Cotic BFE – fork travel 150 mm or 160 mm?

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  • Cotic BFE – fork travel 150 mm or 160 mm?
  • redmeat
    Member

    Hi,

    It’s been a long time away from mountain biking….~9 years. Enough. Time to get back into it. To my utter dismay, the world’s gone crazy and decided 29″ wheels have a place in mountain biking.

    Meh. For me, single track, moderate jumps, drop-offs, downhill and a little cross country to get to my favourite spots, means I want 26″ wheels.

    I was about to give up, when I was pointed toward Cotic. The BFe looks perfect.

    My question. Is 160 mm travel just too greedy? Is 150 mm more than enough? I’m certain I don’t want to go any lower than 150 because I like the front to be pretty ‘jacked up’.

    Cotic offer a build with 150. Would this be a happy medium for what I want? does anyone have any experience with the Cotic?

    Best,
    Jack

    Premier Icon bullroar
    Subscriber

    My BFe is set up with a 140mm Fox Float. It is fine although not the stiffest.

    My son has also has a BFe with a Dual position Revelation (130/150mm I think) and that is also fine. The Rev is stiffer.

    If I was to change either fork it would be for 34mm diameter than a different length although the two tend to go together. Think X Fusion Slant or Pike.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    120 is optimum on a BFe

    Had a U-Turn Pike on mine, at 140mm it felt quite a bit too tall and slack, 130 still a bit so, 120mm was just right IMO. But then it shares its geometry with the Soul, so that’s no surprise really.

    Cotic are a great company, well respected frames. Call them for a chat and they will advise what would be best for your riding style / needs.

    I had a Soul run with 140 Floats (32). Felt fine on that but swapping frames and moving to a BFe they are more noticably flexy as I’m pushing them a bit harder. I’d personally go for 150 Pikes for the added stiffness compared to the Floats.

    120 is optimum on a BFe
    Had a U-Turn Pike on mine, at 140mm it felt quite a bit too tall and slack, 130 still a bit so, 120mm was just right IMO. But then it shares its geometry with the Soul, so that’s no surprise really.

    Optimum for what? IMO 140mm is just right on a Soul that’s built up beefy. I’d only run less on a BFe for dirtjumping. Bottom bracket might get too high for most if the axle-crown height gets much longer (most 150 and 160mm forks are more than 10 or 20mm longer than most 140mm forks).

    Premier Icon JAG
    Subscriber

    My BFe is running around very well on Fox Float 140mm forks.

    Nothing it can’t do and I’m a very happy mountain biker 8)

    New Pikes would be great on a BFe – you can always swap the air spring assembly for a shorter one if they feel too tall. I think 32s would be too flexy to be at their best on a BFe – they’re only just stiff enough for my Soul. Revelations are in between on stiffness.

    Premier Icon Nobeerinthefridge
    Subscriber

    120 is optimum on a BFe

    Pish.

    redmeat
    Member

    @bullroar – yeah, the BFe comes with either Rev (140mm) or Pike (150mm). Sounds like Pike would be fine.

    @mboy – I agree, they look like a great company. Unfortunately, no phone hnumber on their site, which I was disappointed with. I wrote them asking for a chat.

    @chiefgrooveguru – Excellent point. I mechanic in a bike shop made the same point about the forks increasing in size disproportionally to the extra travel.

    @JAG – certainly I’ve heard plenty of people who are very happy with the Cotic. I’m still leaning toward a longer fork, say 150 though.

    @Nobeerinthefridge – Yeah, 120, definitely too small for me. I’ve said a few times, but 150 I think would be good. Certainly no need for me to go to 160.

    Another question, if anyone has the time. What size chainring do people ride with? I come from a road background (but historically mountain biking), so was pretty surprised to see the Cotic shipping with 1 ring.

    Is 1 ring really OK? I don’t want to waste weight with a needlessly small inner ring. I won’t be doing any gruling climbs, and if I am, I’m happy to pay the price with some lactic acid 🙂

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Optimum for what?

