Commencal Meta AM 29 TeamCheck Out the Full Specs and Review
By reputation and by look, the Meta AM 29 is a big, burly, aluminum Enduro World Series crusher. But when we threw a leg over it in the parking lot of Deer Valley Resort, it felt surprisingly conservative. That’s due in part to head angle—which on the Meta is 65.5 degrees—and reach, which is a couple millimeters shy of 470 on the size large we rode. That these numbers would be considered conservative says more about how quickly bike geometry has been changing than about the Commencal itself. Especially because, on the trail, it is not a totally conservative-feeling bike.
And at nearly 35 pounds, how could it be? This bike reminded our testers that a little extra weight isn’t such a bad thing on rowdy descents. The Meta picks up steam quickly and doesn’t surrender it without a fight. And while it is notably short and steep compared to some bikes we tested this year, it didn’t feel unstable. In fact, we loved flying off drops into rough trail aboard the Meta, with our resident Irishman describing the sensation of landing such a hefty bike as a “lovely thing.” Its weight does indeed give the Commencal a more planted feel than it might otherwise have, but suspension is playing a role as well. At 170 pounds, the lighter of our three testers struggled to achieve a suspension setup that wasn’t either chattery off the top or would blow through to the bottom of its travel, but the other two, who were each heavier by about 20 pounds, had no such issue. Our theory? The lighter rider, with less pressure in the same volume air can, was getting less ramp toward the end of the stroke. Thankfully, there’s plenty of space for additional volume reducers.
The two heavier testers had no qualms with the rear suspension’s performance, and all three agreed that the Meta’s more-conservative geometry makes it a more versatile bike than they’d expected, and a true weapon on steep, tricky descents where maneuverability is more advantageous than outright stability. Testers also agreed that the simple linkage-driven, single-pivot suspension enhanced the robust feel of the chassis.
The Meta’s weight also wasn’t a limiting factor on climbs. Or, perhaps it’s the way the rider carries the Meta’s weight atop the 76.5-degree seat tube angle. If there was any limiting factor, it was suspension performance. Our testers found that the Meta would settle into a seated climbing rhythm without complaint, but didn’t react with the same support for hard, out-of-the-saddle efforts. It wasn’t the goopiest climber of the bunch—that cup of custard goes to the GT Force—but we certainly felt the need to use the lockout lever on the RockShox SuperDeluxe Ultimate, which was a true lockout that turned the Meta into a heavy hardtail. Not great for technical singletrack, but maybe just what the doctor ordered for buff climbing trails or access roads. We tested the $4,000 Team build, which is a budget-minded SRAMophile’s dream. It faces stiff competition within the Meta’s own lineup, though, especially from the Essential build, which is $800 less and comes with a mix of SLX and XT drivetrain and braking bits, Performance-level Fox suspension, and some sweet, sweet skinwall tires. Or, for $5,000, you can get the XX build with SRAM AXS shifting and dropper post control, plus carbon E13 hoops and top-end RockShox suspension.
There’s no complete build with a coil shock unless you pay the premium for Commencal’s A La Carte bike builder. A coil would complement the Meta’s character, making it feel more committed to its burliness—more comfortable in its own skin—more itself. Still, as it stood, the bike we tested is unique, and while probably not right for most riders, it’s probably perfect for some, namely, those who want a big bike that still feels precise, with the option to run a coil, and at a pretty good price. Oh, and metal. You’d better want lots of metal.
For access to exclusive gear videos, celebrity interviews, and more, subscribe on YouTube!Back to top