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Commencal Meta 5.5.1 blog

edited December 1969 in MTB buying advice
I thought it might be useful to start a little diary thread relating my thoughts and impressions on the Meta 5.5.1. Please bear in mind this is my first squidgy bike - my other bike is an old 28.5lb Orange P7 hardtail with side-pull brakes, Marzocchi Bomber 3" forks, XT bits and Continental Explorer (front)/Vertical (back) tyres.

Immediate first impressions is that the 5.5.1 looks pretty cool with bling shiney Raceface Deus and stem & Thomson Elite seatpost! Its got SRAM X0 on the back, Shimano XT on the front. Rear shock is a two-position Fox RP2 and front are Fox Float 140RLs. Brakes are Formula Oro 160mms. Wheels are Mavic XM321 with lightweigt Commencal Hubs and Maxxis High Rollers. I've put XT clipless pedals on.

I'll tell you more about its first rides later - in the meantime I need to get it down to the LBS for repairs......!


  • repairs already???
    more info needed...

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  • I have my 5.5.1 now and I have found a couple of minor points that could be better. The quick release on the back wheel does not seem to lock up tidy and the back wheel went loose. (Its good until you fully close it ) The one on the seat post does not feel as positive as some and takes a bit of getting use to. The grips on the handbars are really cheap got my self some lock on's immediately. The problems so far is with the unbranded parts. Commencial own bar and hubs seem good though. One more thing to look out for is the sizing I got a small being 5''7 and the bar is nearly on my prunes. The plus side it rides like a dream I have only been riding it for 3 days and I have found it has really helped to get the best out of me. I have had a rigid for years then a 2nd hand 10 year old full suss and no matter how I tryed, my riding was below par and I could not seem to push it to the next level. Because of the the stable confident handling of the commencial it inspires a confidence that has had me carving the berms, jumping and tackling rocks gardens like never before!
  • Chippy36Chippy36 Posts: 126
    The bar is nearly on your prunes???? Sounds painful.
    My Stumpy
  • think I need a tight pair of Y Fronts keep fruit and veg tidy!
  • The repairs are totally down to my own ineptitude but I'l get on to that later. I've been on holiday hence I haven't been able to continue this thread. Anyway first impressions.

    First off the weight is just a tad under 28lbs with pedals so a little lighter than my hardtail.

    On tarmac this bike is quite a bit slower than my Orange, probably mainly because of the tyres but I suspect the fact that it is a 5" travel full-susser won't help either! But then of course this bike isn't designed to be ridden on-road.

    Get it off road and things improve and the rougher it gets the better the bike gets. The traction is superb which I assume is a combination of the tyres and the suspension and perhaps also the geometry. Certainly it left my normally very fit neighbour on his Gary Fisher full-sus for dirt on the more boggy or rough terrain we rode across. Definitely better than my Orange set-up.

    More later.....
  • papasmurf.papasmurf. Posts: 2,382
    reminds me most take my 5.5.3 in to lbs..

    non drive side crank arm fell off, looks like bolt threaded at the end, but no evidence of threading on the other part so I'm guessing manufacturing issue, also splines bit worn due to being loose I think.

    Also rear wheel not very true..but thats more to do with 16 stone and a drop off.

    GT Avalanche 3
  • Let's get back to the beginning and the first ride - I had an hour after collection before collecting my son from football to try setting it up in the local woods. Got the saddle position more-or-less right, the rear shock may need a bit more air for my 13.5 stone (what pressure are others using?) or it may be I'm just not used to full-suss yet. The rear Fox RP2 shock has two positions - firm to use for normal riding and soft to use I'm not sure when but I suppose when you want more squidge. There's quite a difference between the two settings. However my session was stopped short by the front mech changer cable jumping off its guide round the bottom bracket. So I went back to the LBS to sort that out.

    Next ride was again a bit of grabbed time so only a short blast. A strong headwind uphill made it difficult to draw conclusions on the uphill. On the downhill I tried a rocky narrow lane that is hard to clean on the hardtail and it went over that no problem and superbly accurately and probably at literally twice the speed of the hardtail and with no feeling of impending doom. This was followed by a bumpy open field and the speed it was up to was frightening however it felt pretty safe. The worst thing was the sound - like a bag of nails on acid. Another good thing was that you could stop the monster before you hit the stonewall at the bottom of the field thanks to those super powerful Formula Oros.

