Blister Brand Guide: Commencal Mountain Bike Lineup, 2020

Intro

When considering a new mountain bike, there are so many similar-looking bikes on the market being made by so many different companies, it is virtually impossible to (1) know where to begin; (2) quickly figure out which one or two products from a given brand might work well for you; and (3) determine what products from other brands might be the most similar and also worth considering.

So in our new “Blister Brand Guide” series, we provide an overview of the entire product lineup of a brand; highlight how each product stands out from the rest of that brand’s lineup; and help you figure out quickly and easily which bike might work best for you.

In our individual product reviews, we go very deep into the details of particular products. With these Brand Guides, the goal is not Depth, but Breadth. Our Brand Guides and full reviews are designed to complement each other — provide a broad overview of entire company lineups, and then also very detailed reviews of individual products. 

Our mountain bike Brand Guides are presented by CBGTrails. Learn more and start planning your trip today at cbgtrails.com, then download the CBG Trails app for info on the 750+ miles of singletrack and 150+ trails in Crested Butte and the Gunnison Valley, Colorado.

See our other MTB Brand Guides

About Commencal

Commencal was started in 2000. Around 2011, they started to shift their sales to their online store. Today, their bike sales are almost all direct-to-consumer. Because of this, their bikes tend to be cheaper than companies who deal through bike shops. They stand out from many other brands because they don’t make any Cross-Country bikes, with their shortest-travel full-suspension bike having 130 mm of rear travel. However, they do make several longer-travel rigs, including three dedicated Downhill bikes and a few Trail, Enduro, and freeride-oriented, long-travel options.

In Commencal’s bike builds, they also generally opt to include high-end suspension before high-end drivetrain parts. Commencal only makes aluminum frames, and they do not make any road bikes.

Commencal is currently headquartered in Erts, Andorra.

Current Warranty (for the original retail purchaser)

  • Two years for all adult downhill bikes (Supreme DH and Furious)
  • Five years for all other bikes
  • Two years for the chainstays and contact system of all full-suspension bikes
  • Two years for Commencal and Ride Alpha branded components 
  • Six months for the finishes on all bikes
  • For more information, visit Commencal

Commencal’s Suspension Design: Commencal uses a few different suspension designs with no specific marketed names.

(For more on different suspension designs, see our Suspension 101 article)

Before we get into their specific models and build options, here are some things to keep in mind when deciding on which build level to go with, and why.

First, when looking at complete bikes, suspension and wheels are going to make the biggest difference in how a bike really rides. Spend money on those before other things like higher-end drivetrain parts, cockpit parts (e.g., stem, handlebars, etc.), cranks, etc.

Tires make an enormous difference in performance, but are cheaper and easier to upgrade, especially since they tend to wear down quicker than other components. Upgrading a lower-end front tire to something better — and saving the original for rear-tire use — can be a good way to improve a bike while still making use of the originals, since front tires are generally a lot more important than rear tires when it comes to traction.

Drivetrain parts can be upgraded piecemeal as they wear out, or if you just want to upgrade down the line. Higher-end cassettes are mostly just lighter, while higher-end shifters and derailleurs get lighter, smoother, and sometimes last a bit longer as you go up in price.

We’ll outline here the different models in Commencal’s MTB lineup, organized from most cross-country-oriented (XC) to downhill-oriented (DH). In other words, the bikes at the top of the list are optimized to pedal and climb uphill very well, while the bikes at the bottom are optimized to handle very rough, steep, and challenging descents very well.

We’ve included some notable information for each model:

Available build kits & their MSRP

  • Best Budget Build: These are the build kits that we think make the most sense for people trying to spend the least amount without ending up with a build that’s going to immediately break or need to be upgraded.
  • Most Performance for the Price: These are the build kits that we think make the most sense for people seeking the best balance of performance and cost. I.e., if you don’t need to get the cheapest bike, but you also don’t need the absolute lightest bike or all the newest bling, this is the build we think makes sense for you.
  • Suspension travel (e.g., 100 mm of travel, 130 mm of travel, etc.)
  • Wheel size (e.g., 27.5”, 27.5+, 29”)
  • Frame material options (e.g., alloy vs. carbon)
  • A brief description of what the bike was designed for and any notable design details.
  • Some of the bike’s most direct competitors from other brands
  • Which Commencal bike it’s most similar to
  • Reasons why you should buy it
  • Reasons why you should not buy it

Commencal Mountain Bikes

(Most Cross-Country-Oriented to Most Downhill-Oriented)

Blister Brand Guide: Blister provides an overview of Commencal's 2020 Mountain Bike Lineup
  • Front: 150-160 mm
  • Rear: Hardtail
  • 27.5" / 29"
  • Aluminum

“Enduro hardtail” with a long-travel fork. Origin and Essential build kits come with wide 2.6”-2.8” tires. Long & slack geometry for a hardtail.

