Anyone not get on with a Cotic Soul?..
I think it’s just personal preference, and what you’re used to. A while back I rode a friend’s Cove Handjob which I think is, in some ways, a similar sort of thing to the Chameleon and just found it far too stiff compared to my Soul. What you think of as responsiveness I might think of as harshness, which is fine.
And at least it’s going to be fairly easy to sell the Soul on round these parts 😉Posted 4 years ago
I just thought I was being mental or something. Everyone seems to rave about them. I always found steel to have a zingy feel. This Soul feels soulless… Bizarre. And I’m not trying to irritate anyone. I just don’t get why It doesn’t feel like any other steel frame I have loved.
I kept my old Konas and Marins from the late and early nineties and as a comparison they have a nice supple feel but with bite.
Maybe like you say Art. I should just get on with it. But the thing is its bewildered me a bit….Posted 4 years ago
I’ve really struggled to get what everyone rates about the Soul. I really really want to like it but I’ve gone back to my Chameleon.
On paper the Soul should be perfect 3 to 8 hour rides across the South Downs with occasional use in Afan.
I just find it a bit unresponsive in comparison I that makes sense. I know the Chameleon is extremely stiff at the rear but the Soul just feels lethargic.
I’ve read and spoken to a couple of people and they have said they felt the same.
I ride a steel surly cross check to commute to work which is fairly rapid.
Should I persist and give it another try? Dunno what to do really. Sell it and carry in with my ageing Chameleon….
Aaaaaarrrggggh!!!!!!!!Posted 4 years agoSuperficialMember
I’ve briefly ridden a couple of Souls and felt the lateral flex at the back which I can imagine is off-putting to some.
Maybe a BFe would be a better option? I dunno, my BFe is solid, and probably pretty unforgiving as a result but it’s definitely responsive – sounds more similar to hora’s description of a Chameleon.
I think you’re allowed to dislike a bike. In fact, if no one dislikes a frame, it’s probably a bit too middle-of-road and dull to be any good…?Posted 4 years agoPROLINE85Member
I moved from a Cove Stiffee to a Soul and it took a while to adjust. I changed to a shorter stem and that really helped the steering response as it had a longer top tube than the Cove. Definitely think it’s worth you perceiving with it. I really get on with my Soul now and would go as far as to say it’s the best hardtail I’ve owned 🙂Posted 4 years agoDaveyBoyWonderMember
It took me quite a while to get on with my old Soul but once I did I found a very good bike. I wouldn’t say it was as pant wettingly good as some on here would but still good. To borrow a hora-ism, coming off a string of Santa Cruz’s where you felt ‘in’ the bike, the Soul felt as if you were perched ‘on’ it. Sounds daft but its true. Felt very tall…Posted 4 years agojk1980Member
I’m in the same boat as you Waller. Bought a soul to replace my chameleon but have just really struggled with it. I really don’t what it is, it feels great on the ups but not so good on the downs. Nicely made frame, but just nowhere near as good as the Cham for any sort of DH riding. I’ve lost my patience and have just replaced it with a production privee shanPosted 4 years agomattjgSubscriber
I wouldn’t say “didn’t get on with it”, but it didn’t strike me as special – very much against the tide on here. Then I demo’d a 29er and that was the kiss of death. Didn’t buy a Solaris!
I had a Dialled Love/Hate too, I mich preferred the ride of that.
double post humpfPosted 4 years agomattjgSubscriber
I wouldn’t say “didn’t get on with it”, but it didn’t strike me as special – very much against the tide on here. I detected no zing.
Then I demo’d a 29er and that was the kiss of death. Didn’t buy a Solaris!
