James Vincent grabs a first ride on the new Cotic BFe hardtail.
When launching a new bike, some bike companies whisk a select group of lucky journos off to some exotic location on the other side of the world, wine them and dine them, and treat them to such rarified treats as helicopter rides and other fancy things. Only after they’ve passed these gruelling tests do the journalists get to look at, and if they’re really lucky, sometimes even ride the new bike. But Cotic isn’t like most brands, and did things a bit differently earlier this week by announcing the latest iteration of their rowdy steel hardtail, the BFe, at a surprise launch to members of the Cotic owners’ club just outside their hometown of Sheffield. I was lucky enough to be there, to see what went down, swing a leg over the new bike, and have a chat with Cotic founder, Cy Turner.
Helicopters? Pah, who needs them.
The BFe has been scrabbling around in the dirt and getting itself into trouble as the rowdy younger brother of the legendary Cotic Soul for 13 years now. In this time, there have been five versions of the frame, each one being tweaked and fettled as wheel sizes and riding styles evolve, with its most significant update happening 2 years ago back in 2017. This was when Cotic used the BFe to first pioneer its Longshot geometry concept, which has since been rolled out across the rest of the range. Through this continued Longshot development, Cy and the team realised that the BFe was now in need of an update to bring to the bike all the things they’d learned in the past 2 years. So for this new BFe, the head angle has been slackened by 1° to 65° for improved handling, while the seat angle has steepened by 1° to 74° for a better pedalling position. The reach has gone up to a roomy 485mm (size large) for extra stability, and for the first time (thanks to popular demand) there’s an XL in the range. The rear end now features Boost 148 spacing – back in 2017, the Great Axle Spacing Debate™ was still raging, but I think it’s safe to say that debate is over and 148mm is here to stay. Chainstays are a compact 428mm, and the wheelbase is now a stable 1221mm. All these dimensions are based on a sagged 140mm fork, and as before, the BFe is happy with anything from 120mm to 160mm travel up front.
The BFe is still the go to bike for when the Soul just isn’t enough – think pump tracks, dirt jumps, enduro races, downhill tracks and trips to Whistler. As such, it’s a tough frame – at its heart is still a Reynolds 853 downtube, while Cotic’s own heat treated FM tubeset makes up the rest of the frame. There are gussets and braces in all the important places, and there are ISCG tabs on the bottom bracket for fitting a chainguide/bash guard should you desire. Cable routing is still all external, save for the last few cm of the dropper post, and there’s still room for one water bottle inside the frame, meaning you can slam the seatpost out the way should you need to. All in all, it’s a frame that’s been consistently tweaked and refined through countless hours of riding.
Full bikes start at £1,799 for the Silver build kit, rising to £2,499 for the Gold build kit. Alternatively, you can pick up the frameset for just £549 if you have a shed full of spare parts.
The bike I rode was decked out with Cotic’s Silver build kit (with a few choice upgrades), and featured a solid mix of own brand components (bars, stem, grips), an X Fusion Manic dropper post, WTB Silverado saddle, and Shimano SLX drivetrain and brakes. Spending money to upgrade where it counts, it had a Hunt Trailwide wheelset, WTB Vigilante/Trail Boss tyres, and a 140mm X Fusion Sweep Roughcut HLR fork. With these choice upgrades, the bike retails for £2,249.
As I only got limited time on the bike, it would be unfair to comment too much on the components, other than to say they all worked perfectly. It’s worth noting that all Cotic build kits are chosen to be durable and are reflective of what works in UK riding conditions by UK riders, not an accountant in sunny California trying to hit a budget.
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|Price:||£2,249 as built|
|Tested:||by James Vincent for|