My Cotic Rocket long term test frame has ridden some hard miles, raced a bit of enduro, tested a lot of components and been an awesome long travel partner. Whilst the Longshot geometry is progressive and right up my street, I learned to live with the linkage driven single pivot action of the Droplink suspension and ultimately I had a shed load of fun aboard this speed machine.
A solid build
I (Rachael) built up my Cotic Rocket long termer at the beginning of June 2018, using a bunch of parts that whilst weren't all super pricey still produced a solid build. The basis of the build was a 2018 medium frame (that's the one with Cotic's Longshot geometry) with a Cane Creek DB Air Inline shock, a Rockshox Lyrik fork, Shimano XT drivetrain, Saint brakes and various wheels including Halo Vortexes, Halo Ridge Lines, a set of DT Swiss M1900’s and some pricier Crankbrothers E11 Synthesis wheels. Over the course of the test the bike was never the lightest build but at 34lbs (15.4kg) for a long travel brawler. I didn't think it was too bad, in fact I quite liked the planted feeling the weight gave when descending.
The geometry is unchanged for the 2019 bike that you see on sale today so in case you think this review is out of date, it isn’t. The medium bike gets a reach of 458mm, a short seat tube of 425mm, chainstays of 437mm and a wheelbase of 1226mm. The head angle is cited as a slack 64.5° on Cotic’s site but with the help of a digital angleometer I measured my bike at 63.2°, a hell of a lot slacker than it should be with a 160mm fork. Not that I thought that was a bad thing, it’s been fun to be aboard a bike this slack, it certainly bestows you with a few more “get out jail free cards” which when riding in south Wales can certainly be necessary. Yep, the front wheel and fork do tend to ‘flip flop’ at slow speeds but get this bike rolling and I doubt you’d notice it.
To round off the numbers the bike gets a 75° seat angle when used with a 160mm fork, it's not the steepest out there but it’s heading in the right direction. The slacker seat tube angle leaves the effective top tube at 616mm which is a little stretched out for me whilst seated but manageable. I positioned the seat forward in the rails and dipped the nose of the saddle to make the most of the seat tube angle I did have.
The frame is a Reynolds 853 Ovalform and DZB tubed front steel front end and an aluminium rear, with external cable routing running neatly down the centre of the down tube. The gear cable is rather oddly routed down the outside of the shock and into the seat stays internally, whilst this does look messy I didn’t catch it on anything whilst riding. The cable is prone to wear though as it rubs on insertion into the seat stay.
I did suffer with a slightly squeaky shock bush too, but a bit of lube routinely sorted that out. Elsewhere there is, as you’d expect, Boost spacing, a threaded bottom bracket and enough tyre clearance for 2.6” tyres on 30mm wide rims. I did run a 2.6” Specialized Butcher for a short while on 33mm internal rims and found the tyre contacted the seat tube on large compressions.
Riders of the medium and above will be able to fit a 500mm bottle and a side entry cage above the shock, I then filled the space with a bespoke frame bag made by Dirtbag Utility Co ., see below.
Cotic tells me they have their own bag designed to fit the frame in the same place, so watch this space. Included with the frame is also an integrated Cotic/OneUp Components Top Guide which worked seamlessly and flawlessly throughout the test, I don’t think I dropped a chain once even when the rear mech had seen better days.
Aboard the good ship Rocket
The geometry of the Rocket is progressive and aggressive, this is a bike designed to go hard and fast. The long reach and the slack head angle make this bike an absolute brawler, it's the type of bike to charge downhill at warp speed and come out the other end unscathed. It's well balanced and slack enough to provide confidence in the gnarliest of situations. It’s super easy to find the center point of this bike and stay there, balanced ready to deal with anything the trail throws at you.
The front end with two spacers between the head tube and stem and with a 20mm ride bar was a good height for riding steeper terrain and with the addition of a good supportive fork like the Rockshox Lyrik it eats up trail chunder with ease. This bike with its long wheelbase (measured at 1235mm on my bike) is super stable and a great partner on rough or technical terrain that might be outside your paygrade, for that I truly love it.
My Cotic frame was specced with a Cane Creek DB Air Inline shock, which has helped provide the Rocket with a pretty supple feel in the first part of the travel ramping up well towards the end too. The suspension does bob a little when pedalling but it’s not enough that it’s an energy-zapping problem, the active suspension coming in handy when climbing on rough terrain.
The Droplink suspension is active in the first part of its travel, it’s progressive too meaning that when pressed this bike will be happy to pop and jump about the trail. Under hard braking the Rocket isn't the most composed, slam the brakes on rough terrain and the linkage driven single pivot suspension has a hard time keeping up with events and traction is compromised somewhat.
I found digging my heels in and forcing the tyre into the ground the only remedy, well that and letting go of those brakes and allowing the suspension to work properly again! Well timed braking is key here, read the trail and don’t brake if there are lots of square edged hits, follow these rules and you and the Rocket will get on just fine.
The Rocket and I have had a great year, it’s a great accomplice for fast, long downhill trails, if you are looking for a bike that will help get you out of trouble in the steeps, then this might just be the one. Aesthetically I think it’s a great looking bike, it's low slung and purposeful and who doesn't like a red Lyrik? It charges downhill, the ride compliance of steel tubes giving it a sense of calmness leaving you to concentrate on where you are going next, probably somewhere steep and techy, a trail in which the Rocket will revel.
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