2012 Commencal Supreme DH V3 Review

Commencal Supreme V3 (click to enlarge)

2012 Commencal Supreme DHV3

Vitals:

  • Triple butted 7005 Aluminum Frame
  • 3D forged 7075 parts (linkage, etc)
  • 83mm press fit BB
  • 150mm x 12mm rear wheel spacing
  • Oversized bearings at main pivot (no longer dual row bearing setup)
  • Custom tapered headtube with angle adjustability as an option
  • 3 dropout positions to choose from
  • 9.5 x 3″ shock
  • 200mm / 8″ of rear wheel travel
  • Internal cable routing
  • ISCG-05 chainguide tabs
  • 31.6mm seat tube (34.9 seat clamp)
  • 3 Sizes – Small, Medium, Large

Geometry: (Assuming a 570mm/22.44” axleto-crown height and 45mm/1.77” offset with the 0° headtube position.)

  • Seat tube: 63,5° angle, 70mm/2.76” offset
  • Projected horizontal top tube measurement: S – 573mm/22.56” // M –588mm/23.15” // L – 613mm/24.13”
  • Bottom bracket height (wheel axle difference): +8mm
  • Head angle: 63°
  • Chainstay length: 437mm // 444.5mm // 452mm / 17.2”, 17.5” and 17.8”
  • Headtube height: 124mm/4.88”
  • Seat tube length: 400mm/15.75”
  • Reach: S – 380mm/14.96” // M – 395mm/15.55” // L – 420mm/16.54”

Why Change The Supreme DH Design?

With the current Supreme DH V2 design it is clear that it has been a very capable bike, as Gee Atherton and Rachel Atherton both have had much success aboard it.  They claimed numerous World Cup victories as well as clinching the coveted Worlds medal in their respective categories. When Commencal set out to redesign the Supreme DH, many might wonder why bother?

In short, they wanted to make it even better.

So what have they done with this new design?  To begin, this new design reduces stress acting on the frame and its members through the floating shock layout. With this new design, no longer does the linkage drive the shock into the front or rear triangle.  The rocker actuates the floating rear shock and this layout makes it such that the front and rear triangle aren’t as involved in having to provide as much structural support as the previous design.

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With that said, they could’ve made this new Supreme lighter given the revised design, but they wanted to make sure that this design would stand the test of time.  I wouldn’t be surprised if as the years progress, they are able to drastically reduce the weight of the Supreme.

there are some weight saving cutouts on the insides of the frame (click to enlarge)

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Suspension Design

The shock layout they’ve set forth is designed to offer a lower center of gravity as well as providing a similar curve as the previous Supreme.  What has changed slightly here though is the main pivot location.  The 10mm shock hardware also is revised and nuts are no longer needed in this new V3 design.  All pivots are easily accessible without having to disassemble the bike. This helps facilitate checking for bolt torque. The one tool design of most of the pivots is awesome because the 15mm axles torque directly into the frame. This means you don’t have to worry about holding an allen tool on both ends.

“The Supreme DH V3 rides impressively well.  Compared to the V2, it’s more balanced, stays in a neutral position much better, and is a more responsive bike in my opinion.”

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The main pivot location is located slightly forward and higher up than the previous V2 version. They did this to help the rear wheel have a little bit more rearward travel and give better balance throughout the bike during its operation. In addition, it runs on bigger bearings with a 15mm solid axle and lazer etched torque values.  The V2 Supreme used smaller bearings in conjunction with a dual row of bearings.

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Mud Shedding

Mud clearance is improved in this design, as there are less pockets and nooks for the mud to collect.  The optional mud guard should prove to keep the shock pretty clean. Without it the shock and lower eyelet will see some debris flung up on it.

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with the shock installed you can see how easily debris can enter the shock area

Adjustability

Commencal realized early on that not everyone rides in the same locations and as such might need different geometry.  Commencal isn’t new to incorporating adjustablility in their designs and the new Supreme builds upon their knowledge of previous adjustability efforts.  The chainstays (and disc tabs) utilize a chipped system offering the user 3 positions to pick from.  A short 17.2″, 17.5″, and 17.8″ option.  In my opinion this is a better setup than their old system that wasn’t as solid or as easy to set up.

notice the axle and disc brake tables adjust in unison (click to enlarge)

