Review: The latest Cotic SolarisMAX is one of the fastest hardtails we’ve tested

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In case you hadn’t noticed, Cotic has been on absolute fire lately. The small Peak District-based company launched a new BFe hardcore hardtail just on a year ago, which then gave way to the 15th anniversary Soul, the latest FlareMAX, and more recently, a new Rocket as well. Marching in behind those bikes is the SolarisMAX; the latest model to get the Longshot treatment. The Solaris is Cotic’s 29er hardtail, the first of which was launched back in 2012. I tested one of those original Solaris’ in Australia, and fell in love with its high-speed tenacity and all-round capabilities. I raced it at 6-hour enduros in Victoria, took it on long distance point-to-point epics in Queensland, and bombed it down steep trails in New Zealand. It was an absolute corker, and quite radical for its time. While most brands were still making awkwardly steep and short 29in XC race bikes, Cotic had built a robust steel frame with a slack head angle and the ability to fit anything from a rigid fork, all the way...

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