2009 Commencal Meta 6.2 First Impressions

commencal closeupI was first introduced to the 2009 Commencal Meta 6 in early August, at the 2008 Winter Park Crankworx event. Unfortunately the BTI, Bicycle Technologies International, crew only had a medium size on hand. I had tried riding a their Supreme DH bike in a medium frame, but it was just too small. I was able to demo the Meta 55, which is basically a smaller version of the Meta 6. They even use the same swingarm. We got the ball rolling for a test at Crankworx, and the bike arrived at Dirt Rag on Tuesday, November 25th.

My test bike was in the Chris King booth at the Interbike Outdoor Demo before it got to me. It’s been ridden a few times and has some cool after market parts adorning it. The best of the non-stock parts is the new Chris King bottom bracket, which will be reviewed separately. The bike also has the always beautiful King headset, Race Face Evolve XC cranks, and Stan’s Tubeless system. These items are not stock parts on the production Meta 6.2.

One of the first things to catch my eye while opening the box to build the bike was the Crank Brothers Joplin adjustable seatpost. I have been wanting to try this system for a while and finally have the opportunity. The Formula Oro K18 brakes have removable, what appear to be stainless, thread inserts for the perch bolts. I run my brakes Moto, front on the right, and will need to swap those back if someone else wants to ride the bike for any extended period of time. The inserts decrease the chance of striping the small aluminum threads in the perches. The rear derailleur threads came pre-boogered (partially stripped), but I was able toladder ride clean, grease, and finesse the bolt back in smoothly. Another very cool feature on this bike is the adjustable head tube angle. Two pinch bolts can be loosened to allow a sleeve to be spun inside the head tube, giving plus or minus 0.5 degrees from the median setting. I then noticed the rear suspensions bolts and hardware. The bolts do not thread directly into the frame, they attach together via male and female ends. This could save a very costly swingarm or frame replacement in the event of a broken or over tightened bolt. The bike went together with no major problems, and looks quite remarkable with the red and white color scheme. The white Mavic EN 321 rims are the icing on the cake and the whole deal weighed in at 34.76 pounds, with Shimano SPD’s.

I was not able to to ride the bike until the next two, partially frozen, days. I will probably soon be switching to studded tires, but I wanted to get a few rides with the original setup. Pittsburgh’s Frick park is a good place for this bike. The entire park works around a major valley, meandering up and down the hills and all the smaller tributary valleys. There’s plenty of climbing, descending, and lots of jumps and drops. After a few early ride personal adjustments I was feeling a little more comfortable aboard the Meta 6.2. I had rolled down some of the more tame trails to determine what I had to change, so it was time to switch on the pro pedal feature of the high volume Fox Float RP2 shock and climb for a bit. I’m not sure if it’s the suspensions design or the high volume shock, but this pro pedal works much better than anylaunch other that I’ve used in the past. Switch it on and the rear end stiffens, but also moves just enough to retain great traction. The SDG Bel Air saddle was not working out quite as well. It just did not seem to fit. Maybe some more adjustments are needed. On the other side of the hills the seatpost was as good as I thought it would be, simply fantastic. It drops and raises effortlessly, allowing you to be in the perfect position for whatever it is you are doing. The rear suspension sucked up everything I hit, with plenty of travel to spare. My initial set-up seems to be working out, because I stayed away from the bigger drops and snow covered wooden jumps. They will require the other half of the travel I never touched on my first rides. The SRAM shifters work flawlessly, and the brakes feel strong.

I can’t wait to get a few more adjustment rides under my belt, and really find the bike’s groove. I can sense this bike is going to be a lot of fun to put through the paces.


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