Cotic RocketMAX Gold Eagle 29 review

MAX speed and confidence

BikeRadar score4.5/5

The new RocketMAX is Cotic’s longest, slackest frame ever and the first with a UK-built front end. It’s also one of the fastest and most nonchalantly confident enduro/trail bikes I’ve ever ridden.

Cotic RocketMAX Gold Eagle 29 frame

Cotic offers four build options, with a choice of 29in or 650b+ wheels
Cotic offers four build options, with a choice of 29in or 650b+ wheels

The front end of the RocketMAX uses Cotic’s proven custom Reynolds 853 air-hardening steel tube mix. That includes the distinctive flat-fronted ‘Ovalform’ top tube, ‘DZB’ down tube and custom 35mm seat tube, which helps keep the ‘droplink’ shock-actuating linkage in line no matter how sideways you get.

What’s new is that, for the first time, these tubes are meticulously welded together by Five Land Bikes in Scotland. Five Land also anti-corrosion dip and paint them in a choice of two different RAL auto paint colours, with masked and painted (rather than stick-on) graphics.

They’re then sent down to Cotic’s HQ in the Peak District, to be matched to Far East-made alloy rear ends and linkages, with small parts machined by Superstar Components in Lincolnshire. All frames are fitted with a Datatag security chip too.

Detailing is neatly functional. The seatstays get transverse junction tubes at the shock end and pivot on chunky machined 3D dropouts at the far end for stiffness.

There’s plenty of room between the chunky chainstays for 29x2.5in or 27.5x3.0in tyres, and you get ISCG mounts on the threaded bottom bracket and one of OneUp’s excellent top guides fitted as standard.

The gear cable is routed internally through the swingarm but joins the other control lines to run along the top of the down tube. It’s good to see a bottle mount, but because it’s under the top tube, it can occasionally hit your knee pads.

A medium frame and shock weigh 3.85kg / 8.5lb, which is heavy but not horrific. With frame and shock prices starting at £1,749, it’s only £250 more than a Cotic built in the Far East, and fantastic value.

Cotic RocketMAX Gold Eagle 29 kit

It’ll shrink the thrill you get from previously scary situations, but that’s hardly a criticism of a flat-out enduro bike
It’ll shrink the thrill you get from previously scary situations, but that’s hardly a criticism of a flat-out enduro bike

Cotic offers four build options, with a choice of 29in or 650b+ wheels. There are plenty of ‘custom’ upgrade options too, including parts from Hope and Burgtec.

The key thing for this test is that the Gold spec comes with the super-adjustable and sublimely-controlled Cane Creek Helm Air fork and DBair [IL] shock as standard. My bike also had Hunt’s impressive Trail Wide wheels, with a choice of WTB tyres.

Cotic RocketMAX Gold Eagle 29 ride impressions

The potential of the RocketMAX to be an absolute flat-out monster is clear immediately. Cotic’s ‘Longshot’ geometry stretches out the large size with a radical 63.5-degree head angle, 490mm reach and 1,290mm wheelbase, giving a super-stable, confidence-swelling footprint.

While there’s definitely a sense of steel twist and spring shrugging off the biggest, bluntest impacts, the RocketMAX is still muscular enough to feel controlled even when you’re ploughing the Helm fork into huge hits. But that ductility also keeps it remarkably comfortable through extended chaos, reducing fatigue so you can stay relaxed and mobile.

While not the lightest, it’s one of the most swaggeringly confident, dynamically drama-shrugging and gobsmackingly flat-out fast bikes I’ve ever had the pleasure of dominating the trails on
While not the lightest, it’s one of the most swaggeringly confident, dynamically drama-shrugging and gobsmackingly flat-out fast bikes I’ve ever had the pleasure of dominating the trails on

Once you find your sweet spot on the highly-adjustable fork and rear shock, they’re an amazing combination: plush yet big-hit controlled. I was just off dry-condition PRs on my test tracks on greasy days, without a hint of drama.

Even without resorting to using the climb lever on the shock, the RocketMAX pedals efficiently enough to make its mass less of an issue than you’d expect and traction from the long rear end is good too, with decent ground clearance.

Inevitably, a bike as extreme as this has some downsides. It won’t ever jib, flick or frolic as easily as a shorter, lighter bike and it’ll also shrink the thrill you get from previously scary situations. That’s hardly a criticism of a flat-out enduro bike though, and when it comes to crazy speed and confidence, the RocketMAX isn’t just the best bike Cotic has made, it’s one of the best anyone has made.

Cotic RocketMAX Gold Eagle 29 specifications

The custom Reynolds 853 steel tubing includes an ‘Ovalform’ top tube, ‘DZB’ down tube and 35mm-diameter seat tube
The custom Reynolds 853 steel tubing includes an ‘Ovalform’ top tube, ‘DZB’ down tube and 35mm-diameter seat tube

  • Sizes (*Tested): S, M, L* XL
  • Weight: 15.34kg
  • Frame: Custom Reynolds 853 main tubes,aluminium alloy rear end, 150mm (5.9in) travel
  • Fork: Cane Creek Helm Air, 160mm (6.3in) travel, 51mm offset
  • Shock: Cane Creek DBair [IL]
  • Chainset: SRAM GX Eagle DUB, 32t
  • BB: SRAM DUB
  • Cassette: SRAM GX Eagle XG-1275, 10-50t
  • Chain: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Mech: SRAM GX Eagle
  • Shifters: SRAM GX Eagle (1x12)
  • Hubs: Hunt
  • Axles: Boost 110x15mm front, Boost 148x12mm rear
  • Rims: Hunt Enduro Wide
  • Spokes: 32 Pillar, double-butted
  • Tyres: WTB Vigilante TCS Light/Fast Rolling 29x2.5in front, WTB Vigilante TCS Tough/Fast Rolling 29x2.4in rear
  • Wheel weight: 2.44kg (f), 2.84kg (r), inc. tyres
  • Headset: Hope
  • Stem: Cotic Shorter, 35mm
  • Bar: Cotic Calver, 780mm
  • Grips: Cotic lock-on
  • Saddle: Cotic
  • Seatpost: X-Fusion Manic 150mm dropper
  • Brakes: Shimano Deore XT M8000

Cotic RocketMAX Gold Eagle 29 geometry

  • Seat angle: 75.5 degrees
  • Head angle: 63.5 degrees
  • Chainstay: 45cm / 17.72in
  • Seat tube: 46cm / 18.11in
  • Top tube: 66cm / 25.98"
  • Bottom bracket height: 34cm / 13.39in
  • Wheelbase: 1,290mm / 50.79in

This article was originally published in Mountain Biking UK magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

Related Articles

Back to top