Consider If:

  • You want a hardtail with slack, aggressive geometry
  • You may be interested in a bike with plus-sized or wide tires
  • You appreciate a quick, nimble hardtail
  • You want a very downhill-capable hardtail

Don’t Bother If:

  • You want an cross-country race style hardtail
  • You ride very fast, steep, bumpy, technical trails
  • Origin: $1,099
  • Ride 29: $1,399 – Best Budget Build
  • Essential (160 mm fork): $1,799
  • Race 29: $2,099 – Most Performance for the Price
  • Frame only: $499
  • Chromag Surface
  • Nukeproof Scout
  • Orange Crush
  • Transition Throttle
  • Nukeproof Scout 275
Blister Brand Guide: Blister provides an overview of Commencal's 2020 Mountain Bike Lineup
  • Front: 150 mm
  • Rear: 130 mm
  • 29"
  • Aluminum

Commencal’s best Quiver Killer. This is their take on a versatile, 29” Trail bike.

More like the Meta AM 29 than the Meta HT AM.

Consider If:

  • You’re looking for a do-it-all Trail bike
  • You appreciate a good, fast, technical, and / or steep descent, and are willing to climb for it

Don’t Bother If:

  • You want a bike that is a quick, lightweight climber
  • The trails you ride are mostly smooth and flat
  • You want a very capable and forgiving bike that crushes descents and are willing to sacrifice some climbing ability
  • Origin: $2,199 
  • Ride: $2,599 – Best Budget Build
  • Race: $3,899
  • Signature: $4,499 – Most Performance for the Price
  • Frame Only: $1,299
  • Yeti SB130
  • Specialized Stumpjumper 29”
  • Santa Cruz Hightower / Juliana Maverick
  • Pivot Switchblade 29”
  • Kona Process 134 29
  • Scott Genius
  • Transition Smuggler
  • Rocky Mountain Instinct
  • Intense Primer 29
  • YT Jeffsy 29
  • Ibis Ripmo
  • Norco Sight 29”
  • Devinci Troy 29
  • Evil The Offering
  • Cannondale Habit
  • Canyon Neuron
Blister Brand Guide: Blister provides an overview of Commencal's 2020 Mountain Bike Lineup
  • Front: 170 mm
  • Rear: 160 mm
  • 29"
  • Aluminum

Commencal’s 29” Enduro bike. After many versions of the Meta, this one is designed exclusively around 29” wheels.

More like the Meta TR 29 than the Clash.

Consider If:

  • You want a bike that is capable and forgiving on the descents
  • You race enduro and / or like to shuttle to the top of descents and / or ride lift-served terrain
  • You want the benefits of fast-rolling 29” wheels
  • You enjoy pushing your limits on fast, steep, chunky, and technical terrain

Don’t Bother If:

  • You ride mostly smooth and flat trails
  • You are looking for an cross-country-style bike that climbs very well
  • You want a more freeride style long-travel bike
  • Ride: $2,599 – Best Budget Build
  • Essential: $3,299 
  • Team: $3,999
  • Signature: $4,799 
  • XX Edition: $4,999 – Most Performance for the Price
  • Frame only: $1,299
  • Santa Cruz Megatower
  • Pivot Firebird 29
  • Yeti SB150
  • Trek Slash
  • Giant Reign SX 29
  • Kona Process 153 29
  • Scott Ransom
  • Rocky Mountain Slayer 29
  • Intense Carbine
  • Nukeproof Mega 290
  • YT Capra 29
  • Ibis Ripmo AF
  • Norco Range 29”
  • Devinci Spartan 29
  • Evil the Wreckoning LB
  • Canyon Strive
  • Front: 180 mm
  • Rear: 165 mm
  • 27.5"
  • Aluminum

A very downhill-capable freeride-style bike. Less racing-oriented than the Meta AM 29.

More like the Meta AM 29 than the Furious.

