Commencal has an impressively stacked roster of SoCal riders. They’ve got a 30 year old veteran with Rampage wins under his belt, a motivated 22 year old DH racer and an up and coming 20 year old who’s just joined the team and will be competing in World Cup races after some impressive domestic results. Kyle Strait, Luca Cometti and Bruce Klein all share a love of going fast on their big bikes while getting loose and rowdy. After this project, it looks like they’ve got one more thing in common.
What started as a fun “Meet the Team” type of interview quickly morphed after the riders wrapped up a unique video shoot… One that none of us expected would have turned out quite the way it did.
The premise of the video was to get three extremely talented, and gravity-biased riders to help push the e-bike narrative in a freeride-friendly way. You know, the typical marketing pixie dust that had riders like Aaron Chase and Geoff Gulevich flipping fat bikes– stuff they’d totally do for fun (please note sarcasm) without sponsorship nudges… Before we get in too much trouble, let’s get to know the Commencal crew and see what they’ve got to say.
Name: Luca Cometti Age: 22 Hometown: San Diego, CA Favorite Thing About Riding: All the places it takes you. Favorite Food: Sushi
Name: Bruce Klein Age: 20 Hometown: Altadena, California Favorite Thing About Riding: Finding the different flows and ripping with all the homies. Favorite Food: Chicken
Name: Kyle Strait Age: 30 Hometown: Alpine, CA Favorite Thing About Riding: Cornering Favorite Food: Mongolian
What is your favorite Commencal bike in your garage? Why?
Luca Cometti: Probably the Supreme DH V 4.2. I got into mountain biking as a downhiller and that’s where my heart is, plus that bike is an absolute ripper.
Bruce Klein: My favorite would definitely have to be the Supreme DH V4.2! This bike is an absolute beast and such a blast to ride. The faster you push it, the more fun and confidence inspiring it is. The suspension platform does a phenomenal job at smoothing rough sections of trail, holding traction very well and it seems to feel right at home going all out.
Kyle Strait: Absolut SX or my Furious, but I’m gonna have to say the Absolut SX since it has my name on it, ha ha. I worked very closely with Commencal to make the best Slalom bike. The suspension platform, stiffness of the frame and geometry feel perfect.
The three of you teamed up to create a video on a pretty hot topic. We’re assuming that much like athletes who were “persuaded” to do fatbike stunts or 29er edits just a few years ago, that Commencal may have pushed to create something like this? Is that true or were you guys already open to riding pedal assist bikes?
LC: Yeah for sure. After seeing William Robert throw down on the Meta Power in the video Commencal released a while back, I got super excited to try one. I was pretty unsure about them before that, but now that I have spent some time on it, I can say it is one of the more fun bikes I have ever ridden.
BK: This was definitely the case. Although I have never been against the idea of e-bikes, I’ve never been dying to try them either. I’d say I never really had a fixed opinion on them. That was until I tried the Meta Power.
KS: I actually am pretty open to it. I have the freeride mentality and I am not opposed to getting some help up the hill in order to get more laps in. We all know this body wasn’t built for XC.
Had you ridden e-bikes before?
LC: Minus some random street e-bikes, no.
BK: I have bounced around on a few here and there but not really.
KS: No, the Meta Power was the first e-bike I have ridden.
How different does the Meta Power ride from your Meta AM?
LC: I actually just put together a full video on this that I’ll be launching any day. But the Meta Power honestly rides more like a DH bike. It has a lot of weight down low and on the downhills I find it even faster than the Meta AM, pedal assistance aside. Transitioning from the Meta Power to the Supreme DH feels more natural than from the Meta AM.
BK: There are very few differences between the Meta Power and AM. Most noticeable however, and probably the biggest difference, is the added weight coming from the battery and motor. With the added weight comes much more traction and stability. I was surprised it is not a total tank to pick up off the ground and yank that triple you’ve been eying up. I was very surprised at how nimble the e-bike moved in techy rock sections. To my surprise, it felt very much like a normal human-powered bicycle. Ripping these things around with the crew was such a blast. I am usually a happy guy whenever I hop on a bike but this was just so awesome! The power and capability of this bike just made everything fun. From racing your buddies up a climb, to trying to pedal up crazy sections which would normally seem impossible, and then turning it down hill and keeping the same grin on your face as you race down. Plus we were able to go for longer rides. Who doesn’t want an extra lap!? All in all this rig will put a smile on your face and make you go back up for an extra run every time.
KS: My go to trail bike is the Supreme SX actually, but compared to that, the main difference is my Meta Power carries more speed through sections because of the weight, but also corners a lot differently. It has a slightly slower reaction out of corners. You mainly just have to adjust to the weight difference, but not a lot. It actually surprised me by how good it rides compared to my Supreme SX. It’s such a sick bike.
After the video shoot was over, did you want to keep the bike to incorporate into your normal riding routine?
LC: Oh for sure. I can leave from my house and ride to the top of my local trails in 20 minutes. It’s faster than driving and riding my regular bike. I mainly ride the bike in Eco mode so I still feel pretty spent at the end of the ride. Most of my rides on a daily basis go well over 20 miles now, compared to my trail bike where I usually averaged around 7-9 miles on my local trails.
