Exclusive First Look: The New Cotic Solaris Max

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Cotic’s new Solaris MAX launches today. And it’s in stock. And we’ve ridden one.

It’s always an exciting day for British mountain bikers when Cotic releases a new model. And while its full suspension bikes are great, we reckon it’s an even better day when Cotic releases a new hardtail. The company practically invented the Hardcore Hardtail category (which much of the world still doesn’t understand) and its hardtails can be seen everywhere from the Highland Trail to cross country race start lines.

As you can imagine, we’re very happy to bring you the news of the newly updated Solaris MAX.

cotic steel hardtail solaris max
A sparkly new Cotic to kick off your Friday.

This is Cotic’s do-anything 29er and, thanks to the new ‘Longshot’ geometry, new tubing and new mojo, it can now do even more of everything. It’ll take 29in wheels, but will also fit plus tyres up to 3in. It comes with a 120mm fork, but is compatible with forks up to 140mm. And while it’s a versatile hardtail that has room for two water bottles in the (medium) main triangle, it has a nice and short seat tube that’ll also take a 170mm dropper post if you want to get rowdy. It’s a pretty all-round machine in the newest interpretation of that.

And it launches today. The website link is live and listed below. And, Cotic has a limited number of the new Solaris in stock right now. And the rest are showing up in mid-June. (Hey, perhaps in time for the Malverns? Cotic is one of the exhibitors).

This seems to be what a ‘mountain bike’ looks like these days. And we like it.

So, what are the differences? One of the biggest is that, in keeping with the other ‘modernised’ bikes in the range, the Solaris MAX now uses Cotic’s Longshot Geometry, which is a new, longer and much more contemporary geometry. It still runs as a 29er or 27.5in Plus trail hardtail. Cotic’s Super Clearance chainstays and wishbone seatstays allow up to a true plue 27.5in x 3in or a chunky 29in x 2.5in 29er tyre.

The New Cotic Solaris MAX Features

  • Versatile do-it-all trail hardtail
  • Reynolds 853 steel mainframe & 4130 chromoly stays
  • Designed for use with 29in or 27.5+ wheels
  • Max tyre clearance: 29×2.5in or 27.5×3.0in
  • New Longshot geometry designed for use with 30-50mm stems
  • Designed for 120-140mm travel forks
  • Head angle: 66° (w/120mm travel fork)
  • Seat angle: 74°
  • Chainstay length: 444mm
  • English threaded bottom bracket
  • 31.6mm diameter seat tube w/Stealth dropper post routing
  • Boost 148x12mm rear thru-axle
  • Frame sizes & reach: Small (440mm), Medium (463mm), Large (486mm) and X-Large (513mm)
  • Frame RRP: £599
cotic solaris max steel hardtail hope headset
44mm straight head tube, with Hope headset of course.

The Solaris first appeared in 2012 and this is now the fourth iteration of the Solaris. The bike has evolved to reflect how bikes, riders and geometry has changed over the years. The first Solaris was a trail-ready 29er (as used to great effect by our own Jenn Hill in everything from the Ard Rock Enduro, to solo bikepacking missions) and designed for the ‘short’ stems of the day (which were 70mm back then…) The second generation further refined the geometry, taking new component development into account, but it was the third version of the Solaris which really shook things up, being the first Solaris Max, which made room for 27plus tyres as well as 29in rubber.

And now this fourth version brings the Solaris geometry bang up to date while still keeping that big rubber capability. The bike is longer and a little slacker while being designed for minimal 35mm length stems. With a 120mm fork it has a 66° head angle. A little bit slacker. The seat tube is now 74° to help balance your weight better over the bars and front wheel for climbing. To balance the rider weight over the bike, Cotic has lengthened the chainstays slightly. For those of you looking to go a bit radder, the bike now shares the stronger downtube from the Flare MAX, which has had the advantage of making the bike able to take a 140mm fork without worrying the warranty.

X-Fusion’s very adjustable McQueen fork takes pride of place up front.
Gold and black. It’s a good combo. We can’t see why you’d want any other colour to be honest.
Neat Cotic finishing kit finishes the bike off to a T.

The Solaris is refusing to be pigeonholed though and appears as capable as an adventure bike as it does a trail bike, XC race machine or enduro fun hog. The frame comes with all of the bosses: so a pair of bottle bosses on the downtube (for bottle and tool keg, or a lower bottle with room for a frame bag) and there is routing for internal or external routed dropper posts. The Solaris will be available as a frame only, as well as a number of builds and Cy was keen to give riders as much versatility as possible.

To further make things versatile, Cotic has made seat tubes throughout the range a little shorter (the medium last year for example was 440mm tall and is now 425mm) which has the benefit of a little more standover, but also allows riders to run longer dropper posts (or to drop their QR posts lower – the bike doesn’t have any bosses on the seat tube to get in the way.)

cotic solaris steel hardtail
There’s plenty of room for bigger rubber both front and back. Go on, go big!

Luckily for us, Cy wanted to give us the chance to check out the new Solaris on our home trails, so Chipps and Cy headed for the hills before filming a video that you can watch here;

The new paint on this one is fantastic – it’s called Cosmic Black and you won’t find a better colour of paint in the sunshine. The paint is a metallic black, with a gold shine to the metallic glint. From a distance it looks black, but get up close and the shine is impressive. It’s finished off nicely with matching gold Cotic wraparound decals. There are other colours too: Classic Cotic Green and ‘Dark metal’ (which happens to match the Cane Creek Helm 29 – one of the build options.)

cotic solaris max steel hardtail
And he’s off and away. (Thanks to Cy Turner himself for the photo…)
cotic solaris steel hardtail
Clean bolt-up dropouts.

The bike will retail for £2399, as you see it here, directly from Cotic.

There’s a GX Eagle option too for the same price. And due to Cotic assembling bikes to order, you can have all sorts of upgrades and personal touches. Frame only is £599, prepped, faced and with bosses and hose clips and a Hope seat collar. There is a more affordable spec version below this one, and as you might expect, a not-holds-barred top shelf one for rather more.

Can you buy one right now? Yes if you’re quick. Cotic has a limited number of bikes in all of the colours right now, with the rest of the bikes turning up mid-June.

The bikes are available to look at on the Cotic Website now: cotic.co.uk/product/solarisMAX

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Chipps Chippendale

Singletrackworld's Editor At Large

With 22 years as Editor of Singletrack World Magazine, Chipps is the longest-running cycling magazine editor in the world. He started in the bike trade in 1990 and became a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the last 30 years as a bike writer and photographer, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish, strengthen and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

More posts from Chipps

Comments (4)

    Hmm, if that had been available when I was looking for a new hardtail last year, it would have been very likely that I’d have bought one. That said, I’ve been impressed with my Orange Clockwork Evo, even if I’d have preferred to get a 29er.

    And I’m just thinking .. Chameleon. Yeah thats the one.

    Then this comes along…

    Nice bike and I really like Cotic and what they do but I’m not sure about them ‘practically inventing’ the hardcore hardtail.

    I bought, built and have yet to ride my Chameleon but now want one of these 🙁

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