First Look: Cotic's 2020 FlareMAX 29er Trail Bike

Dec 3, 2019
by Mike Levy  
Cotic

For whatever reason, steel-framed bikes with fun as the intended riding style seem to be as British as Yorkshire Pudding and Coronation Street. And with 125mm of travel, big wheels, and some smart geometry, that'd also be an apt way to describe Cotic's revised FlareMAX 29er trail bike.


Cotic
Cotic


The FlareMAX name isn't new, but Cotic has made some big changes for the 2020 model, including upping the rear-wheel travel to 125mm. They've tinkered with the progression as well, with the bike now having ''a wider tuning window for riders to get their perfect ride regardless of their weight and riding style." You can pair that with either a 130mm or 140mm-travel fork, depending on what sort of bike you're looking for; the former will offer a bit quicker handling, while the later will better suit higher speeds.

If you're not a big wheel kinda rider, they also have the 27.5'' wheeled Flare non-MAX (they just call it the Flare) that are also built using Reynolds 853 steel for the front triangle. That's how you know its real, man.


Cotic

Cotic has long been using some pretty forward-thinking geometry compared to more commonly seen brands, and that continues with the new FlareMAX. A large-sized frame gets a 490mm reach and a 75.3-degree seat angle, while all sizes use a 65.6-degree head angle (w/ a 130mm fork), 32mm of drop, and a 447.5mm rear-center. They've called it 'Longshot' geometry for years now, and it's intended to work well with a 35mm stem.

Want to know more? Check out www.cotic.co.uk for the details.
Cotic



103 Comments

  • 77 15
 I am prepared to suck up to Cotic every single time. Always simple, understated but so much quality and surely a great ride. I hate the term "less is more" since in most cases it is overused without understanding where it comes from and don't appreciate how hard it is to achieve it, but it's hard to come closer to that than with Cotic. There are a few great British brands, but BTR and Cotic always stand out for me personally. Jay Leno should have an orange Cotic in his garage. It's as classic as red Intense.
  • 8 0
 The classics never go out of style.
  • 5 0
 The bike looks pretty sweet and a contender. In the remix words of Paul Revere "THE BRITISH ARE COMING... in hot with this one.
  • 4 1
 PIPEDREAM
  • 8 4
 I love how people down vote you even when you say something nice and sensible. Me being one of those.
  • 7 0
 Could I add Swarf, Starling and Curtis to that list?
  • 4 2
 @WAKIdesigns when did a 4 bar suspension frame became "less" ? Less is more could be used for a Orange with good ol' single pivot action, 1 material, 2 bearings and that's it but here I don't get it. 4 bar suspension, Alloy/Steel frame which isn't less complicated than an Alloy frame for exemple. If anything having 2 materials is more than a simple alloy frame. Please enlighten me !
  • 4 2
 @fartymarty: yes you can, but you forgot Stanton and their full suspension Switch and Switch9er which are as sexy as an unshaven pussy ;-)
  • 5 0
 @Balgaroth: Someone correct me if I am wrong but I'm pretty sure that the rear most pivot (bushing in this case) is on the seatstays not the chainstay. This makes the bike a linkage driven single pivot not a true 4 bar design. Having said that you're not wrong in saying that an orange is a simpler design.
  • 2 1
 @coticrocketrider: You are getting mixed up. 4 bar is a linkage driven single pivot but upsized that it looks line a rear triangle or a FSR with back pivot on the seatstays. Then when the pivot is on the chainstays it becomes a Horst-link, aka FSR, aka LTS and endless versions and acronyms.
  • 4 0
 @Balgaroth: not what these guys seem to think www.bikeradar.com/features/the-ultimate-guide-to-mountain-bike-rear-suspension-systems. They are calling what you a descirbing a 'faux-bar' linkage. Then the horst-link a four bar linkage. Which is what I've always called it but happy to be corrected if the lingo has changed Smile

Though as I said you first comment that it is not as simple as an orange is very true.

