The Commencal Factory team were spotted racing a brand new downhill bike at the opening round of the 2021 World Cup Downhill series this weekend in Leogang. Second and third placed Thibault Daprela and Amaury Pierron were seen aboard the prototype Commencal Supreme with a rather complex-looking virtual high pivot suspension platform. Here’s what we know so far.
Commencal Supreme Prototype DH Bike
Let’s start with the little that we do know about the prototype Supreme, before moving on to the realms of hypothesis and somewhat educated guesswork.
- It’s a mullet
- It has an aluminium frame (for now)
- Commencal have no immediate plans for production
You’ll notice that everything looks a bit clunky just now, with unrefined pieces of hardware dotted about the bike allowing the Commencal engineers to continually experiment with their take on a virtual high pivot suspension linkage.
There is a lot to get your head around here. And, without non-driveside images of the suspension linkage, we can do little more than guess at what exactly lies behind the CNC machined plate supporting the chain idler. But, we can tell you there are at least three sets of pivot bearings nestled in behind there.
Connecting that triad of pivots to the rocker is a CNC machined brace plate that has two options for the upper mount. These change the position of the virtual pivot point and also alter the leverage curve; this allows Commencal and their riders to experiment with different setups quickly using the same parts.
This is not the only point at which adjustments can be made. We asked Commencal about the possibility of chainstay length adjustment. Arthur Quet of the R&D department replied “we have quite a big range, and we also use have a specific rear triangle for Myriam Nicole as she rides the small size frame. Then we can try to figure out what is the best choice testing on different tracks and conditions”.
The chainring is also hiding a flip-chip at the lower shock mount which Quet tells us allows for no fewer than six mounting options.
Welded to the base of the seat tube, just above what might normally be considered the “main pivot” (sitting just behind the chain ring), is the aluminium plate that supports the chain idler. On the current production Supreme, the idler’s position changes as the bike goes through its rear wheel travel as it is bolted to the rear swingarm.
However, on the prototype we see here its position does not change as the bike goes through its travel. Here, it is largely responsible for isolating drivetrain forces from the suspension in a bid to reduce, or even eradicate, pedal kickback.
We also asked Arthur Quet for info on the future availability of this bike… “This version of the bike will never go for production. For sure it helps to work on the future Commencal frames but that’s not a sample of upcoming mass production. That’s why all the frame parts are full CNC”.