Interbike 2011: Commencal Meta AM29 and SL

The Andorrans have been busy boys lately.We’ve seen the relaunched and revamped Commencal Meta AM, the replacement for the very popular Meta 5.5 trail bike. The AM took MegaAvalanche victory this year under Remy Absalon and it’s satisfyingly longer, lower and slacker than before, the design taking cues from the redesigned Supreme DH V3 the Athertons have been racing on.

The new Commencal Meta SL - 110mm travel and rad angles...

Commencal have now expanded the Meta platform to include a big wheeler and a lightweight short travel full susser. All the features of the AM are there, they’ve just tweaked the package for different kinds of riding. In contrast with the almost legendary lack of interchangeability of parts in the older bikes (mech hangers seemingly changing at random between different models and years), the new bikes have plenty in common, with most of the hardware on the bike being compatible with the other Meta platforms and even the Supreme.

The ‘Contact System’ suspension is basically a single pivot with floating shock, mounted low in the frame. It looks a lot neater than the older design and they’ve retweaked the shock curves to try and better juggle small bump sensitivity with big hit performance. The Meta has gained a tapered headtube up front, plus full internal cable routing including for a dropper post. All the Meta bikes use Press Fit 30 BBs and have Direct Mount front mechs, the latter seemingly becoming a standard that’s quite standardised.

The Meta AM29 - big wheels, 140mm of bounce...

The Meta AM29 is aimed at the niche-within-a-niche that is long-ish travel 29ers. It’s rocking 140mm of travel and has a rather slack 68° head angle and similarly long and low geometry. There are the 29er specific Fox 34 forks up front with a 15QR axle to keep it all stiff and that’s helped by the 142mm bolt through rear end.

Moving down the travel and back to ‘normal’ sized wheels (although the balance seems to be changing in favour of big’uns over in the States) the Meta SL has 110mm of travel, being a replacement for the older Super 4. Again, it’s pleasingly low and slack and it’s built less as a race bike and more as a shorter travel trail bike.

We  haven’t got any UK pricing yet, but Commencal are once more being brought into the UK by Decade Europe and we hope to get our hands on the new bikes sometime soon…

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