Just like they had done for their Flare and Rocket full suspensions trail bikes last summer, Cotic has now given their fast carving mountain hardtail the MAX treatment giving the bike a choice of personalities by way of two wheel sizes. The new SolarisMAX has been updated for maximum versatility, now compatible with either 29er or 27.5+ wheel formats, while carrying over its playful handling. On the slightly smaller wheels of the 27.5 Soul, Cotic has a some small updates as well…
The newest generation of the Reynolds 853 steel hardtail essentially keeps the same geometry as the previous version which already had a bit of a long and slack setup, only the Large frame gets stretched out a few mm for a more even distribution of the three sizes – M, L & XL. The key feature there is that even with the larger tires, Cotic was able to keep the same 442mm chainstays for a lively ride.
MAX is Cotic’s way of saying clearance for big tires, and even the 29er setup has room for up to 2.5″ tires, while in its 27.5+ guise that bumps up to a max 3.0″ tire. That builds in a lot of flexibility for complete bikes for everything from a XC-focused narrow tire 29″ build to a off-the-beaten track all-mountain build with a 120mm fork and wide 27.5+ rubber to float like a monster truck over any terrain.
Like their new Droplink full-sus bikes, the SolarisMAX also brings a Boost148 spaced thru-axle to the frame, plus new s-bend stays for all of that extra tire clearance. With the update also comes new stealth dropper post routing as well, that keeps with the Solaris’ external routing but puts an internal port in the seattube so you can run any time of dropper you want.
Cotic founder Cy Turner says he’s a “big fan of the Plus tyres on a hardtail”, but while the Solaris could fit the early plus-sized tires when they maxed out at around 2.8″, as good light tires have continued to grow he thought it was time to build in more clearance for the latest crop of tires and the wider rims we put them on now.
He actually still prefers “the 2.8″ on the back to keep the weight down a little, especially now I can get hold of the Tough casing from WTB on the Ranger.” That’s an option on the complete bike builds, even though it adds a bit of weight back it can help balance “pressure vs. tyre roll compromise” so you get confident handling and plenty of grip.
Even though it adds compatibility with the newest axle width and tire sizes, Cotic still like to stick with what works and the SolarisMAX carries over with a classic 73mm threaded BB, the bike is said to still work fine with standard (that is non-Boost) 50mm chainline cranks so you don’t need to buy everything from scratch if you are just updating a frameset, and can fit up to a 32T ring on the outside of a standard double crank (or a 36T if you go for a 53mm Boost crank.)
A lot of people will build up 1x setups, but the SolarisMAX is still double ring compatible with a Shimano sideswing front derailleur. While their standard builds are all 1x, they’re happy to work with customers that want to work out a 2x setup as well. Cotic also has the Wolf Tooth (Lindarets) Boostinator converter kits too, for those who might already have a sweet 12×142 wheelset with Hope hubs that they aren’t ready to part with yet.
The new SolarisMAX is available in glass black with either aqua or orange decals, or in a glossy champagne with the orange decals. It sells for just £600 for a frame, or starts out with a new SLX M7000 1×11 drivetrain, for just £1650 in the Silver build. There’s not much limit to what you can spend with a lot of customization in the builds possible, but even the Platinum XTR M9000 mechanical 1x completes will only set you back £3400 in either 29er or 27.5+ versions.
If those wheels sound too big (or you just need a small sized frame) the regular 27.5″ hardtail gets a bit of an update as well. The bike was the first in the Cotic range and now finally catches up with a Boost 148 thru-axle version. There is still a 135mm QR bike available, for those wanting to carry on with tradition. The £600 thru-axle/£550 QR bike also adds a new XS size for smaller riders this season, and includes the same stealth dropper compatibility as well.
For readers in the UK who want to try out a SolarisMAX or the update Soul for yourself, or for that matter any of their other bikes, you can catch up with their Sam the Demo Man via the Cotic Demo Page to see about getting a ride on a bike on your own local trails. Apparently you just need to get a few friends together, and Cotic will setup an Exclusive Ride Day and bring their demo fleet out to your backyard.