught and this translates to a responsive feel on the trail.

The cockpit is pretty small and compact, allowing you to get around the bike with ease and push it into tight corners and around berms with some force. The suspension eats up this input and springs back propelling the bike forwards. On steep switchback style trails the short wheel base feels so manoeuvrable you wonder if you’re not riding a trail bike.

Hit some big stuff though and you instantly realise that there is still plenty of muscle under the hood to deal with big hits and the odd cased landing. The Van 180mm fork up front is fantastic and really handles everything you can throw at it with a smooth responsive and plush feel. The rear end is supple enough over the small chatter that it feels spritely, yet still has plenty in the tank when the going gets rougher.

For

The short geometry and slightly steeper head angle make this an exceedingly fun bike to ride, fast and nippy it will stick a smile on your face from ear to ear. While the travel is shorter than it’s bigger brother it still offers plenty of forgiveness and a supple smooth suspension platform that inspires confidence.

Against

In terms of what this bike is designed for, it is hard to find fault, in the park it is totally at home and even on a savage DH track it holds its own. If we had to find fault, perhaps the 9-speed drivetrain is a little dated…

Overall

If you’re a lighter rider and don’t want to manhandle a full sled down the trail then the FR offers plenty of fun and games. Equally if you want a freeride/park bike then the Supreme FR delivers. A great suspension platform coupled with excellent components and some good features such as internal cable routing will ensure you are one happy customer.

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Videos

This review was in Issue 25 of IMB.

For more information visit Commencal

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By Mary Booth
Mary 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…

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