I would definitely recommend a cotic though. I've got a 2018 Rocket longshot geo and its rad!
  • 1 0
 @softsteel: Yes, sorry I forgot Stanton.
  • 3 0
 @coticrocketrider: It seems like I stand corrected so fair enough.

I only ever heard good things about Cotic bikes so I won't argue with the fact that they might be good bikes. I just fail to see how they would be more "less is better" than anything else on the market, minus single pivots and hardtails.
  • 4 0
 @Balgaroth: yes that is what I said about lack of understanding of less is more philosophy in design. It comes from Mies Van Der Rohe, at least he propagated it. It is about simplicity of form and detail, not making something stupid simple. It is actually harder to come to a clean form than a complex one because the simplier the form is, the more attention need to be added to detail, execution and most importantly proportions. Also, the materials need to be used to their max potential. For instance Spesh aenduro or Mondraker summum are examples of complex forms, plenty of bridges, shapes in a material that has limitless potential to shape.

Steel is not like that. With all due respect to Murmur for the thought behind choice of tubing and geometry, it looks banal and those bent stays are like “the hell?”

You are also missing the complexity of somgle pivots like Orange because you focus on suspension system and miss how much harder it is to draw tubing from the shock to pivot and the rear wheel so that it doesn’t like like 2005 Bullit. And Orange and their tubing made of folded sheets being “less” come on...
  • 6 0
 @coticrocketrider: orange is not simple. If you were to build your own frame in a garage it would be easier to build this cotic than Orange. You could make a case with Murmur being less is more, not sure though if it elegant. Each to their own. It’s in the eye of beholder to a great degree. It is very hard to build something from straight steel tubing that does not look like a mastodon or steam punk. One appreciates that once they try to design a full suspension frame. Swarf and BTR are up there.
  • 4 0
 @WAKIdesigns:You're right, its red and yellow and that's two colours, so is more complex as colours go Wink

I've owned a few orange bikes, loved them, great bikes. I agree the tube forming and design work that goes into the bike is definitely not simple, getting them to look nice is not easy. The guys in Halifax are artists when it comes to bending tubes. Building one in your garage would be very difficult indeed. The vid Guy Martin did, certainly highlighted how much work goes into making them.

However, I would argue that the premise of single pivot suspension design would be thought rightly or wrongly by many people to be a simpler design. Certainly simple to maintain at the very least and often simple to predict how they will ride on the trail. That is what I meant by simple, not that the process of making/designing/testing them is simple.

I do agree with the less is more comment re:cotic bikes. They manage to avoid the steam punk look as you say. Really pleased with how mine looks and rides. Also Cotic are super friendly whenver you ask them for advice.

In essence, I agree with you
  • 2 1
 @coticrocketrider: yes but you cannot take that out of equation because frame is not just pivots. In the end it is all about the final compromise. Faux bar or FSR are not that complicated, it is the way the link compresses the shock through the stroke that makes the biggest difference. The real potential shennenigans with kinematics start with VPP systems which are structurally most sound system since swingarm becomes a seperate cage handling it’s stiffness on its own. Something single pivots struggle at.
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: f*ck off...talking about the great Mies! Go and wash your mouth!
  • 3 0
 @gbcarmona: you are kidding me? Half of internet washes their mouth with “less is more” when they cannot cope with their low income or grasping complexity or justify their pointless attempts at asceticism or all at once. “I ride rigid Single Speed - less is more”, “I live in a container with pretentious windows - less is more”, “I traveled the world, having all my belongings fit in a 50L backpack - less is more” etc etc.
  • 2 0
 Even though I ride it much, much less than my hardtail, I actually do own a 2007 Cannondale Prophet single pivot bike. The reason I went for single pivot back then was twofold.

1. The prospect of possibly having to replace a lot of bearings at once put me off. Of oourse I do realize that nowadays you can find good multi-pivot bikes with very durable bearings but back then I just wasn't sure which brand to trust. Two big bearings were just two strong bearings in my mind.

