Once considered one of the smaller UK brands, Cotic is pushing forward and expanding their range, with three new full suspension bikes joining the current Rocket, and the Soul, Solaris and BeFe hardtails.
The Rocket Max, Flare and Flare Max all use Cotic’s Droplink suspension design, as seen on the Rocket. It is, in effect, a linkage-driven single pivot, and is one we’ve got on well with in the past.
As we’ve come to expect from Cotic, the front end is steel, while the rear triangle has steel chainstays and alloy seatstays. Titanium pivot fittings finish off the frame.
While the Rocket is a 150mm 27.5 bike, the Rocket Max takes 29in or 27.5+ wheels and puts them into a chassis with 140mm of suspension travel.
The Flare is a shorter-travel version of the Rocket at 130mm and, you guessed it, the Flare Max takes both sizes of big wheels in a 120mm package.
Who, What, Where, Why
Cotic’s Cy Turner explained that the reason for growing the product range was to reach both current and new customers, with a more well-rounded product range. While the Rocket established Cotic as a brand which could bring performance full suspension to the market, the feedback from current customers, who may have owned hardtails such as the Soul and Solaris, was that they wanted a full suspension bike that better matched their current ride – hence the reason the shorter-travel Flare model came into existence.
Debates over 27.5 versus 29in wheels are still a common theme in post-ride pub stops, so it’s no surprise that the Rocket has been adjusted to take the larger wheels.
DropLink suspension is Cotic’s linkage driven suspension system:Tom Marvin
With 27.5+ entering into the market, and with them having more-or-less the same outer diameter (pedants will point out the roughly 7mm difference), it seemed no great shakes to make sure there was enough room for them, too. The emergence of plus wheels, and the added benefit from stiffer 29er wheels means that Cotic’s use of the “boost” 148mm rear axle spacing seems like a sound idea for the Max models, however standard 27.5 Rockets and Flares will still use 142mm rear ends.
The new X-Fusion McQueen Boost spaced fork:Tom Marvin
Cotic will offer a range of build options, with X-Fusion and Fox shocks, and Shimano drivetrains. The company will also offer frame-only options.
For those undecided whether they would prefer 29er or 27.5+ for their Flare models, Cotic will happily supply you with both options. Variety is the spice of life, after all…
The Rocket, RocketMAX, Flare and FlareMAX frames all start at £1499 with an X-Fusion O2 shock. Upgrades to the shock are available. (Details to come soon.)
All the bikes are offered with various build kits, from the basic Silver, which generally come equipped with X-Fusion forks, Shimano SLX drivetrains, and Deore/WTB ST wheels; to the Platinum kit which comes with Shimano’s XTR drivetrain, carbon WTB hoops and Fox suspension. While Cotic is a UK company, they do ship worldwide.
I took a spin on a number of the bikes at the Forest of Dean recently, and from the outset, Cotic’s familiar feel was present across the bikes. It should be seen as a complement that each of the bikes is very easy to jump on and just ride without much fuss. I instantly felt at home on these bikes.
The Droplink suspension is compliant, relatively efficient and offers plenty of grip, tracking the ground with no surprises as you hit choppy, off-camber and loose terrain.
Swapping between the wheel sizes and widths clearly shows the differences in their nature, with the Rocket Max offering simply massive amounts of grip and control – late braking, dodgy un-sighted lines and flat out point-and-shoot trails are eaten up without any complication.
The Flare is a 130mm 27.5 bike:Tom Marvin
The 27.5 Flare is a different kettle of fish to the Rocket, with a taut feel, and poppy, playful handling, but with less travel, a touch less capable in bigger terrain. That said, for the majority of trails, it’s more than enough.
The Flare Max with 29in hoops highlighted the easy roll-over nature of bigger wheels. It makes for a bike that feels at home on long rides on varied terrain.
The FlareMAX is a 120mm 29in or 27.5+ trail slayer:Tom Marvin
With three bikes to ride in a limited time, we can’t say much more than that, but we’re getting a Flare Max in for test — with both wheels sizes — so look out for a first ride review soon.