DSC04316-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Commencal Meta SX V5

Photos Deniz Merdano - Unless noted
Reading time

Commencal decided to revise the suspension design on the majority of their bikes this year. Starting with the T.E.M.P.O and now with the Meta and Meta SX, the V5 revision is rocking an all new suspension platform called VCS (Virtual Contact System). The single pivot, linkage-driven suspension platform is gone, making way for the new dual link system with a unified rear triangle. This revision brings the Meta SX V5 into a category dominated by some very high performance bikes like Pivot, Santa Cruz, and Yeti. Not that the single pivot design was significantly disadvantageous, but placing the shock in front of co-rotating short length links means the kinematics can be tuned exactly to the designer's vision.

DSC04373-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

All New Commencal Meta Sx V5 in White

The new design choice generates a simpler and a sleeker silhouette while maintaining the "Commencal" look we all know well. The Andorran company with the direct to consumer sales model always offered extremely competitive pricing for their bikes. Does the V5 Meta SX build on that success? Let's find out.

The heart of the bike is the aforementioned dual link driven 6066 triple butted aluminum frame that provides 165mm of rear wheel travel from a 230x65mm eyelet shock. The build I received for testing is an all white Signature model that comes in at 7,900 CAD on Commencal's Canadian website.

DSC04317-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

The Commencal Meta SX V5 - a 165mm VCS travel 6066 Aluminum frame.

Meta SX V5 Spec

The Meta SX V5 is offered in six different builds. The Signature model here sits just below the top tier SRAM T-type-equipped model and features some excellent parts from Shimano, Fox and DT Swiss. The SRAM T-type option also means that the frame now accepts a UDH for easy derailleur hanger replacements that can now be found anywhere. The Signature build, however, mounts a Shimano XT drivetrain to the UDH and runs the cables through the frame. The market is extremely competitive these days making the non-discounted price tag of 7,900 CAD less of a steal but still appealing vs. competitors with similar builds. When you look at all the specs, the price tag makes a lot of sense if you like aluminum frames and this selection of parts.

This is a true XT build. Everything from the brakes and shifters, to the cranks and derailleur and the cassette and the chain are 8100-series Shimano XT on this bike. We appreciate not having a SLX chain or cassette snuck in on us with certain builds and it is great to see head to toe coherence on this Signature build.

DSC04372-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5 1

Shimano XT from the crankset to the cassette and the chain.

DSC04337-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

It's an easy spot to down-spec but Commencal did not betray us with a SLX shifter.

The Meta SX V5 in medium was waiting for me at Commencal's Squamish showroom. A delightfully relaxing place to stop by, I picked up the white bike with a big grin on my face. A quick run down of the intentions of the bike and where it will be ridden for the test period led to a discussion about suspension setup. Not a carbon part in sight, the bike felt as portly as one would expect when lifting it onto the tailgate pad. No more or less than expected, my head went into Bob Barker mode and tried to guess the weight. The bike was NOT immediately tossed on to the dream crusher(scale) to avoid judgement clouding the riding experience before it even started.

The slim profile of the Meta SX V5 immediately turned into a powder ski-like wide top view once I settled on the saddle. The hydro-formed aluminum construction portrays a slim and svelte build to the outside world but once I got a hold on the bars, I knew the wide stance of the top tube hinted at the intentions of the frame.

The head tube of the SX V5 was the biggest difference not only from all the other bikes that have gone through my garage, but also to the V4 that came before it. The beer can sized head tube now accepts ZS56 cups both top and bottom for a couple of reasons. The 120mm tall head tube towered over all the other bikes in the rotation and with a top headset cap designed to take cables and hoses through it, the lowest setting I could run the stem still made for a 135mm effective head tube before the stem even clamped on to the steerer. This was going to be a +40mm height difference to what I usually run on my 160-170mm-forked bikes.

Screen Shot 2023-10-03 at 11.19.16 AM

Size Medium as tested.


The rest of the numbers that made up the bike were a familiar 460mm reach and 442mm chainstay length. While the small and the medium have 442mm stays, the Large and X-Large move to a 447mm for a better balance in overall dynamics. The mixed wheel size package hints at a downhill focus on a long travel bike like this and with all the kashima-coated stanchions glaring, the white frame makes itself known at the trail head. Not just designed to be shuttled, the SX V5 is designed with the ability to pedal itself to the top of the mountain, too. The 170mm Fox 38 Factory paired with a 230x65mm Float X2 Factory and a 175mm tall Fox Transfer Factory add a touch of colour to the monochromatic scheme of the bike.

