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  • Bird or Cotic + Newbie Man Maths
  • wildfires3
    Member

    So like a lot of people I’m getting back into riding after a 19 year break. I the bought a Felt Compulsion, it was completely unsuitable for the riding I was doing and it went in the garage.
    I converted my beloved steelhard tail into a commuter bike and then after 2 years of hammering it about London, it pretty much died, the frames is ok, the rest is not.

    So recently I got the Felt out and went out on some gentle trails. It’s still hard work, but I really enjoyed the cycling again.

    A relative of mine is very in to mountain biking and has been encouraging me to get a new bike and go out in the Surrey Hills as he goes a fair bit.

    So I googled, got confused and googled some more.

    I ended up being pointed in the direction Bird and Cotic, being British.

    Originally my budget just stretched to a Zero 29, with SLX, but then I saw Cotic and the steel frames and really liked the look of the Solaris Max with 140mm fork. From reviews it seems more like a “do it all” bike than the Zero, which seems more of a gravity machine.

    However the Cotic is £400 more than the Bird, and then only £250 less than a Bird Aether 7..

    You can see where this is going..

    Anyhow, can anyone give me some views on the bikes and how they fair in the real world?

    I don’t fancy being the ATGNI guy, but also am not keen to get the “wrong bike”. Hard, as I can’t say what I’ll lean towards, but any advice and views are welcome.

    Please bear in mind my skills are 19 year out of date and whilst I loved what used to be DS, these days I’m older, hurt more and still need to get to work the next week.

    I have looked at second hand and made a few offers / enquiries, but of the 10 or so, I’ve had 0 replies.

    Cheers in advance!

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    Well.

    The geometry of the Bird Zero 29, and the Cotic SolarisMAX is almost identical. So it would come down to materials, brand and colour.

    The Cotic is steel, the Bird is Aluminium,

    I’ve got a Cotic BFe and I’ve had a Bird Zero. The Cotic is more comfortable, but the Bird is faster and lighter going uphill.

    Thats essentially the choice to make. Do you want a slightly lighter bike, that’s a little less comfortable to ride? OR do you want a slightly heavier bike that’s a little more comfortable to ride?

    Personally… I’d be all over the Solaris. But – Ben who runs Bird is here all the time, and a really nice chap too.

    Also, I prefer to buy new – warranty, and knowing stuff like forks and bearings aren’t toast is a huge bonus.

    Ricks

    Premier Icon weeksy
    Subscriber

    I’d buy a lightly used Whyte t130 and save loads

    Premier Icon ta11pau1
    Subscriber

    Welcome 😀

    Is the budget still £2k, or has that crept up yet?

    I think you need to ride a modern FS and a modern hardtail to make that choice, then it’ll be a lot easier to decide. Although if you’ve got a decent level of fitness, a hardtail won’t be a bad choice.

    Bird are really good to deal with and have a few places where you can test ride. I tried a Zero AM and Zero 29 and bought the 29. The big wheels and 2.5″ tyres make it pretty comfortable and forgiving as well as loads of grip. My Strava times for the climbs are very similar to those of my old Ti456 but descents are way faster. It’s really good fun too, not just a straight line tank.

    “The geometry of the Bird Zero 29, and the Cotic SolarisMAX is almost identical.”

    It’s not – there’s one massive difference, the Zero 29 is well over an inch lower in the bottom bracket.

    The lower BB on the Birds makes them particularly awesome in the turns and descending steep stuff, whilst the higher BB on the Cotic’s is easier to handle on all slower tech stuff, any pedally things, rough climbs, etc.

    jamesmio
    Member

    You’ve narrowed things down to a really, really good shortlist there!

    They’re both great. I’m supremely fortunate to have one of each (Soul and Aeris) and I’d happily recommend both companies wholeheartedly.

    You won’t regret either of them. I promise.

    Premier Icon MartynS
    Subscriber

    I’ve never dealt with cotic, however a mate has a Solaris and loves it, in fact he has a couple of cotics..

    I’ve got a Bird AM160 and Ben has been one of the most patient chaps in business. I’d not hesitate to recommend them.

    the aether is a lovely looking bike, as is the zero and Solaris.
    Work out what your Main type of riding is and get the best you can.,.if your in an area of flowing Trails a hard tail would be perfect.. I’m in the Peak, and I’m old so I like the full sus….!

    wildfires3
    Member

    Hey Paul!

