Video: Going from Tube to Trail with Cotic Bikes

Dec 19, 2019
by cotic-bikes  
Views: 7,345    Faves: 15    Comments: 0


At Cotic, the ultimate aim is to design and build our own dream bikes, so you can share in that dream as well. What you probably don't know is quite how much goes into making the dream a reality.

Just over a year ago we embarked on our latest adventure with our friends at Five Land Bikes to make the RocketMAX (and subsequently the Flare) in the UK, and ever since we started in 2003 we have used super strong Reynolds 853 steel. The whole process of building a Cotic bike is underpinned by people, passion, experience, skill and hard work and we have made a film to celebrate that.

These are just the edited highlights too. We couldn't even show all the stages in this short film. Give it a share and let your friends know how much effort the dream takes.

Even though this film is focused on our UK operation, it could just as readily have featured our friends in Taiwan who build the rear ends of these bikes and the complete frames for the rest of our products. Wherever it is in the world they are made, it's with good people doing the best they can to make your Cotic bike the best it can be. We wouldn't have it any other way.

If you want to read more about our UK made frames - the RocketMAX and the Flare - head over to www.cotic.co.uk/product

Let us know what you think in the comments. We'll be around to answer any questions.

Posted In:
Videos Cotic



54 Comments

  • 37 1
 Nice Video Cotic and Fiveland. Really enjoyed the journey! The POV camera being constant on the frame was nice. Smile
  • 4 3
 I would like to see the same video for Trek Bikes overseas.
  • 8 0
 Yes, really love what you're doing. This video is fun and informative. If shared a link to the original Cotic page with my students.

I also really love that Guy Kesteven review of the regular Flare. As I already own a good hardtail, if I'd ever get another bike that kind of bike makes most sense to me (that is, me and my riding style and trails).
  • 9 0
 Cool seeing the process it makes you appreciate the bike more. Cool company with some mint bikes. The Cotic Rocket Max is a game changer for me.
  • 5 0
 Cool, had a few Cotics and love 'em. Good blokes to deal with too.
  • 4 0
 Whoa, that was great filming.
  • 4 1
 Now I want a Cotic! To bad I'm in the process of building a Nuke Scout. N+2 maybe Smile
  • 5 0
 good job!!
  • 4 4
 The front triangle is made in the UK, while the rear triangle is still made in Taiwan:

