RRP: £1,691.29 (Full 26” build)
The Commencal Supernormal 2013 is the lone model within Commencal’s XC range, and it has a lot to live up to. The price bracket is nearly almost the most important aspect when assessing spec and quality in mountain bikes. Commencal have priced theirs at a little under £1700 which sits just above the average in the industry. At first glance Commencal seem to have got the geometry spot on in terms of top tube length and a headset angle of 69°. The slightly slacker head angle gives it a much more downhill orientated feel; suited to the slightly more aggressive rider. This is somewhat out of kilter with a lot of the competition but Commencal promise that the Supernormal has not lost any of its race appeal.
Leaning towards proven tradition Commencal have again already opted to retain an aluminium frame material which is a brave decision in light of companies such as Trek and Giant offering models which use carbon composite. This highlights the important weight issue which is a staple conversation starter amongst the cycling community. Weighing in at 23.81 lbs the Supernormal is the not the lightest of the bunch, especially with models from Ghost, Specialized and Trek severely undercutting the Commencal.
The use of carbon composite in recent years has caused somewhat of a divide in the cycling with many not putting full trust in its strength, yet in the last year carbon has answered its critics with Santa Cruz using a full Carbon DH bike through a full race season without a problem. Nevertheless without getting too off track it is important to note that the Supernormal’s assets lie outside of the weight factor.
Fitted with a Fox 32 fork and a full SRAM X7 set up Commencal have not spared expense on some of the most important components. Formula RX disc brakes typify this, an expensive option for stopping power, but offering good modulation and control. However, looking away from the broad specifications for a moment, the Supernormal is an attractive looking bike with clean lines and minimal decals, a nice improvement on the Commencal of recent years. Onza’s Skinwall tyres also add to the individual and slightly retro look, making the bike stand out from other models.
The unconventional looking drop outs keep the chainstay length fairly short meaning the bike should feel snappy around tight corners. In terms of a weekend warrior trail option this bike seems to tick all of the boxes with quality components and strong frame. Nonetheless there are reasons why a race head might choose competitor models such as the Giant XTC Composite and Trek’s Elite Carbon 9.6, with a much lower weight they become attractive options although they do sacrifice specification with noticeably lower grade forks, with the Rock Shox Reba SL.
However taking this into account the Commencal is still much easier on the eye than the other models. Commencal’s Supernormal comes in two wheels sizes as the Andorran company make a step with this continuing 29” wheel trend, but overall it is a good looking, tough hardtail that will tackle all the descents with ease but perhaps is not so competitive on the climbs due to its weight issues.
- Lovely looking bike
- Good choice of components
- A fair bit heavier than other bikes in the same price bracket
- Opted for strength rather than weight, may feel sluggish up the climbs