    Optimum for handling and balance. Any more and the BB felt too tall to me, and the head angle too slack. Besides, with no rear suspension, having a huge amount of front travel is kinda pointless IMO.

    Each to their own, but I know a lot of others that have said the same about the BFe/Soul.

    tymbian
    Member

    I’ve 160mm Bombers with 20mm Maxle on my BFe and love it. I can wind my forks down to about the 140mm mark but dont bother they’re fine as they are. I do run/ recommend a dropper post though. I’m running a 1 x 9 setup with a 32 up front. If you’ve the chance to go 1 x 10 or even 1 x 11 I would. If going 1 x 10 then get a narrow/ wide chainring. I’m 5 10, 95kgs ride a medium frame, 50mm stem, 780mm bars and have a blast.

    timc
    Member

    I’m with mboy here…

    Premier Icon colournoise
    Subscriber

    Originally built my BFe as an all rounder with Marz 44s running at 150mm. Felt great for most things but was a bit wandery on steep switchback climbs. Dropped the forks to 130mm and was noticeably better on steep uphill stuff, and generally a bit sharper all round. The 44s are only 32mm so a little bit noodly – 34mm would probably be better. FWIW most of my riding is twisty woodland stuff with the odd excursion to the hills.

    Also, running 1×9 with a 34t ring and an 11-34 cassette. Enough gears for me.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    Surely if running at 120mm you’d be better on a Soul, where 120 is much more commonly considered optimum ?

    redmeat
    Member

    Wow, this forum…I mean, you guys / girls are really helping me out. Ty!

    1×9 34t ring sounds like it migh be ok. Sounds daft, but I’m pretty strong from road riding and do a lot of leg press in the gym, plus I like hooning it on an MTB, 34t seems so tiny!

    Interesting about the frame size though. I know small and medium would both ‘work’, but which one is best I don’t know.

    I’m 174/175cm tall (5,9) and 76kgs. I was thinking a small.

    I tried a Soul today in medium and small, and as I said, both are ridable, but I think small just feels a little more ‘chuckable.

    I think with 150mm forks, then a small would be fine.

    @Tymbian – dropper post? You mean a seat pin that drops right down? sorry – I’m out of touch with the MTB world :p

    dirk_pumpa
    Member

    Don’t make the mistake of relating fork travel with scale of task or rider competence/speed.

    You’d be wrong to do that ime.

    torihada
    Member

    redmeat – Member

    Interesting about the frame size though. I know small and medium would both ‘work’, but which one is best I don’t know.

    I’m 174/175cm tall (5,9) and 76kgs. I was thinking a small.

    I’m 5’9″ 80 kg riding a small Bfe with Lyrick u-turn coils. Run them around 140mm most of the time. Got a 50mm stem, 720 bars and a reverb dropper post. I’m converting some 140mm Talas 32 forks to Floats and I’m going to try running it at 140mm. I expect it will feel flexy up front but happy for the trade off.

    Riding a small Bfe is great in the tight & twisty stuff & pointing it DH but on techy climbs and more XC riding it will suck the life out of you.

    Scamper
    Member

    5ft 9 is right in the limit for a BFe small. I run 130/160 slants. On twisty stuff, the less travel the better for optimum cornering, but when it gets techy or less prenounced corners 160 is lovely.

    Premier Icon mboy
    Subscriber

    Surely if running at 120mm you’d be better on a Soul, where 120 is much more commonly considered optimum ?

    cough* You DO KNOW that they share EXACTLY the same geometry right, it’s just that the BFe is made out of beefier tubing? *cough

    IMO, for the very same reason a 120mm fork is optimum on a Soul, it is also optimum on a BFe. Good luck not wheelieing a 160mm forked BFe all the way up a trail centre climb!

    redmeat
    Member

    Good luck not wheelieing a 160mm forked BFe all the way up a trail centre climb

    …this did make me lol. I could definitely see my self popping a an accidental wheelie 🙂

    I think 150 mm will be fine, but I agree with torihada, it will definitely be hard work. I’ll be happy putting the saddle up and seeing how it goes.

    I’m really looking for single track riding and downhill. If I wanted to hit the hills, I’ll probably hop on my road bike.

