Commencal Meta Trail Race 650  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Commencal Meta Trail Race 650 2015

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Commencal 170,846

At A Glance

The Meta V4 Trail Race from Commencal is a 120mm travel bike designed to be fast and nimble on a wide variety of terrain. It utilises the same Contact System suspension set-up as its bigger brother that we reviewed a few issues ago. The system has been fine-tuned for the type of terrain this bike is aimed for and the geometry is geared towards pedalling, whilst still being capable - it is a Commencal after all!

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On The Trail

Straight away a couple of things jumped out at me; this bike is light and it feels good. Commencal have always made bikes that ride fantastically, but they have had a couple of issues in the past, namely weight and hard pedal response.

The first one of these is certainly dealt with, at 27lbs with pedals the Meta Trail Race felt spritely straight off the bat. Hitting the trails and I was smiling in no time, this is a Commencal, the geometry feels great, nimble yet competent and the power transfer is excellent.

For most of my riding I have to go uphill at the start, this can be a chore but on the Commencal Meta Trail Race I tended to spend my time admiring the impeccable pedalling manners that the bike exhibits.

Commencal have it just right with this bike, on long steady ups the Meta Trail cruises up with a minimum of fuss, get in amongst the gnar and it drives forwards, gripping tenaciously and staying controlled over steps and roots.

Point the Commencal down some single track however, and you might just fall in love! Nimble yet sure-footed, the Meta Trail Race squirts forward with a push on the pedals and it picks up speed instantly when working the terrain, it loves being pumped.

Corning is a joy, spot-on geometry means you can turn in hard and fast, holding your line or a tweak and you are drifting smoothly, both bringing a whoop of joy.

Feedback is good, the Meta Trail Race keeps you informed and then dares you to push harder. Downhill trail sections and trail centre stuff can be flown at high speed, the Trail Race clings to the coattails of control and makes high speed descending a blast for those that like it fast and loose.

Aiming the Commencal down a DH track or fall line and it will go as quick as you allow but beware, the Trail is just that and while it begs to be ridden hard it is not its big brother. It does have its limits!

Tech Heads

The Meta Trail features Commencal’s new V4 Contact System.

This does away with the old floating, low-in-the-frame shock design and uses a very clean looking and relatively simple 2-stage rocker linkage single pivot design with a chainstay pivot mounted close to the axle.

Commencal has long been dedicated to using aluminium and the new design is their way of reducing weight without resorting to carbon fibre. Something that Max Commencal is firmly against due to its inherently dirty production nature.

The Race is the top of the range model and comes specced accordingly.

The fork is a Rock Shox Sid RCT3, while tucked away in the top tube is a Rock Shox Monarch RT3. The drivetrain is Sram X1 shifter, cassette and rear derailleur. A Raceface cinch chainset comes with a 34T NW chainring.

Stopping power comes from a set of Formula CR3 brakes matched to 180/160mm rotors. Alpha wheels with 26mm wide rims are shod with Maxxis Ardent and Ikon rubber.

The seat post and saddle are from Commencal, the Meta Trail has a 31.6mm seat tube so it can take a dropper with no worries. The medium came with a 60mm stem matched to 730mm wide riser bars.

Commencal Meta Trail Race Medium

Seat tube 440mm
Effective top tube 600mm
Head tube 115mm
Chain stay 437mm
Front triangle 717mm
Wheel base 1154mm
BB height 333mm
Head angle 67.5°
Seat angle 72°

Weight w/o pedals 26.7lbs


The Meta Trail Race is plain good fun.

A combination of great geometry, good suspension and sensible weight all add up to a package that is hard to beat.


For a top-of-the-range bike there are a few spec choices that could be improved upon, We’d like to see lighter wheels, carbon bars and a dropper post, but then whilst being top spec this bike does have a tantalising price point…


Commencal have managed to produce an inanimate object that has an attitude!

The Commencal Meta Trail Race is a great bike that made me fall in love with my local trails again. Hitting them fast and posting PB after PB, the Commencal demonstrates that it is not where you ride or even what you ride, it’s the attitude that you ride with that determines how much fun you can have.

Swing your leg over a Meta Trail Race and some of that Commencal DNA seems to seep into you, the next thing you know you are drifting sideways out of a corner with a demented smile on your face, brilliant!

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This review was in Issue 35 of IMB.

For more information visit Commencal


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.

Tried this? What did you think?