    Well, the OH negotiated the budget down to £1600, and I may have let it creep up to £2k again.

    I’ve been out today on my old Compulsion and aside from clearly not checking it after 10 years in the shed and the rear mech cable coming loose and me having to basically carry it home, I’m really enjoying the riding and can’t wait to hit the trails.

    I am thinking that if I’m hitting £2k for the Cotic Hardtail, I may as well just add on the extra £250 (ish) and get the Aether 7. It seems pretty much a great do it all bike. Plus the rear suspension may save me from a bit of a lapse of concentration, as being self employed, no workey means no money and I already snapped my wrist racing Dual Slalom when I was younger..

    If not I think it will be the Zero 29. As much as I love steel, I don’t think I can warrant the extra £400 or so on a bike that in all honesty, I won’t know the difference with.

    I may go with the Aether,with a view that if I want a hardtail I’ll save up for a Cotic.

    There man maths on getting from a £1600 hard tail to a £2.3k FS…

    Premier Icon rickon
    Subscriber

    “The geometry of the Bird Zero 29, and the Cotic SolarisMAX is almost identical.”

    It’s not – there’s one massive difference, the Zero 29 is well over an inch lower in the bottom bracket.

    23mm to be exact, which is under an inch 👌 Good thing I said *almost*. Wheelbase is identical, HA too, reach within a few mm.

    But, yeah – the bird will feel a bit lower so it’s worth considering whether you ride smooth trails, or rocky trails too.

    “23mm to be exact, which is under an inch 👌 Good thing I said *almost*. Wheelbase is identical, HA too, reach within a few mm.”

    93mm BB drop on the Bird, 57.5mm BB drop on the SolarisMAX, on sagged 130mm forks. Isn’t that 35.5mm difference?

    Effective seat angle is over 2 deg steeper on the Bird too but they’ll be closer in reality as the Cotic has a straight seat tube.

    Premier Icon ampthill
    Subscriber

    I’m a big fan of full suspension for my crumbling body

    But whilst there maybe times that it saves you I think it can tempt you into higher speeds and trouble

    poah
    Member

    Well, the OH negotiated the budget down to £1600.

    I suggest letting the OH choose the bike then.

    I ended up being pointed in the direction Bird and Cotic, being British.

    Not sure about bird, but cotic definitely tried to be British once, it didn’t work out well for them.

    They’re all great bikes, you’ll love whatever you choose, basically you’d be as well going for whatever one you like the look of, even the longest of travel bikes pedal miles better now than anything you’ll have rode 19 years ago.

    Enjoy.

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Subscriber

    I’ve gone from a Bird Aeris 145LT (so a big enduro bike – I guess I’m the same vein as your compulsion – but more modern / better) to an Aether 7 but keeping the burly build kit. It’s a great bike so far.

    What / where are you actually riding generally?

    I’ve also got an alloy hardtail (Vitus Sentier) with 140mm Rockshox Pikes on and I ride each of the bikes for different things. If I’m just out for an hour or so larking about then the Sentier is brilliant – manualling / popping off stuff. Or if I’m doing bridleways eith a lot of road sections.

    Other than that I’d always take the Aether. It’s still quite playful (much more so than the 145), pedals well uphill and is pretty stable on fast downhills. Although because of lockdown I’ve only used meaningful downhill sections at Cwmcarn on the two Red Cross country is trails and the pedalhounds downhill bits.

    The other 2 bikes mentioned are still capable and I’m not sure which I’d pick of the 2 tbh – summarised well above in that the Cotic is probably a little bit more forgiving on longer rides as steel over alloy – but I think the zero29 will feel a bit more lively due to lower weight and that low bb should make it tip round corners.

    I don’t think you’d go wrong with any of them – but I’d take the full suss if it’ll be your only bike.

    warns74
    Member

    Can’t give you any feedback on the cotic but have had a Bird Zero 29 for a nearly a year now. Fairly modest build with some 35mm 140mm revelations, 1×11 GX and some old xt brakes I had. Because I wanted to run 2.6 tyres I did get some 35mm spank rims which are great.

    Everything about the process with Bird was brilliant, from demo to purchase (frame only in the end). Ben was super helpful and answered loads of questions and gave me lots of geometry advice. I had a small issue with the rear axle on delivery and it was sorted within 48 hours.

