Saturday, 17 August 2013

My rocket

My rocket ........

As a Cotic fan of a few years I really wanted to like their new Rocket full suspension bike when it came out, however my skeptical side was a little unsure as I had ridden many brands of suspension bike before this one and really not found one to my liking as yet - I also loathed the look of their first suspension creation.

From the first out of focus glimpses Cotic showed us of the this bike it sure looked like a beautiful machine with purposeful lines and angles made to go fast.

So I eventually got my own........

......and after several months of riding at home and abroad I can honestly say that this is still one awesome machine.

It is so fast downhill that I cannot keep up with it most of the time, cornering is rapid with the low BB and slack front end.  Taking flight off lumps and bumps is as easy as changing gear and it is well managed in the air giving you a confidence to get airborne as often as possible.

The full Fox Suspension system I chose due to wanting a feel of balance is just the job.  With slight increase in progression damping thanks to the guys at Mojo Suspension the bike does not dive when braking hard anymore and feels truly balanced in the rough stuff - ironing out the most uneven rocks and roots.

Biggest surprises to me are the aesthetics - I reckon its one of the best looking full suspension bikes out there and how quiet it is compared to others I have tried.  Also the climbing speed - its fair to say its no xc racer but it is also not a winch and plummet behemoth either.

Finally - How many full suspension bikes can you think of that are made of steel these days and that makes this Rocket unique.  Also see our little edit from last year on the Rocket.

Cotic Rocket (Med)
Fox Float CTD Rear Shock
Fox Float 32 CTD Forks
Hope hoops - stans flow rims
Maxxis Tubeless Tyres - various - finding a lack of grip so experimenting at the moment
SLX Discs - 180/160
SLX 1x10 with clutch rear mech
Renthal 34T Chainring
Blackspire Chainguide - Fantastic - tried a Hope top guide but these don't work!
FUNN Full On 750mm Bars (Not OS)
Thomson Elite 50mm stem
RockShox Reverb seat post - No hi posting here thank you very much
Weight - a touch over 29lbs

Side note - would a 650b or 29er be faster/more fun/grippy/stable etc etc..  Who's to say - but compared to other 26" wheeled 140-160mm travel bikes I have tried this is the most fun and fastest one I have ridden and compared to a few 29ers it still wins on the descents in my book for fun factor which is most important - right!

Wednesday, 23 May 2012


I wasn't sure what to expect with the new Cotic Rocket, I was expecting it to be good, and fun, purely because I believe a lot of thought has gone into the Cotic bikes designed so far.  My experience of the Soul & BFe have been great fun bikes to ride, but for some reason I almost felt like I had reservations about the Rocket before I'd even seen one in the flesh.  I hadn't mentioned it, I didn't even know what it was, I was just waiting.  Maybe it was because I was struggling to get my head around Cotic, the 'hardtail bike company' bringing out a full suss, or maybe it was because I already had a really good full suss bike, and wasn't expecting the Rocket to be able to outdo that.
I'm pretty sentimental about the Patriot - it helped get me fully back into biking, and improve my skills after a nasty crash.  It has been to a lot of places with me, down a lot of nice trails, and just given me a huge amount of fun since 2008.  There is no real reason to change it.

The Rockets were due to arrive just before the our Welsh Cotic demo event.  Everything else was sorted, cakes and cookies baked, beer bought, hard tails (Solaris', Soul's & BFe's) polished and fettled, tool box and spares packed, we were waiting ... I got home on Friday afternoon and they were here - I rushed into the yard to see the real thing, there they were along with the other bikes, and for some reason, I still didnt know what to think.  
First Look 

Through the two days of the demo event at Cwm Rhaeadr we watched other people ride off on the rockets, expecting a quiet moment when we'd get the chance to nip out for a quick spin. That didn't happen until Sunday afternoon in the end, suddenly there was noone waiting, and I hopped on wearing jeans and a hoody to buzz around the shorter loop we'd waymarked for the w.e.
The rocket is responsive, and the Rocket is fast! - thats the first thing that struck me as I hopped on - when your not getting much chance to ride, it means when you do, every moment of the ride counts in a way it never has before (hence not bothering to change, as it would mean less time on the bike).  So even before I've started to swing my leg over the saddle, my mind and body is full on into bike riding mode. The moment my foot strikes the pedal it is pushing down and driving me out of the car park, and boy it is on this bike.  I wasn't prepared for that, I'm not feeling very fit at the moment, yet I'm dancing on the pedals, and this little orange bike is literally skipping along up the forest road.

