Bike Check: Benji’s Cotic RocketMAX Mullet

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Announced only last week, the 4th generation RocketMAX from Cotic is here to serve as our testbed for the harder hitting equipment. Bigger forks, bigger brakes, burlier tyres, massive bars, tiny stems, spiky pedals. All that sort of stuff.

Obviously we’ll be reviewing the bike itself at some point further down the line too.

Frame: Cotic RocketMAX, size C4

160mm travel at the rear. Reynolds 853 front triangle. Steel seat stays. Aluminium chain stays. You can read all about the RocketMAX frame and fundamentals in our story from last week.

From a personal point of view, there are a number of things I like about how Cotic do things.

Big standover. I might be alone here but I find standover to be more noticeably enabling than having a longer dropper post. I’d rather be on a 170mm dropper bike with more standover than a 200mm dropper bike with a lofty top tube.

Lengthy head tube. This C4 size has a 130mm head tube. And an external cup lower headset.

External cable routing, for the most part.

Water bottle mounts.

The top tube is easy to grab hold of when lifting the bike over… things.

The rear shock is handily placed for on-the-fly adjustment (climb switch, rebound tweaks etc).

Scrub Alloy Trail Wheelset

30mm internal width. The hubs can be fitted with any of the main three freehub types (HG, xD, Microspline). 6 Bolt or CenterLock (these are 6 Bolt).

‘Just’ a normal, handbuilt, alloy wheelset. No nonsense. Neat looking. Valves included.

And yep. Mullet. Mixed wheel.

I’m not overly sold on the usual hype about smaller rear wheels being more ‘playful’ or ‘nimble’ than 29s. I’m not even sure the way they turn in differently to a full 29 setup is actually ‘better’ for the most part. But… I have been slightly won over by the extra clearance of a 27.5 rear wheel and – more significantly – the lower axle height. A lower rear axle definitely makes really steep terrain less… er, steep. So yeah. Steep, tight hairpins. Bring them on.

Technically, Cotic advise that an +1.0° angleset headset is fitted if running the bike with a 27.5 rear wheel (they supply Works Components headsets). But I’ve been a naughty boy and just left it with the unadjusted Cane Creek headset in place.

I like slack AF head angles (this is hovering around the 63.1° figure). I like low BB heights. And I prefer to keep my seat angle as steep as possible (a +1.0° would slacken it slightly). Again, time will tell how this plays out on the trails.

Pacenti P-Dent Cockpit

Despite bikes finally getting decently longer in reach and slacker in head angle recently, you don’t see much of the pioneering Pacenti brand these days. In the UK and/or in mountain biking at least. They’re pretty big on the road cycling with their wheelsets.

This dinky 20mm length stem and low 15mm rise bar (with the unique ‘dent’ to afford space for the fork steerer) should be an ideal partner to the bike’s generous reach, slack head angle and long head tube.

I’m not actually a massive fan of the shape of the bar (it’s a bit lacking in back sweep) and I’ve found it to be rather harsh. But I’m prepared to live with the negatives in exchange for the stem’s unrivalled shortness.

Fox 36 Float Factory GRIP2 160mm Fork

A set of the new Fox 36 forks with increased steerer overlap and new crown.

Set to 81psi. One volume spacer. Rebound as-recommended by Fox (8 clicks LSR, 6 clicks HSR). All compression set to minimum. See how we go.

Fox Float X Shock

While the imminent goal is to use the RocketMAX to test out coil shocks, I think it would do me well to get used to the bike with a more familiar air shock.

I do like a climb switch. I especially like it when the shock location/orientation puts the switch in an easy to reach spot and that the climb mode is engaged when the lever is in the up position. Up for uphill. Down for downhill. I’m simple like that.

I *think* the shock is inflated to 155psi (I’ll get back to you about that). Essentially around 1/3rd sag anyway.

All the damping is currently set to minimum.

Maxxis Minion DHR II and Tioga Glide G3 Tyres

Whilst I would have preferred to run DHR IIs front and rear, the realities of Singletrack Towers is that 27.5 rubbers are in short supply here. I’m going to give this poor, neglected Tioga Glide tyre a go on the rear.

From an initial scratch ‘n’ sniff test, it’s a good Goldilocks weight and compound. Only time will tell if the tread is much cop. It seems pretty good so far though.

Pressure-wise, I’m starting with 22psi in the front and 26psi in the rear.

Sealant is Stan’s NoTubes regular.

Both tyres required a tubeless inflator pump (the trusty Topeak Joe Blow Booster) to get them to seal. None of the wonderful experience when you can get away with just using a regular track pump. The tyres have stayed up just fine though.

Brand-X Ascend XL Dropper Post

Not just a good value dropper, the Brand X post is just a great dropper full stop. This particular one has served me well for a few years. A quick no-tools clean-out and re-lube under the top collar keeps it running sweet.

Having said that, I’m going to see about fitting in a 180mm OneUp dropper shortly. Just because 10mm more will clearly change my life.

WTB Volt Saddle

Well, it’s the best saddle in the world isn’t it? My mainstay.

It also tolerates being whanged as far forward as possible on its rails. Which is useful for making the bike’s effective seat angle a bit steeper.

Shimano-as-possible Drivetrain

Sure, SRAM gears work but I just prefer the feel and ergonomics of Shimano shifting. I definitely have Shimano flavoured fingers and thumbs.

