First Look At Cotic’s Flare Max

by 8

What’s that hammering on down the trail? Could it be a 2018 Cotic?

It’s the season of new bike reveals, and Cotic came to see us earlier this week with a new bike that is launching today – the new 2018 Cotic Flare Max. We managed to get out for a decent spin on this fun 29er trail bike and then pinned down Cotic’s Sam the Demo Man for a chat about this new, steel, full suspension bike.

Typically northern conditions for our test ride

The Flare Max is Cotic’s big wheel trail bike. Less travel than Rocket, but with room for bigger tyres – whether those are 29ers or 27.5+ – while it has always been Boost from the get-go, there are a number of improvements on this bike that bring it right up to date. The whole geometry has been given the longer/slacker/shorter treatment, dubbed ‘Longshot geometry’ and Cotic has been experimenting with various combinations – finding that you can’t just stick a shorter stem on a longer bike, the front has to be slackened too. Likewise, you can’t just slacken a head angle without allowing for a shorter stem. Cotic is speccing all of these new bikes with a teeny 35mm stem from the get-go.

We got Demo Sam to explain all of the differences for us in this video below

(Can’t see the vid? Click here instead)

Shiny, shiny silver paint. The new FlareMAX
You may recognise Demo Day Sam from Cotic
Own-brand 35mm stem from Cotic
The new stiffer pivots also allow an integrated OneUp chainguide.
The top tube bottle mount has been moved for better access
It might look nickel plated, but this is a silver paint finish.
Steel full suspension bikes? Who’d have thought it…
There are subtle colour touches everywhere
We never get tired of this view of the office from our test loop.

Of the new FlareMAX, Cotic’s official release goes something like this:

For some years now, Cy has been continually testing and refining his big wheeled prototypes. Changes to angles, stem lengths and BB heights have resulted in his smile getting wider and wider till he was ready to present you with the new FlareMAX, featuring ‘Longshot’ geometry. He realised a very long time ago that one change effects another and they don’t work in isolation. The new FlareMAX is longer, lower, slacker; but it all works in harmony, creating an even more intuitive rider experience.


Silver isn’t the only option and the FlareMAX will come in this neat mid-blue colour, with hints of orange to it. We think it’s rather splendid.

Rear pivots roll on easily-sourced shock bushings
Sorry, front derailleur fans, but there’s no longer a provision for you here. It’s one-by only.
Reynolds 853 makes up the main triangle

As a bonus we can now offer a small size frame, opening up the world of 29 or 27.5+ wheels to shorter riders. With 120mm of rear travel, the FlareMAX will trounce all trails from local hillocks to the Himalayas. The adjustment in sizes and geometry has changed our own approach to riding. The whole team has been attempting (and cleaning) climbs they’ve previously failed on, PB’s have been broken and the tidal waves of loam (well, mostly mud) have got bigger and bigger. Just like Cy, our smiles have got wider too. Any bike can be fun but the FlareMAX make that feeling last, long after you put it back in the shed. We can’t express how excited we are to share these new frames with you.

Big 29er, or big 27.5+ wheels. It’s up to you.

The other changes for the bike include an extended fork range, allowing the bike to be run with forks in the 120-140mm range. Gone is a provision for front mechs, so it’s one-by only now, but it has meant that Cotic could design a neat plate to mount a One-up top guide to the drive side pivot cap.

Longer, lower, slacker. The holy trinity of modern trail riding.
Fancy silver or blue? Depends how shy or outgoing you’re feeling.

The new FlareMAX now runs on larger main pivot bearings, with relocated bottle bosses to allow for a greater range of rear shocks. The alloy swingarm has been beefed up now for greater stiffness, while the cable routing has been improved to clear wider tyres better.

What’s that hardtail doing there? Oh, it’s the new Soul!

It wasn’t all new FlareMAX bikes, we also got to play with the new 2018 Cotic Soul. More of that later…

Mud room on all the bikes was tested thoroughly
And home for tea…

For more details on the new FlareMAX, check out our video below – and then go and visit


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (8)

    Lovely looking bike, but seems hugely expensive for a direct to market steel frameset.

    Have a look at the price of other 853 steel full suspension framesets…

    That’s bloody gorgeous! Wonder if I could get away with it being a gift for the GF?!

    That silver finish is fabulous.
    Might have to rethink my next bike slightly unless they’re going to rejig the RocketMax too and finish it in silver..

    If I’d known I could have brought my 26” Rocket see how the new stacks up to the old, as I’m a man of leisure now

    I’ve just bought myself a 2018 Soul and they go and do this to me! Christ, I need to lock my bank card away.

    What size is the blue one pictured up there ^^

    The blue one was a medium, @ultra-c

Leave a Reply