The only significant change to the Supreme frame for ’07 is that the top tube is now a kinked hydroformed tube instead of the two-piece design of old. According to Commençal this saves weight and improves strength. The interrupted seat tube and high shock position on the Supreme frame offers limited saddle height adjustment, so it’s good to see a telescopic seatpost fitted as standard. It is not the neatest or easiest to adjust, but at least it gives the Supreme a full range of saddle height adjustment. The only thing that the Supreme is missing is a lower chain guide. ISCG mounts are in place around the bottom bracket shell so it will be relatively easy to fit one.
In simple terms, Commençal’s Contact System suspension is based on a single-pivot design where the shock is driven by a series of links connected to the swingarm. By manipulating the links Commençal can tailor the leverage ratio at different parts of the travel to better suit the intended use of the bike. Up front the Marzocchi 66RCV replaces the Fox 36 Vans from the ’06 bike and while the 160mm of buttery smooth action matches the performance and inch count of the rear suspension, the forks are responsible for upping the weight.
The thin sidewall Maxxis High Roller tyres on the Commençal don’t have anything like the same pinch flat protection as the full-on downhill versions but they keep rotating weight down without compromising traction. When a thorn forced us to mend a puncture we were pleased to find full-size mid-weight inner tubes, not the weight-saving wafer-thin variety fitted to most bikes. Build quality of the wheels is good but the rear hub already sounds rough and that’s after a couple of weeks’ riding — we’d be very surprised if the freehub body lasts until the end of summer.
Formula Oro brakes are powerful, reliable and a good match for the Avids in every way except lever position. Basically, unless you push the lever body of the Oros so far inboard that you can hardly reach the shifters, you are effectively braking with your index finger on the lever pivot, losing most of the lever’s mechanical advantage. If you brake with your middle finger this is less of an issue, but we’d like to try a set of Oros with Formula’s version of the Avid MatchMaker to see if it improves the whole brake lever
From the get-go the Supreme feels purposeful. It doesn’t wallow in its travel but snaps into action when you stomp on the pedals. It carries speed better on flat sections and traverses than the SX, which is mostly due to tyre compound and wheel weight, and can be ridden just as hard on rough terrain even if it feels like you’re killing the shock when you bottom it out. Commençal has struck the perfect balance between grip and pop, giving the 6.10 a playful nature that belies its weight. It does, however, have the lowest bottom bracket height on test with plenty of scratches on the 170mm crank arms to prove it. The main reason for this superficial damage is that we ran extra sag to slacken the head angle more for descending. Ideally we’d like to see the range of head angle adjustment shifted back a degree to give 66/67/68deg as few riders will ever use the 69deg option on a 38.5lb bike. We’d also like to see a coil shock fitted, improving performance and reliability.
This is the heaviest bike on test but doesn’t ride like it. It offers great big-hit capability mated to good pedalling efficiency. It’s agile enough to ride everything from tech Shore to UK downhill tracks and Tom has lumped a lightened-up version round the odd mbr Killer. Commençal’s Contact System suspension design has always impressed us, so the Supreme 6.10 is one of the best air sprung big hitters we’ve ridden.
MBR RATING: 8/10