2024 Fox Float X2

The 2024 Float X2 may look identical to the outgoing time-bomb, it features a few new seals and simplified internals to increase reliability. The new model now has two nitrile butadiene rubber seals for the seal head, replacing the outgoing single polyurethane o-ring. In addition, damper bodies have moved to 7000 series aluminum from the 6000 series for increased strength. While it doesn't apply here, the trunnion models also got a 7000 series alloy for the eyelets to boost reliability as well. Further adjustments to the compression and rebound valving to mitigate cavitation should also help bring the new shock into a reliability window that we always expected.

DSC04394-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

2024 Fox Float X2.

DSC04327-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Now with fewer problems (so far).

Wheels and Rubber

The SX V5 also rolls on decent wheels from the factory. The DT Swiss EX 1700 rims laced to DT's 350-series star ratchet hubs are a golden standard and one that I feel comfortable with. While not light or springy or perhaps even robust like the carbon wheels I run on my other rigs, the DTs won me over during my Yeti SB135 LR review this past season. While the Yeti opted for a custom j-bend option, Commencal went for straight pull hubs for cheaper spec. The 28-spoked wheelset has a way of deleting trail chatter unlike other wheels I've rolled on, while maintaining tension and staying dent-free. I think it is again a great spec choice from the product managers at commencal.

These lovely wheels are wrapped in Schwalbe's aggressive rubber to generate as much traction as possible. The front Magic Mary 2.4 Soft Compound was swapped for an Ultra Soft one for the test period and the rear Big Betty in Soft Compound fit the intended character of the bike. Both tires are the lighter Super Trail Casing that must have been spec'd to keep the overall weight down but also compromise the descending prowess of the bike greatly. More on that later.

DSC04361-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

DT Swiss EX 1700 are my favourite alloy wheels.

DSC04371-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

DT Swiss's star ratchet 350 Hubs.

DSC04381-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

The very effective thread pattern of the Schwalbe Magic Mary.

DSC04362-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

In Ultra Soft Super Trail flavour.

DSC04383-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Big Betty rolls fast and stops quick.

DSC04363-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Super Trail casing in soft compound is begging for an insert for faster riding.


The cockpit is a combination of Renthal and ODI when it comes to steering. The 40mm Renthal stem grabs firmly onto the 780mm wide, 35mm rise Renthal bars. The bars are size-specific on the SX V5:

  • 35 mm, 760 mm width, 20 mm rise, Alloy 2014 on Small
  • 35 mm, 780 mm width, 30 mm rise, Alloy 2014 on M / L
  • 35 mm, 800 mm width, 30 mm rise, Alloy 2014 on XL

ODI soft Compound Longneck clamp-on grips are a joy to hold. The gloveless warriors will love the tack and the comfort. With gloves, low speed trail chatter is deleted thanks to the buffer the tiny channels provide. New favourites in the grip category.

WhatsApp Image 2023-09-26 at 19.22.40

The Meta SX V5 in the air. Photo: Hailey Elise

Dialing in the Suspension

Setting up the bike for the first ride wasn't an involved affair, or so I thought. I aimed for 30% sag on the shock which put the pressure at 158psi and faster rebound settings, with 90 psi in the Fox 38 for a supportive front wheel. First ride was a shuttle lap on Seymour Mountain. The parking lot bounce up top was satisfactory as I leaned into a manual to find out the front came up effortlessly and locked into a personal best manual across the lot. Having a similar experience on other Commencals that belonged to friends I wasn't surprised. I figured this was downloaded into the bike's DNA. Dropping into the first trail, first corner, I realized the bike was not loaded with the cornering instructions, however, and off I went ass-over-tea kettle into the bushes, surprising myself and my riding companions. I was happy to find no damage to myself or the bike as I decided to "take it down a notch", man.

The crash having shaken my confidence, I adopted a more conservative riding style for the remainder of the day. However the bike was not doing what I was hoping it would do and the loud and violent feedback I was getting through my legs was suggesting harsh bottom-out from the Float X2 on smaller hits. While I was using 80% of my fork's travel, I was diving deep into the rear's reserves. Not too far down the mountain on what was supposed to be a shakedown ride, I flatted the rear Schwalbe (that was inflated to 25psi) in an unrepairable manner. I abandoned the rest of the ride and rode the flat tire down the gravel road back to the parking lot, where I managed to inflate the tire just long enough to pedal the 2kms back home.