At the corner, and the top of the climb, we bare right onto a less used path.  I flick through the gears as the track contours, then turn back on myself in a clearing and drop into the singletrack. Poppy - thats what one of the demo riders had come back and said, and poppy sums it up.  We are dancing together, I am part of the bike, we are one. Compressing into the dips, getting some air as we spring out, railing the berms and swooping our way down the trail. I get back to the car park, to our demo 'camp', put the Rocket back and say quietly "Yeah its nice". I'm stunned, and for a change, I am a bit lost for words.  But of course its too short a ride to know for sure ;-)
Sun drenched Rocket

So Monday morning when our demo event is all over, we hit the trails with the rockets ourselves - Just us and dry, dusty, sun-drenched trails - and the ride just gets better.  I've mostly been riding a BFe recently, which I love, but the rocket is a whole step up in the fun riding stakes.  I'm still surprised how effortlessly it climbs, it defies the slacker head angle and longer, more stable wheelbase. this may be due to the steeper seat tube. Then the head angle, and longer wheelbase come into play and make it so much fun and super fast on the decents.  After playing with the air in the shock to soften it a bit for my weight, I was getting full use of the suspension and knowing it.  The bomb holes suddenly take on a whole new feeling, and places I know well, suddenly become new bits of trail.
Tweets To Cotic after our Rides: 
Bikebrechfa:       Cy, you don't actually need the small and medium rockets back do you? 
CyCotic:             Erm, actually I do ... 
          Bikebrechfa:       Arse! 
By the time I am washing the bikes ready to pack them back up, I'm already referring to one of them as 'my one', and cleaning them this time is done with a heavy heart.  I'm kind of hoping I'm not going to be here when the courier comes to take the boxes, cause its going to be hard letting this one go.
Dyson Guards the Rockets before CityLink pick them Up.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Wentwood 50 - Nice!

     3 well earned zipties

After a last minute change of plan this week I did a spot of forum trawling and found somebody who wanted to sell their place on the Wentwood 'Goshawk' 50 Enduro - Bonus :o)

Thought I would take the trusty 2011 26" wheeled Simple as it is good in the mud and having looked on the organisers website - it seems Wentwood could get sticky in the wet.   A reasonably dry week gave us good ground conditions and after a foggy drive and to the event and first climb the sun came out and it was scorchio for the rest of the day.

Initial contact with the organisers regarding my buying somebody elses entry gave me a good feeling about this event as they seemed nice people.  The event field was a easy to find with all the faculties you would expect  to find (even the Drop Off bus for strong coffee and light cake).

After a last minute call of nature I found myself staring at the rear of the field with all the nice chatty bikers rather than the focused racers - a nice start to the day.  After steady back lane cruise around the Newport countryside and catching up with a few old friends along the way we hit the dirt.

Nice mud!

And what nice dirt it was too.  Just the right amount in my opinion enough to be slidey and interesting but with a little grip underneath to catch you should try and push it a little too hard.  A few ups and downs of mostly singletrack and we came to the top of  what appeared to be a common in the glorious sunshine where followed an awesome descent of a mix of ancient singletrack and freshly cut trail just for this event and even little hero dirt thrown in for good measure to get the bike drifting with confidence.

And the route generally went on like this for the full 50km with only one section of long fire road that I can remember being a bit of a chore (but this was after 40km of riding).  Each descent was grin inducing and most of the climbing had a little demon mud, root or gradient to keep you working hard.

The organisers had devised a route that meant you passed the same feed station 3 times on the 50km loop and with an offering of Torq energy drink, bananas, and chocolate muffins it was a strong mind to draw you past without stopping each time.  Whilst each time the marshals handed you a different colour ziptie to represent which route you were on - 35/40/50km.

And for the finale - 5km of mostly descending back to the car on singletrack trail and singletrack road - nice :o)

A fantastic event organised for charity in forest littered with a myriad of fine singletrack trails - I'll be back.

Trusty Simple!

Final result - 25th/216 finishers of the 50km route. Nice!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Butter on a Welshcake!