    I use this bike all the time from family xc rides with my daughter, mucking about, longer rides and trail centre trips.

    It is so capable there have been a couple of times I’ve taken it to Cwmcarn and Afan in favour of my full suss to ride the DH and Enduro trails just see how it copes, and it does brilliantly.

    Through the winter I used a 2.4 DHR / 2.5 shorty which worked really well. The rest of the year a 2.5 aggressor / 2.6 DHF. Not had any issues with comfort and would happily do longer rides on it.

    Short answer, cant recommend it highly enough!

    Nobeerinthefridge

    Not sure about bird, but cotic definitely tried to be British once, it didn’t work out well for them.

    They do build stuff in the UK now, having had those teething problems. Front triangles on the Rocket frames, I tbink, not sure what else.

    If the Soul name ever does get revived, it wondr if it might appear as a 100% UK built hardtail.

    Although Bird don’t build any frames here they do assemble the bikes and provide (excellent) service in the UK. Likewise for Cotic’s hardtails with most of their full-sus bikes now having their front triangles fabricated and painted (decals and all!) in Scotland.

    For the Surrey Hills I don’t think you can go wrong with a 29er hardtail with modern geometry – although the trails aren’t as smooth as those in the north or west may assume, they’re not relentlessly rocky (which is when a hardtail starts to get tiresome) so the lack of rear squish adds more fun and efficiency, whilst lowering cost and hassle (both purchase and maintenance).

    I’d probably get the new BFeMAX – it’s basically a cheaper SolarisMAX that’s optimised for a 140mm fork rather than 120mm. I have a Zero AM (the 27.5 version) and it’s great but you do have to be on it with your pedal technique because it’s so low, and I prefer the longer chainstays and less steep seat angles on the Cotic’s. And the steel frames look prettier! Despite that I have no intention of replacing the Bird – it’s a very good bike. Whatever you buy of those three 29” hardtails, you will be happy.

    Plus the rear suspension may save me from a bit of a lapse of concentration, as being self employed, no workey means no money

    There’s still a limit to a full suss, and it’s a faster speed you’ll be crashing from.

    “I loved what used to be DS”
    “go out in the Surrey Hills”

    I’m a fan and owner of both brands, so trying to be as impartial as possible – seems you’ll prefer the low bottom bracket and berm carving quickness of the zero 29.

    Have you considered second hand to allow some creative accounting? No luck on the Aether but the superseded Aeris120, and the hardtails from both brands have been around long enough to be for sale at well under your budget.

    “There’s still a limit to a full suss, and it’s a faster speed you’ll be crashing from.”

    Exactly!

    I’m convinced that long low & slack hardtails are the safest MTBs you can ride – I swapped to mine from my 29er full-sus when lockdown began for that reason. How often do we have a bad crash because of something going wrong at the back of the bike? The only examples I can think of are getting bucked from screwing up the take-off on a jump.

    Pretty much every bad crash seems to involve losing the front in some way, and with a modern hardtail that’s much harder to do because the big-forked front’s limits are far higher than those of the rigid rear.

    Premier Icon johnjn2000
    Subscriber

    I am fully Birded up now after owning Cotic (still have that one) Stanton, and Titus Ti. I have had the AM160 a year, and just built up a Zero29. The whole Bird buying experience was flawless and the bikes are great. That said when I bought my Cotic in 2012 that experience was also very good and the bike was great. I don’t think you can go wrong with either brand but on a budget I would head towards Bird as that few 100 saving can be tucked away for sneaky upgrades later. I almost bought an Aether frame instead of the Zero but after talking with Ben (a lot, poor fellow, he has the patience of a saint) It was apparent the Aether wouldn’t be different enough to the AM160, I am more than happy with result this advice gave but if I didn’t have the AM160 it would of been the Aether for me.

    fingerbang
    Member

    As a curve ball, what about the pipedream moxie?

    Without poring over the geometry charts I note it is very similar to the Bird zero but with a steeper SA and it’s steel,

    poah
    Member

    identiti AKA?

    I’ve got a Zero AM and an Orange Five and ride the Surrey Hills a reasonable amount, personally if you’re just getting back into it I’d get the hardtail, less to go wrong plus less money if you don’t get out as much as you’d hope.

    Give it a year on the riding the Hardtail and if you’re still loving it upgrade.

    Or do what Weeksy said and get a second hand Whyte T130 if you really want the full bounce.

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