Three types of plugs to try out. It was a team effort.

Making sense of the experience once back home meant that I had to play with my suspension settings to figure out a balance to ride a bike with this much stack height. The 40mm taller front end as compared to my similarly forked Rallon was not a small difference. I was riding too deep into the shock's stroke and not able to weight the bars enough to make corners confidently on a mixed wheelsize bike. So I reached out to the people at Commencal over email since there isn't a setup guide on the website. It was suggested that I aim for 28% sag for normal riding and 26% if I was racing. So I pumped up the shock to 170psi to hit that 28% sag number and left the fork where it was for the next few rides.

The bike pedals exceptionally well. The steep 77.5° seat tube angle paired with a tall cockpit makes the all day pedaling position really wonderful. The fizik Ridon Saddle is firm but comfortable under my butt and a 1600-meter day was not a massive amount of work aboard the SX V5. The Big Bettys rolled swiftly but provided great braking traction when needed on the steep trails.

DSC04328-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Helvetica Font makes the top tube look like a well-bound book, but 3 different fonts are a bit much.

DSC04346-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Super stout and stiff rear triangle... again with many fonts.

With the adjusted sag in the shock, the SX V5 felt more manageable while retaining its playful demeanour for the next few rides. The straight lines were balanced and less rear heavy. Coupled with a fast rebound, the pop the frame delivered was super fun on natural trails. Being able to change direction and double roots and rocks is my jam and the Meta SX V5 allowed for as much of that as I could eat. However, the shock was still riding too deep in the travel and bottoming out on bigger hits at this point. The only solution to this was to crack the air can open and put another volume spacer in there. The Float X2 with its high volume air chamber is great for glueing the bike to the ground, but not not ideal for bottom out resistance and agility in general. While adding another volume spacer and bumping the pressure to 175psi for a sag 26% was not something I would expect I'd have to do on a long travel Enduro bike like the SX V5, we were close. Taking out a little pressure from the fork to settle on 88psi was the ticket to finally bringing the rear end of the bike up and leveling out the balance between the front and rear on North Shore trails. My final settings, below, are listed from fully closed compression circuits.


Fox 38 170mm

88 psi - 2 volume spacers
HSC - 2 clicks
LSC - 14 clicks

Fox Float X2 230x65 (165mm travel)
175psi + 1 more volume spacer for a total of 3
HSC 6 clicks
LSC 11 clicks
LSR 13 clicks
HSR 5 clicks

Once the balance was obtained, the ability to take the bike to higher speeds was not a problem. In the bike park, the Meta SX V5 prefered faster straight lines and sweeping corners. The support through the frame combined with a stiff chassis was awesome while bottoming out mid turn on massive berms. A slight push with the feet and hips and the rear end would snap out of traction to oversteer in a predictable manner. Regaining traction would catch me off guard sometimes and would make the bike dance away from my reins. Resisting the urge to tap the brakes at that moment is hard but necessary with the SX V5 as it would stand the bike up in a hurry and threaten to chuck you over the other side if not careful. A split personality that is fun and challenging at the same time just won't let you fall asleep at the wheel. The more committed I rode the Meta SX V5, the more I was rewarded with hidden inside lines and sneaky doubles no one saw coming. The lazier I got, the more I was on the edge of destruction with how fast things could go wrong on top of the 165mm travel frame.

DSC04356-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

200mm rotors are standard.

DSC04358-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Shimano's high-end Freeza rotors on a XT bike! Great value.

DSC04331-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

The lever that has stories to tell as I got hurled over the bars a few times.


Absolutely avoidable design flaw on the XT lever blades.


Commencal designed the Meta SX V5 to run 200mm rotors natively. The biggest rotor that'll fit will be 223mm on the back. The XT brakes were combined with XTR-level Freeza rotors, and I never wished for more stopping power. The instant, consistent delivery of the braking power was welcomed in the heat of the summer in the bike park and the shore. The couple of incidents I had while getting used to the bike also claimed a couple of lever blades on the shimano's but the lever design is to blame for those as the material is extremely thin at the bend. I am working on a solution to remedy that issue. I'll address that in an other article.


4th plug comes in the shape of an old fabric

On another ride, I put yet another slice in the rear Big Betty Super Trail and went a little more unconventional with the repair. Born mostly from the lack of owning any suitable rubber for the rear around the house, I had to get creative. An old, clean boxer brief from my bike cleaning towel pile donated a 4cm length piece of fabric, thin and flat enough to plug a tear right at the bead. Needless to say I am done with the Super Trail casing on a bike like this and I think it is seriously holding the bike back from what it can do with proper casing tires.


