Cotic Flare­max Sil­ver 29

Cycling Plus (Malaysia) - - BIKE OF THE YEAR 2018 -

Cotic have stuck to their tried-andtested steel con­struc­tion for the lat­est Flare­max, but they’ve pushed the bound­aries with the ge­om­e­try, mak­ing it the long­est bike on test. We feared that the length of the tubes and their nar­row di­am­e­ter might re­sult in a flexy feel, but clever shap­ing and butting means they’re stiff enough to give good trail man­ners, without mak­ing the bike ping from rock to rock.

With the long ge­om­e­try adding sta­bil­ity and con­fi­dence at speed, the Flare­max feels like it wants to be rid­den flat-out ev­ery­where. It’s not a bike that re­quires fi­nesse to get the most out of it, but more of a ‘point and shoot’ af­fair. Which is fine, un­til you hit ter­rain where the lim­its of its 120mm of rear travel be­come ap­par­ent. The Cane Creek DBAIR [IL] shock on our test bike was very ad­justable, so it could be set up to deal with a wide range of trails. But there’s no doubt that the bike’s shape en­cour­ages you to push it a lit­tle too far at times.

While the back end is sup­ple and con­trolled, the X-fu­sion Mcqueen fork won’t suit all tastes. Ours came with a ‘Rough­cut HLR’ damper up­grade, and was rel­a­tively smooth (if a lit­tle noisy) when faced with re­peated im­pacts. Over iso­lated hits, it didn’t bind or spike but there was a def­i­nite harsh feel­ing, made more no­tice­able by the con­trast with the ac­tive back end.

For­tu­nately, Cotic’s bike builder lets you cus­tomise the spec be­fore buy­ing. We used the Sil­ver pack­age as a base (£2,699) but up­graded to Hope wheels, the Cane Creek shock and the HLR ver­sion of the Mcqueen. For an ex­tra £300 you could swap in a Rock­shox Pike RCT3, which would be a bet­ter match for the rear end.

The length of the Flare­max and its slack-ish 66-de­gree head an­gle re­ward an ag­gres­sive, weight­for­ward stance on the bike, which al­lows you to push the front wheel into the ground to gain max­i­mum cor­ner­ing speed from the Maxxis Min­ion tyre (an­other cus­tom op­tion). At this point, you can let go of the brakes and plough through pretty much any­thing the trail can throw at you. It may be a short-travel bike but it does a great job of feel­ing like an en­duro ma­chine.

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