by Hannah Dobson
March 14, 2017
We’ve seen a few spy shots of this before, but the official word is now out and the new Solaris Max from Cotic is on sale. This is the latest evolution of the bike, which retains the sweet handling of the most recent version, with the only change in geometry being a slightly longer Large size to even out the steps between the medium and XL. The reach on that frame is up from 436mm to 443mm. You can find all the geometry here.
What does MAX mean? MAX by name, Maximum versatility by nature, the SolarisMAX can run either 29 inch wheels with tyres up to 2.5″ wide, or the latest 275 Plus sized wheels in 27.5 x 3.0″ width. 29″ wheel compatibility offers you a huge range of tyre options for carving corners and easy rolling speed, for every condition, and any purpose. You want fast? You’ve got fast. Any kind of fast you want. 275 Plus wheels with high volume tyres add comfort and traction advantages, with monster truck style rock smothering when you get into really rough terrain.
The big change is at the back of the bike: As with the droplink full suspension bikes, Cotic is bringing MAX to the hardtails with the introduction of a Boost148 thru axle rear end and MAX S-bend chainstays which now have tyre clearance for 29 x 2.5″ tyres or 27.5 x 3.0″ Plus wheels. Cotic continues to use the light, secure and compact Syntace X-12 axles, and the icing on the cake is the introduction of Stealth dropper post routing on the seat tube.
So, a bit of a mullet redesign: Business at the front, party at the back!
Boost148 allowed Cy at Cotic to squeeze those 3.0″ Plus tyres into the same chainstay length as the previous bike. He’s a big fan of the Plus tyres on a hardtail; the Solaris was one of the first bikes to be compatible with the first generation tyres, but as things move on even the 2.8’s he originally designed around and grown a little, and clearance was getting marginal with some brands of tyre on the previous version of the frame.
I wanted to make the bike work without trouble with all the latest tyres, so I went for full 3.0″ compatibility giving you plenty of options for your own bike. Personally, I’m still a fan of the 2.8″ on the back to keep the weight down a little, especially now I can get hold of the Tough casing from WTB on the Ranger which is now an option on the complete bikes. This adds weight back in, but helps that balance of pressure vs tyre roll compromise better. We have the Tough casing option in stock now, so if you’re buying a bike or a wheelset, you just pop a note on the order saying that’s the version you’d like.
For those of you getting a little tired of all these new standards, Cy says he does understand and he’s tried to keep it simple.
The bike uses a good old threaded 73mm BB shell, and despite the Boost148 rear spacing, it still runs fine if you have regular 50mm chainline cranks. There’s room for up to 32t chainrings on a standard chainline, but you’ll need to be using either the outer position of a dedicated double chainset (like the older Shimano M785 XT or similar), or a Boost 53mm chainline chainset for using chainrings up to 36t. What that should mean is that most people won’t need a new chainset when buying the a frame and transferring over your existing components.
The frame is still 2x compatible using the Shimano sideswing front mechs; in fact they sorted out a 2x build based on the Silver Hope Plus bike for one of their first customers for the new bike. It’s not a stock option, but if you’re interested then drop them a line. They’ll always be happy to get you a price on something even if it’s not in the main bike specs or Go Custom options.
If someone has some nice 29er or Plus wheels which use a 142mm Hope hub, they have the Wolf Tooth Boostinator converter kits in stock as well. These use a wider end cap and disc rotor spacer, along with getting your wheel re-dish 3mm towards the disc side and means you don’t have to buy a whole new wheel to get yourself on your nice new SolarisMAX. The re-dish does give some of the advantages of Boost too, making the spoke tension more even on the rear wheel.
New colours are Gloss Black with Aqua or Orange decals, or Champagne Gloss with Orange decals. SolarisMAX frames are £599, and complete bikes start at £1649 – there’s a whole range of options to choose from on the configurator if you want to have a bike built to your own exacting requirements. Will one of these be heading to a shed near you soon? Not sure? Want to check one out first? If you’re in the UK and want to try a SolarisMAX for yourself, or any of Cotic’s other bikes, contact Sam the Demo Man and see about getting a ride on a bike on your local trails. If you get a few friends together, Cotic will bring the fleet to you on an Exclusive Ride Day.