2012 Commencal Meta AM

Commencal has completely redesigned their Meta enduro and all mountain bike, now dubbed the Meta AM. It takes design cues from their new Supreme DH V3 with thoughtful features and geometry. Check inside for a highly detailed look at the Meta AM.

First seen in 2005, the Meta has left its mark on the world of MTB. It has been globally praised by the international press, with an inclusion among the 10 best bikes of the decade in the UK’s MBR magazine. It has seen success on the Megavalanche, the Maxiavalanche and the Enduro Series. Above all the Meta has shown a certain way of riding Enduro, where downhill performance and pleasure are combined to perfection.

2012 Commencal Meta AM (click to enlarge)

To replace such a mountain bike legend is certainly no easy task. But the new Meta is upon us with the same philosophy, only better! With some of the greatest descending capabilities around (if not the best), the new Meta is also more efficient when it comes to pedaling.

comparison between the old Meta (white) and new Meta AM (grey) (click to enlarge)

It comes with a host of improvements:

  • New 12mm x 142mm standard rear hub (increased rear wheel lateral stiffness and an easy rear wheel removal/installation)
  • Cane creek-standard tapered head tube
  • Modernized geometry (longer, lower)
  • Increased agility
  • Lowered center of gravity
  • Optimized for 2 x 10 transmissions.

All of this with the aim of creating a Meta with more performance without sacrificing the fun!

Contact System

The resemblance to the new Supreme DH is striking. The Meta makes use of the same suspension principles as the DH, but adapted to All Mountain use.

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The aim of the Contact System EVO: increase rear wheel stiffness, reduce the forces acting on the frame so as to optimize the weight/reliability ratio and further lower the center of gravity.

The seat stays take on the role of the connecting rods coupled to both the chainstays and rocker linkage via pivots. The progressivity of the suspension has evolved slightly compared to the previous system for improved reactivity.

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The system offers a vertical travel of 150mm. The shock is mounted as a floating shock, activated by the connecting rod and the stays, resulting in considerably reduced forces acting directly on the frame.

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The main pivot position has been optimized for 2 x 10 transmissions (although 3 x 10 transmissions will work without any problems). It is closely positioned to the big chainring (whether a 39, 38 or 36 tooth ring) and therefore limits kickback on the smallest chainring.

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Specifications

  • Rear wheel travel: 150mm
  • Shock 200mm x 57mm
  • Mounting hardware 22.2mm x 10mm.
  • Tapered head tube using Cane Creek ZS44/ZS56 standard, possibility to mount an Angleset headset, regardless of frame size.
  • 180mm Postmount standard brake mount, positioned to reduce the effects of braking forces on the suspension action.
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  • 142mm x 12mm hub standard.
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  • 68/73mm crankset standard
  • Shimano Press Fit bottom bracket + ISCG 05 mounts.
  • Triple-butted 7005 alloy frame.
  • Internal cable/hose routing: front and rear derailleurs, rear brake, telescopic seatpost.
  • internal cable routing (click to enlarge)

  • Headtube-mounted internal cable/hose routing plug included as standard.
  • Optional integrated mudguard available.
  • Chainstay protector.
  • Seatpost diameter 31.6mm
  • Seat clamp diameter 34.9mm

Geometry

With an ambassador like Remy Absalon, the Meta has it all to win. The new version, thought out for and with Remy (and of course Jean-Yves, his mechanic!) keeps the same character traits as those of its predecessor. It has been designed to be ultra rapid downhill without forgetting the performance needed to climb uphill.

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The front triangle has been completely rethought. The combination of a straighter seat tube angle and a reduced offset gives the Meta better pedalling performance, particularly in the larger sizes, as the rider will be far less over the rear wheel.

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The top tube has been lengthened for more space and to give the opportunity for the use of a shorter stem.

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The chainstays are also lengthened for faster corner speeds and a front end that is glued to the ground during climbs.

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The head tube angle is slackened by 0.5° and the bottom bracket is lower (dynamically). The brake mount position is calculated to reduce the impact of braking forces on the suspension. Combine all this with the longer chainstays and you have a Meta that is not out on the downhills just for show!