I had a Dialled Love/Hate too, I much preferred the ride of that.Posted 4 years agoNorthwindSubscriber
They’re kind of diametric opposites in feel, stiff vs soft… So not too surprising that if you really like the way one rides, you’ll probably not like the other. I mean, personally I found the Chameleon absolutely lumpen and uninspiring on my short test, just did nothing for me at all. Whereas I’d decided to buy a Soul after about 10 minutes of riding it, it was just so waggy tailed… and that’s probably just because we like opposite things.Posted 4 years agomatther01Member
I recently added a 60mm stem in place of 75mm and there is a huge difference in handling to my Soul. Find tyre pressure makes a big difference on the rear too. Took me a while…but think I’ve got it just right.
I’d persevere for a wee while longer…and you’ll make a decent return on the frame if it doesn’t work out.Posted 4 years agomangatankMember
It’s so subjective.
My Explosif was a revelation; that ‘sparkling’ feel…I’ve never replicated it since, and I really miss it. It had that magic. My 06 ScandAL was ‘buttery smooth’…weird but lovely. My carbon hardtail was like the ScandAL but even smoother, and my 05 Marin Wolf Ridge was a great vanilla-flavoured ride. My current frame, a Titanium 456 evo is different from all of them: Stable…solid…planted? Yet agile, and neutral? I can’t quite describe it, but it’s nothing like any of the others. Its elusive!
Anyway, frames…it’s all a bit Dumbledore.Posted 4 years agoDaffySubscriber
I made the same move looking for something as fun an eager as my Chameleon, but without the chronic back pain found after 3 hours on it. I bought a Soda and found it rather rubbish, but I was somewhat between sizes and put it down to that. I also tried a Cove Hummer and OO Ti456, before settling on an Indy Fab Steel Deluxe.Posted 4 years agomrmoofoMember
I won’t say I don’t get on with my Soul – I’m just not sure why it is up there with a threesome with Kylie and Danni Minogue, seeing The Rolling Stones as the support act to Primal Scream, watching the sun rise over the Australian red centre and drinking weekend in Las Vegas with Johnny Depp and his mates as one of the best things to do in life …
TBH – I prefer the feel of my BFe …Posted 4 years ago
A great frame- you can swing your leg over anyones bike regardless of bits/build and just feel its right. If you need to get used to a frame its not got that magic. You’ll always be adjusting to it/getting used to it. Rather than ‘wow’ (maybe change stem etc).
Ride feel is highly subjective and reviews/other rider views count for nought to your own ‘feel’. Hard to describe isn’t it?
Why do I jump onto say a Chameleon and it feels funny/great from the off yet when onto a Soul I was thinking ‘maybe a shorter stem/maybe this/that’ straight away?
Could it be that the Chameleon has character but the Soul is more of an alrounder?Posted 4 years agoBimblerMember
Never really got on with mine, was so pumped when I got it and my first total bike build but it just felt a bit meh. Dunno perhaps I expected too much. Like other comments I always felt on the bike rather than in it, changed everything I could think of to make it fit better but to no real avail. Bought an og Scandal 29er as an experiment and sold the Soul immediately as I felt so much more comfortable on the Scandal.Posted 4 years agoJonEdwardsMember
It’s interesting that most of the posters on this thread who say they don’t like their Soul are Chameleon fans.
Not spent much time on a Chameleon, but have tried various Santa Cruz full sussers and absolutely can’t get on with the fit of them – at 5’10” I should be on a medium, but a large still feels cramped (except for the non-existant standover).
On the other hand, I can just jump on any medium of the medium Cotic demo bikes, and it’s just *right*
I wonder also if the “in” vs “on” thing plays a part. All the Cotic development guys are “old skool” bikers from the early 90s and who learnt to ride xc, DH, trials etc on the same rigid bike. Consequently they’re used to a fairly rangy position with a decent saddle -> bars drop – so the fit is very much over the bike rather than behind the bars. If your formative riding experiences came on something shaorter and more upright (say late 90’s early ’00s DH/FR Bender era), then you’ll probably find that set up equally strange.Posted 4 years agoDaveyBoyWonderMember
All that Jon is the reason I wanted a Soul from the moment they came out. Seemed to have been developed by riders like myself for the type of riding I wanted to do.
