A fantastic trail bike that’s a lot of fun
The flagship model in the Commencal Meta Trail 29 range comes with several UK components – Renthal bar, stem and grips, and a Fabric saddle.
Yep, you’re not seeing things, this is a ‘British Edition’ of Commencal’s new Meta Trail 29er. We’re not sure why the Andorra based brand has gone to the trouble, maybe it’s just saying goodbye before we crash out of Europe, or it could be because the colour is synonymous with pretty fast things.
Commencal Meta Trail 29 British Edition review
The finishing kit bits are great but Commencal could have gone even further as there are lots of UK brands – Hope, USE, DMR and Burgtec to name a few. Still you can always upgrade or even add some extra UK bits when you buy the bike – Commencal actually sells Burgtec pedals through its website.
The Meta TR 29 is based on the Commencal Meta TR 27 platform, the bike that won our Trail Bike of the Year back in 2017. This award-winning bike seems to have fallen out of favour because there’s currently only one Meta TR 27 but five Meta TR 29ers. Three of those models are specced with 150mm travel Fox suspension forks, (our test bike included) and two have RockShox forks with 140mm travel. Rear travel on all five models is 130mm.
Although the Meta TR 29 is based on the Meta TR 27, there are a couple of updates to the frame and suspension. The Meta TR 29 gets a new rear triangle with a stiffer chainstay yoke. There’s also a thicker-walled seat stay, to add further stiffness and you get bigger (harder wearing) bearings in the rocker. Commencal has also tweaked the main pivot position so it matches the small rings typically used on 29ers. Unfortunately, it hasn’t done anything about the heel clearance issues, the rear disc mount is still on the inside of the chainstay and the dropout bulges out round it, meaning if you have feet bigger than a size 8, you’ll catch your heels on the stays.
Commencal fits a top-end Fox 36 Factory suspension fork to the Meta TR 29. It has the new Fit Grip2 damper, EVOL spring and gets 150mm of travel and 51mm offset. It’s easily the best fork on test and, even in the Factory orange, looks okay on the bike, we didn’t think orange and green would work, but they do.
We’ll look at the British bits first – the Renthal controls are all good, solid and extremely well made. The Fabric saddle is comfy and really neat and tidy, especially underneath. Once we leave for distant shores things are not great – the KS Lev dropper post has a smooth action and minimal play but pulls up when you grab the saddle which is annoying when you’re trying to get the bike on/off an uplift trailer. SRAM GX Eagle performed flawlessly but the Shimano XT brakes still have an inconsistent lever feel.
The Meta TR 29 is the heaviest bike on test, it’s a kilogram heavier than the YT Jeffsy 29 CF Comp. It’s also the bike with the least amount of rear travel but the best fork, which means you tend to ride the fork more when descending – that is you feed the front into rough sections, while keeping your feet light.
The lack of rear travel did mean we bottom it out a few times during testing, which was quite hard on the ankles. Travel or lack of it, is actually one of the questions we have unanswered with this bike – it rides like a 150-160mm bike and even has that geometry, why then has Commencal limited the rear travel to 130mm?
Still, the Meta TR 29 does have great ride quality and is one of the quickest bikes in back to back testing. But we reckon it would be even better with 20mm extra rear travel. It’d go a long way to justify the increase in weight and would really compliment the performance of the Fox 36 Factory fork.
The Commencal Meta TR 29 was neck and neck with the YT Jeffsy throughout this test, both bikes swapping pole position constantly, which goes to show how highly we rate the Meta TR 29. When it came to the finishing straight though there were several things that allowed the YT to pull away. The biggest is the £400 difference in price, then there’s the extra weight and the issue with heel clearance. The Meta TR 29 is a fantastic trail bike that’s a lot of fun but we reckon with more travel and a tighter back end it’d leapfrog the YT into first place.