Consider If:

  • You want a bike that is capable and forgiving on the descents
  • You race enduro and / or like to shuttle to the top of descents
  • You ride bike parks often
  • You enjoy pushing your limits on fast, steep, chunky, and technical terrain
  • You are looking for a freeride-style long-travel bike (rather than a racing-oriented Enduro bike)

Don’t Bother If:

  • You ride mostly smooth and flat trails
  • You are looking for an cross-country-style bike that climbs very well
  • Origin: $2,299
  • Ride: $2,799 – Best Budget Build
  • Race: $3,799
  • Signature: $4,599 – Most Performance for the Price
  • Frame only: $1,299
  • Santa Cruz Nomad
  • Pivot Firebird 
  • Yeti SB165
  • Giant Reign SX
  • Kona Process 165
  • Transition Patrol
  • Rocky Mountain Slayer 27.5”
  • Intense Tracer
  • Nukeproof Mega 275
  • YT Capra 27
  • Norco Range 27.5”
  • Devinci Spartan 27
  • Cannondale Jekyll
  • Canyon Torque
Blister Brand Guide: Blister provides an overview of Commencal's 2020 Mountain Bike Lineup
  • Front: 200 mm
  • Rear: 200 mm
  • 27.5"
  • Aluminum
This bike is ideal for riding bike parks and freeride with enough capability for the occasional DH race course. It’s less racing-oriented than the Supreme DH 27 & 29. More like the Supreme DH 27 than the Clash.

Consider If:

  • You often ride lift-served terrain
  • Your main focus is riding for fun
  • The trails you ride are fast, steep, technical, rocky, rooty, and / or have large jumps
  • You like the advantage of agile 27.5” wheels
  • You occasionally race downhill and prefer 27.5” wheels

Don’t Bother If:

  • You plan on climbing to the top of descents
  • You want the advantage of fast-rolling 29” wheels
  • The trails you ride aren’t very fast, steep, technical, and bumpy
  • Race: $3,899 – Best Budget Build
  • Signature: $4,399 – Most Performance for the Price
  • Specialized Demo 8 
  • Santa Cruz V10 27.5”
  • Pivot Phoenix
  • Trek Session 27.5”
  • Kona Operator
  • Transition TR11
  • Rocky Mountain Maiden
  • Intense M16
  • Nukeproof Dissent 275
  • YT Tues 27
  • Norco Aurum
  • Devinci Wilson 27
  • Canyon Sender
Blister Brand Guide: Blister provides an overview of Commencal's 2020 Mountain Bike Lineup
  • Front: 200 mm
  • Rear: 200 mm
  • 27.5"
  • Aluminum

With the same features as the 29” model, this racing-oriented DH rig has high-pivot-point suspension kinematics (learn more about that here).

More like the Supreme DH 29 than the Furious.

Consider If:

  • You often ride lift-served bike parks or like to shuttle to the top of descents
  • The trails you ride are fast, steep, technical, rocky, rooty, and / or have large jumps
  • You like the advantage of agile 27.5” wheels
  • You race downhill and prefer 27.5” wheels

Don’t Bother If:

  • You plan on climbing to the top of descents
  • You want the advantage of fast-rolling 29” wheels
  • The trails you ride aren’t very fast, steep, technical, and bumpy
  • Team: $4,799
  • Frame only: $1,699
  • Specialized Demo 8 
  • Santa Cruz V10 27.5”
  • Pivot Phoenix
  • Trek Session 27.5”
  • Kona Operator
  • Transition TR11
  • Rocky Mountain Maiden
  • Intense M16
  • Nukeproof Dissent 275
  • YT Tues 27
  • Norco Aurum HSP 27.5”
  • Devinci Wilson 27
  • Canyon Sender
Blister Brand Guide: Blister provides an overview of Commencal's 2020 Mountain Bike Lineup
  • Front: 200 mm
  • Rear: 200 mm
  • 29"
  • Aluminum
Commencal’s fastest DH race bike featuring high-pivot-point suspension kinematics.

Consider If:

  • You race downhill and prefer 29” wheels
  • You want the advantages of fast-rolling 29” wheels
  • You often ride lift-served bike parks or like to shuttle to the top of descents
  • The trails you ride are fast, steep, technical, rocky, rooty, and / or have large jumps

Don’t Bother If:

  • You plan on climbing to the top of descents
  • You want the advantage of nimble 27.5” wheels
  • The trails you ride aren’t very fast, steep, technical, and bumpy
  • Race: $3,799 – Best Budget Build
  • Team: $4,799
  • Signature: $5,499 – Most Performance for the Price
  • Frame only: $1,699
  • Trek Session 29
  • Santa Cruz V10 29”
  • YT Tues 29
  • Pivot Phoenix 29 
  • Devinci Wilson 29
  • Specialized Demo 29
  • Kona Operator
  • Scott Gambler
  • Intense M29
  • Nukeproof Dissent 290
  • Norco Aurum HSP 29”

1 comment on “Blister Brand Guide: Commencal Mountain Bike Lineup, 2020”

Leave a Comment