Cotic’s new Rocket Max is primed for take-off with either 29in or 27.5 Plus wheels

Product Overview

Cotic Rocket Max Platinum Plus 2016

Pros:

  • Three build options means you can have the custom bike of your dreams.

Cons:

  • It’s heavy, and the attention to detail needs more attention. The Race Face dropper post packed up after one ride.

Product:

Cotic Rocket Max Platinum Plus (2016) first ride

Manufacturer:

Price as reviewed:

£4,299.00
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Need to know

  • Max version of the standard Rocket that runs 27.5 Plus or 29in wheels
  • Reynolds 853 steel front and aluminum rear triangle
  • 140mm rear travel, compatible with 140-150mm forks
  • Boost spacing front and rear
  • Top-end Platinum build — gold and silver optionsalso available

Cotic Rocket Max Platinum Plus

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Bikes that can take both 29in or 27.5 Plus wheels are becoming increasingly popular. Cotic’s new Rocket Max is one such bike and it’s even offering a second set of wheels and tyres to customers at a reduced price (£449 including tyres).

Unusually for a full-suspension bike, the Rocket Max uses Reynolds 853 steel tubing for the front triangle and lightweight 7000-series aluminium for the swingarm.

Cotic’s reason for using old-skool steel is partly because it has a history with the material for its hardtails, but also for structural reasons. The main one being that Cotic wanted a stiff foundation for its DropLink suspension, and found that a 35mm diameter steel seat tube was 38 per cent stiffer than one made from alloy.

Steel front triangle with alloy swingarm

Steel front triangle with alloy swingarm

It’s hard to tell from the photos, but the steel front end of the Rocket Max has a little bit of tubing manipulation. The Ovalform top tube has a flattened profile to increase lateral stiffness and improve vertical compliance. The tubes also use DZB (dual zone butting), which means the last 40mm of each tube is thicker-walled to increase strength around the welds.

To increase rear-end stiffness, the Rocket Max has a Torque Box Swingarm — a symmetrical design with a reinforcing cross brace behind the main pivot. The meaty dropouts are crisply machined and feature a Syntace X-12 142mm thru-axle. Other frame details include ISCG tabs for a chain device, internal dropper post routing and cable guides to allow you to run a front mech.

While there are some nice touches on the frame — like the covers over the main pivot — this attention to detail doesn’t extend throughout.

Exposed nuts are a bit crude

Exposed nuts are a bit crude

The nuts and bolts on the dropouts and DropLink are functional rather than sleek, and the cable guide on the seatstay is too close to the tyre when running Plus wheels. So close that I had to lash the cable under the stay using two zip-ties to stop it rubbing.

None of this would matter on a bike costing £2k, but the Rocket Max is twice that, and I think you’re entitled to be fussy when you’re spending this sort of money.

Cotic hasn’t put a foot wrong when it comes to the sizing, though. The Rocket Max is long, sporting a whopping 1,220mm wheelbase on the large size.

Steel seat tube claimed to help stiffness

Steel seat tube claimed to help stiffness

Add Plus tyres to the mix and the bike doesn’t hang about when the trail starts to get steep and rocky. There’s more spring in Plus tyres too, so you can loft the bike easily over depressions and holes in the trail, and they do allow you to take untold liberties with line choice.

Braking traction in the dry is amazing but there’s an obvious flip-side when it’s wet. On damp trails, the WTB TrailBoss and Range tyres felt vague and hesitant; they just don’t carve into a corner like a good 27.5in or 29in tyre. But then I’d expect the same with any tyre that lacked a well-defined edge.

Upgrading to a Plus tyre with a more aggressive knob profile, or even better rubber, would definitely unlock the Rocket Max’s potential, but it would also add weight to what is already a hefty package.

So right now I’d consider a seasonal swap between the different wheel sizes — Plus in the summer, 29in in the winter. That way, you can fit mud tyres, which currently don’t exist in 27.5 Plus sizes.

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Details

Frame:Reynolds 853 steel/7000- series aluminium, 140mm travel
Shock:Cane Creek Inline

Fork:Fox 34 Float Factory Boost, 140mm travel
Wheels:Hope Pro4 hubs, WTB i35 rims, WTB Trail Boss/Ranger 27.5×3.0/2.8in tyres

Drivetrain:Race Face Next SL chainset 32t ring, Shimano XTR shifter and r-mech
Brakes:Shimano XT, 200mm/180mm

Components:Race Face Turbine 125mm dropper post, Joystick Analog carbon handlebar and Builder stem, Cotic cromo saddle
Sizes:M, L, XL

Weight:14.56kg (32.1lbs)
Size ridden:Large

Rider height:5ft 9in
Head angle:67.2°

Seat angle:73.6°
BB height:340mm

Chainstay:445mm
Front centre:775mm

Wheelbase:1.220mm
Down tube:725mm

Top tube:615mm
Reach:450mm