    I am still concerned about running out of gears on the descents, and dare I say it, on fast flats too. Then again, I’m so waaaay out of touch with mountain biking it could be I’ve just forgotten how fast a tarmac road is.

    Premier Icon iainc
    Subscriber

    Mboy – yes I do know that, thank you 🙂 I also understand the rationale of the Soul being designed as a do it all xc bike and the BFe being designed for a bit more burly type stuff, less all day xc, hence the generally longer travel fork.

    In fact, here’s what cotic say about Bfe :

    The BFe is the hardnut of the Cotic family. It shares its geometry with our Soul frame, but the BFe likes a more, shall we say, direct approach.

    The BFe is for hard riding. You can run with a 100mm fork for 4X and dirtjump duties. You can plug in a 160mm fork and send it – but don’t oversend it – down the Megavalanche. Those are the two extremes of the fork build options. Most BFe builds end up somewhere in between and perform mighty fine as bold-as-brass rag-around play bikes.

    glasgowdan
    Member

    You really won’t care if you run out of gears with a 32 or 34 up front. It will happen so infrequently and for such short periods of time. Mountain biking isn’t constant pedalling anyway, there are constant spells where you’re standing riding through stuff without turning the cranks.

    Also don’t worry about this type of bike being wandery on climbs…who cares! It’s a bike made for the downhills! I’d get 160forks, but the difference between them and 150 really doesn’t matter.

    Dropper post let’s you drop the post at the press of a button so you can manoeuvre the bike through technical sections. They make a huge difference and you’ll be riding things you never thought you could.

    My other bit of advice would be get good tyres and forget about their weight. Personally I run dual ply downhill tyres and love them. I can drop pressure to 20psi and get away with murder.

    At 5’9″ I’d be getting the small frame. Also consider on one 456 as its very similar but much cheaper.

    Premier Icon metalheart
    Subscriber

    @mboy – I agree, they look like a great company. Unfortunately, no phone hnumber on their site, which I was disappointed with. I wrote them asking for a chat.

    Mmmm, trying clicking on the contact tab of their website. There you’ll find their mobile number. It works, I’ve used it plenty…. 😳

    Give them a call, I’ve always found them very helpful.

    Tim
    Member

    140 on mine was great, 160 was fun but the front end gets the back end into trouble 🙂

    This was on the older version with slightly steeper HA

    surely the measurement you should be most interested in here is the one from the bottom of the fork steerer/top of the crown to the middle of the wheel. ive had various forks on my bfe, from a set of scabby old 130 z1 bombers which made it feel like a big bmx which was so much fun for playing around, to a set of z1 150 bombers which made the bottom bracket feel really high and kind of deadened the handling. in between that i had a pair of 160mm magura wotans bolted on for a trip to fort william/kinlochleven, which felt awesome and not nearly as high off the ground as the 150s made it feel. i havent bothered to measure the 150 bombers vs the wotans, but id bet (and somebody will probably have the figures to contradict me here to ruin my argument haha)that the wotans are shorter from top of crown to axle.

    my point is that regardless of how much travel you go for, you should watch how high the bottom bracket gets or youll end up perched. and the other posters are right about sizing, im 5ft10+1/2 on a small and its JUST too wee for me, if youre 5ft9 itll be perfect for you.

    and im also running 1×9 on all my bikes with 11-32 cassettes and 34 tooth rings and i do the kind of riding that youre talking about. like you i assumed i needed more teeth upfront (in my bmx days i had to be the one with a 45 or 46 when everyone else ran 44!), but since switching ive found i never run out of gears downhill, and if i run out uphill then its too steep to ride anyway!! so many people laughed at me for having 37/38 tooth rings upfront when they were on 32/34, in the end i worked out that they were right all along. roadbikes are for training your legs, thats when you need big cogs!

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    I’ve only ridden a BFe with 150/160mm forks, which felt amazing. 120mm forks suggest that you’d be better off pairing the forks with a Soul, unless you’re one of those crazy dirt jumping folks.