I never told you what the weigh in was with the stock tires: 38 pounds for this all-metal beast with thin tires means 39 pounds at least with heavier casings or inserts of some sort. The way it pedals is so well-mannered that I'd say it'd be hard to notice the slight weight increase unless you put stickier rubber in the rear as well. But this bike is begging for some Super Gravity Soft Compounds on the back at the very least. Other build options have other brand's tires on them as well so make sure you factor in a tire swap if you opt for the Signature build Meta SX V5.

DSC04374-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

The Meta SX V5 is a great looking bike.

Bits and Bites

I have not had the pleasure of changing cables or hoses through the frame on the Commencal but the ports and routing looks sensible. Remember that ZS56 top cap on the headset? That is to allow for headset hose routing if you want to go that route. If that's not your jam, the Meta SX V5 comes pre-routed through the down tube which is tidy and free of sharp angles. The medium will only clear a 600ml bottle due to the Float X2's piggy back sagging low. Not every bottle fits either but luckily the Canyon bottle with a low profile cap fits in there nicely. You will need to get a Wolftooth b-rad cage to offset the bottle further down the triangle if you want to fit bigger bottles. I think this should have been dealt with at the factory rather than giving us tool mounts under the top tube. Not all the suspension bolts are easily accessible, either. The main pivot bolt head hides behind the chain guide and none of the linkage bolts are accessible until you take the shock out. Quick bolt checks before hitting the trails are not something you'll be doing with this platform. Nothing came loose during the test period and even the shock bolts accept an 8mm allen key, a first for me. They often snap on other manufacturer's frames in smaller sizes, so I have more faith in these.

DSC04350-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Upper link.

DSC04348-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Blind bolts on the inside of the link.

DSC04352-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Lower link bolts are on the drive side.

The Commencal Meta SX V5 rides quietly and without cable or chain noise. The rubber protection throughout the bike is well made and dampens sound well. Paired with the clutch on Shimano's XT derailleur, the bike runs quiet and free of dropped chains. There is an angle adjusting chip on the rear shock mount with no online mention of what it actually does. It says Low and High on it and seems to be made well with an eccentric bolt and nut. I left mine in the Low position but I imagine it will adjust the head and seat tube angles by 0.5° or so. Which is generally what most manufacturers offer in adjustability, just with more documentation. Perhaps the bike is too fresh to have more online data. Here's hoping by the time customer's bikes are being delivered, there will be more guides for suspension setup and frame breakdown. Bike shops who need to work on these things and home mechanics will appreciate it.

DSC04353-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Shuttle guard.

DSC04354-denizmerdano commencal meta sx v5

Rock guard.

WhatsApp Image 2023-09-26 at 19.22.23

Easy to pull for things and not have to deal with the consequences. Photo: Hailey Elise

Is respect earned or is it lost is the question that comes to mind when I think of the Commencal Meta SX V5. On one hand this 165mm travel bike with all the right components put you in a very upright and dominant riding position. It allows for pulls, hucks and all the other random words we've invented for mountain biking in general. It prefers to ride deep in its rear travel and struggles to recover in a controlled manner in deep compressions. The tall front end will surely suit tall riders looking for a comfortable setup and it would be the bike I would go for if I was a few inches taller than 5'9". I am shrinking daily, not growing in height, unfortunately. The Meta SX V5 demands a good pilot to squeeze out all the performance out of its design.

Racers will appreciate the agility and pedaling performance on long days with rough, tight tracks. Freeriders will want to find a solution to the bottoming out problem with the Float X2. Perhaps a shock with hydraulic bottom out will be the ticket or jamming more air and spacers inside. Shorter people will struggle to weight the front end of the bike enough to get the corners right while taller folks will be loving that same thing for the probability of less back pain and not having to opt for high rise bars.

The Commencal Meta SX V5 is a beast of a bike that needs a warrior to fight it into submission. There are no free rides here for chill laps on double black diamond trails. You have to demand control from the bike as it gets loose and wild under you. But once you do, you are treated to a magnificent ride. Swap the tires before you ride if you live in rocky zones or just want a better experience if traction is hard to come by. No other component needs attention unless broken.

There is no better way to describe the Meta than to quote HST:

“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride...and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well...maybe chalk it up to forced consciousness expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” ― Hunter S. Thompson

Grab yourself a Commencal Meta SX V5 or learn more at Commencal.com.