BK: Most definitely, in fact I took it home and use it quite often. For a racer, having this e-bike is as much a tool as it is a fun bike. Before this came along I was limited to my recovery rides being on the roadie or stuck on the trainer. Not the case anymore. Now I can happily go ride a trail because of the pedal assist and know I won’t ruin my recovery time. Plus I will be able to work on fundamental skills due to the fact I am riding a trail instead of trying to avoid getting hit by cars while out on the road. Beyond using it as a training tool, my Dad can now keep up on longer rides with me and even beat me up the hills if he wants, ha ha!
KS: Hahahaha, I did for sure. I actually still have mine. I am able to stay freeride and keep up with all my fast friends that smash the uphills. It’s no secret that I am not the biggest fan of climbing, but the Meta Power gets me out there more with Rachel, which is sick for both of us.
What do you think is the biggest hang up on electric bikes getting accepted by the masses? Weight? Looks? Trail access? The macho mentality of them being cheater bikes?
LC: Seems to me that in the States the biggest issue is trail access, all of the best trails in my area however aren’t technically legally sanctioned trails, so it doesn’t really matter what you ride– you aren’t really supposed to be there. However with e-bikes becoming more prevalent I see regulations possibly changing in the future.
BK: I think the macho mentality of people looking down on them as cheater-bikes is the biggest unnecessary hang up. In a sense, I understand this for all the Strava warriors out there, but chances are they’ve probably cut a corner or straight lined a section just for a better time anyways. I think every naysayer should definitely try one before they come up with such harsh, concrete opinions.
KS: I think all of the above. In the US, the fear of losing trail access is a huge one. Which I understand, but also don’t fully agree with after riding one. It is not a dirt bike, and should not be treated like one. Overseas e-bikes have already been really accepted into the market. You see people who normally wouldn’t be out there riding on the trails, which is cool. E-bikes are giving people access that wouldn’t normally be riding, which is helping the industry grow, which is better for all of us.
What are you most looking forward to for the 2018 season?
LC: Competing at all the Crankworx events and getting to rip with buddies!
BK: I am looking most forward to racing with Commencal this year! Big plans for the World Cup season so I am incredibly stoked to tick off the days until World Cup #1 in Croatia! YEW!
KS: Rampage, always. Best event in the world. Also, looking forward to some more slalom races at Crankworx events.
Any big projects or fun stuff we can expect to see from you in the near future?
LC: I want to work on trying to do some more videos on my Youtube page. I just finished editing a Meta AM vs Meta Power video that I shot the other day. Its got a few challenges like; long jump, highest bunny hop, and a manual challenge. I also rode the bikes on three kinds of trails; berms, jumps and rocks and compared times on them. Be on the lookout for it via my Youtube and hopefully here on theloamwolf.com as well. I also have some bigger edits planned for the year, so make sure to follow me on social media to keep up to date on that stuff.
BK: Keep your eyes peeled for a few projects coming out in the future but also on Commencal’s media as they have some rad stuff to share across the board! Follow along with my team @Commencal_100 or @bruce_klein to keep up with our travels this year and see what we get ourselves into on the World Cup circuit.
KS: You guys will just have to wait and see.
Write one funny story about a teammate being questioned here.
LC: Well during the week of shooting, we all met up at a paintball park in Camp Pendelton, which is a military base north of San Diego. They check your I.D. going in and it turned out that Bruce’s I.D. was expired. We passed him going in and didn’t think anything of it, until we realized that he was being held by the Military Police for trying to get on base with an expired license. Everything got resolved and they let him off with just a ticket, but we were all cracking up waiting for him.
BK: While all of Commencal USA was together recently, we had a day to chill at the beach after playing paintball. I have never gone paint balling before so it was all new to me, however Kyle must be some kinda secret expert, cuz he knows his way around a gun. In the middle of the game Kyle and I were squared up trying to pick each other off for a good few minutes. He would jump up and shoot at me while I ducked under cover and then I would return the favor. It was my first rodeo so my paint balls were flying everywhere. Left , right, too high, too low. Kyle jumped from behind his cover to shoot me so I took my chance to shoot back. Right before I was about to duck back behind cover again I see him fire and I watch the ball come straight for me, thankfully it began to dip so I thought I was good. But no, this ball came right at me and hit me square in the jewels. I was out, lying on the floor gasping for breath. It hurt so bad, ha ha! I was out for a few games but then jumped back in and got revenge on him– at least I think I did!
KS: When all the guys were here at the house, Bruce was cutting inside on this one corner so hard to spray Nico, who was taking photos. Well, when he tried to do it the other direction on a different corner his front end washed and he ended up eating shit. Kinda funny.
Commencal’s video project has come out at an interesting time as we are just about to release our own review comparing the Meta AM with the Meta Power. Since Commencal is one of the few brands offering nearly identical bikes in both an electric- and human-powered platform, we thought this would be a great place to solidify our biases of how much worse e-bikes are than real mountain bikes. Sadly, over the last few months every tester who’s been on the two bikes has been finding it difficult to do so. Hearing the guys above have the same sentiments as us has made it a little easier to swallow.
Stay tuned for our comparison review in upcoming weeks.