    All contact details for Cotic here : http://www.cotic.co.uk/contact

    I’d get PIkes. But then, currently, I’d buy Pikes for ANY bike I was going to buy.

    Premier Icon kelvin
    Subscriber

    Is 1 ring really OK? I don’t want to waste weight with a needlessly small inner ring. I won’t be doing any gruling climbs, and if I am, I’m happy to pay the price with some lactic acid

    I was unsure. 6 months on a single ring now and wouldn’t swap back. 11-36 cassette is your friend.

    svalgis
    Member

    As much as I liked my Soul I’d be tempted to look for something lower and slacker if I wanted 150-160mm travel. Stanton Slackline, NS Surge, On-One Evo2, Dialled Alpine, etc.

    Oh, and definitely single ring setup for that kind of bike.

    Premier Icon jambalaya
    Subscriber

    @radmeat – welcome back, executive summary is BFe is a great choice of frame for you.

    I have a BFe with 150/120 dual position adjustable forks. This is perfect for me as I do as much xc stye riding as I do “downhill” trails. The bike rides very well in both fork positions, it is certainly a better climber in 120 and a little snappier in terms of handling but if I had to chose a single non adjustable fork it would be 150 or 140. I’ll sacrifice some climbing for the downhill biased travel.

    As for chain rings I have a standard triple but with the large ring taken off and replaced by a bash guard/chain retainer. This works very well for me as I need all the low gears for climbing. It’s only on the very rare occasions I ride road sections that I miss big ring.

    Adjustable seat posts people love or hate. I’ve never bothered as they are expensive and my mates who have them seem to be constantly telling me they are broken. We had one break on a ride, its a long pedal home with seat all the way down. Stopping at the top of a long descent to drop seat height gives me a chance for a breather.

    Cotic is an excellent company with outstanding customer service.

    deviant
    Member

    I have 150mm forks on a 456-evo and dont understand the ‘it’ll never go uphill’….’whats the point of long forks with no rear travel’ type comments.

    The bike pedals fine uphill, easier than my last FS, lean slightly forward (the same as i would on any bike) and it pedals just fine….people who struggle to get a long forked hardtail up a climb must have terrible technique and/or be sat so upright and rearwards that they must just look comical.

    The point of a long forked hardtail is ease of maintenance, no rear bearings or bushings to service or replace, no rear shock to service etc etc….the bikes ride fine, point them downhill and where the front wheel goes the rear will follow….thats the point of all that travel at the front, abuse the bike, plough through obstacles and if you’re light on the pedals the rear will bounce along behind absolutely fine.

    yunki
    Member

    I prefer a shorter fork on a hardtail..

    I know that human nature dictates that more is better, but when you start using all the travel on say, a 150mm travel fork on a hardtail the COG just goes all out of whack and starts either pitching you over the front, or else not giving you any real real control over the front if you try to lean back to counter the excessive fork travel..

    No doubt a frame being strong enough to deal with the leverages of a long fork sells more frames, but it doesn’t feel good to ride IME

    Use a fairly stiff 120mm travel fork and ride smoother.. if you’re looking at hucking massive stuff or just battering blindly through stuff, get a LT FS

    redmeat
    Member

    @iainc – I’ve read that summary a few times, and it gets me really excited. Sounds exactly what I’m looking for.

    @glasgowdan – Wow! Thank you for some really great advice. I guess I’ll go for a 34, I’d rather struggle up hill and have more options downhill. I guess I can always swap it out later on if I feel it’s too large. Wandering on climbs really isn’t a concern, you’re right there. I was just worried about the front being too high with 160. I had ruled out 160 because every seemed to think 150 were pretty high. I definitely don’t want to go lower than 150. So I guess it’s just a choice between 150 and 160. Also, thanks for the confirmation of a small frame. I guess if both medium and small work, then I’d rather go for a smaller frame for fun / to throw it about.

    @metalheart – Thanks for the link. How did I miss that page? Meh, too busy looking at dem nice pictures of a BFe.

    @Tim – Lol. Nicely put.

