The new Meta SL is definitely Commençal’s trail riding, rather than ‘XC’ machine, despite the modest 120mm rear wheel travel. The main chassis differences from its bigger brother, the 150mm Meta AM, are an even lower BB height, reduced 428mm chainstays and a slightly steeper 68° head angle. There’s also a more upright seat tube and shortened top tube for more comfort on longer climbs. We chose a size up on the Meta SL because of these geometry changes.
Commençal’s latest Contact System suspension is a single pivot with linkage design, whereby the Fox RP 23 shock floats independently of the main frame to reduce stresses on the front triangle. The progressivity of the suspension on the SL is reduced compared to the Meta AM, to allow for a longer stroke (190x51mm) shock.
The triple-butted 6066 frame uses a ‘shock tunnel’ in the seat tube, a Press-Fit BB92 bottom bracket with ISCG 05 (to offer more room for the main pivot bearings) and a 142x12mm dropout with 180mm post mount brake for extra torsional rigidity. We had no issues running a tall seatpost despite the tunnel’s interruption (there’s a claimed 300mm insertion on the M frame), and there’s also internal routing for a dropper post.
Slick pivot points and 3D forged linkages rotate on 15mm axles and oversized bearings, with 7075 T6 axles bolting directly into the frame for extra security. The Fox RP23 shock eyelets run on 10mm axles (without sealed bearings). In use it all adds up to a very stiff and solid package.
We rode the new Meta SL enough to tell you it has descending capabilities way beyond most 120mm bikes, and that it’s a scream to ride such a tight suspension package with geometry this good. We’re definitely looking forward to getting one on test.
The 2013 Meta SL is available now as a limited edition.
Photos: Mick Kirkman