www.mbr.co.uk/news/cotic-rocketmax-380439

"We have team up with Five Land Bikes in Scotland to make production front triangles for these bikes. They are then partnered with our proven Taiwan made rear ends, and bridging the gaps are machined parts from Superstar Components made in Lincolnshire. We are assembling the frames right here at our base in the Peak District."
  • 14 0
 Nothing wrong with Taiwan made stuff as long as it's done properly. Similarly, nothing good with western world made parts if the job is botched. I'd be more willing to put my faith in a Taiwanese welder who welds frames on a daily basis and has a huge experience rather than in somebody from Europe for instance who only welds occasionally... That said Cotic has it all dialled, they make killer bikes, and I loved the video!
  • 4 0
 Not necessarily a bad thing. Other factors more relevant than location, see ENVE.
  • 2 0
 You surely aren't trying to suggest that it is somehow inferior if made in Taiwan are you? Because you couldn't be any further from reality.
  • 7 0
 @mgolder: Totally agree. Most of our frames are made in taiwan and they are great. Was just easier to pop up to Scotland to film fabrication ????
  • 2 0
 Great to see a video that shows all (well some) of the work and skills needed that go into producing a handmade frame. Top work Cotic, I'm heading over to your website now
  • 2 0
 Man there was a flaremax on the buy/sell page for a good price. wish i scooped it up! gotta love the look of steel. Though I wonder what it weighs?
  • 3 0
 @stumphumper92 Frame weighs about the same as any other tough trail bike frame in aluminium. And the steel gives amazing ride feel.
  • 3 0
 Built up for real world riding, there isn't a lot in it. Of my riding crew, Rocket, Yeti SB150, Nomad and Transition Patrol. All with at least 1 DH tyre, some with inserts, coil shocks etc and big brakes. Weights in lbs, 34.5, 35.5, 36 and 37.5 - and the Rocket wasn't the heaviest.
  • 2 0
 @cotic-bikes: Very true. Steel is really real! Lots of energy and pop. Copy/paste. over and over.
  • 4 0
 brilliant concept - awesome bikes
  • 2 0
 Is Reynolds actually doing the forging and creating steel billet tube rounds? Or are they sourcing from a steel manufacturer? Hopefully local if so...
  • 3 0
 They buy the raw material in blank from a european supplier exclusively for them. All their drawing and butting tech is patented for them. First Reynolds tube patent was filed in 1898!
  • 4 1
 What an awesome video, top work @cotic-bikes
  • 4 0
 Nice one!
  • 2 1
 I get that you guys are proud about the bikes being made in the UK and all that but was it really necessary to single out that the mechanic at 2:07 was Polish?
  • 2 0
 Been building my FlareMAX dream build the last 2 weeks, can’t wait to finish it up and ride it now. Thanks Cotic Bikes!!
  • 1 0
 @campstreet2011 No problem. Glad you're excited!
  • 3 0
 Cool concept, it was a fun journey with a happy ending
  • 2 0
 Can you guys do this with @bansheebikes
  • 2 0
 same shot than in "War Lords" with the AK47 bullet in the beginning!
  • 3 0
 totally tubular dood!
  • 2 0
 Your tubes should be on Youtube.
  • 2 0
 I feel like I had a go pro attached to my tummy.
  • 3 0
 Hey Matt! Big fan!
  • 1 0
 Does steel need to be heat treated?
  • 3 0
 Reynolds does give it the treatments it needs before it is delivered to the customer (Cotic). I don't think Reynolds 853 needs a post weld heat treatment. If I recall correctly it is said to actually get stronger near the weld. Post weld heat treatments are typically needed for aluminium frames. This is also a reason for smaller manufacturers to work with steel instead of aluminium. They don't have the facilities to give an already welded (so sizeable) frame a heat treatment.
  • 3 0
 Nope. reynolds steal does not in fact 853 can be harder post weld. most steels are fine without heat treating as logn as you doen over heat the joint. Tig weldign is pretty small and fast so if doen right little or none Heat Affected Zone (HAZ). Alloy needs some decent heatreating for 6000 and 7000 alloys. they did that all properly , purged on the inside of the frame with gas (you can see the gas line on the jig when welding). Great vid. i would love to try the bike.
  • 11 0
 @Powderface Steel doesn't have to be heat treated, but it helps in high performance applications. To give you a direct example, Reynolds 631 is the same material as 853. It does the same air hardening trick after welding too, but it's not heat treated. This makes it about 40% less expensive than 853 but - rather symmetrically - also about 40% less strong. 853 is oneof the strongest materials you can build a bike out of, so it allows me to use thinner sections for a given strength of frame to better balance that strength vs stiffness to give that lovely ride feel
  • 6 0
 @cotic-bikes: Dam right about 853. I dont use it much for framebuilding as it chews up my tools - very tough tubing. Builds a great frame. I would love a cotic rocket.
  • 2 0
 @cotic-bikes: So you use 853 without heat treatment after welding?
  • 2 0
 @cedrico: I dont think anyone heat treats 853 frames post weld.
  • 3 0
 @cedrico: No, there is no need. There are a couple of low grade cromoly steels that can be brought up to high strength with post weld heat treatment, but that is very rare. Most good steels for building bikes from are easily strong enough after welding. And 853 actually gets stronger after welding. That's one of the amazing things about it.
  • 2 0
 @cotic-bikes: I recall Dirt Magazine tech editor Ed Haythorntwaite (currently at Atherton bikes) used to be quite excited about Reynolds 953. Though I don't see it being used in frames. Is it not as good as it was claimed to be or is it just too hard to work with? Like, if you're going through the hassle you could just as well build the bikes out of titanium. Have you considered using it?

Also as for your use of 853, are your frames designed so critical that 631 wouldn't be strong enough? BTR usually builds their front triangle out of 631. But I wanted my seattube shorter than what they use for their regular geometry (to also lower the top tube) and 631 wouldn't be strong enough so they had to resort to 853 for the seattube. So that made sense to me, that if 631 is sufficient then there is no point going for 853. In my pictures it may look like it doesn't make sense but that was because I had the seat raised to be able to clamp it in the workstand for assembly. I usually leave it nearly slammed. But yeah, are these Cotic bikes critically designed around 853 tubing or would 631 be sufficient in places?
  • 1 0
 What about a 953 frame?
  • 14 0
 @vinay: 953 is on paper an incredible material. A maraging stainless steel, its 40% stronger again than 853 (which puts it firmly in the HOW STRONG?!! category. Ultimate strength 2000MPa, 853 is up to 1450, cromoly is around 800, aluminium regularly used in bikes around 300-350). We have built prototypes and there are issues with it. The main one is that for mountain bike applications you can't exploit the strength of the material to reduce weight, because you run into stiffness (or lack thereof) problems. 853 for mountain bike applications, in my opinion and experience has that perfrct balance of strength that high enough to give the frame stiffness which is stiff enough to be accurate, but with enough 'give' to breathe with the trail to improve grip and reduce harshness. Because the youngs modulus (intrinsic material stiffness) of 853 and 953 are effectively the same, if you exploit the extra strength of 953 to thin the walls of the tubes down you lose stiffness to the point of the bike being too flexible along its length. So then you have to use the same section size as an 853 frame to maintain the stiffness, but it's now massively over strong, REALLY expensive (as in more than titanium expensive), and no lighter than the 853 version. Actually, that's not quite true. It would be about 150 grammes lighter because of not needing paint. It's also very capricious about weld sequencing. I can see how it would make a great road bike, because you could exploit some of its properties to reduce the weight, but on a mountain bike it tips the balance of strength vs stiffness vs cost too far in the wrong direction. Reynolds have a new stainless called 921 which is similar in properties to 853 and about 20% more expensive, so that could be an option if you really wanted a stainless frame, but it would still only save the weight of the paint and look pretty. Not to say that looking pretty is a bad thing!