    Third ride was back from work from Bradford over Ilkley Moor - about 15 odd miles the first half of which is on road. The road work was relatively slow thanks to those tyres and the front mech cable again came off its guide. Luckily I had my more mechanically minded neighbour with me so we fixed that. Whether this is going to be a long-term problem or is simply due to the cable being new and "bedding in" remains to be seen. My neighbour is also of the opinion that XT front mechs need careful setting up so we might look at that if problems persist. The rear SramX0 has been fantastic and positive change every time so no problem there. Anyway onto the moor....I'll continue with the story of the hole in the ground later...
  • Jon Prothero - its funny you should mention the quick releases. When I test rode the Meta 5.2 both wheels came loose. Once after laying it down on slippy grass and I put that down to someone having put the wheel on with the quick release pointing forward. However the second time the other wheel (back I think) came loose just riding along which was a bit worrying - however I just put that down at the time to a previous rider not having tightened it sufficiently.
  • It a pain when bikes are not set up good from the shop. I have had to do alot of work to mine setting it up to suit me. Brake postion/ lever extention, different saddle and postion,gears needed setting up, bar postion, gear lever angles and suspension settings. Still learning my self but feel I am starting to get there exspecially with the sus settings I have fould a particular short video really helpful.
  • The quick release at the back definatly losens when full closed on mine. I have had a couple of close shaves with it. Going to buy some new ones probably Salsa. The seat post tightener not to hot either. Everything should be real good at this level!!!
  • To be fair Jon most LBS can't set up your personal bike preferences for you, unless they have an expert bike fitter in house with the equipment skill and knowledge to do it scientifically. After seat and handlebar positioning the set up of shocks and brake lever positioning is down to personal preference. I also tend to like to have my seat drooped at the front as my back prefers it.

    Anway that pesky hole in the ground. Having climbed up from **** Hudsons, almost clean for the first time ever, a narrow rocky track caught out my front wheel when I put it down a hole that I would probably have steered round on the hardtail and over she went, quite slowly, but fast enough to land me on the deck and the bike came to rest perfectly balanced upside down on its seat and handlebars. Only when I set off again did I realise my front brake had pinged and bent its lever rod and I had no front brake. So on we merrily travelled and the bike went through the peat bogs like a dream with that excellent traction. Even the rocky downhill to the Cow&Calf pub was achieved at a fair old lick despite only having half my braking (I was thirsty). Anyway the LBS diagnosed more damage than was at first apparent and being a Formula Oro it might be a while before the required parts arrive so I now have a Shimano brake on the front loaned from my ever helpful LBS. Hopefully also that front XT mech is now sorted.

    I was going to take the bike to my folks house near Fort William at Easter but a last minute switch to camping in Cornwall meant I took the hardtail instead as the MTBing there is poor and I didn't want to risk leaving the Meta sitting in a campsite. Anyway we are off to the Lakes this weekend so I might get to try it properly at Grizedale and Walna Scar Road - children permitting!

    So we'll see how the fourth ride goes....
  • papasmurf.papasmurf. Posts: 2,382
    Two of my spokes came well loose this morning, might explain the slight wobble in the wheel. Good thing I book it in yesterday for a service.

    What oros does the 1 have? 18k or 24ks?

    GT Avalanche 3
  • Father faff luckily I managed to get away with doing damage to my new bike. But this is not at all usual, In the past i always managed to do something! PS ( not sure if this counts but after lowering my seat post I found it was difficult to get back, somehow there seemed to be jammed a small bit of grit or the like beside it anyhow when I did mange to wobble it back up there were some lovey scratches all over the lovely Thomson seat post.) This give me an idea for a new thread to cheer us up.
    What the worse thing you have done to your new bike!
  • New thread - What the worse thing you have done to your new bike! Posted in the General section of the forum
  • papasmurf.papasmurf. Posts: 2,382
    My Thomson gets stuck if you lower it to far, I think the seat tube gets narrower.

    GT Avalanche 3
  • I am going to get a new seat clamp as well as screwers, can't seem to get this one right one minute the seat post is tight the next it has shot down the tube when i am trying to adjust it. Just hope the commencals hubs and handlebar turn in a better performance! Still cannot deny it handles better than any other bike I have had.
  • Wow - awesome! This bike just eats rocky Lakes bridleways for breakfast. In fact its bloody scarey how fast it will go downhill.

    On Friday evening I had an hour to scoot round the North Face trail at Grizedale. Unlike the hardtail the technical bits didn't cause any agro and really it was a matter of how fast you could go without missing a corner. The only thing I found was an occasional tendency to lift and slide the front wheel on uphill turns. The front end is quite light compared to my hardtail and the Maxxis High Roller tyres also seem to behave in more of an on-off fashion than the Explorers/Veticals. Having said that I didn't actually fall off. The fire roads were also a bit slower compared to the hardtail.

    On Saturday evening I got another hour to climb up the hill between Hawkshead and Lake Windermere and do a bridleway descent on typical stoney Lakeland trail. FAntastic stuff especially when three lads in turquoise outfits appeared ahead and the race was on. Not that they had much chance as I think they were all on hardtails.

    The more I ride this bike the better I like it. The only worrying thing is how fast it goes downhill. If you have an off it's going to be a bloody big one. I have now got some kneepads as there is not much more room on my knees for scar tissue and I'm thinking I might have to get a few more bits of armour and a full face helmet which at my age will look kinda silly.

    Anyway that front mech still won't change down to the granny ring properly so I'll give the LBS one more chance tomorrow!

