The drop bar bike world has rather exploded in recent years, with the classic road bike now supplemented by 'cross, sportive, aero, gravel and many other sub-variants on the theme. As the choice has exploded, so too has the desire of many people to have one bike that can do the lot, and the Escapade is Cotic's solution to that problem.
Sheffield's Cotic managed to get well ahead of this curve with their original (though flat-barred) Roadrat, which came with disc brakes before they were really a thing, plus geometry that suited a mountain biker's sensibility when it came to being able to leave the tarmac and explore some interesting bits of dirt. It was arguably a gravel bike before the idea had been invented and road.cc boss Tony still has a well-used frame kicking about in the office bike dungeon.
The all-new Escapade takes the concept and updates it with more evolved geometry built around drop bars and the ability to run 650b tyres, which were but a twinkle in a cycle tourer's eye back in 2010. Cotic call this and the updated flat bar Roadrat their 'Life Bikes' with the general idea that you can do pretty much whatever you like on them, whether it's road, commuting, touring, adventuring, gravel riding or soft-roading - though their team riders have been known to go full send on them on the dirt, given half a chance.
The frame is made from custom butted chromoly steel and this update gives the bike a sleeker tapered headtube with integrated bearings. You also get flat-mount disc brakes, mounts for all the racks and guards you could possibly stuff on and through axles at either end. You can choose from an RB4 fork with aluminium steerer and carbon legs or a full carbon RB5 item that drops a claimed 200g.
There's clearance for 700x37c slicks or you can go all Road Plus with 650b wheels and up to 47mm rubber, which Cotic say offer no weight penalty over the bigger hoops with improved comfort and control on the rough stuff.
Frames start at £599 for the RB4 fork option, while complete bikes start at £1,199 for a bike with Shimano Sora, Cotic's own 700c wheelset with 37mm Continental tyres and cable discs. Stock options top out at £1,929 with the Shimano 105 11-speed hydraulic Gold level bike, though you can switch to 650b wheels and fat WTB rubber for an extra £200 across the range and there are Shimano Tiagra and SRAM Apex options too.
You can fine-tune componentry to your heart's content thanks to their custom build options, with everything from Hope wheels and headsets to different stem lengths, saddle and even custom frame bags up for grabs.
You'll see this one tested over on road.cc - just who got to play on it was the subject of heated discussion - so check for a full review soon.
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