2. Being new to full suspension bikes I just wasn't sure what I wanted out of my suspension. Descriptions of progressive-degressive-progressive sound all nice and sensible, but what if these transitions and rates just happen to be in the wrong spot? You can't just tweak a linkage to your liking unless you had a Nicolai with a million shock mount options. If the suspension design is simple, it is much easier to tweak the suspension by having the shock tuned or replaced. Not that I ever resorted to that option (other than dumping loads of grease in the air can for more progression), but it just gave some peace of mind knowing that the option is there without ditching the frame altogether.

I am aware of these "less is more" or "a design is perfect when there is nothing else you can remove from it" trains of thought and maybe it is thing for some out there. But for me it were just the two reasons above.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: changing bearings, huh, man that depends solely on the make of the bike and how it was maintained. Certain companies have shitty tolerances and if you have a single pivot of such kind, you will fight with these 2 bearings more than I fight with 8 bearings on my Antidote. Frame made with right tolerances and bearings often maintained and installed on an ok grease with right tool will go out and in like a butter.
  • 2 1
 @WAKIdesigns: Ah ta gueule!!!!

Friendly yours Smile
  • 2 0
 @gbcarmona: I came up with waht's wrong with the public perception of "less is more": they don't understand that minimalism in form and construction does not necessarily mean less design time. Sorry, less engineering time! Design is so pasé
  • 1 0
 @WAKIdesigns: The bike is a Cannondale Prophet. We've seen loads of paint issues with Cannondale bikes at the time but bearings were usually fine. One colleague rode a Cannondale Gemini, I knew someone who rode a Rush, all worked nicely. I've seen more people struggle with multi-pivot bikes than these single pivots. Sure it may be different now but this was 2007. CNC technology and accuracy probably has improved since then. But I think back then not everything was necessarily aligned properly on those four bar bikes which could cause bearings to wear each other out. I just had more faith in something with fewer bearings. And either way should I ever need to replace them then this still implies fewer specific tools.

