First Look: Cotic RocketMAX Gen4 - Made in the UK

May 19, 2022
by Matt Beer  

At first glance, the fourth-generation Cotic RocketMAX may not look entirely new, but there are subtle tweaks that warrant releasing an update and make it stand out from the barrage of other UK brands making steel bikes.

The 160mm-travel, 29er enduro bike is built around aggressive geometry, like a 63.5-degree head tube angle, and has been modified to now put a fifth frame size on the table with less of a gap between reach measurements. Continuing to fabricate the front triangles in the UK, Cotic employs the use of Reynolds 853 steel tubing and pairs this with aluminum chainstays.

Cotic RocketMAX Gen4 Details

• Wheel size: 29" or Mixed
• Travel: 150-160mm rear / 160-170 front
• Reynold 853 Steel tubing, alloy chainstay
• 63.5° head angle (170 29er)
• Chainstay length: 448mm
• Reach: 444, 462, 482, 501, 520
• Builds from £3999 / $4220 USD / €3870
• Frames from £2099 / $2270 USD / €2070

Although there are set build kits that start at $4,220 USD, Cotic states that you can request any specific part you'd like, which includes various travel configurations and the option to run a 27.5" rear wheel. Two fitting colors, "Stealth Gritstone" matte or "Light Metal" gloss, reflect the simplicity of the single pivot, small diameter steel tubing that is known for delivering a damped ride.



Frame Details

The RocketMAX frame offers numerous setups in a utilitarian manner. Despite the rear wheel moving in a continuous arc via the single-pivot near the bottom bracket, the "Drop Link" provides some progression to the kinematics and has also undergone changes in the way of a keyed axle to reduce flex in the system. Cotic lowered the leverage ratio to accommodate coil shocks, but an air spring will still work well. Depending on the stroke length of the 230mm shock, rear-wheel travel can range from 150, 155, or 160mm and the frame is equally adaptable at the front end with options for a 160 or 170mm fork.

The variability in setup doesn't end there; riders who are looking for more clearance out back or a snappier ride can opt for a 27.5" wheel and retain a similar geometry by installing an angle set to steepen the head angle by a degree. It's important to note that even though the head angle stays the same, the reach is scraped away by a few millimeters, as Cotic explains in their mullet setup.

All of the cable routing is external, with the exception of the dropper post cable that enters the seat tube above the BB junction. Included with the build kit is a simplistic chain device to keep things on track and ISCG tabs can be found on the BB shell to bolt on a skid plate. Under the top tube is a mount for tools and the like, while the water bottle bosses are found on the bottom side of the down tube due to the constraints of the shock orientation, not inside the front triangle.



One of the most notable changes with the Gen4 frame is the frame sizing - the other angles haven't shied away from their "Longshot" geometry that relies on slack head angles and reaches to go with short stems and fork offsets. Now there are five, instead of four, sizes available in the RocketMAX model. This means that the jumps between each size are minimized to less than 21mm increments and shouldn't leave many riders stuck trying to decide on what fits them best. Those five sizes start at 444mm of reach and span all the way up to a monstrous 520mm for the XXL, or C5 as Cotic likes to label it.

If you take a glimpse at the geometry chart, you'll quickly realize that the RocketMAX is right on trend for measurements with the latest fancy carbon enduro bikes. Popping off the page is the 448mm chainstays that are used across all frame sizes. I wouldn't call that limousine-length, but it's not exactly short for the size small frame, considering the rear center is longer than the front.

The head angle sits at 63.5º for the 29er, 170mm fork option and the seat tube averages around an acceptable 76º. On the two smaller frames, the seat tube angle tips to 75.8º and bumps up to 76.2º on the three longer sizes. Cotic has even taken the time to build out geometry tables for all four fork and wheel combinations; 170 Mullet, 160 29er, 160 Mullet.


Specs and Pricing

Although there are three set builds kits that start at $4220 USD, Cotic states that you can request any specific part you'd like - just click the Built For You option, whether that's a full bike with modified travel, odd size wheels, a frame only, or a rolling chassis.

