At the lower end of Commençal’s travel scale, the flagship Super 4 Carbon gets a full monocoque carbon front triangle and carbon seatstays. The combined effect of the carbon frame components saves the best part of 300g over the full alloy Super 4 frame. All of the Super 4 models sport Commençal’s legendary Contact System suspension design, tailored to a 100mm travel application.
Geometry-wise the Commençal Super 4 is slacker than most traditional XC race bikes, making it a perfect long-distance marathon race bike that doubles as a short-travel trail bike. If you are not interested in a complete bike, then you may want to take a look at the Super 4 Carbon Factory Frame Kit with Fox 32FRLC fork, Tange headset, Race Face Deus XC stem, Easton Monkey Lite bar and EC90 seatpost. Kit price is £2,599.
Undoubtedly the jewel in Commençal’s crown has to be the new Meta 5.5 Carbon. With a price tag of £3,499 it’s by no means cheap, but when compared to some other full-carbon bikes it looks like good value. Commençal uses a 12k carbon monocoque construction with a target frame weight of 2,897g for a size medium Meta 5.5 carbon frame with Fox RP23 rear shock. Frame weight for the carbon swingarm frame version is 3,258g and the full alloy Meta 5.5 frame comes in at 3,338g. Basically the carbon swingarm is 130g lighter, but the carbon front saves a whopping 340g.
If the price of the 5.5 Carbon gives you heart palpations, the Meta 5.5 Limited gets the carbon swingarm and an aluminium front triangle, but costs £800 less. With an XT drivetrain and Formula’s new RX brakes, the Limited will be our first choice for next year’s ultimate trail bike test.
Six and UP
For 2010 Commençal will offer one Meta 6 complete bike. With a Fox 36 Talas fork, double-and-bash Race Face Evolve crank and Joplin post it’s possibly the closest thing to a Mega Avalanche bike straight out of the box. A new hydroformed down tube does away with the head tube gusset and increases front-end strength. Out back, redesigned removable dropouts improve swingarm stiffness; however, if you want ultimate rear wheel tracking the Meta 6 Factory Frame Kit gets a carbon monocoque swingarm. Meta 6 complete is £3,299, the Frame Kit is £2,799.
On the more gravity-oriented bikes the good news is that Commençal has ditched the entry-level Marzocchi forks on the Supreme and Supreme DH, replacing them with the new open bath Fox 36 Van and RockShox Boxxer Race.
Absolute Ti 4X and DJ
Titanium is an amazing material for building hardcore hardtails, as it’s strong, light and resilient. So the frames last, and they will also help postpone the onset of arthritic ankles and wrists. Based on Dan Atherton’s World Cup 4X bike the Absolute 4X Ti has a super-slack head angle, bolt-through dropouts (so your rear wheel won’t slip hammering out of the gate) and comes with the new e13 LG1 chain guide and a Thomson seatpost as standard. The dirt jump/street frame uses heavier gauge tubing and the geometry is shorter and steeper than the 4X. To make tensioning the chain easier with a singlespeed set-up, the DJ gets horizontal dropouts. Sticking with the BMX theme it also gets a Spanish BB and Campy standard integrated head tube.
Both frames look amazing and because they are Ti they should feel amazing. Why isn’t every DJ or 4X frame made this way? Well, at £1,899 per frame the pricing is prohibitively expensive. Still, it is good to see Commençal making pro frames available to the ordinary public.