Review: Cotic FlareMAX
for a complete build price of £3,699. The titanium Cane Creek eeWing cranks are an optional £799 upgrade bringing the price up to £4,498. Cotic will ship anywhere in the world. Contact them for prices and shipping costs.
|The combination of great suspension and geometry lets you attack the trail with conviction and verve normally reserved for bigger bikes.|
FlareMAX Construction & FeaturesFlareMAX frames are adorned with some well-considered details. The custom-shaped Ovalform top tube for example, which provides the right blend of lateral stiffness and compliance, and a 44mm-diameter head tube with an external headset bottom cup. Rejoice in its threaded bottom bracket (the common-sense choice for gritty UK conditions), and it’s ISCG05 mounts, onto which a One-Up Top Guide chain device is fitted as standard. That's a nice touch. There’s no fitting a front mech to this bike. The FlareMAX is designed entirely around a 1x drivetrain, which has allowed Cotic to beef up the bottom bracket area for added stiffness.
The rear triangle breaks Cotic's all-steel tradition with a single-pivot 6066-T6 aluminium swingarm. The seatstays are steel, however, and they drive the Cane Creek shock directly, stabilized by the aluminum Droplink rocker. Rear spacing is Boost 148, using a Syntace X-12 thru-axle. The FlareMAX is designed for 29” wheels with clearance for up to a 2.5” tire, and is also compatible with 27.5” x 3.0” tires if anyone is still interested in going down the Plus route. Cables are routed externally on the main frame, running along the top of the down tube. The rear gear cable is tucked inside the seatstay and the dropper-post cable is also internally routed. There’s one bottle mount - on the underside of the top tube for a 500ml bottle - but due to their desire to accommodate a piggyback shock, space is tight for a conventional bottle placement. But, one does fit - Just.Personally, I think the FlareMAX is a really good looking bike. It’s not as oversized or curvaceous as some, but I like the simplicity and the myriad of well-thought-out details that reveal themselves when you look closer. This bike traces its roots back to the original Rocket. There is a clear progression and evolution that I like about it, and the blue with orange accents kills it for me.
How Does it Compare?
Cane Creek DB Air IL shock: I was initially intimidated by all the dials and levers, but the factory settings provided a really good setup, ensuring the shock worked really well. This is a brilliant little shock that perfectly suits the FlareMAX. It's eager to move, which can take some getting used to. The climb switch is super useful, and a couple of extra clicks of low-speed compression soothed its bobbing tendencies on flatter trails
SRAM Eagle GX 12-speed: How many times has it been said on here? SRAM's 12-speed GX is a solid performing groupset that didn't miss a beat. Easy shifting, all the range for the steepest trails, and reliable. What more would you want?
Cane Creek eeWings: These titanium cranks are things of utter beauty. The weight is in the same ballpark as a carbon crank and they are incredibly stiff - but crikey, that price tag!
WTB Vigilante and Trail Boss tires Not the most fashionable tires, but I really like them, They seem to just work well on my local trails, and the fast-rolling Trail Boss has been ideal for the super dry conditions we've been 'blessed' with this summer.
|The combination of great suspension and geometry lets you have loads of fun on all sorts of trails, but it's agile enough to enjoy when the trail doesn't demand a big bike - and for a lot of UK trails, it's all the bike I think many people need. Yes, it's maybe a bit heavier than I'd like, but the way it rides, I'm almost prepared to overlook it. It certainly hasn't dented how much fun I've been having testing this bike. Fun, fast, engaging, and exciting - the FlareMAX has won me over. —David Arthur|