The RocketMAX Silver base model begins with a twelve-speed Shimano SLX drivetrain, Deore brakes, and a Lyrik Ultimate for and Deluxe Select Plus shock from RockShox. Jumping up to $5250 will give you an XT drivetrain, a ZEB Ultimate and Cane Creek Kitsuma Air shock, and HUNT Trail Wide V2 wheels with WTB tires. The full-meal deal or Platinum build specifies SRAM's GX AXS shifting and GUIDE RSC brakes, Factory suspension from Fox in the way of a 38 fork and Float X2 shock, HUNT wheels, and a Hope stem and carbon bar for $6790.

Cotic RocketMAX Gen4 Platinum Build Kit - £6499 / $6790 USD / €6290

Depending on exchange rates, prices are approximate and may vary slightly at the time of purchase. Cotic will ship anywhere in the world and also offers a 30-day refund on bikes if you aren't completely satisfied with your purchase.

Look for a review on the RocketMax Gen4 in the near future as we get some time on the steel enduro bike from Cotic on some of the trails in and around Squamish.


Author Info:
mattbeer avatar

Member since Mar 16, 2001
296 articles

  • 15 0
 I'll add that ordering from a small but established brand like Cotic is wonderful because you can interact with an actual, knowledgeable human. Still loving my SodaMAX!
  • 5 0
 Human beings are over rated IMO... Smile
  • 4 0
 Same goes for Pipedream, another good small British steel brand. Bought their bike during the pandemic. Honestly Im convinced that steel is the way to go if you want a bike that lasts for a long time.
  • 1 0
 @TwoHumanPower: which model did you get? And what colour?
  • 1 0
 @MuddyFoxCourierComp: TFM, Orange. I went with Pipedream over Cotic because I like having the chainstay/seatstay be one piece, both for rear rigidity and easy maintainability (4 total bearings to swap)
  • 7 0
 Looks very nice!

A couple of questions though:
1. Is that cable routing for the rear derailleur representing the production version? To me it seems like the shifting cable will have to move about quite vividly when the rear suspension cycles through its travel. Why isn't this routed along the chainstay?
2. What sort of kinematic properties does the frame have?
  • 17 2
 1) Yes it's production. We have been using this routing for 7 years with no bother.

2) Kinematic is 30% progressive. Anti squat is just under 100% in first gear for traction and reduced pedal kickback.
  • 3 0
 Are you seeing the brake hose going into the derailleur cable?? The routing works fine on my pals bike anyway.
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: Does that mean the bike will be less progressive when using a 50mm or 52,5 mm shock?
  • 1 1
 @dennis72: By a small amount, yes.
  • 7 0
 I really liked the over-exposed and shallow field of view photography. It reminds me of old 2000's era kona ads. The bike as well harkens back to an older era of tubular downhill bikes. It's nice to see a new modern bike, that embraces its vintage vibe. I'm not sire if it was intentional or not, but the Media release is on point.
  • 4 1
 Thanks. Glad you liked it
  • 7 1
 That video is straight out of a 90s corporate catalogue I'm not sure if it was a piss take or not?
  • 1 0
 best decade for bike catalogues
  • 3 0
 mint bikes....have that very personal touch to them. Once you throw your leg over one it just feels right. The Gen 2 was too slack and long. They seem to have tweaked it to make it more progressive. Cotic is a brand worth checking out for their passion and quality bikes.
  • 3 1
 "but it's not exactly short for the size small frame, considering the rear center is longer than the front."

RC > FC is a pretty wild build!

Rear center longer than the reach, perhaps. And that's ridiculous, it's like not even the same bike, going to turn so differently.
  • 3 1
 Reynold's 853 tubing steel tubes are easy to fix. Simple single pivot Exterior cable routing If I wanted a bike to last me more than 5 years this would be a sound investment.
  • 1 0
  • 2 1
 "..."Stealth Gritstone" matte or "Light Metal" gloss, reflect the simplicity..."

WTF is "Stealth Gritstone"? How is that simple?

"Light Metal"? So it's colored like titanium? Aluminum? Some other lightweight (less dense) metal? It is the color of tungsten, a metal used in lights?
  • 2 0
 You can find the answers to this mystery by just looking at the pictures. It's not that complicated
  • 2 0
 Come on guys! I thought the British loved to jibb about on some 650b wheels. I'm sad you don't offer them anymore. Nice looking rig as always though!
  • 2 0
 We loved the 650b wheels too! Two of our staff still ride Flares. Problem was nobody bought them. If less than 50 people per year buy model we can't keep them in production.
  • 5 1
  • 12 0
 Like a toiger
  • 6 4
 Beautiful frames. If it wasn‘t for the giant chainstays I‘d really be interested in getting one of those.
  • 6 1
 448 is giant to you? You seriously should try them, I run 460mm with 470 reach and it feels great. No need to put excessive weight on the bars for front wheel grip like you need to when running large reach numbers with short chainstays.
  • 5 1
 @Muckal: I’ve tried some with 445mm in combination with a reach of 500mm, didn’t feel good to me.