Again, that was my thinking back in 2007. I may have been right or wrong but it just happened to be my reason to go with a single pivot design.
  • 30 1
 Aaaaahhhh thank you!!! That`s a bike that gives a bubble of oxygen beside all these carbon-downcountry-whatever debates.
God Save British Steels Bikes! :-)
  • 32 3
 A medium with a 467mm reach and 1228mm wheelbase? When did I become a hobbit?
  • 42 1
 You have always been one.
  • 2 2
 How tall are you then? According to their recommendations (in the same table) small is suitable for riders up to 172cm but you can play with it depending on your riding style. They sure have a size that suits you, don't they?
  • 3 1
 I am 1.75m and have just built myself a frame with a 470mm reach and 76 degree seatangle. And it fits very nicely, but I keep thinking a bit longer might not even be that bad... Which also amazes me, since 2 years ago I thought 430mm was already pushing it.
  • 1 0
 I rode a medium mondraker foxy for a while with a 480 reach. I’m was an awesome ride. The chainstay was much shorter than this and the wheelbase was 1200. I’m guessing this Cotic is insanely stable at high speeds.
  • 2 0
 @panaphonic: HAHAHA REKT EM
  • 1 1
 @suravida: I’m 184 cm and switched from a large Reign with 473 reach to an XL Strive with a smidge less than 500 reach. Amazing even on the tighter steeper trails.
  • 11 0
 Thing to remember when looking at these numbers is that we recommend 35mm stems across the board on Cotic Longshot geometry bikes. Stems are for handling on a mountain bike, not for rider fit. And the steeper seat angles also shorten the position from the other end. If you're riding a 430mm reach frame with a 60mm stem and 73.5 degree seat angle, the medium Cotic will have only a slightly longer BB - Bar distance, but you'll be in a much better position centred on the bike, and 35mm stems are just so rad for the handling. It's like you're pushing your hands directly through the contact patch. We have a real range of heights at Cotic, from Hannah our dispatch queen (5ft 4in, rides size small 444mm reach) through to me (Cy) at 6ft 3in on a 515mm reach XL, and most things in between. It has to work for everyone, and Longshot geometry really does.
  • 1 2
 Will it fit?--longshot. I'm six foot & would go for a Small, which is comparable to a Medium 2020 Optic or Banshee Phantom.3. Use slammed 50mm stem to maximize reach and a 50mm riser. Why do I need more than 1200mm of wheelbase on a 125mm bike? STA can't be more than 70d, so add an inch to those effective top tube lengths for max saddle heights above 710mm.
  • 2 0
 @ceecee: I'm about 6ft tall too. I don't ride a Cotic Flare (yet) but I do ride a BTR Ranger, size large for 26" wheels. (Sagged) geometry is comparable with 460mm reach, 35mm stem and 1213mm wheelbase. I feel geometry is spot on. It is nicely balanced and stable, but I can still put enough weight over the front wheel to make the rear wheel lose traction for extra corner fun. So yeah, I expect these Flare bikes to be spot on too.
  • 1 0
 @vinay: It's a hardtail with 30mm shorter stays. Its seat tube angle is its seat tube angle. It's not ridden at full saddle extension. Its saddle is slammed forward on a setback post. Its wheelbase falls between a Small and Medium Flare 29. Only friends are allowed to comment upon it. Get a dropper and a 10mm longer stem and quit your misleading extrapolations.
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Seat tube angle only matters for seated riding. I don't quite do that so I'll leave that out of the equation. Agreed the saddle height in these pictures is higher than I usually have it. It was only that high to be able to clamp the seatpost in the workstand but I leave it a good bit lower for riding. Should I ever feel a need to ride with a higher saddle, I'll consider a dropper seatpost. Thank you very much for the clever thinking. My saddle is slammed rearwards on a setback post, not forward. I do agree my chainstays are shorter but then again rear center on full suspension bikes varies through the travel and as geometries are typically given for the unsprung bike (where chainstay length is pretty irrelevant if you don't have any weight on the rear wheel) we can only guess what it would be like when sagged in the travel. So I just didn't compare those though admitted it is definitely longer than what I have and the medium Cotic has a longer rear center and a shorter front center. Which actually implies that with the same body position, on this Cotic you have more weight over the front than I have. I have no difficulties loading the front so I expect that on the Cotic it is even easier. For me the balance between front and rear center seems more relevant than the absolute wheelbase you're looking at. But then again, look at it whichever way you please. Your previous comment appeared like you considered the medium sized frame unfit for a 6ft tall rider so I merely expressed my view. If you consider that misleading then you're making yourself much too dependent considering me your leader. I'm not going to take that responsibility, don't even care enough to do so.
  • 28 0
 Posting maximum seatpost insertion for each size??

Dear brands, MAKE THIS A THING


-Sincerely, bike shops
  • 10 1
 IMO...Some things just stay forever cool like a P51 Mustang or Triumph Cafe Racer. Same goes for Cotic, Banshee, and Orange bikes. There is just something about quality welded metal frames and the way they ride.
  • 1 0
 And my Canfield balance.. Live on!
  • 3 1
 Quality and Orange in the same sentence... Never saw that comin’
  • 1 1
 Errrmm. Obvs not aware of the Orange weld quality debacle.
  • 1 0
 @mate1998: yeah I am not aware of that. I was under the impression that Orange frames were stout. Never seen one in the wild.
  • 11 0
 a NC fork on a UK bike...and all is right with the world.
  • 6 3
 and californian tyres...as long as Brits and Americans stick together all will be right with the world...
  • 6 0
 Yeah buddy! Love the Cane Creek suspension, and the NC guys and gals that make it.
  • 1 3
 Considering that recall plagued Inline is in the back, the helm is at the end of the list of potential spec problems there, not to mention plebeian crankset and cassette coming in a ps a price to pay for choosing wide range shifting. Finally Shimano arrived with wide range so that we can expect companies dropping this Californian pish.
  • 7 0
 @WAKIdesigns: The Inline thing was YEARS ago. The DB Air IL is a totally different shock inside, and we have had really good experience with them. We have sold 100s of them, I run one on my own bike with some HELM forks. We wouldn't put them on the bikes if we didn't believe in them. We have Shimano options as well as SRAM for people to make a choice based on preference. I haven't spent much time on Shimano 12spd, but personally I prefer my SRAM Eagle to the Shimano 11spd option. Shimano 12spd is definitely a step in the right direction, and the high mileage guys here have been running it for a few months to make sure we're happy with it too. It's all pretty good kit these days, it's mainly what you prefer that informs a decision. Luckily we can offer lots of choice.
  • 4 0
 @cotic-bikes: agreed!
@WAKIdesigns the Inline was a turd but the new Air IL is a totally different shock internally. It does look the same as the Inline but is probably the best "inline-style" shock I've used to date. Beats the pants off anything from SRAM, including their reservoir shocks, and the CS platform is the BEST climbing platform on Earth. Fox, DVO, etc cannot compete with that. its amazing.

