First Look: Our newest long term test rig is a custom Cotic BFE Max!

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You’ve seen this frame before, and you’ve seen the parts hanging from it, but now it’s finally alive and ready to hit dry dusty trails.

First of all, I would like to offer my apologies. The Cotic BFE Max has been sitting around waiting to be finished for a few weeks now, but a delay in a few little items has meant that I’ve only recently completed the build, but wow! what a build!

Also, James Vincent if you are reading this here is a message for you. Yes, those brown Fox 36 are the forks that I’ve said you can try on the Deviate but as we’re still waiting on your shock I’ve slid them on this yellow hardtail for a spin. Do not worry, you will be getting them.

So without further ado let us jump into this steel and carbon build.

Cotic BFE Max Frame

  • Price: £549 frame only
  • From: Cotic

I have chosen a medium-sized Cotic BFE Max for this build due to Cotic’s progressive geometry that still gives me a reach of 450mm (with 160mm forks) and a top tube length of 635.8mm. Like the original BFE, the new Max bike is designed to be ridden hard and can be built up with forks from 120mm to 160mm however this new model also gets a pair of 29in wheels.

The frameset is easy to build up using a threaded BB, 31.6mm seat post diameter and easy to source headset cups. Cotic ships each frame with the bolt through rear axle and bolt-on cable clamps for the top and downtube.

Fox Factory 36

I received this Fox Factory 36 fork last year just in time for our original lockdown. The Root Beer colour works well with the bright yellow Cotic frameset and matches the new Truvativ grips well too. This is the latest edition of the 36 and so features new lowers with air bleed ports, and a new arch designed to give greater headtube clearance. Our limited edition fork gets the aftermarket threaded axle as standard which saves a little weight over the regular QR axle.

As for specs, well this is the top of the range fork with adjustments for high and low-speed rebound and compression. It’s an air fork so doesn’t weigh the Earth and it has slippy gold Kashima stanchions.

Burgtec Enduro Stem MK3

The MK3 Enduro stem from Burgtec is one of my favourite stems on the market. Forged from AL6061-T6 aluminium then CNC machined, the MK3 offers great strength, durability and looks great too. I’ve gone for a classic black stem but there are 9 colour options to choose from and each one comes with stainless steel hardware too. In addition to colour choices you also have the option for 31.8mm and 35mm diameter bars, and lengths of either 35, 42.5 or 50mm.

Granite Design Stash Tool

Oh what a surprise! Another bike put together by Andi and another Granite Stash Tool! I don’t want you to think anything fishy is going on here, I just use the Granite Tool as it means I don’t have to hunt around in the bottom of my toolbox for star nuts, and then the tool to fit them. Instead with the Stash I can compress my headset easily AND have a handy trail tool at my disposal.

Nukeproof Horizon Carbon bars

Lightweight, strong and 31.8mm so they work with my Burgtec stem. I like Nukeproof kit, it all works well and I have never had an issue with any of it so I’m excited to put their carbon riser bar to the test. Being a 31.8mm bar should mean it’s quite compliant and with the steel frame and Fox fork, I expect a very comfy front end.

Truvativ Descendant grips

  • Price: £28.99
  • From: SRAM

The Truvativ Descendant grip is the final piece to my front end comfort puzzle. The new grip uses a single lock-on ring meaning a larger contact area. Truvativ uses a soft rubber compound with a ridged pattern which gives them a very comfortable feel. It also doesn’t hurt that they come in a lovely shade of brown.

Hope XCR Pro X2 disc brakes

Hope’s new XCR brakes weigh just 199g each and feature carbon levers that tie together nicely with the carbon bar and carbon rims. As with most of the Hope catalogue, the XCR’s are machined from alloy here in the UK. The weight is kept to a minimum through a mix of material choice, machining and also the removal of many external adjustments, though you can still set your lever reach via a 3mm Allen bolt.

TRP TR12 Shifter and rear mech

Developed with input from Aaron Gwin and his head mechanic John Hall, the TR12 drivetrain is aimed at trail and enduro riders looking for an alternative 12-speed set-up. At the shifter end, we have a part carbon fibre construction and a lever movement that is designed to mimic the ergonomics and path of your thumb. The paddle is adjustable to get it dialled in just right and sealed bearings should keep its operation smooth.