    Oh and the wheel quick releases have been fine despite a total pummeling.
  • Yeah Father, this is what I have found, it is scary fast pointed downwards, so I stick a pile of pads in my backpack for when i need them. I have also turned to flat pedals because I fould I am doing things I would never have attempted before and the flats are giving me the extra security. I am missing my eggbeaters on the uphills though. Oh and another thing bike has saved me from a couple of falls on *****ed up drop offs and jumps its very forgiving thank goodness as I am no expert. As you have said though, you have to be careful If you don't reign it back on those levers every now and again the speed is too much. (at least it is for me at the moment!!!!)
  • PS Glad you quick realeses are good. My only problem is with a doggy back one the front seems more than fine.
  • I think you are right about reigning it back and not getting carried away with it on the downhills. It would be far too easy to get a serious injury at these kind of speeds, even with all the gear. I think I'll concentrate on building up my skill levels and enjoying the bikes ability to tackle rough terrain, up and down, without pushing the speed. Anyway the front mech change now seems to be working better and hasn't jumped off the bottom bracket guide recently so hopefully it has settled down now.

    One slightly odd thing is that my front mech cable curves right off the frame and drops at least an inch below the bottom bracket where you would have thought it would be rather vulnerable. Presumbly this is to make the cable bend in a smoother fashion into the hole below the changer. Does yours do this Jon?
  • paulosoxopaulosoxo Posts: 3,413
    What does the Commy climb like? Is there much bob, or is it pretty smooth, thinking of taking one out for a test ride that's all, but doubt I'll get a proper 'off road' ride on one.

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  • papasmurf.papasmurf. Posts: 2,382
    I think it climbs pretty well, no bob but it does lift the front pretty easily on the steeper stuff

    GT Avalanche 3
  • The climbing is better the rougher it gets. On a smooth climb like a fireroad most hardtails would probably out-do-it but the minute it starts getting rougher the traction of the back wheel really shows itself. The front end is relatively light (which makes it easy to jump) but you have to watch it as it gets steeper and also on uphill turns as the front goes light. You can probably correct the tendency with the right technique. There's a little technical climb near me that I've failed to get up on the hardtail so it'll be interesting to see how far up I can get on the Meta....I suspect a fairly smooth technique might be required. Maybe tomorrow night...
  • I lock out the sus on smooth up hills really does make a difference. Also it would climb even better with the stem/ handle bars set down one spacer on the steerer tube. However this might spoil the relaxed and confident feel on the downhills.
  • Dr U IdhDr U Idh Posts: 324
    Some impressions of my Meta 5

    Build: Got a 5.0 VIP frame built up with Marzocchi 700s, Hope XC/Mavic 717 wheels, and the rest mostly XT. I haven't weighed it, but it seems on a par with my last bike - a Spesh FSR. I'm between 5'7" and 5'8" and went for a medium )the Spesh was a small and always felt a bit cramped). No plum/TT interface issues yet. It's currently sporting a Gravity Dropper seatpost - just because I had one in the right diameter.

    Riding it: Climbs WAY better than the Stumpy. Traction is almost guaranteed regardless of terrain, and the front end doesn't lift so much. Seems marginally quicker downhill - although that could just be my comfort factor moving up. Haven't done any really looooong days on it yet, but no comfort problems. Overall, I'd say it's a lot more stable, mibbe a bit less manouverable in the very tight stuff.

    Issues: Shifting was OK for the first 3/4 months (got it in November), then it refused to change up at the back. I've now fitted XTR cables - with the slightly better sealing - to see if these last longer. I lost front gears once as a large twig/small branch got lifterd into the front DR and displaced the cable. I've since fitted a small (homemade) mudguard in this area which seems to work well at keeping this area a bit more mud-free. The frame has worn badly where the rear brake hose runs past it. I've fitted a small Lizard Skin patch and am now fitting the (much more flexible) Goodridge hoses. I've never had an issue with a QR coming loose - I'm running XTs.

    A Pentlands Routemap for Google Earth :
  • good to here your veiws!
  • First night ride tonight with my Tuesday night group and it tore the pants off everyone on the downhills. Definitely a bit tardy on tarmac and smooth uphills though so if you're more into smooth trails I'd stick with a hardtail - mind you I'm sure changing the tyres to faster rollers could speed it up considerably without compromising it's grip too much. For rough and rocky ascents and descents this bike is the business. Even after 4 pints of Scotland's best beer (Deuchars) the stability (of the bike) was excellent.

    And no problems now with the front mech changes. Quick releases are still tight.
  • Dr U IdhDr U Idh Posts: 324
    Thought you might like a photo

    A Pentlands Routemap for Google Earth :
  • Och is that Arthur's Seat in the background? I climbed a horribly loose HVS rockclimb on that once called Fang or something which had me sweating. Now I've switched to a full-sus bike I'm beginning to think rock climbing was actually safer than going full-tilt on a mountain bike.
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