That was wordy! Hope you get my point.
  • 8 1
 @vinay: To answer your other question, none of the tubes in the front end of a Cotic droplink frame could be directly replaced with 631. By definition it would much weaker because the material is much weaker than 853. So, you would have to incease the wall thickness to at least the next size up, or maybe more, and maybe increase the diameter of the tubes too. This would make the front end at leadt 20% heavier to maintain current levels of strength, and would also be much stiffer, which would lose that lovely, subtle ride feel and traction advantages of the 853 front end. It would be noticeably stiffer. So for me, for how i want my bikes to ride, it's not worth it. It would be a couple of hundred quid cheaper in 631, but that juice isn't worth the squeeze in my opinion. Other bike designers may disagree.
  • 4 0
 @cotic-bikes: POST of the YEAR!!!
  • 3 0
 Just dropping in to say thank you for sharing the knowledge. Great stuff.
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: Thanks for your response. Clear and it seems 853 was a very conscious choice, not something that could be replaced one-on-one by something else. Basically, proper engineering. I've not ridden any hardtail other than steel (Voodoo, DMR, BTR) since 2004 or so so I've always enjoyed that extra damping the material has. I'm not one to try loads of bikes and test them to the limit. I just pick something I like based on the geometry and take my time to get along with it. So yeah, I would probably have a good time on a BFe too, just happen to love what I have now (with 631 tubing and the very short 853 seat tube).

Obviously (as shown in the video) you also have the equipment to ovalize the tubes, so that gives you some extra room to play with vertical compliance without affecting lateral stiffness. I think that contributes a great deal too to what your bikes ride like.

Either way, I can definitely seem myself get the (regular) Flare someday. Geometry doesn't look far off from (sagged) geometry of what I'm riding now so I can imagine I'd get on well instantly. Just wondering though, I mostly stand up for pretty much all my riding. In reviews I read that this bike climbs best when seated. Is that inherent to the bike or can the Cane Creek shock be tuned to be good for standing climbing too?
  • 1 0
 @vinay: Thanks for the kind words. Sounds like we're on the same wavelength.

In terms of climbing, there's a bit you could do with the shock, particularly if you went for something other than the Cane Creek (not something I say often at all!) which had a harsher platform/lockout switch than the Climb Switch function. However, ultimately the reason why it's better seated is that our bikes have fairly low anti-squat so they're really supply and traction rich, and don't get lots of pedal kickback when pushing on, but that does mean they move around a bit more than some bikes when out of the saddle because the suspension is less affected by the chain tension. Come and get a demo. If you come over to Calver mid-week we can play with shock settings a little more than we could on a busy weekend demo.
  • 1 0
 @CarlMega: No problem .Glad you enjoyed reading it.
  • 1 0
 @cotic-bikes: Unfortunately I live in The Netherlands but if I ever travel up there I'll bring my bike and we'll go for a ride. I'm not too bothered with preserving energy on climbs so I'm fine with getting more traction at the expense of efficiency. Biggest deal I run into when riding my full susser (a Cannondale Prophet) is that I like to move around to load and unload wheels depending on where I expect grip, where to "pickaxe" my bike across a tricky section etc. And unlike on a hardtail, this obviously upsets the rear suspension. I was thinking that a longer wheelbase would make the weight shifts less pronounced hence would upset the suspension less. Just a thought though. I can order a hardtail frame and get a fair idea what it will be like looking at the numbers and comparing it to what I have. But full suspension bikes just aren't that transparent to me. So that's the unsprung geometry but what will it be like when braking, cornering, descending steep etc? With the rise of dropper seatposts it seems like most modern bikes are designed around a static rider climbing with a raised saddle.

So yeah, overall I trust I'd be good on a Flare because the geometry looks similar to that of my hardtail and I know that Cotic bikes are designed around an active riding style. But it is always a bit of gamble. Have you considered working with dealers on European mainland? Alternatively, maybe consider doing as Propain does with their "Friends" program. Propain owners can sign up for a program where potential customers can make an appointment with such an owner and go for a ride together. Obviously there are benefits for these owners too (a bike park day, goodies etc). I think it is cool and probably beats having to work through dealers.
  • 2 0
 Very cool vid.
  • 2 0
 Zaskia Cotic Bike Corp.

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