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