Commencal Supreme FR: First Look
Following on from our coverage of Commencal’s Meta SL and Meta AM 29er we take a look at the newly augmented Commencal Supreme range. The new bike for this range is the Commencal Supreme FR, which is a smaller, more agile version of the Supreme DH. Commencal’s Supreme DH is a full on, race ready downhill bike but the Supreme FR seeks to deliver a more pleasure-focused ride. As Commencal say, “With the Supreme DH, the stopwatch is the enemy, the rider skimming the jumps to avoid losing a single second. The Supreme FR, on the other hand, entices you to take pleasure in staying aloft for as long as possible”.
Read on for more details and pictures.
The Supreme FR uses the Contact System EVO suspension design, common across the Supreme and Meta ranges. This is a single pivot design with a floating shock, designed to minimise the forces in the main frame, lower the center of gravity and give a highly tunable suspension design. The Supreme FR’s suspension has been tuned to give the bike more ‘pop’ from jumps, albeit at the expense of outright rear wheel traction compared to the Supreme DH. The FR offers an inch less travel than the DH, with 7″, (180mm) but the pivot has been shifted slightly forwards and up, changing the rear wheel path and offering increased shock absorption. Where the Supreme DH offers adjustable chainstay length from 437-452mm, the Supreme FR has fixed the length at the shorter 437mm, leaving a bike that is more fun and maneuverable. Similarly the 64° head angle of the FR is a degree steeper than that of the DH, further emphasising the agility of the FR over the flat-out speed monster that is the DH. The FR’s slack seat tube is substantially offset from the bottom bracket, meaning that there is no interference with the rear wheel at full travel, something which is important for people, like me, who like a slammed seat.
The full specs for each bike can be found at the end of this article, however the basic idea is that each bike can be bought with a Marzocchi fork and shock, or as a higher specification package with Fox suspension. The Marzocchi forks are all colour coded to the frame and look amazing!
There are a lot of details going on around the shock tunnel on the frame which it is worth taking a paragraph to explain. The shock tunnel allows the shock to be low in the frame while still leaving a one piece front triangle for optimum frame rigidity. The press fit bottom bracket allows the maximum surface area for the main pivot bearings and lets the designers position the shock optimally. Around the shock tunnel are the bottom bracket, ISCG 05 mounts, main pivot bearings and the rocker/frame pivot bearings and to make sure these are aligned perfectly the whole area is machined after forging and welding. The main top tube is kept as close as possible to the top of the shock tunnel to better deal with the forces generated by the suspension. This also gives a low stand over, and requires the use of a seat tube brace to give sufficient seat tube length.
The rocker links are constructed from two distinct forged parts and are designed to have a “hint of flex”, giving a bit more grip and helping with the ease of use of the frame. The whole 7005 aluminium frame is triple butted and undergoes two heat treatment processes and a bead-blasting finish to increase fatigue resistance. The frame offers internal cable routing, giving a clean and uncluttered finish. The rest of the details are 83mm bottom bracket, semi-integrated tapered headtube and a 150 x 12mm thru-axel rear.
I didn’t get a chance to ride the Supreme FR. I rode the Supreme DH for a morning in the Lac Blanc bike park and have ridden the previous generation in Andorra. Generally I ride Enduro bikes so getting on a big DH rig always takes some readjusting for me. The Supreme DH strikes me as a bike that needs to be ridden fast, the suspension is efficient rather than super plush, and you need to work to keep the bike moving fast. Once you get used to it the bike is very stable, and likes to hug the ground rather than boost every jump. Cornering is staggering and it takes some getting used to the feeling of how low you can lay the bike down in the corners and the speed you carry. The bike is very confidence inspiring and I was quickly pushing my limits! The feedback from other testers was that the FR was a very fun and lively bike in the bike park. Some testers commented that the FR would also make a great bike for their local, non-uplifted, DH tracks.