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The Meta is equipped with a Cane Creek standard semi-integrated tapered head tube (ZS44 for the top, ZS56 for the bottom) that is compatible with the Cane Creek Angleset. Riders can adjust their head tube angle, seatpost angle and bottom bracket height for their ideal position.

Frame Construction

The Meta uses very similar solutions to the new Supreme DH. A front triangle shock tunnel is used for the very first time on one of our enduro bikes.

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This feature allows us to position the shock exactly where we want it, while maintaining a “closed” front triangle for optimal frame stiffness.

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The frames backbone is made up of two elements: the bottom bracket and the shock tunnel.

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The bottom bracket integrates the ISCG 05 mounts and the main pivot point bearings.

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The tunnel is composed of the rocker link/frame pivot point, the front derailleur “High D” standard mount and the arch that is united out of two forged halves assembled around the bottom bracket. Perfect alignment and positioning is possible thanks a re-machining of all the part faces after welding.

notice the direct mount front derailleur tab (click to enlarge)

The seat tube is linked up to this tunnel, with more seat post insertion possible then in the past (about 300mm on a medium-sized frame).

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To obtain the largest possible surface area for the main pivot bearings while maintaining enough room for the shock, we have used Shimano’s Press Fit standard bottom brackets. All Press Fit standard 68/73mm cranksets from Shimano, Truvativ, Race Face and FSA are compatible.

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The top tube is formed from two parts. The main part links up with the seat tube as close as possible to the shock tunnel, countering the forces generated by the rear suspension. The second part of the top tube allows an increase in standover height while maintaining a sufficient seat post height.

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The entire frame uses triple-butted 7005 alloy that, once welded, undergoes two T4 and T6 thermal treatments for reinforcement of the material’s mechanical characteristics. A micro bead blast treatment increases the material resistance even further. The 3D parts are forged from 7005 alloy allowing a light but solid construction, while maintaining a high level of finish.

The pivot points rotate on oversized bearings, a guarantee of optimal reliability and rigidity. Fifteen millimeter axles are used on the pivots found between the chain- and seatstays, the seatstays and the rocker link and the rocker link and frame. This size of axle enables us to use 7075 T6 alloy axles that are directly bolted to the frame in complete safety. The bolts used are anodized with the torque settings laser-etched on each bolt face.

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The shock uses 10mm axles with the same characteristics. To allow for such a low center of gravity, the main pivot point is formed out of two half-axles, leaving room for the shock during its action.

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The evacuation of and protection from mud has been carefully addressed. There is an opening under the down tube to allow better mud evacuation (seen above), with an internal cable and hose routing plug in the head tube included as standard (also valid for telescopic seatposts cable routing).

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A chainstay protector, specially adapted to the frame shape is responsible for stopping all paint damage that could be inflicted by repeated slapping of the chain on the chainstay.

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The semi-integrated ZS44/ZS56 Cane Creek standard head tube offers a better connection between the top and down tubes, with increased rigidity and resistance. The semi-integrated Cane Creek standard avoids the risk of head tube ovalization and allows the use of an Angleset headset (not included).

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Development

Since 2009 COMMENCAL frames have improved their strength & reliability enormously, correcting certain faults from the past.

We are able to offer proven reliable frames thanks to the barrage of tests that we use that go well beyond the European standards set. We impose on our products area-specific reliability tests for each key part of the frame, followed up by testing each new platform out on the trails, in the most extreme conditions.

Numerous Meta frames are therefore produced to undergo no less then 8 different machine tests with extremely high thresholds and extreme loads. As an example, European legislation imposes a minimum 50 000 cycle resistance at a given load. We impose a resistance minimum of 1 million cycles before any fissure or crack should appear.

In addition to these machine tests, a non-negligible number of frames are produced, dedicated to terrain tests. They are given to our SuperRiders and Super Testers, allowing us to develop these frames in the best possible conditions and therefore verify our results obtained during the fatigue tests. Only then are we able to offer the best Meta possible.