Review: 2020 Commencal Meta Power 29 Team Edition | Let’s Go Trucking!

Commencal has produced more than it’s fair share of top-performing mountain bikes in the last decade or so, but none has excited fans of the brand in recent times as much as the 2020 Meta Power 29 Team Edition.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
The Meta Power 29 Team Edition is very easy on the eye and incredibly exciting to ride.

The Team Edition Meta Power 29 is designed around the same award-winning DNA as the non-E, Meta AM 29 we tested earlier this year. The goal? – build a bike that rolls efficiently, offers good ground clearance and has excellent front vs. rear weight distribution.

Commencal says their approach was never about compromising their platform to incorporate a motor and battery. Rather they found a way to incorporate a drive system into their proven formula. The result? – an all-round eMTB that simply trucks it everywhere.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
It will squash, pop or smash through any trail and is a true e-Enduro rig which is down or up for whatever!


THE BIKE

The linkages and entire rear section is ‘up-sized’ to improve lateral stiffness and overall strength. There is no skimping on material here.
SIZES| Small, Medium, Large, XL
FRAME | 2020 Commencal META POWER 29, Fully integrated battery, 160 mm travel, 6066 Alloy with Triple-Butted Tubing
FORK| RockShox Lyrik Ultimate, Charger 2.1 damper, Debonair, low speed / high speed comp, rebound, 51 mm offset
SHOCK| RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate, 230 x 60
SYSTEM| Shimano 8000, 70Nm
BATTERY| Shimano E8035, 500Wh
DISPLAY| Shimano E8000
BARS| Ride Alpha, Alloy 7075, double-butted, 20 mm rise, 780 mm, 31.8 mm
STEM| Ride Alpha, Freeride, 50 mm, 31.8 mm, 0° Angle
SHIFTER| SRAM GX Eagle,  Single Click, 1 x 12 sp
BRAKES| SRAM Code RSC with 200mm rotors
SEATPOST| KINDSHOCK Lev Integra, 125 mm on S, 150 mm on M, 175 mm on L and XL
SEAT| Fabric Scoop Flat Elite
REAR MECH| SRAM XO1 Eagle 12-spd 
FRONT TYRE| SCHWALBE MAGIC MARY, 29 x 2.35, Super Gravity, Addix soft
REAR TYRE| SCHWALBE MAGIC MARY, 29 x 2.35, Super Gravity, Addix soft
WHEELSET| DT Swiss H1700 Spline, 32 hole, 30.5 inner
CASSETTE| SRAM GX Eagle
CHAIN GUIDE| Ride Alpha
CRANKSET| SHIMANO XT, 165mm
CHAIN| SRAM GX Eagle 
WEIGHT| 23.7kg Actual. (No pedals or sealant)
RECYCLING| In partnership with SHIMANO, COMMENCAL supports a voluntary battery recycling program for ebike batteries. 
onkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
A 70Nm Shimano motor complete with protective plate (bash guard) drives this Meta.

Commencal based the Meta Power 29 around the popular Shimano platform and the new fully integrated battery which sits inside the beefy downtube. This cleans up the overall appearance of the bike and it certainly attracted a lot of compliments when out on the trails. It’s sleek and ultra-modern styling is best appreciated in person.

The 500Wh fully integrated battery is removed with a quarter-turn of a 4mm Allen screw. It is not necessary to remove the battery to recharge.

The build kit highlights include the Lyrik fork with Charger 2.1 damper, a RockShox Super Deluxe Ultimate shock, SRAM Code RSC brakes, XO1 Eagle rear mech, and a Ride Alpha bar / stem combo. The DT Swiss Hybrid wheelset (2 090g) is specifically built to withstand the abuse that eMTB’s will dish out on technical trails and features a three cross straight pull spoke design.

The Super Gravity casing, Schwalbe Magic Mary in a soft compound is a great front option but is not the best rear-specific option for an eMTB in terms of durability. You would want to pop that off right away, replace it with a harder compound version. In terms of overall weight, the Meta Power 29 is about 5% up on the lightest in class (all aluminum/ 160mm / 500Wh) but is also definitely not the heaviest. Our test bike was limited to 25km/h but Commencal will gladly chip it for you to increase that.

In the last two years, this relatively small bike brand has readjusted perceptions of the true ride quality achievable through aluminum framed bikes. After winning multiple World Cups and World Championship gravity events in different categories with different riders, Commencal has proved that in the right application, carbon is not always better. According to Adrien Janot, the new head of global markets at Commencal: There are absolutely no plans to produce carbon bikes at Commencal. We see we can achieve a better feel with aluminum, update geometry faster and continue to evolve and innovate quicker with aluminum.

There is a lot of bike here for the R109 999 pricing. The quality of construction, premium build kit and overall value is exceptional.



