All of Cotic’s frames are designed in the Peak District and tested in the UK. The latest-generation hardtails, like this BFe, benefit from staff and race team feedback, and are longer and slacker-angled, just like the brand’s full-suspension bikes.
The low-slung steel frame used here is also available on its own for £499, which is great value.
Cotic BFe Gold frame
At the BFe’s heart is a gusseted Reynolds 853 down tube, with heat-treated, 4130 chromoly used elsewhere. There’s a distinctive rear wishbone with curvy S-bend steel stays and a bridgeless junction behind the bottom bracket for maximum clearance.
Cotic omits seat tube bottle bosses so that the X-Fusion dropper post can be fully slammed for extra standover height. The seat tube is oversized (35mm) for maximum stiffness, and an ovalised top tube adds extra resistance to twisting to further improve frame precision.
That oval shaping also allows some vertical compliance, for better ride comfort. The rear stays use a Syntace X-12 axle with an expanding-collet design. I rate this highly, since the axle essentially becomes a frame member once tightened and helps to improve chassis stiffness.
The Race Face Turbine crankset has a wide stance (Q Factor), so your legs feel noticeably further apart when pedalling, which may annoy some riders. Mick Kirkman
Cotic BFe Gold kit
Cotic’s Longshot geometry is optimised for 35mm stems that deliver more responsive steering. The own-brand stem provided is solid, and the 780mm bar is a good shape too, but it transmits a fair bit of chatter through the thin Cotic grips and feels a tad harsh.
Cane Creek’s Helm Air fork is a £300+ upgrade, but feels silky, stable and composed, with great sensitivity over the rough stuff, for heavier riders at least.
The compression damping is on the firmer side though, so, even with it fully wound open, lightweight riders may find it a tad too muscular.
I dented the Hope Tech Enduro rear rim harshly, even though it was fitted with a firmly-inflated, thick-cased tyre. Even before that, the wheels felt both slow-going and uncomfortable.
For the same money, Cotic’s alternative offer of Hunt Enduro Wide rims looks a better option. WTB’s latest-generation tyres are pretty sorted, although the heavily-knobbed rear Judge isn’t actually ‘Fast Rolling’, as is written on the side.
The firm compound meant I struggled for traction under braking at times, but with a softer tyre you’d have even more friction and quicker wear.
Cotic BFe Gold ride impressions
The BFe lives up to its name — it’s a real trail-smasher. With its relaxed 64-degree head angle, lengthy reach (470mm on my large) and long wheelbase (1,214mm), things remain calm at high speeds and you can confidently haul ass down rough tracks.
Fitted with a 140mm fork, the handling is very neutral and the BFe never under- or oversteers.
WTB calls its firmer rubber compound ‘Fast Rolling’, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the chunky Judge rear tyre is going to be quick off the mark. Mick Kirkman
The ride is more flowy than urgent, so it leans more towards wide-open trails than super-steep terrain. Constantly needing to wiggle and adjust to roots, rocks and deep holes on steep, twisty tech made me feel slightly perched, and it’s less nimble and reactive than the BTR Ranger Tam Edition, also on test.
The frame’s vibration damping and smoothness is good, and the BFe isn’t twangy, but there’s a lot of feedback through the rear wheel on harder hits and bigger square edges.
It’s also noticeable under braking that the Cotic’s ride is rougher than some, and this sees the rear tyre thunk and skip more, making it tougher to maintain composure and link the hardest sections. This overall solidity fatigues hands, arms and feet more on long descents too.
Heading uphill, the slack seat angle made my hips and bum feel a bit far behind the cranks (even with the saddle set forward), and this gets worse on steeper climbs.
The bottom bracket could be lower too (it has 38mm of drop), to improve cornering, and the bike felt less planted and manoeuvrable than others when I was threading through repeated bermed corners or chucking it about on tight singletrack.
This is a bike that offers extra confidence at flat-out speeds, more than when tackling technical puzzles in the steeps.
Cotic’s 4130 chromoly rear end doesn’t track the ground as well as some of the competition over continuous hits. Mick Kirkman
Cotic BFe Gold geometry (L)
Seat angle: 71.6 degrees
Head angle: 64 degrees
Chainstay: 16.85in / 42.8cm
Seat tube: 18.11in / 46cm
Top tube: 25.87in / 65.7cm
Bottom bracket height: 12.68in / 32.2cm
Wheelbase: 47.8in / 1,214mm
Reach: 18.5in / 47cm