My honest appraisal of the Soul (a mk2) would be that it was a really good frame, just not great. I liked my Chameleon(s) but they’re far too stiff to be used as a trail bike unless you start fitting stupidly big tyres which then results in next to no clearance, Chameleons not having the biggest amount of room out back for a big tyre!
I suspect that a lot of people get swept up in the hype surrounding them but from what I can see, what the Soul does isn’t any different to a whole host of other frames that do the same thing, just as well.
All that said, I’d be very interested in having a go on a newer one with the tweaks that have been made since I had my old one.Posted 4 years agowonderchumpMember
A good thread as I recently narrowed down my replacement hard-tail choice to a Mk3 Soul or the Mk2 Chameleon. In your face colours aside (Orange and Day-glo Yellow respectively) the bikes were poles apart. This was only ever going to be a frame swap for me as the components I had on my previous bike were all fairly new and high end – Hope, X0, etc. I rode demo’s of both the Soul and the Chameleon and I agree with the OP that the back end does wallow a bit compare to the Chameleon – but I liked that as it suits my style of riding and I can throw the back end of the bike around more easily with a degree of springiness – So that’s what I got.
In retrospect I think this is an unfair comparison as I was only ever going to build the Soul up with a 120mm fork and the Chameleon comes alive at 140mm. To this end it’s a better comparison to the BFe as some have already said.
What fork are you using with your Soul? Matching the tail end to a responsive fork (I use a dual air Reba RLT) is a must. I’m no lightweight rider and I can chuck my Soul into most situations with no hesitation. The rider feedback from the tail end is disconcerting at first, but that’s the nature of the bike and it is always consistent making the bike very predictable on the trails.Posted 4 years agoslowjoMember
I had an early one, one of the very limited numbers of XL frames. It looked brilliant but I hated it. Reluctantly, in some ways, we parted company and it took me ages to find something that really worked for me.
I completely agree with your ‘Soul-less’ comment. It just didn’t suit my style of riding…whatever that might be!
Find something that does….stick with that.Posted 4 years agoyunkiMember
I’ve absolutely loved my MkII Soul.. light, steel and responsive.. It’s sitting on my kitchen table, waiting for the sun to come around to the back garden so that I can take some shots to send to prospective buyers..
I’m replacing it however, with a late 90s Joe Murray designed frame made from cheaper and less prestigious double-butted Cro-Mo tubing..Posted 4 years ago
I’ll be interested to see how it compares..frankiMember
I wanted a Soul when a few riding buddies bought them a few years ago and it looked like the perfect bike for my style of riding.Posted 4 years ago
I had a test ride on one though and changed my mind – it just didn’t feel right at all. Excellent position for climbing, but I felt way too over the front going down and struggled with a short rocky section (on the flat) that I cleaned easily on another HT with more conventional geometry.
Just didn’t suit me I guess.
I suppose you could play about with various things to tweak the position, but when other bikes felt perfect straight away, I don’t think I’d have ever been totally happy.
It was a surprise, as I fully expected to love it! (Saying that – I was riding a Cove Stiffee at the time, which I thought handled great, but I think I recall Cy once saying the Cotic had “anti-Cove” geometry or something like that…)chiefgrooveguruMember
In addition to the geometry thing (I find some of the old school hardcore hardtails weirdly tall and steep at the front), I think that any frame which is designed to have a fair amount of compliance is not going to suit everyone. A 5’6″ 9 stone rider is going to find a small Soul far stiffer than a 6’3″ 15 stone rider with similar strength:weight and riding style on a large Soul.
I’m in the middle of that (5’10.5″ 12.5 stone on a medium) and really like how my Soul feels – but I have pretty stiff strong wheels, stem, bars, forks, cranks – even a 10mm steel bolt-thru rear axle. Built up with lighter bendier parts would it be too flexy for how I ride nowadays? Maybe!Posted 4 years agosteel4realMember
Not liking a Cotic Soul – burn him !