At the opposite end lives the TR12 rear mech featuring the ‘Hall Lock’ an innovative feature that locks the B-knuckle to the bike’s mech hanger for improved stability across rock gardens. A ratchet clutch further improves rough terrain performance while sealed bearings ensure smooth operation.

E*13 Vario Dropper Post and lever

The Vario dropper post boasts 30mm of adjustable travel in 5mm increments. The post also requires a claimed 20% less compression force to move it and perhaps best of all has an adjustable clamp that you can easily get tools on without touching the stanchion. Our post comes with the matching E*13 1 x dropper remote which is quite a large unit compared to some designs, but does boast ultra-grippy tape on the paddle for grip.

DDK Kallum Saddle

  • Price: TBC
  • From: DDK

DDK probably isn’t a name that you’re aware of, but they’ve been producing saddles for many big names for years and actually started production in the 1970’s. This DDK Kallum saddle was ‘borrowed’ after my trip to Spain this year for the Sunn French Connexion racing team and is the same model French National champ Theo Galy uses.

Silt MTB Carbon AM wheels

  • Price: £800
  • From: Silt

Silt makes a range of carbon and alloy wheels and even sells mullet wheelsets too. These are the Silt Carbon All Mountain wheelset that has been designed to be super responsive, not be too heavy and be able to be ridden anywhere. The carbon rims run an internal width of 31.2mm and are laced with 32 spokes in a 3 cross fashion. Attached to the rims are Silt’s own hubs that use a high-speed Ratchet Drive system.

Michelin Wild AM and Wild Force tyres

I had a spare set of Michelin Wild and Force AM tyres and those yellow and blue decals were calling to be placed on the BFE build. As the names suggest, these are all-mountain or trail tyres for riders wanting some aggro grip without the added weight. I’ve been running a pair on my Patrol 691 Evo now for a few months and am really enjoying them, but now it’s time to see how they perform on a hardtail, in the dust.

Peatys Fidlock bottle

There is no way you can improve a water bottle cage right? Wrong, what if you used magnets instead?! Fidlock makes a bunch of cycling-specific kit ranging from magnetic helmet buckles to water bottles. This is a Peaty’s branded 600ml bottle and while it looks like a tight squeeze on the BFE I assure you there is plenty of room. In fact, there’s room for another 2 bottles at least on this frame!

Praxis Cadet Chainset and BB

The Cadet chainset is aimed at riders wanting a fancy, functional and stiff chainset without the big price tag. Yes, talking about price does seem a little ironic as we’ve listed it as TBC but in the U.S the Cadet ships for $160. We have the standard version but there is also a HD, Heavy Duty, model available too. Both Cadet models are forged and are compatible with direct mount chainrings.

DMR Blade chainring

A direct mount chainring that saves as much as 100g over a traditional spider design. The Blade is compatible with the SRAM interface and will also work with the Cadet cranks above. Available in sizes 26-36t and with a narrow-wide tooth profile.

Nukeproof Chainguide

Having tested the same chain guide in purple on the Pole, I was happy to discover this black one on the shelf at Singletrack Towers. It now happily lives on the Cotic to help keep the chain on the DMR chainring, though I’m not sure it will need any help watching how effective the Blade’s narrow/wide teeth perform.

Nukeproof Hozion Pedals

The very same pedals that Sam Hill rides at the EWS, and I can understand why. If you look at any of my bike builds, you see a very common theme when it comes to pedals. Nukeproof makes some of the best flats on the market and I will keep using them until something better comes along (but I don’t expect that to happen).

SRAM X01 Eagle Cassette

  • Price: ??
  • From: My Shed

I’ve gone for a SRAM X01 Eagle cassette with 50t for the Cotic which is the max size the TRP TR12 is rated for. I think this cassette came off my Izzo when I upgraded it to GX… GX AXS that is.

So there is my latest test rig built up with a ton of kit that will almost all get reviewed over the next few months. If you have any questions about the build, the components or anything for that matter please let me know in the comments below.


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