Cotic Solaris review£2,250.00

A new and revised version of a much loved bike

While the future of Sheffield’s steel industry continues to look shaky, local bike brand Cotic has been making positive steps to see its market grow. With subtle changes to the front triangle, the Cotic Solaris V2 has been brought in line with current trends. Where the original model was designed around a 100mm fork, the new incarnation has been built for a 120mm platform. The result is a lower bottom bracket height with a 52mm drop, slacker 68-degree head angle and slightly longer reach of 437mm.

 The X-Fusion Trace RL2 air fork makes light work of bone shaking features
The X-Fusion Trace RL2 air fork makes light work of bone shaking features

Cotic Solaris spec overview

  • Drivetrain: Shimano Deore XT M8000 1x11, 11-42 Cassette
  • Cranks: Race Face Turbine Cinch 175mm
  • Chainring: Direct Mount 30t
  • Brakes: Deore XT M8000, 180/160 rotors
  • Fork: X Fusion Trace RL2, 120mm travel
  • Wheels: Hope Hoops Tech XC wheels
  • Finishing kit: Chpice of handlebar and saddle, Race Face Ride 375mm seatpost, Cotic Cromo Rail Saddle, Hope headset

Cotic Solaris frame and equipment

The front end is made of thin walled, air hardening Reynolds 853 and features a 44mm headtube. Other than tabs for front mech cable routing, the lines are clean and welds tidy. The downtube gets bottle cage mounts and a dedicated Shimano side swing mount too.

At the back, the Solaris is unchanged with Cotic’s tried and tested 4130 wishbone stays and rear triangle, finished with a branded chainstay protector. The full bike weighs 13.3kg.

The Cotic Solaris 29er
The Cotic Solaris 29er

Cotic Solaris ride impression

785mm RaceFace bars paired with a matching 60mm stem help for an aggressive stance on the trail giving plenty of control. At 30psi, the 29” Continental Trail King tyres roll quickly whilst hooking up well in most conditions. The Solaris also has enough clearance for 27+ tyres but a 2.2” width is about the limit for a 29.

The Cotic’s low weight, tight rear triangle and wide range 11-42 10-speed transmission make it a great climber. When in the saddle, the spacious cockpit and generous reach have you poised to attack hills and the overall riding position is very comfortable.

Although not quite as smooth as a Yari, X-Fusion’s 120mm Trace RL2 air fork takes the hits well, making light of bone shaking features. On smooth sweeping trail centre descents the Solaris feels fast and stable but compared with the other bikes on test, it struggles when things get rough and steep. We put this largely down to the 68-degree head angle and long top tube combination.

If you want to fit a dropper post, it’ll need external routing as disappointingly there are no stealth mounts here. As it is, a Hope quick release seat clamp makes seat height adjustments straightforward.

Cotic Solaris early verdict

If some of Cotic’s other bikes were rowdy energetic teenagers, the Solaris would be the responsible adult. The Solaris is nicely built, rides well and is quick and nimble. It’s a great bike, one we feel immediately at home on. An ageless feeling steel ride that sticks to classic rather than new-school thinking

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine.

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