Three contact points link you to your bike and down to the trail. Commencal has already had the saddle/seatpost and flat pedal connections tied up with their house brand Ride Alpha components, but now in time for their 2017 bike they’ve added some new kit to give you something for your hands to hold onto. With some of the most in-depth tech out of the new group, they’ve added the lock-on Ride Alpha Gravity grips that vary in thickness internally to deliver better grip and comfort, while at the same time there are new alloy bars and an updated freeride capable stem. They’ve also just released a geometry adjusting offset headset that will drop into any EC44/56 frame. The key out of the entire new cockpit range that will grace many of their new bikes is that is all affordable and each can be purchased on its own to upgrade whatever you are currently riding…
The single lock-on Gravity Grips are more advance than their outward appearance would suggest. They start with a single aluminum clamp to the bar only on the inside, so you still have more soft grip out at the edges for a wider hold on the max width of your bars. Inside Commencal designed them such that the hard plastic (black below) sleeve in side of the grip has large sections of it cut out so there is more rubber where you need both more comfort and grip, but more supported structure where you need more control.
The concept is actually rather simple – more rubber (yellow above) under the pad of your palm and grip of the thumb, more support elsewhere, and a reinforced built-in cap at the end to keep from damaging either bar or grip in a crash. The grip also has a slightly flatter top section for your palm and flares a bit to the inside by the thumb so you can get a little twisting leverage for enhance bike control. The rubber of the 25€/$20/$25CAD Gravity Grips themselves use a soft compound and gets grooves cut in to allow it to deform under your hand more so in specific areas.
The single length 0° and 50mm Freeride Stem is an update over the previous version, but packs a good bit of value and a new stronger alloy into its still 39€ price tag. Forged then machined from a stiffer 2014 alloy, it weighs just 152g but can stand up to gravity abuse or can make its way to your enduro or all-mountain bike.
780mm Riser bar
Commencal made small improvements to their wide Riser bar for the new year, starting with the same triple butted 7075 aluminum and 5° upsweep & 7° back. The biggest difference is in finish, but that’s actually key as it adds a better grippy surface treatment for the clamping areas and more precise laser-engraved markings for setting angle at the stem, grips and brake levers & for trimming it down. The 294g, 780mm bar now also comes in 20mm, 30mm & 38mm rise options for a wider audience and sells for 50€/$61CAD.
The Offset Headset is something we’re used to finding at a much higher price level. For just 55€ you get a press-in sealed bearing headset for EC44/EC56 frames that provides a +/- 5mm of frame reach offset. If you have a compatible bike (there are several in the Commencal catalog from 2012 to now, plus many more from other manufacturers) you can tune the ride feel to your likings.
With external cups the Offset Headset also adds a bit more stack, which is said to be enough to lift your bottom bracket by 3mm and at the same time slacking your head angle out 0.5°. Together with the longer reach you might be able to update some longer, slacker modern trail bike geometry to a bike that was lacking it a bit. And all for a pretty small cost.
Pretty much all of the new kit looks to be available now, although it seems that some of it is only in select markets. In both Europe & the US Commencal is quoting Christmas delivery if you order before Dec 15. It seems you can procrastinate a few extra days if you are in France.