Those NC boys know how to build suspension...
  • 3 0
 Geometry doesnt seem TOO far off from the 2020 SC tallboy. The cotic has longer chainstays and slightly less BB drop, but other than that it doesnt seem all that much different. That steel though...
  • 2 1
 weight might be quite different.
  • 1 0
 @djm35: yeah Like 400g I bet.
Cotic stated 3.3kg for the XL which isnt heavy at all.
  • 5 0
 less than 77 degree STA. oh no, the freak out is about to begin for already outdated geo.
  • 1 0
 Long stays though, so front rear balance might be compromised with a fashionable sa.
  • 6 0
 Thanks UK
  • 5 0
 Heavy metal will never die.
  • 3 0
 Hot! Their BFe hardtail and Rocket Max 150mm travel bike look amazing too.
  • 3 0
 Please re think the rear derailleur cable routing!
  • 3 0
 Want. Available in the US or to be shipped to the US?
  • 2 0
 We ship direct to the USA from our base in the UK. Frames or bikes. If you want to check out pricing, head over to our configurator, and scroll down to the address section, choose USA for your country, then go back up and spec out your frame or bike. With your country selected, the price will automatically update and include whatever shipping might be due. We only deal in Pounds Sterling, but the current exchange is around 1.3 so that will give you an idea. You'll usually be charged 3.9% import duty upon receipt, and sometimes sales tax depending on laws in your state.

