All-new Cotic Cascade gravel bike brings 29er drop-bar dirt into 2022

Drop-bar MTB or monster gravel bike? You decide

Cotic Cascade gravel bike

The launch of the Cotic Cascade is speciation in action: the evolution of a new sub-genre of gravel bike to sit alongside Cotic’s Escapade all-road bike.

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Think 2.4in, 29er tyres (with room for more up front), wide bars, a dropper post and a Reynolds 853 steel frame.

Based in the UK’s Peak District, where local ‘gravel’ trails are more in MTB territory than most, it’s perhaps not surprising that the mountain biking-centric brand has launched this mega-chunky, drop-bar bike.

5 key features of the Cotic Cascade

  • Clearance for up to 29 x 2.6in front and 2.4in rear tyres
  • Plentiful fork, rack, bag and mudguard mounts as standard
  • Dropper post compatible
  • Reynolds 853 steel frame with integrated seatpost clamp
  • 1x drivetrains only

The Cascade is designed to offer maximum drop-bar versatility, according to Cotic: kit it out with a 100mm suspension fork for hitting the trails, or load up the many mounts with luggage, racks, mudguards and bottles for a bikepacking adventure.

The brand also says there’s nothing stopping you from building it up with flat bars as a rigid MTB, with the lower pressure of wide tyres helping to take care of rougher tracks in the absence of suspension.

Pricing starts at £849 for the frameset and £2,099 for the entry-level Bronze build with a Microshift drivetrain, topping out at £2,699 for the Gold build with Shimano GRX 800 mechanical. A SRAM Force eTap/X01 Eagle AXS build is to follow later in 2022.

Let’s get stuck into the tech details – otherwise, head to our Cotic Cascade review to find out how it rides.

Built to go further

Cotic Cascade gravel bike
The Cotic Cascade is designed to offer the capability of a hardtail and the versaility of a gravel bike.
Richard Baybutt

Cotic’s Richard Baybutt says the inspiration behind the Cascade came from watching fellow rider and photographer Duncan Philpott take on the 600km Dales Divide on his Cotic Solaris hardtail, loaded up with bags.

Baybutt wanted a bike that could take you around the world, but that would also be just as fun on home tracks and trails. The Cascade plugs the gap between the rigid, drop-bar Escapade and Cotic’s hardtail mountain bike, the SolarisMAX.

Cotic Cascade gravel bike 2
This is the first Cascade hack build, using Cotic’s old-school Solaris mountain bike frame.
Cotic

The project didn’t begin with a new prototype build, but a six-year-old Solaris frame, from the time before mountain bike geometry got super-long and slack.

It was built up with drop bars and a rigid fork, before being brought into 2022 with thru axles, Boost spacing, a 1x drivetrain and even wider tyre clearance. The Cascade was born.

MTB-level tyre clearance

Cotic Cascade gravel bike
The Cascade offers room for 29in x 2.6in/2.4in or 27.5in x 3in/2.8in tyres.
Richard Baybutt

Some gravel tyres are growing in width, which suits the type of genre-defying riding a bike such as the Cascade is designed for well, but you’ll need the clearance first.

With a level of tyre clearance that blows many of the latest gravel bikes out of the water, there’s space for 29in x 2.6in/2.4in (front/back) or 27.5in x 3in/2.8in.

Really, we’re in MTB territory here, even with the 2.4in WTB Ranger tyres fitted to our test bike – a width typical of modern cross-country bikes.

Born for bikepacking

The Cascade has mounts galore, with a huge number of bottle cage spacing mounts in the main triangle, including at the bottom of the top tube near the seat tube junction and on top of the top tube, as well as under the down tube and on the steel fork.

Cleverly, these mounts also double up as routing points for the external cables and hoses, for ease of servicing at home and out on the trails.

Cotic also offers a couple of lace-up half-frame bags for the Cascade, available in two sizes with a removable waterproof liner, made by Cotic founder Cy Turner’s dad.

Fork options

Besides the chromoly steel Alpaca fork, you can also choose to upgrade your Cascade with a lighter, carbon fibre Salsa Firestarter 110 fork with additional cage mounts, weighing in at just 650g, or add 100mm of travel with a RockShox SID SL Ultimate.

