Hardtail revival

Cotic’s new bike is called the BFeMAX, built from Reynolds 853 steel it’s what we call a hardcore hardtail, and can take up to a 160mm fork to go with its gnarly personality. Think of it as a pumped up version of the brand’s SolarisMAX, which has 29er wheels but with more trail-focussed geometry.

>>> Best hardtail mountain bikes in 2020 under £375, £500, £750 and £1000

Launched into the teeth of the lockdown, Cotic says the hardtail market has exploded, with the new bike flying off the shelves. “The advice for lockdown has been that you cannot drive,” says Cy Turner. “But there are few people that have serious mountain biking on their doorstep and they don’t fancy lugging a full suspension enduro bike around their local woods. I think this explains the hardtail revival.”

It’s not just higher end bikes like the BFeMAX and the SolarisMAX that are doing well, cheaper entry level bikes are sold out across the internet. Neither the Calibre Two Cubed or the Voodoo Bizango – both category winner’s from our Hardtail of the Year test – can be had for love nor money, and the same goes others across the test. Meanwhile each month we’re bombarded with emails looking for advice on where you can get your hands on the best hardtails.

“It’s a symptom of how crazy it is at the moment,” Cy says. “No one knew we were going to launch the BFeMAX, but we sold nearly half our stock in the first weekend.”

The BFeMAX comes frame only from £549 or there’s an SLX build with X-Fusion Trace36 fork and 140mm travel for £2,149. The bike’s designed for a 140mm fork but it’ll work with 120-160mm travel options. The geometry and sizing have been given the Cotic Longshot treatment, meaning they’re long, low and slack with decent sizing.