Way back when, I once owned a 1971 VW Beetle.
I had visions of it becoming a magazine worthy restoration, but financial constraints and the fact the engine packed up meant that it had to go. However during the time that I owned it, I used it as my daily ride and whenever I passed another bug we gave each other a friendly wave. The unofficial Beetle Owners Club.
And so it goes with Cotic bikes.
Everytime I head out on either my Rocket or my 26" Soul there seems to be a similar reaction. Former owners regretting the day they sold their Soul, current owners talking about how much they like the bike, or potential future owners saying how they've enjoyed trying the current crop of bikes on one of the many demo days which Cotic hold.
Talking of demo days I don't know of any other company who will come to you and your mates with a van full of bikes for you to test on your home trails. Sam the demo man spends his time organising official and private demos and travelling the country in Black Betty the Cotic Transit van.
The latest event I entered was no exception. The 14th of May saw the return of the Hamsterley Beast - a 40 mile challenge over varied terrain around Hamsterley Forest. You can read about it on my other blog post.
I'd no sooner got my bike out of the van when I started getting comments on it, or rather how good Cotic bikes were. I took this as a compliment as it came from an employee of a certain Santa Cruz dealer who had got himself a rather tricked out Hightower.
On the start line there were plenty of other Cotics. The Bfe seemed to be the steel hardtail of choice over the Soul. One other Rocket owner was there and we exchanged pleasantries before the off, even stopping for a photo for his mate as he seemed to be amazed/amused there was another green Rocket there on the day. Out on the trail the compliments on both the bike and the way Cotic run their demos continued.
So how did a 31lb Enduro rig perform over a 40 mile course with over 1500m of climbing. All I can say is it certainly tamed the Beast.
Since fitting a OneUp Components oval chainring, climbs have been so easy it feels like cheating. Traction on steep technical climbs on loose ground is unbelievable, never losing grip once. New tyres and the excellent Cane Creek DB inline air shock, that climb switch is something else, may also be a factor.
I've had my Rocket a little over 12 months. It’s my first full suspension bike, having ridden a hardtail for nearly 20 years and before that a fully rigid Scott Sawtooth with Shimano Exage groupset (remember those).
So what do I think 12 months on? Would I change it for another bike, a Flare or Flare Max (I bought the Rocket before these bikes were launched)?
Considering I like my rides to be longer than the normal 20 odd miler and the fact that I relish in the challenge of a tough technical climb, the answer to that is a resounding no. I love this bike and I can honestly say it's quite possibly one of the most capable on the market. I'm still to find its limits.
Its credentials speak volumes from regular podium places on the PMBA Enduro stage to holding its own at Steel City Downhill, even finding itself on the podium in the capable hands of the team Cotic riders - and yet even with these gravity based stats it climbs like a mountain goat.
So you can forget carbon and all those super modern materials, give me a steel bike any day of the week.