GEOMETRY

  • REACH: 430mm (SM), 450mm (M), 475mm (L), 500mm (XL)
  • SEAT TUBE LENGTH: 415mm (SM), 440mm (M), 465mm (L), 495mm (XL)
  • WHEELBASE: 1224mm (SM), 1246mm (M), 1273mm (L), 1300mm (XL)
  • CHAINSTAY: 453mm
  • HEAD ANGLE: 65° degrees
  • SEAT TUBE ANGLE: 77°
  • BOTTOM BRACKET: 345mm

Commencal has steepened up the seat angle to 77° which is a tad more progressive than some of the latest Enduro bikes. The BB height still offers a 20mm drop but is at a comfortable 345mm. 453mm is a neat and nippy chainstay length for any 160mm 29er and is certainly shorter than a lot of other similar E-Bikes. The 65° head angle is suitably slack without being wacky.

Where Commencal has done so well on this Meta Power 29 is with regards to fit. Throughout the size curves, the ratio between seat tube length and frame reach is such that you can select the correct reach without ending up with a seat tube that is too long.



TECH TALK



THE RIDE

The good news is the performance matches the trend-setting style of the Meta Power 29. This bike simply trucks it through or over just about anything you point it at.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
The steep seat angle (77°) puts the hips forward and into a good position for putting power into the system as does the generous reach.

The SHIMANO platform delivers the assist in a smooth manner and the feel on the pedals is as natural as you can get on any eMTB. For this reason, climbing technical or smooth trails requires very little change in technique from your non-E. If you are wanting to get a deep workout like on your regular trail bike then just pop the assist into ECO and you will be sweating, huffing and puffing in no time. I do like the COMFORT of this bike on climbs; the generous reach and steeper seat angle puts you into an almost road-bike-like position (ie: hips are forward) and you can put in a lot of power if you wish to. Those soft compound 29er Schwalbe’s provide a lot of bite on climbs and in TRAIL mode I could get up and over just about all the very technical trails I tested on. This Power 29 is a better technical climber than the Meta Power Essential which has slightly less ground clearance – 2.5cm to be precise. Overall, the power delivery and natural feel of the bike when climbing is very impressive.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
The Shimano platform has a very natural and impressive feel when climbing out of the saddle and it’s easy to find a good climbing rhythm.

If you are new to eMTB you might think that a 170mm front and 160mm rear bike is a downhill bike (and you are forgiven for that) but it is most certainly not. Nevertheless, point this puppy back down the hill and the good times come trucking. The rear [suspension] is so very good on this bike! The combination of bigger pivots, Enduro bearings, long (230 x 60) Super Deluxe shock, the clever leverage curve and laterally stiff linkage produce an exceptional feel when descending. You can set the line and just let the trucker roll and the traction and lateral stiffness holds lines well. I hit some massive booters on this bike, with some huge flat landings and used all the travel but without any harsh bottoming out or reduced control from the shock recovering from deep in the travel. Good news; the decoupling of the motor and assist as you reach the limit is not a CNN breaking news scenario on the Shimano system, – it’s more a gentle turning down of the volume if I can call it that.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
Most bikes can handle hucking but it’s what happens in the split seconds after touch down that can often end in disaster. This Meta 29 recovers rapidly from deep in the travel and settles (composes itself) very quickly so you can focus on the next booter. It’s a fun bike to hit jumps on. Real fun.

The range capabilities of the bike are really dependant on where you ride and how hard you want to work but are on par with what I have experienced with other 500Wh 29er EMTB’s. I experienced no issues with recharging nor anything which impacted the performance or reliability of the bike. If you are looking for a ‘laps on laps’ kind of bike or if you are of a heavier build I would definitely recommend running a 220mm rotor on the rear for more modulation and brute stopping force.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
It’s not a steep and short bike, but the rider’s weight is positioned forward which enables good #UpHillFlow

Also, as is the case with all eMTB’s, make sure you get proper attention with regards to setting up the suspension and pay particular attention to the volume adjust options within the fork and shock. Riding without the right air volume adjust will turn an exceptional ride into a horrid one. Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that the sizing is big, meaning if you are “usually a large”, you might very well be a medium on a Commencal as is the case with me. The size suggestion chart on their site is spot on (for me at least) and remember to prioritize reach and seat tube length before any other numbers when choosing your size.

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin
The lateral stiffness of the chassis plus the geometry that places you forward and ‘in’ the bike gives the Meta a calm, composed feel through high speed turns.


THE TAKEOUT

Once again, the relatively small Andorran brand has produced an exceptional bike. The Meta Power 29 is a superb allrounder. Whether you ride the steeps of Sabie, the rolling hills of Howick or the janky trails in the Western Cape you are going to have a jol on this bike. More: Commencal-store.co.za

Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch - 20 November - Commencal MetaPower 29 during a Bike Network photoshoot with Myles Kelsey. Photo by Gary Perkin

| IMAGES: Gary Perkin | LOCATION: Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch |


2 Comments

  1. Easy nice reading. Is the cablemanagement that bad? Or will a pice of tape will fix it for sure?
    Also you say an 220mm rotor on the back is advised, but could the 200mm rotor with vented/finned pads do the trick too?

    • Never picked up any issues with the 200mm rear rotor – even running laps on a descent – having the option to move to a 220mm rotor is awesome. Nothing wrong with the cable routing.


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