Deniz Merdano



Playful, lively riding style

Photographer and Story Teller

Lenticular Aesthetician


Related Stories

Trending on NSMB


+7 Glenn Bergevin dhr999 BarryW Endur-Bro Velocipedestrian Andrew Major Sidney Durant

The comment about hidden link bolts gave me flashbacks of my last frame. Nightmare fuel that one was. Never again. Needing to remove a shock to tighten other bolts should be a hard no.


+5 Mammal Raymond Epstein mnihiser gubbinalia bishopsmike

Thanks for quoting Hunter S. Thompson - made my day!



Charming fella that guy..


+5 Niels van Kampenhout Dogl0rd Tjaard Breeuwer Timer TerryP

I love that they make an aluminum frame with good parts. Too often you have to go carbon frames to get descent parts. Or go frame only and build it with parts you want, but that’s often very costly and similar to just buying a full carbon wonder bike. Unless you have parts to transfer. Buy the cheap model, swap parts and sell the old frame with new parts.


+3 BarryW Endur-Bro Sidney Durant

Finally a bike with a tall headtube, so you don't have to feel like a monkey on the grindstone. To date I have had to retrofit all of my bikes with tons of spacers because I always had the feeling that I wouldn't be able to generate proper balance if I hadn't done that. In my experience, avoiding a wash out (hello Deniz;-) or climbing steep ramps without tipping backwards only requires small adjustments to your driving technique that you quickly internalize.



If the fork had 30mm less travel, I'd have loved the tall stack. But at 170mm, i found it a bit much. I think i would switch to low rise bars if I owned this bike



I don't understand. Can you explain? Thanks!



Imagine two bikes; both with 120mm headtubes. One with 140mm fork and one with 170mm fork. Pedals parallel, will be more or less same distance from the ground. Handlebars will be 30mm higher from the ground on the long travel bike. 

I generally prefer a certain height to my bars from the ground regardless off the fork travel. 

I generally measure from the front axle to the center of the stem and add the rise of the bars.


+1 roil

But isn't stack measured for a given A2C?
So, two bikes with a stack of 630mm and a BB height of 340mm (for example) will position the top of the headtube at the same place even if one of them is designed around a 130mm fork and the other 170mm.



That'll depend on the reach and top tube length for sure.

To give you a comparison, following are the bikes i own or have owned in medium and what their stack heights are.

Rallon 170mm 628

Meta 170mm 638.3

Druid 160mm 620

Hightower 150mm 627

Tyaughton 150mm 636

The biggest difference is also the ability to slam the stem on the steerer. Meta is not only the tallest, but also has the thickest hesdset top cap out of all of them.

+1 bishopsmike

Thanks for the clarification.

I think you should be measuring your bar height relative to the BB, not the front axle. When you're riding, your feet are at the height of the BB, not the front axle. Some bikes have more BB drop than another and this is further complicated by sag, which affects either way you measure but much less so from the BB. 

Also, without considering stack and reach in relation to one another, we don't know much about your riding position on the bike. Lee McCormick has this idea for RAAD (not RAD) that I think we should get more behind this idea when talking about bike fit. 


+2 roil Velocipedestrian

You are correct, the general industry standard is to measure Stack relative to BB:  https://geometrygeeks.bike/bike/santa-cruz-heckler-2022/

+2 roil Velocipedestrian

That's a really good point about stack in relation to the bb height and is worth digging into a bit - especially as the 'on paper' stack number of 638mm isn't necessarily outrageous.

If we look at a couple of popular dedicated-MX bikes, we get the following stack numbers:

  • Transition Patrol: 623mm
  • SC Nomad v6: 625mm

I think I'm too ham-fisted to have 10-15mm of stack height drastically affect my comfort on the bike. But then, I also ride a bike with a rather high stack height of 643mm (size m) and it's never been a noticeable concern. This despite it beyond beyond that of the troublesome Meta SX stack measurement. 

But the bike I ride also has a notoriously low bottom-bracket height of somewhere around 335-340mm. And that's really what this is all about. The Meta SX's bottom bracket number is where things, in my opinion, get weird

Looking back at our dedicated-MX bikes and their bottom bracket heights/drops:

  • Transition Patrol: 340mm, -15mm
  • SC Nomad v6: 346mm, -8mm

Meanwhile the Meta has a bottom bracket drop of +4mm. The BB sits above the rear axle. Based on other manufacturers' numbers around a 27.5" rear wheel, this would lead to a BB-height of around 358-359mm*. That's a bit of an outlier. And then compound that with running less sag vs. the comparison bikes and it gets even worse.