Well joking apart, neither did I, but for 5 years, largely because I fell for all the hype and thought if this is supposed to be as good as it gets, even if it isn’t quite right for me, then what else is there ?
The summary history:-
1. Kona Lava Dome – my first MTB, I loved it and in those days – 20 years ago – it didn’t matter much what you rode where. The word technical in respect of riding hadn’t arrived in my head yet !
2. Unbranded, Tange Prestige frame for 80-100mm forks. This did it all, and picked up where the Lava Dome left off, travel up by 40mm +, more forgiving rear and decent tyre clearance.
3. Kona Explosif in 853 :-). In a word, fast everywhere with 80mm forks if I recall.
4. Cove Handjob – In a word, slow and always felt sluggish or dead until it went downhill on 105 mm forks, superb, soaking up the bumps and responding quickly. Technical riding (of sorts) crept in to my vocabulary. My first trip to BC was with that bike :-). My mate still has it and it’s still good.
5. Cotic Soul (MK2 I think, 2006)- Good but never excellent. I fell for the hype and ran 120mm forks at first. Terrible, twitchy (others called it ‘whipcrack’ handling) didn’t suit me – for whatever reasons, that probably include my modest skill level ! I put 130mm Marzocchis (AMII’s) on, yes a fork that was out of specification as the AtoC was about 525mm, and then I liked it a lot more. Just enough response, good for climbing and a back end that flexed and soaked things up. Poor paint finish that chipped for fun. Rather like my Orange 5 I say “…it does everything well but never excels”.
6. And now, Ragley Blue Pig X. Different, a descending demon but a bit of a handful on climbs. I was after a frame suited to longer forks, slack front & dropper post compatibility in the seat tube diameter. The back end is stiffer than the Cotic, and that isn’t a good thing. The Pig suits me at 140mm. With 150mm climbing is too much trouble as it wanders all over.
7. Next, the hardtail I want – Steel with the front end of the Ragley and rear of a Cotic Soul, simples. In reality I’m actually thinking of a 29er, a Big Wig looks favourite. But can you jump with one and will the inevitable slower handling be a bit wrong for the local riding ? I’ll just have to build one and find out.
Whatever happens, it’s all been fun and I’m lucky to be able to build and try different bikes over the years.Posted 4 years agocardoSubscriber
It took a while to get mine to feel right…I tried adjusting the usual suspects stem size length/height/stack , bar position and rise and finally seat posts with or with out a layback… I persevered and I love it now but came close to selling it as it didn’t feel right…
The final bit of fine tuning was running the forks at 120mm and tubeless tyres & Stans rims with lower pressures.. I now have a bike that’s a hoot to ride… but it took a while to get to this point I admit.Posted 4 years agomboySubscriber
I think you’re either a stiff, ultra responsive frame lover, or you generally prefer a bike to be a bit more “comfortable” and less eager shall we say. I’ve ridden a few Chameleons, each time for about 15 minutes. For 15 minutes they were superb, but I wouldn’t want to spend any longer on one!
To the OP, how have you had your Soul setup? Usually the people I’ve come across who haven’t really loved theirs have had rather out of character builds, if you will. Either 140mm forks, heavy wheels and kit turning it into a 30lb heffer, or ultra lightweight 100mm forks and XTR and stupidly light wheels. It’s not a DH/FR bike, and it’s not an XC race bike. Built “middle of the road” with mid weight kit and 120mm forks, they are a superb bike. Yes, a bit jack of all trades and master of none, but if just getting out and riding and not worrying about your kit is important to you, they make an excellent choice!
FWIW I owned a BFe for a bit. Found it almost as stiff as the Chameleon, but wasn’t as responsive. Realised quite quickly that it didn’t suit my type of riding so sold it on. But I know people that love theirs!Posted 4 years ago
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