St Davids day, and leaving behind the smell of freshly baked Welsh cakes, I snuck out for a quick spin on the small Cotic Soul before it got dark.  It was a stunning evening in the West Wales hills, and after riding the little BFe a few times recently it was great to get out on the Soul and have a taste of something different. 

Turning in the opposite direction of the Brechfa trails, I scooted up the steep road out of the village and linked up a couple of bridalways to make a loop.  Straight out of the house I wondered how that first big hill was going to feel, but there was no need to think about it - I know people say 'its not about the bike' - but this little demon was just mega responsive, every downward stroke of the pedal it just seemed to propel me further upwards. I haven't done that much technical climbing on recent rides, yet this little Soul combined with the super plush Marzocchi 44's was just skipping up over the gnarly bedrock as the sun was starting to disappear behind the hill. 

There are days when you are just meant to be out on your bike, and this was one of them, and the right bike was making it ever more the perfect evening.  As the sun went down, the remaining light on the hills was a glowing soft pink as I reached the open hilltop and paused to drink in the view of the valley below, inviting me into them with open arms. Everything was extremely still and quiet, a farmer on the other side of the valley was feeding sheep, their calls echoed across.  Once fed there was silence, then, just the sound of Maxxis tyres on grass and gravel, and the rush of air in my ears as I launched into the long descent home. Swooping, blasting, sliding a steam crossing, all in a days work for this little bike.

Its St Davids day, and it is God's Country ;-)  Its not a bad place to live ... its not a bad place to ride your bike ... and its not a bad bike to be out there riding! 

Time for a welsh cake.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Solaris's have landed

Just received two Cotic Solaris from Cy and Paul - one medium and one large and they look so nice - lighter than expected and with all the mounts for dropper posts - I reckon they are gonna be a fun machine!

We're thinking of Marzocchi 44's, Maxxis Ardent front, ignitor rear a short stem and wide bars, but not sure on whether to go for a double with bash or a triple chainset? Oh and of course hope hoops to roll along nicely;o)

Cannot wait to get em built.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hi-Posting it on a 29er

Just to show we don't just ride Cotic's here at Bikebrechfa - here's a notes on a couple of rides I had on a Scott Spark 29er Pro over the last couple of weeks.

I was offered the use of the Spark by Nicky a friend who works for Scott Sports now who came to the Brechfa Enduro a few weeks ago to show off their 2012 range - she left me the 'brand new' 29er with the parting words - look after it...

I had only ridden two 29ers previous to this therefore my experience with them is limited.  Until trying the Rumblefish by Trek a few weeks ago I thought they were for people of 5'11' and taller, however I was wrong!  I have ridden a fair variety of bikes in my 23 years of mountain biking but only 3 of those have not been 26" wheeled.  And so this year I thought I would dabble in something different

The Scott is a speed weapon for unashamed xc or marathon riders looking for a bike to dispense with vast distances in the most efficient way possible.  I rode it around the trails at Brechfa mostly including the 2012 Brechfa Enduro route and it beat me.  Lock the front and rear and it turns into a flat barred cross bike speeding along fireroads and up smooth climbs with ease, get into the rough and the big wheels roll so fast - you just need to hang on.

I was embarrassingly surprised at how easy the big wheels rolled over the rock water bars across the trail - giving no halting feedback through the bike unlike a 26er.  Tight and technical roots and twistys are the achilles heel of this spark spitting me off on one of my favourite muddy/rooty chutes.

Big mileage over big terrain this bike is awesome, just delivering you at the end in a mess as you feel you should be pushing your speed barrier the whole ride.  Fast flowing singletrack is taken at speeds higher than should be capable of.  This is a marathon racers dream - not for twisty technical riding this bike is definitely for those of the racing persuasion over long miles.  Having completed in many long distance events I think this bike could have upped my results in all the races I have ever completed.

Personally I feel I need more time on different 29ers to really see if they are the future or if they are just another bike that is suitable for certain types of terrain/rides - a Cotic Solaris is on order for our hire fleet so maybe in a few months we'll see....  As for the Scott, well if I ever decide to take marathon racing seriously in the future this would be the bike I would want to do it on.  If you would like to see a short video on the Scott - see our YouTube Channel.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Two Tails

Two Cotic Souls being ridden with two of our tailed friends - 

YouTube Channel.

Hope you like the video - just out enjoying the low February evening sun on a couple of souls with a couple of canine friends!