So no wonder it felt unintuitive in corners. The entire rider's position is so much higher up on the bike than we are used to. 

Anyways, I thought this was interesting as the stack number, in and of itself, wouldn't stand out. But as a function of the bottom-bracket height, it tells a much clearer story. Thanks for pointing that out :)

* totally possible I don't understand math or geometry and I did this wrong.

+1 roil

Yeah. I prefer longer head tubes these days. But I’m short too so I think for tall riders, it’s worse and relatively short head tubes are less than ideal. On the other hand one can change from low rise bars to high bars easily too. I’m running a Chromag FU50 on one bike and an FU40 on the other one. I figure the steep seat tubes  work better with a more upright position so more stack is desirable. 

I know a guy who works at Norco and has been there since at least 1990. He told me that all their bikes back then before aheadsets had the same length headtube so that all their forks also had the same length steer tube. It was a cost saving measure. Makes you wonder if something like that is going on.


+1 DancingWithMyself

That was about ordering forks with threaded steerers in bulk. I assume when a bike company orders forks now the steerers come uncut. There's not much saving to be had via headset spacers. 

If they're concerned about people stacking spacers beyond the recommended height they could leave steerers at stem + 30mm and give rides some wiggle room.


+2 bishopsmike Andy Eunson

30mm is just over 1 inch and this is usually the variation in head tube lengths from a small to large/xl size in most brands. 

The variation in rider size (5' to 6'2"+) is 14 inches or ~355mm!!! 

A 6'2 rider does not need a bar to be 355mm higher but more likely 1/2 that or 175mm to be in a comparable body position as someone who is 5' (bars around hip height). 30mm doesn't cut it and most fork manufacturers warn against running to many spaces and high of bars because it puts too much leverage on the steerer tube.

I love this photo because it shows how little variation there is in bar height across sizes. Look at the drastic difference in seat height and near identical bar heights (these are s and xl frames).



that certainly highlights how geometry is (generally) optimized at the m/l size, and those at the ends of the size spectrum are riding very different (arguably compromised) handling bikes. small riders especially - ie, chainstays longer than reach & bar heights inches higher than full extension saddles. extrapolate similar ratios to a size large - how'd we get on with 500mm chainstays & 4" higher bars? there's certainly packaging constraints when it comes to shrinking bikes, but it's an interesting observation.


+3 roil Andrew Major Andy Eunson

i also like the (potential) trend towards taller stacks / longer headtubes & more upright body positioning (for aggressive riding). just need to shorten reach and/or lengthen RC accordingly to keep the front weighted - which appears to be going on with the new meta (compared to the v4, anyways).

further to this, i'm thinking that smol riders may be in the unchosen position of being at the cutting edge of new "upright" body positioning - with (again, unintentional) balanced geometry because of said chassis packaging constraints. maybe rc > or = reach and taller head tubes (because high rise bars are aesthetic abominations) will be the new hot ticket?


I am all aboard the taller stack and shorter reach for a more upright body position. I posted in another comment above about RAAD. This angle determines how aggressive of a body position you are in (higher value is more upright aggressive). 

I'm running 83mm high rise bars + max spacers + short offset stem. Measured from the bars, my bike has a 784mm stack and 433mm reach. My bike has a RAAD of 61 degrees for reference. 

I won't go back to low bars, and I'm only 6'0" tall. The more upright position gives you way better bike-body separation. Shifting weight from your hands to your legs (which are designed to support you bodyweight) makes the bike way more nimble and forgiving. 

People will say "but you need to weight the front" and while that's true, it's only true under certain situations. I can still easily shift weight forward when it's required but more often than not, you want your weight centered on the bike so it can pivot underneath you around the bottom bracket. This makes rough or steep terrain so much easier. Braking bumps vanish. 

+2 Deniz Merdano dhr999 Endur-Bro Joseph Crabtree

Commencal is claiming a frame weight of 3.3kg (w/o shock) which is the same as an SC Nomad or Megatower, and ligher than a Spec Enduro. Or at least that's what I'm seeing published in other media. That would be a great weight for an alu frame, but the total weight as tested here is making me think that claimed frame weight is impossible. Suspension and components are all on par and the wheels aren't THAT heavy. My napkin math says it's more like 4kg, maybe more.