A mountain biker’s gravel bike

Gravel has quickly spawned into a broad and wide-ranging category, with everything from go-fast gravel racing bikes, through to machines such as the Cascade, with its MTB-like intentions.

That includes the addition of a dropper post as standard, allowing riders to shift weight when things get steep and technical, and the 46cm-wide flared bars, offering a more stable position over the front of the bike.

Cotic Cascade gravel bike
Cotic has opted for a 31.6mm seatpost to offer compatibility with mountain bike droppers.
Richard Baybutt

New for the Cascade, the seat clamp has been integrated into the frame to allow for the new triple-butted seat tube.

The use of a 31.6mm-diameter seatpost allows for a greater choice of dropper seatposts (and longer-travel options), compared to the narrower 27.2mm seatposts typically found on more traditional gravel bikes.

This complements the sloping top tube, allows for greater manoeuvrability over the bike and also leaves more of the seatpost exposed, so you can run a longer-travel dropper. This is especially useful for shorter riders.

Cotic Cascade gravel bike
There are mounts aplenty on the Cascade, so you can fit racks, mudguards, cages and lights to your heart’s content.
Richard Baybutt

Cotic Cascade geometry

Cotic adopts its ‘Sureshot’ geometry concept here, using shorter stems of around 60mm and a longer wheelbase. Sizes range from small to XL, typically suited to riders measuring between 165cm and 195cm.

SMLXL
Seat angle (degrees)74747474
Head angle (degrees)68696969
Chainstay (mm)438438438438
Seat tube (mm)435470505540
Top tube (mm)561588613639
Head tube (mm)100113126139
Fork offset (mm)44444444
Bottom bracket drop (mm)70707070
Wheelbase (mm)1,0921,1091,1361,162
Stack (mm)604621633645
Reach (mm)388410432454
Stem length (mm)50-7060-7060-7060-70
Rigid fork length (mm)483483483483
Typical height range (cm)165-172170-180178-188186-195

Cotic Cascade specs and prices

As is the norm with Cotic’s range, the steel frames are brazed, dipped in zinc phosphate (crucial to prevent corrosion inside and out) and painted in Taiwan, before being assembled by the Cotic team in the Peak District’s Hope Valley.

Cotic prides itself in building up each bike to the customer’s requirements, such as using a rolling chassis so you can transfer over parts from an existing bike, saving you a little cash by omitting the saddle if you’ve already got one that works for you, and so on.

Cotic Cascade gravel bike
The Cascade frame is made from Reynolds 853 steel.
Cotic

You can choose between Lichen, the metallic Smoke Grey and Nimbus colourways, which all have a matt finish.

Current builds are dependent on component availability, as well as customer preference, but these different levels should give you a guide.

Cotic Cascade frameset

  • Frame: Cotic Cascade Reynolds 853 steel
  • Fork: Alpaca (steel), Salsa Firestarter (carbon), or 100mm-travel RockShox SID SL Ultimate
  • Price: Frame only £719, with Alpaca fork £849, Salsa fork £1,359, RockShox £1,469

Cotic Cascade (Bronze build)

  • Frame: Cotic Cascade Reynolds 853 steel
  • Drivetrain: Microshift
  • Brakes: Mechanical Microshift
  • Price: from £2,099

Cotic Cascade (Silver build)

  • Frame: Cotic Cascade Reynolds 853 steel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Apex 1
  • Brakes: Hydraulic SRAM Apex 1
  • Price: £TBA, available later in 2022

Cotic Cascade (Gold build)

  • Frame: Cotic Cascade Reynolds 853 steel
  • Drivetrain: Shimano GRX 800 mechanical/Easton
  • Dropper: X-Fusion Manic dropper post
  • Brakes: Hydraulic Shimano GRX 800
  • Price: from £2,699
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Cotic Cascade (Platinum build)

  • Frame: Cotic Cascade Reynolds 853 steel
  • Drivetrain: SRAM Force eTap / X01 Eagle AXS with Cane Creek eeWings
  • Dropper: Bike Yoke
  • Price: £TBA, available later in 2022