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.
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 ;-)
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?
Bikebrechfa: Arse!CyCotic: Erm, actually I do ...
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.