I thought that hence the Whyte last year... but it was not enough bike... and now I can thrash the Mmmbop in the way I do my Helius AM.
Alternative to the Soul, with swappable dropouts
Well, if the Soul isn't enough bike, I'm sure I'll manage to justify something in betwen the two....
J E James had a few of the explosif frames on offer, look nice too.
Sounds like the Soul has given you an itch to scratch... hopefully it will work out for you. If I want a mincy XC machine I'll take my rigid 1995 explosif singlespeed... and still ride the six foot drops
Here is what I wrote a few months ago… sorry… lots of reading.
I can now comment on this since I've tried both. I own a Whyte 19 Steel and have test ridden a Cotic Soda; both in Medium frame sizes with 120mm forks.
The big difference is that with the Cotic you sit "in" the bike and with the Whyte you sit "on" it - what seem on the surface to be very similar bikes do have quite different personalities.
There is a big difference between the bottom bracket height of the two with the Cotic having the lower by almost 20mm, which explains I think why I feel perched on the Whyte but ride in the Cotic. This gives the Cotic more stability and speed with a more racey feel to it, the Whyte however does not feel nervous which is usually what I find a high BB gives you. The reason for this is I believe the slacker head angle on the Whyte (67deg vs 69deg) which gives it great stability and stops it "stalling" when slammed into trail features, a trait I found occasionally with the Cotic.
Seat angle (71deg) and chainstay lenght between the two was nearly identical (Whyte dropouts in the middle) so for climbing they are very similar, although for techy work the Cotic did ding a pedal more frequently due to the lower bottom bracket (natch), but it also felt a little more planted than the Whyte.
For the rutted super sketchy gnar terrain I like they both performed well with the saddle dropped, but with different traits. The Cotic was harder to hold the line with and the front wanted to tuck under sending the back over, or that’s how it felt, like I had to get further back behind the saddle to keep control. I also had to take care with the pedals to prevent banging them, but it was all certainly fun and much better than old skool XC geometry.
The Whyte feels more sketchy dropping in but once in the flow the bike feels planted and to me more manoeuvrable as I didn't feel the need to be so far over the back. Neither of them is a plower like my big bike and they both needed plenty of input to keep them upright and going in the correct direction. When coming out of the gnar the Whyte was quicker to recover it's composure and sprint to the next obstacle like a mini BMX. For berms and chucking into fast corners the Cotic felt quicker as long as the trails were smooth; I found the Cotic tended to get knocked off line easier and suffered the "stalling" I mentioned earlier when the trails were not smooth or there was deep mud.
Note - I'm used to the Whyte and the Cotic was new to me so preferences will vary but I can say with certainty that both of these bikes are a hoot and either is great. Both are way better in the gnar and trails where I ride than traditional XC bikes.
I'd love to try something that steals what I see as the best of both bikes: Drop the bottom bracket height on the Whyte a little or kick out the head angle a couple of degrees on the Cotic.
Material issues – The Cotic which was Ti felt a little punchier than the steel Whyte under sprinting, but both were lovely and had the springy feel I like. The Cotic was the lighter bike but it was not really noticeable on the trails due to the hefty coating of mud acquired by both bikes.
I'll be sticking with my Whyte for the moment but if I had a Cotic I would be sticking with it too - different but equally brilliant fun. Now… what else can I try
I've since tried a Soul and a Bfe... and a Blue Pig X (and my Mmmbop)... and my Whyte is for sale.
The Soul was as with the Soda = great. The Bfe was too small but had 160mm Wotan forks on it... it was fun but felt overly solid and wouldn't climb for toffee (seat angle too slack). The Blue Pig X had me hooked and I loved it, we just got on... despite it being a bit lardy and set up for a taller rider (Fox 36 Van forks ffs).
Your looking for a hardtail to complement your Spicy… exactly like I was looking for a hardtail to complement my Helius. I really love my Helius... but my local forest is brilliant when served up on a hardtail... I love taking the big bike up there but taking the hardtail is such a hoot too and means I can keep the big bike fresh for the mountains where I NEED it. I bought the Whyte to get back to my older XC roots (and route's) but I found I was still wanting to rag it all the time like it was my Helius… I guess I only really have the one speed at the end of the day… FLAT OOT! I found going from Helius to Whyte a bit of a struggle as they were very different... AM plough to Trail mince... I found myself taking the Whyte into things and then going "oh *&&%"... do the same on the Mmmbop and it's "oh goody"... so much more confident.
People describe Mmmbop's etc as rather blunt tools for bludgeoning trails into submission but if you build them up right/light they are amazingly flexible. Mine is about 26lbs so what I would call XC weight, light enough for long rides yet it ploughs through the techy stuff where the Soul/Whyte would require much more finesse... I think it suits my riding style better and is definetely easier to switch across from big bike too. For the record... the Mmmbop has the slack head angle of the Whyte, the bottom bracket height of the Soul and even with 150mm rev forks the same seat angle. This thing climbs and descends with the best traits of the other bikes mentioned without requiring an adjusting travel fork... but it does ride solid and do things with a jarring thud and not the "ping" of the steel bikes. I knew it would be like that as it's a very big tubed alu monstrosity, but I wanted to try Brants Ragley geometry... really try it... not just demo it for a ride, so the Mmmbop is a bit of a test mule to figure out size and try a few things on the cheap (it takes my Reverb, 1.5" forks, HUGE tyres, and it's really light for whats it's capable of). I wasn't sure that a 150mm forked hardtail would be a sensible proposition which is why I ended up with the 120mm forked Whyte… I should have gone down the 150mm forked route that I have now, it really is ace for where and how I ride (YMMV of course). I'd love to buy the Ti Ragley or a Brodie Holeshot (Hi Si) but this is my second bike so I need to keep it sensible (at the moment anyway).
I used the SS dropouts on the Whyte once… at last years european singlespeed championships when my Explosif rear wheel exploded. I'm very glad I had the Whyte with me and that it could be SS'd so quickly and easily. But I'll be keeping the Explosif as my SS… rigid works best for me and so does keeping the weight down to about 20#, I'm glad I tried the Whyte for SS but I prefered the total daftness of my old Kona so I now know that there is no need to give my hardtail the ability to SS (I can always fit a tensioner if I really have to).
Sorry for the long rambling reply… bikes are ace… enjoy whatever you choose
I'm sure I've seen somebody singlespeeding the soul without a tensioner, not sure what gearing they used though but the chain looked tight enough
I quite enjoyed the long rambling reply - found it all pretty informative and interesting, appreciate you taking the time.
The forks I have are 140mm, so I'd be riding a slightly slacker Soul than you're describing - possibly the best of both worlds, then. It will be for messing around in the woods and riding miles at the trail cnetre, so I think it should be plenty.
I think an adjustable travel fork would work well on the cotic for many people, the problems I had with the 160mm on the Bfe was the 69 seat angle made techy climbing impossible, I could have wound down the travel but I don't like doing that because my local forest has loads of wee techy ups and downs so it would be constant fiddling... best stick with something that is set at one length for me. The gears and the uppy downy post is enough to fiddle with!!!
Right - dithering over, Soul ordered. Thanks all for the advice.
I had originally planned to get an adjustable fork, but with the way my Soul climbs (straight post, saddle well forward), rails tight singletrack (attack! attack!) and descends over the rough stuff (big tyres, wide rims, dropper post down) with a 140mm 15QR fork I'm glad I kept things simple. 27.5lbs of fun!
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