Something in the range of 425 to 435 mm feels way better to me in combination with the same reach.

But that’s a personal preference of course, and frame builders follow different philosophies, so everyone can find what they like, Cotic is just not for me.
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: which brands make what you like?
  • 3 1
 Enduro bikes, especially 29ers, need to have long chainstays. The whole idea is that the bike should remain stable and planted at speed, with you having to move your weight around less. Enduro is about endurance over multiple stages, and as you get tired, you start to get lazy,

The 27.5 wheel enduros/sub enduros are what you want if you wanna do things like jump and get on the back wheel, and Cotic has the BFe for exacly that.
  • 3 0
 @MuddyFoxCourierComp: For example Canfield.
  • 1 0
 @TwoHumanPower: Of course, if we’re talking racing enduro, bikes have to be stable, and many riders will prefer a bike that works better when they are tiring and not able to ride actively anymore. Also on the other end of the spectrum beginners should opt for a bike that gives them stability and puts weight on the front end, so they don’t have to.

But I’m riding for fun, an therefore prefer a more playful bike, that I have to ride more actively. As I said, the Cotic obviously isn’t the bike for me. But I also don’t think they are aiming mainly at racers, the target group among those fighting for tenths of a second that opt for steel as a frame material is probably quite small…
  • 2 0
 @Muckal: my theory, long chainstays are a problem for people with short legs. Source- 6 feet tall, legs of a 5'6" person, torso of a 6'5" person.
  • 2 0
 @TheRamma: That is something I never thought about, but you might actually have a point - at least your description fits me pretty well.
  • 3 0
 @FuzzyL: yeah, I'm very much against this new PB dogma of balanced chainstays. It sounds nice on paper, but it feels like garbage to me on the trail, riding a size L usually. Hard to lift the front by moving back, and the rear wheel ends up feeling heavy too.

Recently slammed the adjustable chainstays on my L Honzo ESD (think that puts it at 417mm), and I love it! Nothing wrong with Cotic for making a 435 chainstay, or Pole for that matter, but it's not "better."

For the people claiming enduro bikes need to be long, the EWS rankings beg to differ. Most top riders are sizing down, and the ultra long bikes have yet to be dominant. I think they need to be long if you want to rely on the stability to carry you through the tough stuff, which is fine, but you're losing time in the turns due to the crazy long wheelbase. Just my 2 cents, maybe this will be the year that Pole finally dominates EWS...
  • 3 0
 @TheRamma: If you get on with short chainstays as a preference then that's great, but I think using EWS spec bikes as a pointer is a little disingenuous for regular riders. When we ran a team the guys would usually size down for agility and ability to react to features on semi blind racing. That's great for them as amazing riders. For me as a muggle, I'll take stability and the bike looking after me if something jumps out at me on the trail, and combine with a comfier climbing position because I don't have a core of steel.
  • 2 0
 @cotic-bikes: I was responding to another poster here (@FuzzyL), who had specifically brought up more stable bikes being needed for enduro racers.

I want companies making bikes with all sorts of different geos and suspension designs. I dislike the dogma that there is any one best bike geo. Our bodies, our skillsets, and our ideas of fun are all too different.
  • 3 0
 @TheRamma: Totally agree!
  • 4 1
 Always thought these bikes looked striking
  • 2 2
 "a keyed axle to reduce flex in the system"

They used to say the flex of the steel was a good thing, and was supposed to help keep from beating up on shocks...
  • 2 0
 Big up Matt Stitt!
  • 3 1
 i just like it
  • 2 1
 Why would I want a steel bike. Durability?
  • 3 0
 Or just the sheer beauty of it - I mean look at that thing!
  • 1 0
 @FuzzyL: Also this!
  • 1 2
 Looks like Zaskia Cotic.
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