www.cotic.co.uk/order/framebuilder/flareMAX
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: awesome, thank you!
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes Do you have a Yorkshire Pudding recipe that is as fun as your bikes? All the ones I've tried are average at best and I want to try something new for xmas Thanks
  • 1 0
 Put sausages in them and serve with mash and onion gravy. Plus hotter oil.
  • 2 0
 Sorry dude! My Yorkshire puds are average at best because i have a dairy allergy, so i can't uae milk. Hope you find a good recipe,
  • 3 0
 Santa please
  • 5 0
 No it's a Cotic
  • 2 0
 someone please tidy the cables up front!
  • 2 0
 Looks great. Anyone know the frame weight of an XL?
  • 3 0
 Frame weight is 3.3kg with shock.
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: thanks! Seems decent ????
  • 1 0
 @Paco77: I think so!
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: sorry - those question marks were supposed to be a thumbs-up emoji! Lol
  • 2 0
 The more I look into the whole weight thing the better this seems...
Just discovered that a SC Hightower C (carbon) is not much lighter at 3.1kg, and the aluminium version of the same frame weighs a horrific 4.4kg!!?
You should make more of this I think - I’m sure a lot of people are just going to assume these steel bikes are heavier than they are and look elsewhere.
  • 3 0
 @Paco77: Wow, i didn't know those exact numbers, but it doesn't surprise me. We try to make more of it as weight is always mentioned because its steel, yet i know many aluminium frames are heavier but it never gets mentioned because its aluminium. And even leaving that aside, i use steel for performance, so its worth any weight it may or may not be carrying. Steel is tough and durable, and the way the stiffness works along the length of the bike lets it breathe with the trail, and gives a really warm, traction rich feel. It doesn't chatter over roots and cambers, it grips and goes because it has that all important "give" when the bumps are coming out of plane from the suspension. Look at the history of racing motorcycles and how they found lateral stiffness made thr bikes worse and you will know what i mean. Like i say, it's not about being different for differents sake, i use it because it's better than other materials.
  • 2 1
 Currently riding a full carbon bike but there's something I really dig about carbon steel frames like this rig. Looks great.
  • 2 0
 Navigating their website will make you flare.
  • 2 0
 beautiful rig, where to test one?
  • 1 0
 In the UK they bring them to you!
  • 1 0
 As mentioned, we have a demo tour in the UK, but as it seems you're not in the UK from your flag, we offer 30 day love-it-or-return-it policy on overseas sales.
  • 4 0
 @cotic-bikes: Maybe he just, "identifies" as a Canadian but is actually in the UK. You shouldn't judge people based on their chosen pinkbike flag. I actually identify as an accordian, but since there no flag for musical instruments I use the canadian flag since it ends in the same letters.
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: I'd love to demo one before I buy it, I just don't know my sizes. You should do a NA tour!
  • 3 0
 Nice photos.
  • 1 0
 Cotic, Nicolai & Unno in that order. Steel, Aluminum & Carbon. Oh and Moots, can’t forget Ti.
  • 1 0
 where are all the water bottle comments?
  • 3 0
 There are bottle cage lugs on the underside of the top tube
  • 1 0
 Very mint sauce, that font
  • 1 0
 "Less is more" comments are followed by walls of text.
  • 2 2
 444mm reach on a small - they taking the piss?
  • 6 0
 Have a look at my comment above about the geometry. You have to remember this is all part of a system and we put very short stems on these bikes. We have a staff member at 5ft 4in perfectly comfortable on the small 444mm reach bike, and another at 5ft 7in who actually prefers the medium. You're in Scotland, we often demo up there. We have just been to Tweed Valley so we won't be back for another couple of months, but seriously, come and have a go. It's completely free, no obligation, and if you don't like it that's fine, but you'll be speaking from a position of experience. I'm pretty sure you'll like it though. Demo tour dates are here: www.cotic.co.uk/demo. Or email demo@cotic.co.uk.

Cheers,

Cy @ Cotic
  • 1 2
 its not just the reach that makes me not interested in the bike. That style of bike doesn’t suit my riding.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-scotland: Fair enough. We have a bike for most parts of the market though, apart from full on XC racing and DH. Have a look at the website and see if there's anyting you like. We have demo bikes of everything we make.
  • 1 1
 @cotic-bikes: had a bfe many moons ago.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-scotland: Cool! New one is quite a different beast. Seriously, if you can get to a demo have a go. We have BFes on the fleet. I would be interested in your feedback.
  • 2 0
 @cotic-bikes: Awesome reply is awesome (yours not mine).
  • 2 0
 @cotic-bikes: well its going to have to wait 7 months till I've finished my PGDE as I'm off the bike till then
  • 2 2
 So we are all going to dismiss these long ass chainstays?
  • 3 0
 The chainstays work as part of the system with longer geometry bikes. Uf you have a lobg front, keep the rear short puts all your weight over the back and ruins the weight balance. This gives a really centred feel, so when you corner it feels like you are on the turnibg axis of the bike, so it doesn't feel long. Short stays with this kind of bike make it feel all in front of you because the front end kinda sweeps across you when you turn in. Also, longer stays give you incredible traction on steep climbs because your weight stays inside the rear hub axis, way less likely to tip off the back. It all comes back to being centred on the bike. Even though the wheelbase looks long, it's the least remarkable thibg about the bike when you are on it. I have never considered wheelbase at any point when designing bikes. It's the least important thing by a mile. It's the result of all the other important measurements, not an end in itself in my opinion.
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