Review of Meta AM 3 from Commencal

This time we tested the all-mountain daredevil Meta AM 3 from Commencal with a suspension travel of 150mm. Our examination lasted four weeks, and now we are finally ready to announce the result.

am3 2013

The very first Meta was the result of the efforts of a group of bicycle enthusiasts from Andorra, who still call themselves Commencal. It appeared in 2005 and has since undergone some changes, but the spirit of the bike has remained unchanged, as has its fame. If you bought a Meta model, you could be sure that you were getting a fast and powerful trail bike. And the 2013 Meta AM3, which we are pleased to present in this article, does not break this trend at all!

Meta from Commencal has firmly established itself in our hearts as one of the very first versatile trail bikes. However, a good share of this popularity should be attributed to the preferences of the cyclist Remy Absalon, who has greatly contributed to the development of each new AM model. Moreover, after switching to Commencal, he has already won the Megavalanche race once.

First glance

The very first impressions of AM3, which has just arrived at the office, were extremely positive, however, it took us some time to get used to its color. It’s hard not to notice.Attention to the gray color in the style of a battleship.And skin-wall tires, which are a distinctive feature of the 2013 model range of Commencal bicycles.

Our eyes were greeted with a beautiful appearance and extreme practicality. Straight lines, internal cable routing, and quality components in all necessary places, along with a set of Commencal accessories.

am3 2013 z2

  • Recommended retail price: 101,130 rubles.
  • Frame: Meta AM v2, 150mm suspension travel, aluminum alloy 6066, triple butted, tapered head tube, 142×12 axle.
  • Fork: Fox 32 Float CTD, open cartridge, travel 150mm, axle 15mm.
  • Rear shock absorber: Fox Float CTD.
  • Wheels: Jalco/Joytech for Commencal.
  • Tires: Onza Ibex 2.25 in the front, Onza Canis 2.25 in the rear (skin-wall).
  • Brakes: Formula RX 180/180.
  • Crankset: SRAM 1000 38/24 with 10 gears.
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM X7, 10 gears.
  • Front derailleur: SRAM X7, 10 speeds.
  • Shifters: SRAM Trigger X5 2×10.
  • Seatpost: Commencal VIP 31.6mm.
  • Handlebar: Commencal VIP 0.75″, alloy 6061, 730 mm.
  • Outcome: Commencal VIP OS.

On paper, the specifications of the AM3 look extremely tempting, but how will it perform in practice?

The AM3 we tested is the cheapest and least powerful bike in Commencal’s AM lineup. It sits right in the middle between the enduro torpedo Meta SX (with 160mm of suspension travel) and the Meta SL (with 120mm). The frame geometry of the Meta SL is more suited for unpredictable forest trails rather than long journeys.

All the bikes in Commencal’s new entry-level lineup are available in only one color. Specifically, the AM3 is painted in gray. So if you don’t like gray, then the bottom end of the Commencal model range is probably not for you. If you want to own a bike in green (Meta AM 2) or bright yellow (Meta AM 1), you’ll have to spend a bit more.

However, this thought left me after just one ride and subsequent cleaning of the bike. Even though I’m not particularly fond of bikes painted in gray, the Meta AM3 looks like a real battleship.

Ever since the Meta concept underwent a radical redesign in 2011, the suspension has been moved lower. Naturally, the center of gravity has also shifted, but as a result, the shock mount and the seal around it are too close to the wheel and have become vulnerable to mud accumulation. In general, be prepared for serious suspension problems after just one harsh Russian winter if you don’t cover the shock with some sort of mud protection.

am3 2013 z1

As soon as AM3 appeared in our office, the first thing I did was install the IRD app from Fox on my iPhone. Yes, it’s not always perfect, but if you approach it with a healthy dose of skepticism, the data from this app can be a great starting point for working with such an elusive detail as a shock absorber. We are big fans of the new Float CTD shock absorber from Fox. As for the experimental Meta AM model we are testing, it had a rear suspension with a travel of 150mm (5.9 inches). However, it was not very easy to adjust this shock absorber right away. However, there is good news – Commencal assured us that they are working on this issue.

However, we have another nitpick – the cables inside the frame constantly rattle. But that’s what it is, a nitpick, because this issue is easily fixed.

Driving and control

Thanks to its low center of gravity and sharp angle of the front tube, the bicycle performs excellently at high speeds.

It seemed to me that the Meta AM3 truly enjoyed climbing up the next hill, so I can’t call it an insensitive collection of parts. It was agile enough to stay on the road, but if I made a mistake or the situation was beyond my current skill level, all I had to do was pedal harder to overcome it.

I have to admit, after riding on local trails for a while, you start to feel a bit cocky because the AM3 pushes you to new limits and speeds even on the most ordinary track.

This feeling didn’t leave me even during breaks between rides: the Meta AM3 is a breath of fresh air for my cycling passion. I enjoyed almost every kilometer, and I have to thank this fantastic trail model for a good portion of that pleasure.

The redesigned rear part of the frame feels truly rigid, so it never complains when hitting something on turns or landing on a wildly uneven surface, which is common on any moderately challenging trail. Additionally, the fully equipped AM is quite nimble and agile, weighing only 13.2 kg.

Frame and equipment: excellent chassis with huge potential

am3 2013 z3

Our test sample came with a wonderful set from Fox, including the Float CTD Open cartridge fork with QR15 axle and the new Fox Float CTD rear shock, which can only be described as a diamond. The set of small components is still beyond praise, and the Formula brakes worked perfectly in any conditions. The SRAM transmission shifts with a pleasant click and helps control the correct weight load.

The Onza tires are not the best among those I have tried recently. However, I literally fell in love with these thin sidewalls, and their appearance seems incredibly wonderful. The tire pattern is not suitable for rainy weather. Therefore, more suitable tires should be the first upgrade for anyone who buys this bike. Moreover, no one has canceled the seasonal tire replacement. Furthermore, I would strongly recommend putting these damn stylish skin-wall tires back on the bike rims when it becomes dry outside again.

am3 2013 z4

We were greatly surprised and even disappointed to not find a dropper seatpost on the AM3. This type of riding, for which this bike is designed, cannot do without this accessory. And considering that the AM3 costs over 100,000 rubles, we were really hoping that the bike would come equipped with this part straight from the factory.

However, Commencal did decide to spend on some important accessories for us. Moreover, they greatly improve overall performance. While installing overly fancy handlebars and stem would greatly increase the price, Commencal’s own handlebars are more than sufficient.


Having covered a considerable number of miles both on well-worn forest trails and off the beaten path, I didn’t find a single truly challenging obstacle for the Meta AM3. And that’s a compliment I can’t give to just any bike.

The AM3 falls into the higher price range due to its suspension and a range of accessories made by third-party brands. But on the other hand, it means that not a single penny of your money will go to waste!

No, I’m not saying it’s a perfect bike. It’s a bit heavier than I would have liked, and personally, if I were the designer of this model, I would have changed a few things. However, if you need a powerful, reliable, and even inspiring bike on which you can improve your skills, you should pay very close attention to the Meta AM3.