The original wheel size

Frames, forks and wheels can still be head for those of us who appreciate the little things in life.

>>> Hardtail of the Year 2018: best mountain bike under £500, £750 and £1000

A new bike with 26in wheels is a rare thing now, used almost exclusively for kids bikes, DH rigs or crummy supermarket bikes with shoddy components. The new Cotic BFe26 is something special then, 26in wheels and modern sizing and geometry.

Cy Turner at Cotic says that after running out of stock of the old BFe26, potential customers started emailing and asking when they’d be back in stock. “Clearly #26aintdead,” he says. “So, in 2018 there is still strong demand for some original MTB wheelsize action.”

Cotic BFe26 need to know

  • Slacker head angle (66°) and lower BB than the old bike, and a 142×12 Syntace thru axle
  • £499 for the frame, or Gold and Silver complete builds for £2,499 and £2,019
  • Frame takes anything from a 100-160mm fork, for dirt jumping through to enduro
  • Reynolds 853 down tube, and Cotic FM Heat Treated double butted cromoly steel elsewhere

Cotic: a big fish in a small (26in) pond

Boost dropouts are no relic of the past

26in components

There’s nothing really to stop you using a 27.5in fork, although it will raise the front end up a little — if you’re doing this stay away from the longest 160mm travel options Cotic says the bike will accommodate, as you’ll push the front end too high.

However, X Fusion still makes a proper fork dedicated to 26in wheels, the Slant HLR. We say proper fork because it has a cartridge-based damper with high and low speed independently adjustable compression, and a rebound adjuster too.

Wheels are harder because a 27.5in wheel wouldn’t fit into the BFe26, and you really wouldn’t want to squeeze a set in anyway as the bike would be too high. The good news is that Hope makes its Tech XC wheelset with the Pro 4 hubs in the 26in size, complete with Boost options for the front wheel, tubeless ready and SRAM XD or Shimano driver options.