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COMMENCAL META AM 29 SIGNATURE ORANGE review | ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine

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How a bike rides depends heavily on the preferences of its designers and often has a lot to do with where a company is based and where it does its testing. Case in point: the COMMENCAL META AM 29 – it’s perfect for the steep, demanding trails of Andorra.

For an overview of the test fleet head to: The best enduro bike you can buy

Commencal META AM 29 SIGNATURE ORANGE | 170/160 mm (f/r) | 15.48 kg | € 4,399

The COMMENCAL META AM 29 is as stylish as actors dressed up for the Oscars. Not only are the components perfectly colour matched, but the technical features make a hell of a lot of sense too. The linkage driven single-pivot suspension is controlled by a FOX DHX 2 shock and provides 160mm of travel. In front, you’ve got a FOX 36 FLOAT Factory GRIP2 fork offering up 170 mm of travel. The Shimano XT four-piston brakes paired with 200 mm rotors front and rear provide more than enough braking power, no matter how steep the terrain – but be sure to bleed them properly or you might end up with inconsistent bite points. The SRAM GX Eagle drivetrain is not high-end, but it performs its task reliably and at a price of € 4,399 we wouldn’t have expected more. The cockpit is from COMMENCAL’s in-house brand, RIDE ALPHA. Whilst it doesn’t look as premium as some offerings the 780 mm bar width and 40 mm stem provide an excellent fit. Unlike the bikes that COMMENCAL sends to its customers, our test bike came fitted with an old Schwalbe Hans Dampf tire with the thin Snake Skin casing. As standard, however, the bike is specced with the latest Schwalbe Hans Dampf with the Super-Gravity casing. And that’s a good thing, as we quickly found out on the trail.

The COMMENCAL META AM 29 in detail

Fork FOX 36 Factory GRIP2 170 mm
Shock RockShox Super Deluxe RCT3 160 mm
Brakes Shimano XT Vierkolben
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle
Seatpost Kindshox LEV Integra 150 mm
Stem RIDE Alpha 40 mm
Handlebar RIDE Alpha 780 mm
Wheels E13 TRS 29″
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary/Hans Dampf 2.35″
Weight 15.48 kg
Price € 4,399 €









Lots of traction
By mounting the brake on the chainstay, the rear triangle remains fully active even when braking, generating even more traction – nice!

Well silenced
The thick chainstay protector provides a lot of cushioning and effectively quietens chain slap.
Annoying
The rubber covers came loose on every ride, which then meant the cables rattled around. Commencal need to come up with a better and more effective solution here.

Seriously?
Pressfit on an aluminium frame? Here we would have preferred a much more service friendly threaded BSA BB.
Size S M L XL
Top tube 563 mm 586 mm 619 mm 634 mm
Seat tube 105 mm 110 mm 115 mm 120 mm
Head angle 65.5° 65.5° 65.5° 65.5°
Sesat angle 76.5° 76.5° 76.5° 76.5°
Chainstays 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm 432 mm
BB Drop 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm 25 mm
Wheelbase 1173 mm 1197 mm 1222 mm 1283 mm
Reach 413 mm 435 mm 460 mm 480 mm
Stack 604 mm 603 mm 603 mm 603 mm
Helmet Troy Lee D3 | Goggle Oakley Crowbar | Jersey ION Scrub_AMP | Short ION Scrub_AMP | Shoes ION Rascal

The META 29 is a bike that likes to play hard. The rear triangle is extremely sensitive and effectively filters out even the finest trail chatter. It continues that performance while braking, providing enormous amounts of traction, which you’ll quickly notice with regards to the bike’s stability. In combination with the somewhat short reach (460 mm) and the plush rear end, you tend to ride the META AM from the back. This riding position instils the rider with confidence in steep terrain while making for agile handling in tight sections. Over jumps and ledges, however, the META isn’t easy to get airborne. The rear end absorbs a lot of the rider’s input, offering too little support through high-speed berms.

From Andorra for Andorra! The META AM 29 is built for steep, fast trails.

This behaviour is more pronounced with the FOX DHX2 than with the Super Deluxe Coil that we’ve tested on the bike in the past. If you prefer a more direct feel, it’s best to use an air shock. It would save some weight too. At 15.48 kg, the META AM is anything but a lightweight and prefers a leisurely climbing pace, but with the help of the climb switch on the shock and the central sitting position, you’ll get there comfortably. For particularly steep climbs, we recommend exchanging the 34T chainring for a 32T.

Tuning tip: air shock for more pop and less weight

Conclusion

The COMMENCAL META AM 29 is the perfect bike for anyone looking to spend their summers in bike parks, regularly getting a shuttle and letting it rip on the descents. Due to its super plush suspension, it sticks to the ground and the steeper and faster things get, the bigger the grin on your the face. With the standard FOX DHX 2 shock, the bike isn’t poppy enough for our liking and offers too little support in berms and jumps. Getting to the top of the trail-head with the COMMENCAL under your own steam is really only a means to an end.

  • Rear suspension generates a lot of traction
  • Fun and balanced handling
  • Confidence inspiring in steep sections
  • Rear suspension tends to wallow
  • Sluggish climber
  • The quality of the finish

Uphill

Downhill

Stability

Agility

Value for money

For more info head to: commencal-store.com

For an overview of the test fleet head to: The best enduro bike you can buy

All bikes in test: Bold Unplugged | Canyon Strive CFR 9.0 Team | Giant Reign Advanced 0 | Lapierre Spicy Team Ultimate | Nukeproof Mega 275c RS | Orbea Rallon M-LTD I9 | Pivot Firebird 29 Team XX1 | Pole Machine EN | Santa Cruz Nomad CC | Scott Ransom 900 Tuned | Specialized S-Works Enduro 29 | Trek Slash 9.9 | YT Capra 29 CF PRO Race

Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer