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!

Monday, 6 February 2012

Video of first ride of Bfe (med) hire bike.

Cotic Bfe ride down Cwm Rhaeadr -

Snow Ride Jan 2012

Dyfi Winter Warm Up and Bfe Test

The rest of the village still seemed asleep as I walked the dog yesterday morning, then a couple of guys were packing kit into cars with bikes on outside the B&B, ready to hit the Brechfa trails. We were getting ready to drive an hour and a half North West to ride the Dyfi Winter Warm up. We've ridden the Dyfi enduro a few times, on bikes ranging from fully rigid singlespeeds, to six and half inches of full travel and love the event - so it was good to come back up to the forest at a different time of year for the Winter Warm Up
Starting on the edge of Corris, it differs from the Spring Dyfi enduro in a few ways. The entry into the forest by road was much shorter, there were three distances to choose from; 12, 20 and 28 miles and these were in the format of three laps.  Due to the weather conditions, the route kept away from the highest hills but there was still going to be loads of climbing, always a good thing as it also means there will be loads of descents, and in the Dyfi forest that means a lot of fun. 

We arrived in plenty of time, and immediately saw people we knew as we made our way to sign on, got chatting, started making our way to sign on and bumped into more familiar faces.  It was really good to catch up with folks we hadn't seen for a while. Suddenly people were gathering to start and I was still tying the number board on my bike. 
I took my place at the back of the pack on our xs Cotic Bfe Hire bike (its first outing and test)  and continued chatting, great to catch up with guys from the Forestry Commission taking part, and to chat whilst riding out with my publisher, Peter Wood riding out with him up the same long first climb, only this time there was no band thumping out tunes from the top to welcome us. A thick mist hung in the Corris valley, the hills rising proudly above, but despite the ice on the ground, people were soon stopping to remove layers and I felt desperately over dressed as the sun came out in full force.  It was a stunning day in the forest. 

At the top of the climb we hit the first section of singletrack, part of the Climax trail, Pete disappeared ahead and was gone, as I got used to a new bike, and being back on a bike(!) as I realised my lack of preparation (a 9 month old little boy does effect your training time) ... but not for long... Suddenly I was right back there, geling with the bike and carving the swoopy trail as if I had never been away.  What a superb little bike it is, and the kit we are running on it just seemed perfect, super plush 44 bombers, Hope wheelset, SLX drivetrain and brakes, and Shimano pro finishing kit.  The slightly wider bars we are using on the BFe's really came into their own on the descents, that I'd last ridden on six and a half inches of travel, yet they were just as much fun, if not more so, on this great little hard tail. A couple of sections of singletrack later and I was buzzing, the conditions were great.  

The ground was hard underneath from the frost, there was the odd bit of ice to avoid but it added interest to the trail.  I sailed by the water station and onto my second lap, the trails were getting churned up and I was soon plastered with mud, and soon ran out of water.  But continued on to slip and slide through the course and see the conditions changing from the first time around. Two laps was enough for me - it was a great course, but I wasn't going that fast and should have stopped to refuel at the end of the first lap.  By the time I was riding back on the road I was starting to suffer a bit!  

A great afternoons riding in a relaxed atmosphere using some of the best trails the Dyfi has to offer - a highly recommended event...  Editors Note - Next time I will put in the training and enjoy the climbs as well as the descents though!  

Friday, 20 January 2012

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Brechfa Enduro Route

Nice ride around the Brechfa Enduro route today with Matt Page from Wiggle and Steve Jones from Dirt Mag.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Cotic Bike Parts...

Last parts arrived today - need to fit the brake adapters and then test riding begins woo hoo...Cotic Bike Hire
Bikebrechfa are getting ready for the 2012 Brechfa Enduro.