First Look: The All-New BFe From Cotic

by
August 25, 2017

Now over 12 years old, the Cotic BFe has sat amongst the UK brand’s steel hardtail range as its toughest and most versatile offering. Taking that versatility to the next level, Cotic has just released the 5th iteration of the BFe hardtail, which now features dual wheelsize capability, and reworked geometry that is a very big jump from the old model.

*SPOILER ALERT: It’s longer and slacker*

To get a closer look at the new BFe, we paid a visit to Cotic HQ in the Peak District to get an exclusive first ride aboard the new hardtail to find out exactly what’s changed, and why this could be the best hardtail Cotic has released to date…

Here’s a rerun of Wil’s live broadcast from Cotic HQ to kick things off.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The BFe is the naughtiest Cotic of them all.

Right from its introduction in 2005, the BFe has always been the tearaway of the Cotic family. The Soul’s stockier, rowdier younger brother. You know the one – loads of fun, but a bit on the wild side? That’s the BFe. Re-invented for its 5th generation, the latest BFe takes the biggest step forward in geometry and features since it was first launched. During our focus on the droplink full suspension bikes over the last couple of years, we got to wondering…..what would a hardtail with Rocket style geometry be like? The answer is here in the new BFe: It’s longer, slacker, lower and more capable than ever. And fast. It’s so, sooooooooooo fast!” – From Cotic.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The new BFe gets new tubing, and is slackerer and longerer too.

The Cotic BFe Features

  • Heat-treated Cromoloy & Reynolds 853 steel tubing
  • Designed around 27.5in wheels with clearance for 26+
  • Max tyre clearance: 27.5×2.6in or 26×3.0in
  • 44mm head tube
  • Can accommodate 100-160mm fork travel
  • Optimised around 140mm travel forks
  • 66° head angle (with 140mm travel fork, sagged at 25%)
  • 73° seat angle (with 140mm travel fork, sagged at 25%)
  • 428mm chainstay length
  • Syntace 142x12mm rear dropouts
  • 73mm threaded bottom bracket
  • ISCG 05 cahinguide tabs
  • 31.6mm seat tube diameter
  • Sizes: Small, Medium, Large
  • Claimed weight: 2.54 kg / 5.6 lb (Medium frame)
  • RRP: £449
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
No doubt this is one of the burliest hardtails going.

If you’re not familiar with the BFe, it’s kind of like the bigger brother to the Soul – Cotic’s keystone bike. The BFe features a tougher and heavier tube set, along with the capability of taking a longer travel fork too. It’s geometry is longer and slacker, making it a little more suitable for doing stupid things on.

With its chameleon-like nature, the BFe has been a popular model for the Peak District-based brand, and particularly as a frame upgrade for riders with existing full suspension mountain bikes who are looking for something a little more durable to throw all their bits on.

Since the original 26in BFe was launched, it has since spawned a 27.5in version, which was updated early last year with thru-axle dropouts. Cotic is still making a 26in version too, and they informed us that demand is still strong. However, after having spent the last year testing new geometries and wheel standards, Cotic decided it was time to overhaul the 27.5in model.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The BFe is optimised around a 140mm travel fork, though you can go as short as 100mm and as long as 160mm.

The biggest change to the new BFe has been in the geometry. Everyone’s doing the long ‘n’ slack thing, and Cotic has joined the fray by increasing the front centre length significantly on the new BFe. As an example, the Medium BFe’s reach has been extended over 30mm, making it longer than the old Large.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Cotic designed the BFe around a shorter stem. Specifically around its’ new ‘Shorterstem’.

To accommodate the new longer top tubes, Cotic has designed each frame size around a 35mm long stem. There will be three sizes; Small, Medium, and Large, and Cotic claims there’ll be a size to suit riders anywhere from 165cm tall to 191cm tall.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Bendy chainstays give the clearance between the crankarm and the rear tyre.

The frame features all-new tubing from front to back, including new S-bend seat and chainstays that offer more tyre clearance. The curvy back end will now accept up to a 2.6in tyre in 27.5 mode, though Cotic has also considered the emerging 26+ category, with clearance for up to 3.0in wide tyres for those rocking the two-six setup.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Rear centre length remains compact at 428mm.

Despite the added tyre/mud clearance, the back end of the BFe has been kept short, with the horizontal chainstay length having been chopped down to 428mm. And all of that without need for Boost spacing. Yep, the BFe sticks with 142x12mm dropouts, primarily for compatibility with existing bikes out there. The idea being that for many customers, the BFe could be the ideal donor frame, so compatibility with existing ‘standards’ is particularly important for Cotic.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The Cane Creek Helm is available as a high-end fork upgrade for BFe complete bikes.

The BFe has always been a versatile frameset, and the new model retains that versatility. However, while the BFe will take a fork with travel anywhere between 100-160mm travel, Cotic has honed in the geometry around a 140mm fork. In the case of this model, it’s a Cane Creek Helm fork that kicks the head angle back to 66°. Oh, and that number is measured with a rider on the bike and with the fork sitting at 25% sag – so the static head angle is actually slacker, which is why it looks slacker in the photos.

cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
44mm headtube offers loads of compatibility with tapered and straight steerers, and it’s reinforced with slim gussets underneath both the top and down tubes.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
External cable routing aboard the new BFe frame. Water bottle bosses too for humans that require fluids while riding.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Neat bolt-on cable guide on the top of the downtube.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
And cable guides for the rear brake and derailleur underneath the top tube.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Reynolds 853 downtube, and heat-treated cromoly tubing elsewhere.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Stealth routing for the dropper post, though the BFe frame is ready for external cable routing too.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Threaded bottom bracket shell with ISCG 05 chainguide tabs.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The BFe is mostly a 1x design, though a Side Swing front derailleur can be fitted to go 2x if you really want to. Chainring size is a bit limited though.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Note the neat little gussets on the outside of each chainstay tube where they meet the bottom bracket. Cotic was keen to ensure the BFe frame was sufficiently stiff through this area, despite the slender steel tubes and wide tyre clearance.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Lovely enclosed 142x12mm thru-axle dropouts.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
This test bike was built up with a smattering of gold anodized Hope components, including the Tech 3 E4 disc brakes and Pro4 hubs. Mmmm….
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
4-pot calliper up front and Hope’s 2-piece rotor.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
New Cotic Calver handlebars feature on the complete BFe, with a 780mm width combined with a 25mm rise.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
We’re also digging these new Cotic lock-on grips, which get a thin aztec-maze pattern and a single locking clamp.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
How’s that for a finish tough – a matching Race Face Turbine 1x dropper post lever. Cwoaar!
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Slippery Race Face Turbine dropper post for the up’ing and down’ing of the saddle.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
It’d be rude not to huh?
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The Gloss Blue colour features some lovely orange pin-striping that’s hidden down the back of the seat tube.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Curvy wishbone seatstays with loads of clearance around the stock 2.3in wide tyres.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
This is a Large size frame, though the BFe is also available in Medium and Small sizes too.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
The ‘Gold’ build gets Hope Tech Enduro wheels and WTB tyres with a Breakout TCS Tough on the back…
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
…and the excellent Vigilante TCS Light on the front.
cotic bfe steel hardtail 27.5
Ready for a’whalloping.

The new BFe has just arrived at Cotic in extremely limited numbers, so if you’re interested in it, then drop the fellas a line to inquire about availability.

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First Look