The new 140mm travel Cotic Jeht boasts high end suspension and now a Taiwanese-made steel frame option to lop hundreds from the price.
The Cotic Jeht sits between the short travel FlareMax and big RocketMax enduro bike, with 140mm travel and a 150mm fork. It uses the same Reynolds 853 tubing making up the front triangle, paired with an aluminium back end, and the bike shares the same modern geometry outlook as the FlareMax and the RocketMax.
Unlike those bikes, the Jeht will be made in Taiwan as well as the UK, something that will upset some riders who want that made-in-Britain stamp on their bike. The rest of us will appreciate the fact the Taiwanese-made bike is £300 cheaper than this UK-made launch edition.
Cotic Jeht need to know
- 140mm travel steel framed trail bike with 29er wheels
- Cotic’s Longshot geometry is long, low and slack
- Uses the new Cane Creek Kitsuma shock
- Three builds, with near limitless options to upgrade parts
- Jeht comes with cheaper Taiwanese-built frame option
Cotic is a brand that always sends out mixed signals to me. One look at the skinny, steel tubing, the external cable routing and retro decals and I’m back in the 90s racing with bar ends on Panaracer Smoke tyres. I get that this is part of the appeal for some riders, but I’m happy to leave the last century well alone.
Then I sit on the bike and the signals change, the Cotic FlareMax with 120mm travel or the 160mm Cotic RocketMax both whisk you straight into the 21st century with the cutting edge geometry. It’s the same with the new Jeht, a steel-framed retrobike with a totally modern outlook. That’s the way to do it, I want the best performing bike I can afford no matter what it looks like, not a collectible to be wall mounted or preserved in formaldehyde.
You probably won’t be surprised to see that the new Jeht uses Cotic’s trusty Droplink suspension, a single pivot with a linkage actuated shock. The rocker link on the Jeht is longer than the FlareMax though, meaning it can take a 180mm dropper post in XL and 150mm in the size small. There’s still not quite enough space to bury the whole of the 180mm post’s lower section in the seat tube though, so you still need to make sure you get the correct size bike.
Mounting that link lower means the suspension kinematics are different to the FlareMax, this bike is slightly less progressive, Cotic says. To overcome this and offer more tuning options, the Jeht comes with two volume spacers pre-installed in the new Cane Creek Kitsuma shock.
Cotic has made a bold move speccing the Kitsuma, it’s one of the most sophisticated shocks around in terms of adjustment and adds a glamorous gloss to the Jeht. There are four dials to twiddle, independently controlling high speed and low speed compression, and high speed and low speed rebound. This sounds like a minefield for messing up your suspension, but it’s actually less daunting than it sounds because Cotic has done most of the hard work for you. Every bike comes shipped with the settings already dialled in, a base setup that I found worked well for my 80kg weight. Conveniently I’m around the same height and weight as Cy Turner, the man behind the setup, so if you’re heavier or lighter it might not be so easy.
The Kitsuma shock also does away with the Allen key adjustments of old DBair, replacing them with sweeping dials that are easy to see and manipulate when sitting on the bike. The high speed rebound and compression dials contain all their adjustments within two turns of the dial, while the low speed circuits use just one turn – the upshot is it’s easy and intuitive to fettle the suspension all without getting too lost.
Naturally then, I did get slightly confused twiddling the dials, but only because I couldn’t get the low speed rebound quite fast enough. It seems Cane Creek has designed the shock tune for the higher leverage rates typical of modern bikes. I ended up twisting all the low-speed rebound off to increase the tracking sensitivity, but I still wanted more. That’s not to say the Jeht is a bike that feels harsh over rough terrain, far from it, but I wanted it all – slow enough big hits using the high speed rebound, super quick to recover on small chattery stuff.
Big back end
I also like a big back end on a bike. For me, it’s the epitome of modern geometry. Not cool, not sexy like a super slack head angle, but still delivering stability at speed. Cotic’s long established Longshot geometry doesn’t come up short on either front, with a 1,308mm long wheelbase on the XL, where crucially, Cotic hasn’t stacked all the length in front of the bottom bracket. There’s also a slack 64.7º head angle to keep you running in a straight line and generate stability in corners. Sizing runs as big as the geometry too, the XL here has a stretched out 515mm reach, dropping down to 444mm in the small so it should fit a decent range of riders.
Cotic has steepened up the seat angle a shade on the Jeht to 73°, but with the saddle at full height I was still a little far back off the optimal seated riding position. So ideally, I’d want to see that seat angle steeper still.
Cotic can build you up a bike with pretty much whatever you want. Prefer SRAM brakes to Shimano? No problem. Want Maxxis tyres rather than WTB? They’ll build that in. Want them to assemble your bike with those skanky old wired on grips you’ve had since 2001? Just send them in. Seriously.
There are three main builds to pick from though all with Taiwanese frames, Silver, Gold and Platinum. Silver starts at £3,199 with Shimano SLX, while the Platinum delivers X01 Eagle, Cane Creek eeWings, Kitsuma shock and Helm fork or Pike Ultimate for £6,199 or £6,499 with a UK frame. I opted for a Gold build with Guide G2 brake upgrade and Kitsuma upgrade on the UK frame which together added £600 to the bike.
Gold builds come with SRAM GX Eagle Lunar or Shimano Deore XT. They’re built with Cane Creek Helm and Air IL suspension, Hunt wheels and WTB tyres and it costs £4,649 for a UK made frame, £4,349 for Taiwan-made.
Step up to Platinum and you get SRAM X01 Eagle, Cane Creek eeWings, Kitsuma shock and Helm fork or Pike Ultimate. It’s £6,499 or £6,199 if you wait for a Taiwan version.
Cotic Jeht: how it rides
The Jeht is strikingly similar in sizing and geometry to the Privateer 141 we reviewed in September. It has a very different feel though, making it ideal for comparison. While the 141 was solid, stiff and progressive, the Cotic feels comfortable, compliant and more linear in its suspension feel. As such it’s a bike that excels in natural conditions, on trails that are loose, muddy and rowdy. The suspension feels great here, softening up the trail and letting your wheels hum over the surface, while the frame’s natural flex gives you more grip than expected. Where stiffer bikes can step out and lose traction on off-camber rooty sections, the Jeht digs in for more grip and fires you out faster the other side. Backing that up is some superb geometry. Like the Privateer 141 you’re in the perfect position to attack any trail, brilliantly centred in the middle of the bike.
Getting to the top is easy on the Jeht, it’s a powerful climber with its long chainstays that stop you looping out. It would be even better with a steeper seat tube though, putting more of your weight on the front and compressing the shock less. This slight bob in the shock is overcome with the Kitsuma’s Climb Switch to firm up the back end.
It’s a slightly more wayward feel on hard packed trails though, where the speed increases and more weight is put through the frame. Some of that confidence is lost here, perhaps because of the length of the tubing, although Cotic does add the thicker top tube from the RocketMax to the size XL to reign in the flex. Even so, there’s a slight disconnect between the front and back of the bike when you slam it into a berm. I also found myself backing off slightly on drops and jumps to save the suspension ripping through its travel.
The Jeht is a really good bike, on steep and muddy trails it’s the kind of bike you dream about, with spot on geometry and soft, subtle suspension with grip for days. I loved sliding it into greasy corners, foot up and planted on the pedals with the firm expectation I’d come out the otherside. It’s a confidence inspiring machine, and only when the speed increased did I feel myself pining for just a little more stiffness in the frame, and progression through the fork. Which is the better bike then, the Privateer 141 or the Cotic Jeht? This is no definitive head-to-head test, but the 141 just sneaks it for me.