Cotic Rocket Gold review

An unstoppable, super confident steel grin machine

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £3,599.00 RRP

Our review

Supremely planted gravity plough that’s still surprisingly playful under power
Buy if, You want a surefooted bike with plenty of gravity swagger that's still lively on the trails
Pros: Slack and long steel frame gives very surefooted stability and trail connection; excellent fork and shock sensitivity and support; lighter, livelier and more trail happy than you’d expect for its gravity swagger
Cons: Needs accurate suspension tuning and twisty, long frame won’t suit everyone
Skip to view product specifications

Sheffield-based Cotic has expanded its ‘Droplink’ suspension range with the 130mm travel Flare and 29er/27.5+ wheeled ‘Max’ models, but its 650b Rocket is still an absolute glued-to-the-ground ripper.

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Cotic is one of the few designers using steel, with premium air-hardened Reynolds 853 mainframe tubes and steel seatstays. The chainstays are alloy to allow the extensive shaping to fit the Boost rear end. Rear pivots on the seatstay mean the wheel follows a simple arc around the main pivot. The two Droplink arms on the subtly kinked seat tube create a progressive shock feel for plush traction but power-and-play ‘pop’ when the shock is tuned right. Cables, hoses and bottom bracket are all external for easy maintenance and longevity.

Our bike was based around the mid-range ‘Gold’ kit spec, well worth getting for the fork and shock. Cockpit and wheel pack were spot on, Shimano XT is noticeably stiffer in feel than SRAM shifting, but the rear brake wasn’t totally consistent. Extensive kit upgrades and a custom build menu are available.

The Droplink suspension uses short pop-up linkages to give the simple swingarm wheel path a progressive shock rate
The Droplink suspension uses short pop-up linkages to give the simple swingarm wheel path a progressive shock rate
Mick Kirkman

The tubes might be thin and the fork narrow compared to 35mm-legged Boost units, but there’s no doubt the Rocket is a bike with serious trail presence and gravity swagger. You can really feel the difference in the way the steel frame and advanced dampers connect to the trail. There’s a palpable ‘stickiness’ in the way they mould around the smallest surface bumps and suck the Rocket down on to the ground like a DH bike. The first turn shows this rich connection extends to the tyres — WTB’s ‘Fast Rolling’ compound and ‘Light’ carcass boots feel like super tacky chewing gum on the Cotic.

Tangible twist in the long, skinny mainframe means it finds its own flow around high cornering load or blunt-impact situations, rather than crashing and clattering over the top. That gives a sense of the bike snaking around beneath you as you lock the 785mm bars on to target, but together with the outstanding damper performance it creates an unshakeably confident ride.

There’s so much subtle damping from the suspension and frame that the fast rolling tyres grip like super-tacky rubber
There’s so much subtle damping from the suspension and frame that the fast rolling tyres grip like super-tacky rubber
Mick Kirkman

The geometry maximises the rewards of all this grip. The tall fork rakes out the head angle to nearer 65 than the published 65.5-degree angle while the long chainstays stretch out stability further. We were initially concerned about the tall bottom bracket, but it squats down into the Cane Creek DBinline shock as soon as you’re rolling and never felt like it was going to high-side us out of corners.

There are moments that the frame flex and sheer length of the bike act against it when you’re turning it in hard, and it’s not the easiest bike to whip around. Occasionally the temptation to let it tank ahead on its own course got us into trouble, but we shouldn’t have been going that fast anyway.

What surprised us, given the steel frame and the way the Rocket hunkers down on to the trail, is that it doesn’t need gravity to get its groove on. The shock’s Climb lever, which slows down both compression and rebound, helps firm up pedalling manners when you’re grunting up a climb. Even with plush compression settings the shock is stable under power and, once you’ve dialled the pressure, its progression is spot on for support without spitting traction. It’s not overly heavy either, although the Gold spec build makes it pricey.

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Having ridden the more basic X-Fusion fork and rear shock last year we’d say the extra dosh for the superbly controlled Roughcut fork damper and DBinline shock is worth it. Expect to spend extra time as well as money getting the fork and shock set up as, even though we got on great with Cotic’s default damping tune, balancing shock and fork pressures to hit the spot between over-firm and suddenly linear took us a while. Other Fox units are available as upgrades though.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Rocket Gold
Brand Cotic

Available Sizes S M L XL
Rear Tyre WTB Breakout Tough/Fast Rolling 27.5x2.3in
Wheelbase (in) 47.83
Top Tube (in) 24.41
Seat Tube (in) 18.9
Chainstays (in) 17.05
Bottom Bracket Height (in) 13.98
Spoke Type Stainless
Weight (kg) 14.34
Stem Race Face Chester, 50mm
Shifters Shimano Deore XT M8000 (1x11)
Seatpost Race Face Turbine (150mm stroke dropper)
Seat Angle 73
Saddle Cotic
Rims Hope Tech Enduro
Rear Wheel Weight 2830
Rear Shock Cane Creek DBinline
Bottom Bracket Race Face external
Front Hub Hope Pro 4
Brakes Shimano Deore XT M8000, 180/180mm
Cassette Shimano Deore XT M8000, 11-42t
Chain Shimano HG701
Cranks Race Face Turbine Cinch, 30t
Fork X-Fusion Sweep RC HLR, 160mm (6.3in) travel
Frame Material Reynolds 853 chromoly mainframe, 7000 series aluminium rear end
Front Tyre WTB Vigilante TCS Light/Fast Rolling 27.5x2.3in
Rear Hub Hope Pro 4
Front Wheel Weight 1970
Grips/Tape Race Face lock-on
Handlebar Race Face Respond, 785mm
Head Angle 65.5
Headset Type Hope
Rear Derailleur Shimano Deore XT M8000
Frame size tested L