For reference, other alu frames in the class like the Raaw Madonna and Geometron G1 both come in around 3.6kg.

Everything else about this bike sounds great - I prefer a taller headtube than most and this would let me run a normal amount of spacers and rise. Plus it's beautiful.


+2 Sidney Durant ohio

Possible. The frame tubing super thin(confirmed by flicking my finger nail on it) 

But the 38+lbs total weight does suggest a heavier frame weight. However the frame wears it's weight really well. Plus , as you said, its a gorgeous looking bike


+1 Velocipedestrian

Commencal is claiming a frame weight of 3.3kg (w/o shock) which is the same as an SC Nomad or Megatower, and ligher than a Spec Enduro. Or at least that's what I'm seeing published in other media. That would be a great weight for an alu frame, but the total weight as tested here is making me think that claimed frame weight is impossible. Suspension and components are all on par and the wheels aren't THAT heavy. My napkin math says it's more like 4kg, maybe more.

Your napkin math is pretty accurate. If you look at their website, the V5 states '3.3 kg, raw w/o accessories', and the V4 at 3.9kg (no disclaimer). If you compare the Race builds though, the new one comes in 100 grams heavier and the only spec difference is the 25g heavier wheelset on the new one. Commencal also weighs size smalls. Good marketing they do.


+3 Endur-Bro Velocipedestrian DancingWithMyself

Id rather say shady marketing :D I’d be pretty annoyed if it came in 1-2 pounds heavier. Also weight in the right places is something I’m way more concerned about. The G1 had beefy tubes but a slim rocker and other hardware. I don’t quite understand why they only ever weigh one size. Or even ever only ever have pictures of one size. (I guess that’s why I ended up in the Engineeering and not the pretty pictures for instagram department in my career :D)



Completely agree...and in a related development, I've learned that my internet sarcasm game needs work;)


+1 Sylvan

"V5 states '3.3 kg, raw w/o accessories"

Fair enough, don't count the accessories - but quoting a frame weight without paint is a bit much


+1 Suns_PSD

I'm really not buying the claimed 3.3kg weight for the frame either. I've ordered a size XL frame set which should arrive any day now so soon enough I'll be able to check. 

Though since it's an alloy frame and it survived EFBE's TriTest in Category 5, I'm pretty sure it would have to be substantially heavier than 3.3kg. 

I'm guessing somewhere in between 3.8 and 4 kg.


0 Suns_PSD bishopsmike

There's a more manipulable option with less stack which still has a 1.23m wheelbase



Which is?



I saw these in person at the Snowshoe WC last week. They are good-looking bikes. IMHO I don't know why Commencal would bother running an X2 on this other than to provide it with a more upmarket cache when something like a Float SX or Super Deluxe coil would be easy to deal with and a better fit. Two questions regarding this bike...1. how does it compare suspension-wise to the older model's more simplistic single pivot and 2. I still am wary of press-fit bottom brackets and was curious if you @denomerdano had any issues?


+2 Raymond Epstein Allen Lloyd

No issues with the press fit BB combined with a 24mm shimano spindle. I may have changed my tune if it was a 30mm or dub crankset. 

The suspension comparison is one I can't comment on but... a big one at that...

The idea of a dual link design is to tune the position of the main pivot of a single pivot design throughout the travel range. Lower link rotates millimeters! Not a centimetre or more! It is super subtle and if commencal releases any kinematic curves I'd imagine it would be a medium progressive with a fall off in anti squat towards the end of the travel. The initial anti squat feels high at sag. 

It's a sporty bike, I'd be curious to try the non mullet Meta V5.



I would love to hear a back to back review of this and the non-mullet Meta.



Ive picked up a Meta AM V5 ( the 29er 150mm version).  The clevis is longer and I think the rear triangle is a little different. Its 438mm chain stay and it runs a 210x55 shock. I have the Float X fitted.    

It too has a high stack not helped by my slightly longer than spec (170mm) fork but after ditching the  standard top cap/head set and fitting a cane creek with a flat top cap I have been able to run my favourite one up 30mm rise bars with a -10degree 50mm stem.   

Im 176cm tall and average wingspan and once getting the bars down a bit find the bike super intuitive and easy to ride. Like really easy !  It rips corners without a thought, just a lean and it dives in.

Really plush off the top so great on small stones/rocks/roots and also supportive so must be quite a progressive leverage ratio. 

Pedals well especially in tech terrain not dissimilar to a DW bike but with less anti-squat making it fantastic on technical climbing terrain. 

