First Ride: Cotic Rocket – Ready For Takeoff

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Barney takes a look at the new Rocket275 in its native habitat. Spoiler: he gets wet.

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Soggy, but ace

It’s been threatening rain the whole time I’ve been driving over the hills to get to Cotic; the previously encouraging weather forecast has decided it’s not playing, and has grumpily submitted a much more miserable picture. However, optimism and luck have so far held things at bay, and as I pull up to the car park, things are looking relatively dry.
Cy takes us inside and we chat about the new Rocket275, which is now (well, duh) a 27.5in trail monster, although as you’d expect, it’s pretty similar in lots of ways to the old 26in bike. “It’s quite funny how ahead of its time the Rocket turned out to be – stick a 160mm fork on there and the head angle is 65.5 degrees, which is bang on the money for an enduro bike,” he said. And he’s right. Seatpost angle is around 73 degrees (with a 160mm fork again), which is specifically (Cy says) so that you feel more like you’re in the bike rather than perched over the top of it.

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Coooeee!

The front end of this beast is steel, which works for Cotic on a number of levels. Firstly, the weight isn’t all that much more than the corresponding aluminium frame would be. Secondly, it ties in well with Cotic’s brand – and thirdly (and most importantly) the seat tube is vastly stiffer than anything Cy could come up with in alloy. In fact, he claims it’s a whole 38% stiffer – which is a pretty impressive number when you’re hanging all the suspension gubbins off it.
Speaking of which, the swingarm is alloy, which when used here has all the right properties to wend its merry way through the narrow gaps afforded by the tyre and the chainrings while still keeping things nice and stiff around the brace.

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The pivot has easily replaceable bearings

433mm later, the chainstays terminate at the rear wheel (142×12, natch). A pair of steel chainstays (to keep clearances optimal) interact with either a Fox or Cane Creek shock, depending on your preference, and there’s a short linkage attaching the seat stays to the frame. The whole shebang is known as the Droplink, and it looks very tidy indeed.

Here’s a quick video of Cy explaining further:

Cy was keen to stress that, although it’s technically a single pivot (with a linkage driven shock), the axle path mirrors many more complex linkage-suspended bikes to within a couple of millimetres. And (although he’s not released any details) he hinted that there were some very exciting things in the pipeline with the Droplink platform…

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Steel seatstays have internal routing to keep things tidy

But enough of this speculation! This is about Rockets! There’s clearly been a huge deal of thought put into the Rocket275. The move up to 27.5in wheels has not been undertaken lightly, but simple economics dictates that it’s the only way to go. But Cy’s worked hard to ensure the Rocket has the same character as its smaller-wheeled predecessor.

Did we mention it was wet? BOS forks were boss
Did we mention it was wet? BOS forks were boss

There are three sizes – S, M and L; they’re all fairly (but not scarily) long – the L has a reach of 448mm, for example, and they’re available in two colours – orange and green.

So now I’ve told you they’re available in two colours, I’m going to tell you that the one I rode was in unobtanium black. It was actually unpainted – or rather, it’s covered in zinc phosphate (corrosion resistant) primer – the bike I rode was Cy’s personal bike. It’s one of the first production frames, which was primed but not painted (all the Rockets have the black primer underneath) so the only thing to change was the colour.

It’s rather nicely appointed, too. 1X11 groupset, Cane Creek DB inline shock, BOS Deville fork. Sahweet.

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Not available in black, despite appearances.

As a very tall chap, Cy’s bike is a large. Good thing too; I too have difficulty getting jeans long enough. Even so, the bike needed a bit of fettling to fit me, but a different stem and some suitably wide bars saw me right, and we pedalled off into the gray.

The Peaks and environs on this particular day decided not to grace us with the very finest of weather. Emphatically not the very finest of weather. It started drizzling, and then it started to rain. The Rocket performed extremely well over a variety of urban singletrack… and then we went up. Climbing is never a joy for me, but the Rocket seemed capable enough, with the usual caveats about size. Pedal bob seemed pretty manageable, and was pretty well attenuated by the climb switch, which I didn’t bother with for great swathes of the test. There is a lot of hill in this part of the world, and the great joyful thing about hills is that you get to go down them too…

Some of Cotic’s local trails are absolutely fantastic, and of these particular mention has to go to the Devil’s Elbow, a coruscating braid of multiple-lined singletrack, complete with roots, stepdowns, precious little time to line up for the next obstacle, and more WOOP than you can shake a very large stick at. So much WOOP, in fact, that we felt the need to stop to take more pics, despite the Ineffable Weather.

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Barney also tried the orange one. It was more orangey.

The Rocket was a great piece of kit for this. It’s a genuine compliment to say that the bike felt invisible – there was no weirdness or eccentricity to the suspension at all; no odd sensations to detract from attention to the trail. The front end felt stable; and went where I pointed it (huge props at this point to the excellent BOS fork) and the back end tracked predictably.

IMG_8654At this point I noticed that the Cane Creek was losing air. It transpired that this shock was an old sample from a batch with known issues; more recent examples are much more reliable (and a perfectly reliable DB Inline on my own bike bears this out) – as Cy says, he wouldn’t be putting them on bikes if he wasn’t happy with them.

But shock duly pumped up, we trudged our way through the driving rain up to the trail in Lady Cannings – which with its vast amounts of flow, gentle jumps, bermed corners and perfectly-pumpable undulations, stood in delightful contrast to the rocky thrutchfest of much of the rest of the terrain. It was a perfect preamble to a well deserved (but somewhat soggy) lunch.

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Lady Cannings’ sinewy wiles

And then, several pounds heavier, we squelched back to our bikes and rode back to the carpark, via the Devil’s Elbow again (yay!) and a few other choice pieces of Yorkshire trail.

It’s not really possible to get a complete overview of a bike from just one ride, in pretty terrible conditions, but initial impressions are very positive. The Rocket275 looks good, tracks well, climbs well and descends beautifully. We’re very keen to see more.

Frames are available from £1399 with no shock (it’s £1549 with a Fox) and you can pick up complete bikes from £3599.

For more details, click here

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