Note, this was aboard the 2017 model, there are quite a few changes to the newer 2018 model including 1×12 GX Eagle gearing, Fox suspension, Shimano SLX brakes, KS dropper post and E.13 30mm internal rims and mostly unchanged geometry. The 2018 model has a small price increase of $100 over the 2017 model however appears to be an even better value package. Hopefully I’ll get around to reviewing the new 2018 models.
Commencal, the bike brand from Andorra has recently set up a deal for direct sales into Australia, bringing their bikes to the masses here. Commencal, besides being from a place that’s not a country (Andorra is a Principality between France and Spain), also only manufacture bikes in alloy, which means good value all round the range. From kid’s balance bikes through to disk brake equipped bikes for young rippers, trail, all-mountain and downhill sleds, Commencal has a big range of bikes ready to shred.
The Commencal Meta AM V4.2 fits towards the aggressive end of their lineup, a 27.5 wheeled bike specced with a 170mm Lyrik RC up front and a Deluxe RT2 shock out back damping 160mm of travel. This is a bike that likes to get rowdy. Finished with a matte black finish the bike looks the part too. I recently spent a short time aboard the AM V4.2 Essential edition and these were my impressions.
Specification wise the cockpit consisted of the house-brand Ride Alpha components – handlebars, stem, seat and grips. Dropper post is the common Reverb Stealth, the Large and XL size sporting 150mm of drop with the S/M sizing getting 125mm. Drivetrain is all SRAM, GX level 1×11 gearing with a 32t up front and 10-42 rear cassette, as well as SRAM Guide R brakes with a meaty 200mm front and 180mm rotor. Wheelset are Mavic rims with 27mm internal size laced to Formula hubs with a High Roller II 2.4″ tyre up front and Minion DHR II 2.3″ out back, both standard dual compound EXO TR.
With the rear shock recommended to be running 30% sag on its 60mm stroke shock and very predictable DHR II tyre there was tons of traction from the rear. The front having 170mm of travel could easily soak up anything I could find in the short ride I had. The geometry is modern, with a 65.5″ head angle and 1205mm wheelbase on the Large. Compared with some other bikes in the Enduro category it’s very similar, being a little shorter and half a degree slacker than the 2018 Giant Reign, and the same wheelbase as the Canyon Strive and half a degree slacker. 437mm chainstay length makes the back end reasonably playful.
With the 780mm bars it can feel like a mini downhill bike, personally I’d cut the bars to around 740mm for a little more tree clearance on my local tracks, however it’s good to see cut marks provided to make cutting these down a bit easier.
Pedalling it uphill was not its strong point but I didn’t expect it to be, being a bike that is intended to monster down enduro and even downhill tracks at high speed to really sing. It did climb well enough but for sustained climbs I’d definitely be using the climb switch on the rear shock.
In the air it felt stable and handled landings without much fuss. On a higher speed track with bigger jumps I could really see this thing getting airborne and with its 14kg weight being really flickable in the air. The alloy frame definitely felt stiff enough, there was only a small amount of frame flex and the ride feel was great.
In terms of the distribution model Commencal have in Australia, they’ve partnered with Pushys who are a huge MTB retailer to provide distribution and support. When ordering you can have it delivered to a Pushys outlet who can also build it for you, or you can have it couriered to your door. There is information online on how to build up the bikes, requiring a little work however this is part of the distribution model to allow the lower prices of this style of purchasing, much like other direct to market brands such as Canyon and YT. But unlike those brands there is the option of having the team at Pushys build and check the bike for you at a reasonable charge. Post sales service can then be handled by Commencal Australia/Pushys. For warranty work they recommend the bike come back to a Pushys outlet however where it’s not possible to get the bike back to a Pushys outlet they can work with you and potentially your local bike shop to get any issues resolved.
At $4199 plus delivery I reckon this is a bike that’s definitely accessible to people in the market for an aggressive all-mountain/enduro bike.