Cotic Rocket: how reliable?
How long do the bearings last?
Are the frames easy to strip down for a clean and bearing change?
Is the frame hardware (pivots etc) durable?
I’m torn between a Rocket and a Five for my next bike, it will be my only bike and I want something as reliable as possible with a decent warranty. I know Alpines have a bad history of cracking lately but the Five doesn’t seem as bad? It’d be nice to hear some real comparisons, I’ve searched the forum to death but it’s not easy with the current search feature.
Any input is much appreciated 😀Posted 2 years ago
I’d say the Rocket is fairly good. All the pivots are easily accessible with no special tools required.
http://cotic.co.uk/PDF/Cotic_Rocket26_Manual.pdf is the manual for the 26″ Rocket, can’t seem to find the manual for the new one. That has a section on bearing/pivots so you can see for yourself what it involves.Posted 2 years ago
I reckon an Orange will have cracked at least once before Rocket wears out bearingsPosted 2 years ago
Got a RocketMAX which (so far) has been absolutely spot on, minimal maintenance and happy to take a bit of a beating without any complaints.Posted 2 years ago
A friend of mine has had a mk1 for a good few years and I don’t think he’s had any problems with it. Probably fair to say he’s not gentle on his bikes either.Posted 2 years ago
Bearing change is easy and bearings are standard sizes so easy to buy. Only issue I had with mine was loosing the pivot nut on a ride. My own fault for not checking it was thread locked. The newer model has a different design in this area that would prevent this (cable guide threaded into the axle so nut cannot fall off).Posted 2 years ago
I believe the question should be “how long do the frames last”? and then how well had it been built, including any internal adjustment of the travel on the Helm forks that Cotic have attempted themselves but don’t get me started 🙂Posted 2 years ago
If you do decide to buy a Rocket, I would advise a frame only get the forks and shock from TF who will set them up correctly,a good wheel set, then build it yourself.Posted 2 years ago
If you are either an incredibly gifted/smooth rider or mince like a pussy you’ll be fine.
I understand that the warranty service is good, replacement parts,frames and refunds are quickly dealt with.
I am neither, are you suggesting I shouldn’t buy one cyclelife and if so, why? I’ll be buying frame only.
Thanks for the comments so far chaps.Posted 2 years ago
My 26” one will be 6 years old in April and I’ve ridden the snot out of it all year, all weather. it’s been my main bike for much of that.
The cartridge bearings are standard off the shelf efforts. Tend to find I get about 18 months out of them. A full strip and replacement takes a couple of hours and no special tools.
I get through the chain stay bush on the NDS a fair chunk faster – maybe every 9 months. That’s standard shock mount hardware. 15 mins to change.
Otherwise the frame has been bombproof. The 26 versions had a front shock mount that was painted along with the frame – the paint on mine cracked and the ally mount has corroded quite badly. Not failed though, just looks a bit crap. On all the newer versions the mount is anodised and then fitted after the rest of the frame has been painted. Not seen any issues with them.
General impression on warranty stuff is that they under promise and over deliver.Posted 2 years ago
Had a RocketMax for about 18 months now and its been perfect. Not done huge miles on it, but it’s not had an easy time and it certainly hasn’t been a molly coddled garage queen…I don’t believe in washing bikes too often and the bearings are still fine. I took pity on it last weekend as it was still caked in about four rides worth of mud and threw a bucket of water on it and it’s come up like new. They’re just bomb proof. I’d recommend invisiframing it too… not the cheapest bits of plastic sheeting out there, but brilliant, fits perfectly, easy to apply really do look invisible when they’re on and has saved my bike from many scratches and scuffs it would have had if I had not wrapped it.Posted 2 years ago
I demod a rocket 2 weeks ago although I’d already got a new bike id pre arranged this so still went.
I was lucky to be able to ride it on local trails to give a comparison and having previously owned a 26inch and 650b five and maintain a shed load of them in a nutshell I would have the five
The cotic was nice and felt very nimble but didn’t feel as comfortable when going flat outPosted 2 years ago
People on here love to bash orange but honestly they’ve refined the basic method so much that the five is just brilliant
Stiff but comfortable
Strong as an ox as it has a different swingarm to the alpine so don’t worry about the cracking
And have you felt the weight of Mr marlors new one . unbelievably light for a alloy trail bike
Plus it’s made in the UK using on our doorstep companies mate and I’d take that over a Taiwanese made rocket 🙂
Big-bud do I know you? 😛Posted 2 years ago
I’d get a demo on both, cotic are excellent at organising demos and orange should be straightforward enough if you have a local dealer. Don’t think either have any known issues with bearings…Posted 2 years ago
Otherwise the frame has been bombproof. The 26 versions had a front shock mount that was painted along with the frame – the paint on mine cracked and the ally mount has corroded quite badly. Not failed though, just looks a bit crap
Glad it’s not just me that’s happened to.