Shimano XT cranks (170mm with 30T chainring), chain and shifter. Shimano XTR rear mech and bottom bracket.

I will also probably end up with Shimano brakes (SLX 4-pot) but at the moment we’re in the middle of a disc brake group test so I’ve installed Magura brakes (see below). Because the Shimano XT shifter is I-Spec and I don’t have the correct bracket to hand, I’ve (ab)used a SRAM brake clamp thing to get Shimano and Magura to play nicely together.

Magura MT7 Brakes

4-pot callipers. 203mm front rotor, 180mm rear rotor.

I run my brake levers relatively far inboard on the handlebar. I like ride with my hand in the middle of the grip (sometimes nearer the inside collar). I think most people ride with the edges of their hands hanging off the ends of the bar. I always seem to have a centimetre or so of grip visible on the outside of my hands.

ODI Elite Pro Grips

I have a few favourite grips (tapered grips from Ergon and Giant for example). I’ve opted to fit ODI Elite Pro grips to this build. They aren’t tapered but they are bulged.

Garbaruk 10-52T Cassette

Claimed to be the lightest MTB cassette for Micro-Spline freehub on the market. At 335 grams it is definitely not heavy.

This build has reminded me that your drivetrain is still the best way of saving meaningful weight on a bike build. If you’re bothered about such things.

Fidlock Bottle

I’m a big fan of Fidlock bottles. Easier to use. Integrated mouthpiece cover.

PNW Loam Pedals

Sealed cartridge and roller bearings (no bushings). 105mm x 115mm.

Thin pedals have fallen out of vogue of late, but because the BB of this mullet-ed RocketMAX is lowish and the cranks are 170mm (I’m used to 165mm) I think thin pedals are a wise move here.

I have had no issues with the bulge on these pedals. I ride (well, descend) with the middle of my foot sitting over the axle. This means the narrow part of my shoe soles is adjacent to the bulge. Plenty of room.

These pedals really came into their own once I removed the inner pins from the forefront-middle of the pedals (see those two holes on the cross brace things). With those pins removed (only one per side) the feel and the traction improved greatly. The little things eh?

Scores on the doors

To whom it may concern.

AKA 32.85lb.

Overall, the build process went swimmingly. The main faff was digging around trying to find the correct brake mounts!

Any questions?

Ask away in the comments!

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While you’re here…

Orange Switch 6er. Stif Squatcher. Schwalbe Magic Mary Purple Addix front. Maxxis DHR II 3C MaxxTerra rear. Coil fan. Ebikes are not evil. I have been a writer for nigh on 20 years, a photographer for 25 years and a mountain biker for 30 years. I have written countless magazine and website features and route guides for the UK mountain bike press, most notably for the esteemed and highly regarded Singletrackworld. Although I am a Lancastrian, I freely admit that West Yorkshire is my favourite place to ride. Rarely a week goes by without me riding and exploring the South Pennines.

More posts from Ben

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Bike Check: Benji’s Cotic RocketMAX Mullet
  • tmays
    Free Member

    With a stem so short, do your hands not end up behind the steerer? And wouldn’t that make for some funky handling characteristics?

    Full Member

    Having said that, I’m going to see about fitting in a 180mm OneUp dropper shortly. Just because 10mm more will clearly change my life.

    This made me smile, thank you Benji.

    Free Member

    I’d be really interested to hear of your impressions of the bike run slack and then with the angleset for comparison. I like you love a really slack head / steep seat tube (currently running 62/77).

    Full Member

    @tmays No undesirable effects detected so far. It helps that the bike reach is long and (especially) that the head angle is slack.

    Full Member

    Effective stem length would probably be about 7mm. Rule of thumb (from Pinkbike) I think was no shorter than 20mm, but hey, it works for some.

    Full Member

    No bashguard on a bike that is long, low and long travel?

    Full Member

    Also, that is surprisingly light for a steel framed bike with the cassete being the only weight saving part.

    (I I have been a big fan of the Garbaruk cassettes for their low weight (for a reasonable price), good durability and flexible geinig options. I ran 10-46 on two bikes in our house that came with 11 speed SRAM (10-42) drivetrains and loved it.

    Full Member

    Nice build that, mine’s admittedly not Gen4 but there’s more than one way to skin a mullet RocketMAX…

    2022 06 26 Ride 045 04

    Monster truck on a small frame – 29+ front (DHF 29 x 3.0), 27.5+ rear (WTB Ranger 27.5 x 2.8) on a DT Swiss wheelset with no angleset so quite slack with a low BB. Microshift Advent 1 x 9 wide range drivetrain just because I could. 35mm stem. 160mm Lyrics. Also a Planet X dropper. Magura MT5 brakes since the previous Zees were leaking. The more I ride it the better I like it – WAY overbiked for local stuff but get it into the hills and show it some rocks and it comes alive.

    Never weighed it but might have to now just to see… Claimed weights for parts on my build spreadsheet suggested around 14kg / 32lb but it feels heavier.

    Full Member


    2022 07 04 RocketMAX Weight

    But that was weighed with tube and tools strapped to it, and fitted with bigger wheels and tyres than I originally planned for so probably was close to that 14kg when I first built it.

    Full Member

    How did I miss this?! Really like the look of the Rockets, how tall are you? I’m right between c2/c3 at 178. Might have to get a demo booked over Cotic hq…

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)

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