The Birth of the New META TR 29

With the brand new version released a few days ago, it’s obvious that new META AM 29 has benefited from many changes both aesthetically and specifically. Each year, the development of each new frame and part passes through the hands of our designer Thomas Moret. He tells us about the part he played in the design of the new META AM 29.

Discover the new META TR 29

Designer at COMMENCAL since 2014.



COMMENCAL: What was your role in the development of this new META AM 29?

Thomas Moret: With the new META TR 29 we didn't start from zero because on the whole, the shape of the META platform did not have to be completely redone. This is 're-styling' with the evolution of the geometry and kinematics as well as the update of certain elements of the frame enable the introduction of new stylistic direction. So I take care of drawing all the new components, parts and frame parts that need to change between the old and the new version.

C: How do you work with the rest of the design department?

TM: At COMMENCAL HQ, the design office is in an open space, so I work face-to-face with the engineers. It's a fairly frequent back and forth exchange between them and I for a project like this. 80% of what there is to do is dictated by technology so once the specifications are in hand, all I have to do is respect the constraints and put a design on top of it. This design (general visual identity) is defined in advance. We are working on very technical products, function very often dictates the shape and the whole bike must be harmonious, stay within the COMMENCAL ’style codes' and make you want to ride! This is my job.

C: Where do you find your inspiration?

TM: Components like the top tube are part of my decision-making, like visually energising the bikes. Tighter lines, sharper edges, more integration… For that, I allocate part of my working time to looking at a multitude of products, blogs, trend sites… You have to stay open-minded, the design of a car rim, a boat sail or the frame of a pair of glasses are all products, lines, surfaces and volumes that can inspire work on a top tube, a rocker or a chain stay protector for example. If I work on a frame or a technical/mechanical part I will draw more inspiration from other influences, such as motor racing, industrial design or even science fiction. At the same time, if I am working on a product that must remain simple and pure, then biology and nature, aeronautics and certain brands like Apple are good sources of inspiration.
C: How are your drawings made? What elements do you start with and why?

TM: If I'm working on a new frame or platform, the base is the profile. Here for the META TR 29, the META silhouette must be respected. The work is done on certain tubes and certain parts such as the contact system/linkage. I therefore rework the new profile elements first. Once the general lines are final I make detail views, 3/4 section views to be able to explain the volumes, the surfaces and how I see things for this new model to the engineers. As soon as all this is drawn on paper, I go to Photoshop to offer more successful visuals and allow the entire team to visualise and imagine things 100% before making definitive decisions.

C: How long does it take between your first drafts and the production of a prototype? First production models?

TM: It all depends on the project. On a new platform it can take more than a year between drawings and the first prototypes. On a re-styling like here, in a few months the changes to be made are identified, drawn, modelled, printed and validated for production. Thanks to 3D printing we can now reduce our development times by validating a multitude of points directly from our offices in Andorra!

C: How would you define the aesthetics of this new frame?

TM: For this new META TR 29 we wanted a more slender line. No more top tube bent upwards to connect to the seat tube. We wanted a lower overall line which gives a more compact look with tighter lines. It's more contemporary and technically, with aluminium, it's less complicated to control through the industrial stages. For mechanical parts such as the tilting linkage called the 'contact system', it had to be resized to meet technical constraints and to have good overall harmony plus a solid and refined visual feel. And one which makes you want to ride!