Mine is also an original 26” one which doesn’t get ridden much over winter and other than the rear shock bushings still has the original bearings and it seems fine. I’m not much of a bike thrasher though.Posted 2 years ago
I have been unsuccessful in cracking my 2017 Five,and I’ve given it my best attempt. Bearings are still smooth after 18 months too.Posted 2 years ago
Myself and the OH both have RocketMAX’s, both bikes are used regularly in all weathers. Mine is about a year old and has had replacement bearings in the droplink pivot, as one of them had started to get notchy. OH’s bike is a bit older than mine and that’s needed nothing doing. FWIW, we have also both previously owned Orange Fives (albeit 6 or 7 years ago), and we never had any problems with those – and at the time I weighed about 90kg. As someone has already mentioned above, I suspect the frame on the Orange is probably quite a bit lighter than the Cotic.Posted 2 years ago
Have you considered Bird? Frames have lifetime warranty, and they have legendary customer service. It is 4-bar linkage though so a lot of pivots…Posted 2 years ago
I’ve had mine around 2 years now (Mk2 650B, pre-Longshot) which has had plenty of use – although I am a bit of a mincer to be fair (before anyone else says it!) and so far, no issues at all with the bearings. A pal has a Rocket Max and he has just done bearing swap – said it was an easy job, and required no special tools.Posted 2 years ago
“It is 4-bar linkage though so a lot of pivots…”
EVERYTHING has a lot of pivots nowadays – the only bikes I can think of that don’t are Oranges and Starlings. You’ve either got one pivot or at least four, so two or eight bearings/bushings.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve owned both. The Five was fine (although the more modern swingarm without the pinch bolts makes changing bearings a little (and only a little) less easy. The Rocket i’ve had 12 months now and the bearings are all fine so far.
As others have said demo both as they are both pretty reliable bikes it would be better to buy on which one suits your riding style rather than an extra £30 and 1/2 hour to change bearings.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve spent almost exactly 100 hours on the FlareMax. Mosly last summer as I tend to ride the fatbike over winter and I think I’ve killed the Droplink bearings already, which is a bit of a surprise.
It’s felt a bit different on the last couple of rides. Not bad exactly, but different. So I removed the rear wheel and shock then cycled the suspension. It didn’t feel good. Notchy I think is the word i.e. it would stick at various points, but be free at others. Disconnecting the droplink from the seatstays showed that the problem was with the droplink. The main pivot and the seatstay bushes both felt fine. I removed the main droplink pivot and was surprised to find that I couldn’t rotate the (6902) bearings by hand at all. I knocked them out, which was easy enough with a drift and a mallet and was then susprised to find that they didn’t feel too bad on the bench. Is this normal (for a bearing to be too stiff to rotate by hand in the frame, but not feel too bad once its removed)?
I’ve ordered some new bearings (the two 608 bearings at the seatstay end feel pretty stiff too) and the RRP bearing press + adaptors.
So, to get back to the original question, replacing the bearings seems to be a pretty simple job, but I’m suprised to only get 100 hours out of the droplink ones.Posted 2 years ago
TBH the number of bearings just shouldn’t really come into it when you’re choosing bikes- it’s a trivial expense in the grand scheme, especially if you can do it yourself, and it’s offset by the cost to you on every ride if you get a bike you like less. That’s not to say more bearings is better o’course, I liked my old Orange enough that I just bought another one the same to build up. But bsaically, buy the one you like more.
As far as reliability in general, my neighbour has a rocketmax- an ex demo too- and she destroys everything, it is uncanny. Basically she is a young mental pinner on constant heavy painkillers, who rides constantly, and this all has Consequences. But the frame itself is impervious.
Posted 2 years ago
@roverpig, it sounds like the droplink bearings might have been a wee bit sideloaded? That’d explain teh freedom of movement out of the bike.
Thanks @Northwind I was wondering about the possibility of side loading myself. The way the droplink goes together it looks as though you could end up side loading the bearings if, say, the axle was a hair too short or the spacers a hair too thick. I’ll try to pay attention to this when I put it back together.
You are right about the relative importance of the number of bearings though. My 2013 Five was the gold standard when it came to ease of bearing replacements, but (with the right tools) I reckon the extra bearings on the Cotic wont add more than a half hour to the job and that’s taking it slowly. Hardly worth worrying about really. Not that there was anything wrong with the Five in my opinion. I enjoyed the way it rode, but I’d buy it for that and not for how easy it was to change the bearings.Posted 2 years ago
@roverpig Were the bearings in the droplink stiff with it removed from the frame? If the bearings in the droplink were rough before you removed them, but smooth after removal, this points to the tolerance on the bearing seat being slightly under. Press fits are very tolerance critical and a worn cutter could be enough to make things slightly under, this can make the bearing tighten up. I’d have a chat to Cotic about it, 100hrs doesn’t sound like it fits in with everyone else’s experiences.
