Cotic – based, appropriately, in the Steel City of Sheffield – has been building a small but diverse range of largely steel bikes for more than a decade. Along the way it's also built a cult following of fans, drawn to its simple yet effective road and mountain bikes.
The Rocket was Cotic’s second full-suspension bike (after its Hemlock debut), with a steel front mated to an alloy rear. The original Rocket was launched, unfortunately, just before 26in wheels died a death and 650b / 27.5+ became the ‘next big thing’ – and as such the production run was limited and the bike disappeared from sale.
That frustrating experience made Cotic's team all the more excited to show us the new Rocket, which is on sale now, ready and waiting to take 27.5in rolling stock.
With bigger wheels plugged in, the rear end inevitably lengthened, so to keep the weight balance the same as the original, the front end was also stretched out a touch. Instead of designing the bike around an average length fork, the new model was based around the longest that could be fitted (it's compatible with both 150mm and 160mm of travel).
Cotic’s linkage-driven single-pivot design ‘Droplink’ suspension system remains, tuned to give a progressive, poppy ride. Despite some riders feeling that single-pivot setups, even linkage-driven ones, don’t have the same qualities of more complicated suspension systems, Cotic says that axle path and compression rates are very similar to big-hitters such as the Santa Cruz Nomad.
Cotic's Droplink suspension is a linkage-driven single pivot, designed to be poppy and progressive for a fun ride
The front end is still made from Reynolds 853 steel, and the back-end is still alloy. Durability is a big keyword for Cotic, and this plays into the Rocket's design, with pinch-bolt secured pivots and shock bushes at the rear pivot for easy servicing.
Cotic holds that steel is the best material for the front triangle, claiming the weight penalty isn’t severe, and that steel seat tubes give a really stiff base for frames to be built around. The rear triangle’s alloy construction facilitates lightness and rigidity, while still allowing the metal to be formed easily for the nooks and crannies that inevitably appear when building linkage-driven rear suspension.
All mod cons
All the standard mod-cons come with the Rocket now too. While hoses are largely kept exterior to keep mechanics happy, the rear derailleur’s outer is routed through the sear stay. A 44mm head tube is now as standard as they come, as is the obligatory stealth dropper routing. A 142x12 bolt-thru rear axle keeps things connected at the back while the regular threaded BB gets a cheer from the BikeRadar office.
Frame-only and full builds are available, with plenty of options to get things just so
Cotic are selling the Rocket in complete bike and frame-only options. The latter come with a Fox Float Evo CTD shock for £1550 (about $2,340 / AU$3,230 at time of writing) or £1750 ($2,645 / AU$3,650) with a Cane Creek DBInline. International buyers can get hold of the Rocket through a number of shops and distributors, or direct from Cotic's website.
Full bikes come with a 1x11 Shimano XT, X-Fusion Sweep RL2, Fox Float Evo build for £3600 (about $5,440 / AU$7,505). There are various upgrades and build options available though, such as bars, stems and shocks, and we believe a cheaper build kit will be available soon.
Stable at speed
We had a rather wet and wild ride on the XT build Rocket specced with a 160mm fork, and are lucky enough to have one to test, so look out for a full review soon. Initial impressions are good though. The shape gives plenty of stability at speed, while the suspension kept us in control up and down the hills.
The kit plugged in to the frame is all good-performing stuff, and weight never became an issue. We’re looking forward to many more (hopefully slightly warmer) miles in the coming weeks and months. It also sounds like this is just the beginning of the new Rocket story, so we’re looking forward to seeing what Cotic brings to market in the next year or two.