The racers are running the AM at 28% but they have a different clevis for the race bikes. I think the team bikes are 160mm travel.  

The float x works great at around 30% and im over 80kg. Perfect for rough and slow trails. It's a bit better to pedal and provides better support for higher speed work at around 25%.   

DH its a blast. A total "anti plow" bike. Really lively.  

I have quite a different experience with the AM than what's happening with this SX.  

Seems the AM is a very different beast.


-1 FullSend

Probably due to the clevis mount design snapping coil shock shafts.



The clevis is short enough that column buckling shouldn't be a problem.



Your experience sounds very similar as what I felt about my 2021 Meta AM29 with even more forward-biased geo at 495mm reach and 433 chainstays in Large. Comes alive with speed but requires a committed riding style.

I don't believe Commencal has published any kinematic numbers - given your comment about the lower pivot barely moving, I'm assuming that it's similar to previous years which is very linear. I ended up switching to a coil shock, oversprung at 550lbs/in to give a 23% sag. Works well to keep the rear end high and help get weight over the front, with plenty of support. Haven't felt any harsh bottom outs either, though admittedly as I get older my days of blindly dropping to flat are over!



This makes a ton of sense. The idea of running that little sag is a wild one to grasp!



Those Shimano lever blades break if you give them so much as a dirty look.

I don't know if part of your solution is looking at the flo Motorsports aftermarket blades but they have been awesome for me.



A little more of a homebrew solution than the flo motorsports solution, who btw I reached out to and they refused to be a part of a solution review.


+1 Velocipedestrian

That's weird huh....you're writing an article about what their product was made for!

I tried a few bodges without success before the flo. Interested to see what you rustled up.


0 Dogl0rd FullSend

I know there is a big push towards taller stack bikes in the larger sizes, but I recently went to lower rise bars to combat this because tall stack heights give up a lot of front wheel traction.

Also, taller riders don't necessarily need taller stacks as their arms are also longer by a similar amount.



Yeah high rise and high stack is trendy right now. My riding got better staying lower and getting grip on the front. I bet people will crash on these bikes before they figure it out



The V5 flip chip looks the same as the V4; wonder if they’re using up their deluge of parts, or if they’re going to announce high settings down the line..

My V4 SX is also much happier at 25% than 30 (SD Ult Air, volume reducers and damper settings to taste). At 30 it was a ground hugging plow, and hard to get airborne (not bad, just not what I wanted for my trail bike); at 25 it gives the bike some personality. Have the Zeb slightly softer for eating, but rebound matched. Like a different rig.

Also curious to hear old vs new linkage comparison if anyone manages to ride both. It’s not the linkage that counts, but what you do with it?!



Ive ridden the V3? Meta AM (with the shorter reach before it went mad) as its my mates bike. It feels a bit like a tank but pedals ok. It gets the job done. 

Ive ridden a Meta TR and it's a fun bike and reasonably light. Again a bit more fun to ride than the AM but not convincing enough to buy.

Made me more interested in Commencal though.

Ive not ridden the SX as they are still rare as but my AM is brilliant.  

Ive come from a Pivot Firebird Medium as comparison. 

I find the Meta AM easier to ride and a lot more fun. 

It's quicker on tighter trails but overall not as confidence inspiring at speed. Much better in technical terrain though as easier to handle and place where you want to go. 

Perhaps the SX with its longer wheelbase will be better at all out speed although this review isn't so positive?



I really, really wanted one of these new MX frames. Dual link, mullet, alloy... that's what dreams are made of. Been following the Commencal EWS project on IG since they first announced that they were working on it. Saw a group of Commencal riders in Brevard this past April and enjoyed chatting them up and looking at the "proto" frames that they were on.

Two things turned me away (once details were fully available):

  1. Frames seem kinda portly (willing to look past that, but they still seem heavy)
  2. Frame only price is way too high. $2200 USD + tax for an alloy frame (and then you still have to buy the shock?!)
  3. PressFit bb. Given the option, I'll still look elsewhere

I ended up building an Intense Tracer 279 (the Intense carbon frame only was less than the alloy Commencal) and it is fantastic. The way it rides sounds quite similar to this Commencal Meta SX review. It's a bike that blurs the lines between long travel trail (didn't we used to call this "All-Mountain" back in the day??) and Enduro race sled.

This Commencal Meta SX still sounds great - but the frame only prices are still out of whack. MSRP pricepoints are OK for complete builds.


Please log in to leave a comment.