APosted 2 years ago
Well I’ve just ordered a new 5010 frame at a price I couldn’t say no to but thanks to all that responded 🙂Posted 2 years ago
@bedfo It was the two that press into the housing on the seat tube that were stiff, rather than the little ones in the droplink itself. I will drop Cotic a line though, if only so they know.Posted 2 years ago
Hey roverpig, sounds like you’ve had a very similar problem with your frame as me. I noticed notchiness with the bearings when I took my shock out to service it. I didn’t do the bearing change myself – Matt at 18 Bikes did it. Matt showed me the bearings that’d come out, and they span freely with no notchiness – he wondered if the frame tolerances were a bit off, or if the bearings hadn’t been seated correctly. (Replacements seem ok so far, but I’m gonna take shock bolt out and check!)Posted 2 years ago
TBH the number of bearings just shouldn’t really come into it when you’re choosing bikes- it’s a trivial expense in the grand scheme
Disagree. It’s a very valid contributing factor to choosing an Orange – especially if it’s vs. a four-bar frame with tiny chainstay bearings which won’t really last longer than six months but will still feel OK until you happen to pop the shock out one day and realise they’re seized.
Moot now though as the OP’s bought a Santa Cruz – which I believe have free replacement bearings anyway.Posted 2 years ago
Near miss mate, Santa Cruz is a much better bet having seen someone bend two Rockets rear triangles!Posted 2 years ago
@bowglie It does sound quite similar. I’d be interested to hear how your new set hold up. I did wonder whether they might not have been pressed fully into the frame. That would probably result in a bit of side loading on the bearing. I’ll try to take a bit of care putting the new set in and see what happens. To be honest, now I’ve got a bearing press it’s only a ten minute job (and a few quid for the bearings) to replace the ones in the droplink. I love the way this bike rides so much that, even if I end up having to do that a couple of times a year, it would still be a price well worth paying (for me).
@chakaping The bearings on my 2013 Five were an absolute doddle to replace, but there was still at least one occasion where I took it apart and found they were seized (and presumably had been for a while). Bearings on an MTB tend to be at the end of a fairly long lever with a fair bit of mass at the end of that lever. Without taking the frame apart it’s actually quite hard to feel the difference between a bearing spinning and an axle spinning in a seized bearing, in my experience. To be honest, I think a bushing would make more sense, but bearings are cheap and readily available.
With hindsight I can appreciate now that the slightly disconnected feeling I detected on the trail was probably just the rear not tracking the ground as well due to the seized bearing. So, I’ll know what to look out for now, but just bouncing the bike in the shed it still felt fine.Posted 2 years ago
Near miss mate, Santa Cruz is a much better bet having seen someone bend two Rockets rear triangles!
Swings and roundabouts though, i have a good mate who went through 2 Solo/5010 front triangles.Posted 2 years ago
“I’d buy it for that and not for how easy it was to change the bearings.”
That put it better than I did.Posted 2 years ago
I’ve had some feedback from Cotic, who were as prompt and helpful as always. It seems that @bowglie and I are not alone and they think the issue might be down to a batch of bearings that were slightly oversized as switching to a different brand seems to have fixed the issue for others. They also now advise treating the axle more like a headset (i.e. use it to set the preload on the bearings before doing up the pinch bolts, which hold it all in place) rather than just using a set (high) torque. That makes sense, looking at how it all goes togeher and should avoid any excessive side loading of the bearing.Posted 2 years ago
Thanks for posting Cotics response @roverpig. I’ve been a bit preoccupied with work recently, so have only just had chance to reply, and out on my RocketMAX. Suspension felt a bit odd yesterday, and I wondered if shock seals were just a bit dry. Disconnected shock, but it feels like bearings are notchy again😟. I’ll try the preloading tip wi5 the next bearings.
How are you getting on with your FlareMAX? Have you used the bearing preload method?Posted 2 years ago
So far so good, but it’s early days.
I just treated it like a headset. Used the pivot bolts to (just) remove any play then tightened up the cinch bolts to hold it all in place. At that point I could have removed the NDS bolt as it isn’t doing anything, but I just put a dab of threadlocker on and did it up snug.
To be honest that’s what I would have done if I hadn’t contacted Cotic or read any instructions as I can’t see why you’d want to do that bolt up tight enough to put a side load on the bearings anyway.Posted 2 years ago
Is it just me that had issues removing the seattube side droplink bearings? Had a proper mare, they just wouldn’t shift with the drift and mallet method, ended up having to blowtorch them then cool with a spray before they’d crack out. Knackered the bearing spacer in the process. BALLACHE. Good fun thoughPosted 2 years ago
Mine popped out fairly easily using a screwdriver as a drift. I guess that’s the advantage of the bearings failing prematurely. They hadn’t had time to seize in there 😀Posted 2 years ago
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