The Cotic Bfe has come along a long wa y in recent years and offers a dynamic and engaging ride
For 2020, Cotic Bfe has been revamped. The head angle is now a degree slacker for more control, while a steeper seat tube improves the climbing position.
The latest frame also has a lowered top tube that really boosts standover clearance, and, at 463mm, the reach on the size M is generous, extending to a whopping 609mm on the new XL size, making it a great option for taller riders.
Cotic Bfe Gold review
At £549 for the frame only, the Bfe is still competitively priced, given that it retains the Reynolds 853 steel down tube and heat-treated cro-mo elsewhere. To increase stiffness, the top tube is ovalised and gusseted underneath. A traditional threaded BB with ISCG 05 mounts sits at the base of an oversized 35mm seat tube that increases lateral stiffness further, especially when cranking hard.
To the rear, curved, bridgeless, stays are welded to compact dropouts that are secured by a Syntace X-12 Boost axle, which employs an expanding wedge for extra wheel security.
To get the Cane Creek Helm Air fork you need to drop an additional £300, but we think it’s worth it. Sporting 150mm travel and stout 35mm upper tubes, it’s air-sprung with three-way damping adjustment.
Sounds complicated, right? But it’s surprisingly easy to tune. Extra support can be gained by opening the upper leg and twisting a wingnut that moves a piston to reduce the positive spring volume – no tokens are needed. Delving deeper, you can also tweak the balance between the positive and negative air chambers for a different spring feel. If you’re prepared to experiment with settings, it’s a sorted piece of kit that’s every bit the match for RockShox’s top-level Pike Ultimate on the Pace RC 627.
Cotic offers Hunt Enduro Wide wheels as an option over the Hope Fortus 26 or 35, and this is our second recommendation. For the same price, they feel zingier, stiffer and faster, with rims rocking extra thick sidewalls and more spokes at the rear for extra strength where it’s needed most. And yet they are still the lightest wheels on test.
Shod with the latest WTB G2 Series tyres, consisting of a Vigilante 2.5in Light/High Grip front and a Trail Boss 2.4in Tough/Fast Rolling rear, it’s a great combo for balancing grip and speed, even if both tyres lost air over the test duration – make sure you have some additional sealant.
We’ve been impressed by the X-Fusion Manic latest dropper with its light action and solid remote. SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain shifts smoothly, and while Cotic uses longer 175mm cranks, it’s not an issue as the Bfe has plenty of ground clearance.
Our first impression was that the bar height on the Bfe felt too low. So we’d prefer more headset spacers, especially if shelling out extra cash on the Cane Creek Helm upgrade. After digging a little deeper however, we quickly realised that this sensation is a consequence of the elevated 327mm BB height. Thankfully, it didn’t really hamper the steering or handling too much. The slack head angle feels spot on when linking turns and the Bfe steers neutrally, so it was easy to adapt to and ride confidently straight away.
With no excessive elasticity or twang, the steel frame is solid if a little dull. This directness is a positive though, since it’s reactive and stiff without being so intractable that it rattles fillings or induces headaches, even on long rock-strewn descents. Cane Creek’s silky Helm fork plays a big part in that. The extra support also reduced forward pitching on steeper descents, partially compensating for the instability of the taller BB.
Fitted with those Hunt wheels, the Bfe is a fast bike, the rapid acceleration putting wind in the Cotic’s sail along twisty singletrack, despite it not being the lightest in test. So the Bfe has a twinkle in its eye and real sense of charm that helps get you past the fact it’s not the most ground-hugging machine, nor the lightest on test.
Cotic’s latest Bfe is significantly improved. The steeper seat angle ensures a seated riding position that’s balanced and efficient for pedalling, and, with a Reynolds 853 backbone, the steel frame is rock solid. Thankfully, there’s enough suppleness too, so it’s not too jarring or uncomfortable on long days in the saddle. The Bfe is at its best bombing along beaten-up jeep tracks and bridleways though, as the higher bottom bracket holds it back a bit on steeper, twisty and more challenging downhill trails as the riding position is much less composed compared to the Pace RC627.