    @westcoastmassive – Great advice, when I speak to Cotic I’ll ask about the height of the BB with 150 Vs 160. As I’ve said a few times, 150 is the lowest I want to go. Also, thanks for the size confirmation too. very, very helpful. I’ll go for a 34 up front 🙂

    @kelvin – Thanks for the contact details too. Yeah, Pikes, 150mm is where I’m heading atm. Just that greedy me thinks, hmm, what if I could run 160?

    @svalgis – More single ring confirmation, thank you. I definitely want a slack feel, BFe seems ideal for this.

    @jambalaya – Me too, downhill > XC if I have to chose a fork. I think I’m in the hate camp for adjustable seat posts. I prefer as a little to go wrong as possible 🙂

    @deviant – Agree completely. Well put and thank you.

    I know that human nature dictates that more is better, but when you start using all the travel on say, a 150mm travel fork on a hardtail the COG just goes all out of whack and starts either pitching you over the front, or else not giving you any real real control over the front if you try to lean back to counter the excessive fork travel..

    Getting pitched over the front only happens if you aren’t balanced with your weight through the BB and instead are leaning on the bars with too much weight.

    Bear in mind that when a long travel fork on a BFe is fully compressed the head angle will be no steeper than when a short fork is fully compressed. Furthermore, unless you use an excessively linear fork (like a coil one with too little compression damping or one of the dodgiest CTD Foxes) then it’ll take more force to take a long fork to full travel than a shorter fork, so the longer forked bike will remain more balanced and stable through the rough. It’s particularly valuable when you’re riding DH trails where you’re hitting rocky or very rooty sections mid-corner and so your weight is forward making sure the front grips and tracks and stays on course without hard bottoming.

    If you live in an ideal world where you can always hit the rough in a straight line so you can unweight and skim then you won’t need that extra travel – but personally I still prefer the angles of the Soul/BFe at 140mm for all my riding – but I prioritise corners and descents over climbing. It would be a better pure XC frame with 100mm forks.

    I can totally understand people preferring a shorter fork on a hardtail but anyone claiming that long forked hardtails are a wholly bad idea hasn’t ridden a good one with the right technique!

    yunki
    Member

    even a long fork can’t quite take the sting out of a 2′ drop though hey.. 😉

    phatstanley
    Member

    i love my 160mm slant on my bfe.
    a quick look at my posting history will confirm that. 😉
    a great setup )for me) for trail centres, natural muddy’n’rooty tweed valley trails, pulling a trailer to scavenge firewood in edinburgh.

    love it.

    Premier Icon tuffty
    Subscriber

    yunki – Member

    even a long fork can’t quite take the sting out of a 2′ drop though hey..
    No, but your knees can and they are travel adjustable 😉

    yunki
    Member

    even a long fork can’t quite take the sting out of a 2′ drop though hey..

    It’s all about technique on drops, suspension isn’t massively relevant. Technique isn’t always there when you need it… 😛

    redmeat
    Member

    @phatstanley – Do you have any photos?

    Premier Icon johnhe
    Subscriber

    I’ve just bought myself a BFe and I put a 150mm upturn set of Revs on it. For mega steep, short, steppy, technical climbs I do occasionally wind the fork down, but for trail centres and 99% of my riding, 150mm is perfect. With the upturn, I can obviously run at 120mm, but I much, much prefer the bike at 150mm. I’d be happy with a 150mm non travel adjust fork.

    I was worried about the high bottom bracket, and it is certainly higher than a couple of my other bikes, but to be honest, now that I’m used to it, I think I actually prefer the feel of the bike the way it is – “high” bb and all!

    Like any 150mm hardtail, having a long fork means you have to ride further up towards the front of the bike in twisty singletrack – but for me, that’s part and parcel of a long travel hardtail, and that’s how I love to ride anyway.

    I’ve ridden hardtails occasionally with 160mm lyriks. It wasn’t the travel that bothered me, but the front of the bike felt heavy to me. Admittedly I have very limited experience there, so take this with a pinch of salt. Anyway, I just wanted to say that in my opinion, the BFe feels perfect at 150mm.

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