Up front the headangle is adjustable via the Commencal headset cups.  Commencal has been doing adjustable headtubes for some time now and recently it seems others have caught on.  Standard zero degree cups are included and optional cups can be purchased if you are looking for a slacker or steeper ride.  The cups /headtube aren’t as standard as we’d have liked, so if you want adjustablity your only option is the Commencal cups.

the headtube is notched to allow you to easily line up the adjustable headset cups (click to enlarge)

bottom is notched as well (click to enlarge)

For 2012 there are three sizes that are offered (S,M,L), compared to the previous 2 sizing option of S/M and L/XL.  The three option sizing allows them to create a smaller option for small riders as well as a larger option without compromising for their medium model.  It would be nice to have an XL option as well but perhaps next year if we’re lucky.

Internal Cable Routing

Commencal chose to do internal cable routing for the new V3 and in my opinion it has its pluses and minuses. On the upside, cables are usually out of harms way with this design.  However, in a race situation where you need to swap a rear brake… it’s not the most convenient option if you don’t have your own mechanic and a full clean pit setup.   Chances of a damaged hose is certainly minimized but should you need to replace it quickly, it won’t be as fast, since you’d have to bleed the rear brake.  Additionally, the routing is optimized for the internal routing so if you were to try and zip tie a brake on there in a pinch, the routing is not ideal.

internal cable routing enters at the headtube (click to enlarge)

the internal routing exits on the inside of the chainstays (click to enlarge)

Bottom Bracket Design

The ISCG-05 tabs on the new Commencal are built directly into the shell which was nice to see.  It’s a robust design that we dig.

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non-drive side BB area (click to enlarge)

The bottom bracket uses Shimano’s  press fit 83mm bottom bracket shell.   This allowed Commencal to use a much wider bottom bracket shell in their design.  The feeling of this wider shell contributes greatly to a stiffer setup as well as more area to weld to.  I feel that the stiffness of the V3 is improved greatly by this singular revision alone.  Expect to see this carry over to other Commencal bikes (and other brands as well) in the near future.

“The bottom bracket was lowered slightly on this V3. With the way it sits in its travel better, it was a smart move.”

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Supreme V2 (left) Supreme V3 (right) (click to enlarge)

Great But How Does It Ride?

The Supreme DH V3 rides impressively well.  Compared to the V2, it’s more balanced, stays in a neutral position much better, and is a more responsive bike in my opinion.  The frame changes they’ve made were for the better here 100%.  The three sizing options allow for more riders to find the right sized bike as well.

“It’s always an interesting experience to ride with the people who designed the bike as it gives you an idea of the terrain that they built their bikes for.”

credit: COMMENCAL / Olivier Weidemann (click to enlarge)

While the V2 rides nice, the V3 takes it up a notch.  Pedaling is an important aspect to a bike and the V3 does pedal OK but nothing ground breaking in my experiences with it so far. The bottom bracket was lowered slightly on this V3. With the way it sits in its travel better, it was a smart move.  The bike rails corners well and has a planted feeling when hitting the rougher terrain.  Not too high that you feel disconnected, but its not pedal dragging low either.  It’s stiffer, more responsive, and overall stays composed better during shock actuation that helps the bike feel more balanced whether you’re going fast or slow.  It absorbs medium and high speed bumps well and doesn’t squat in the rear as much under braking or general body movement as compared to the V2.  Its weight is centered nicely throughout the frame that also aids in its mostly centered riding position. The bike as a result handles better in just about every situation I found, from cornering to high speed stability.

credit: COMMENCAL / Olivier Weidemann (click to enlarge)

I’m anxious to see what Gee and anyone on the new V3 can do this year as it’s a vastly different bike in almost every way.

It’s always an interesting experience to ride with the people who designed the bike as it gives you an idea of the terrain that they built their bikes for. With the well respected Andorran World Cup track and other prime downhill spots at their doorstep, Commencal has an edge over a lot of other manufacturers when it comes to readily accessible terrain.   This new design certainly shows that they’re using their racers and terrain to improve their designs.

Video (riding with Commencal – Fido and Nicho (engineer/designer) ):

MSRP:

  • 2785.00 USD and is distributed through BTI-USA so you should be able to order from any reliable bike shop

Commencal doesn’t do anything but mountain bikes. Chances of you seeing a road bike in their office are slim and it says a lot about what they ride and love designing bikes for. Missed our Commencal Tour? Check it out here.

Visit www.commencal.com for more information

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