Only last winter we saw UK bike maker Cotic update their burly 853 steel hardtail SolarisMAX trail bike to fatter tires for more versatility. But now they are back giving the bike another refresh, with much longer Longshot geometry and the option to run longer travel forks for more trail capabilities.

Longer SolarisMAX Reynolds 853 steel trail hardtail

The Solaris has been Cotic’s flagship, fast hardtail mountain bike for many years, and the fat 29er or 27.5+ MAX makeover last year didn’t change that. But it looks like after riding more on those confidence inspiring fat tires, Cotic decided it was time to adapt the air-hardened Reynolds 853 hardtail to some more serious shredding.

The 4.9lb/2220g frame (L) still gets 4130 wishbone seatstays & bridgeless S-bend chainstays, a 73mm threaded BB, 44mm headtube, 31.6mm post, ISCG mounts, front derailleur compatibility, and Boost 148 rear spacing. It’ll still fit tires up to 29 x 2.5″ or 27.5 x 3.0″.

What’s new in 2018?

The new bike is faster than ever with their new Longshot geometry that pairs a much longer reach to super short 30-45mm stems and longer travel forks. How does that break down? A 2017 large had a 443mm reach and maxed out at 120mm forks. Now a large 2018 SolarisMAX gets a whopping 486mm reach. And while 120mm forks are standard now, you can go up to 140mm for almost enduro riding hardtail capabilities with the big wheels.

To make the long front ends with 66° head angles work, Cotic now recommends a 35mm stem as standard for snappy handling. The bikes also add a couple of mm out back, up to 444mm chainstays for the new bikes.

The bike is said to retain it’s fast all-around trail nature. So feel free to stick with a 120mm fork, and some regular width 29er tires for a capable trail marathon bike. The longer front end has actually also made the bikes more versatile. Last year’s bikes added semi-external stealth dropper routing, but lost seattube bottle bosses. Now with the extended downtubes, a second set of bosses has been added, both on the down tube.  Squeeze in two cages, or fit a bottle low on the bike, and still be able to run a partial frame bag for adventure riding.

Pricing & Availability

2018 also brings back a size small to complete a four size stock range. Frame pricing remains the same at just £600 (~$790/715€), with complete bikes starting at just £1800 in their Silver build kits. Cotic has also added more options to their custom build configurator, so now you can swap in that sick Cane Creek titanium eeCrank as an upgrade if budget isn’t really a concern.

The 2018 SolarisMAX is trickling into Cotic now, with limited availability mostly claimed by their newsletter subscribers who get pick of the litter. It comes in gloss Cosmic Black, Dark Metal & gloss Bright Green. Act fast and you might catch your size and color in stock. Otherwise the next batch are slated to arrive in mid-June, so you can always reserve one of those to get riding a few weeks later.


  1. 440mm chainstays in back??? Had me all excited until I read that. Really excited.

    I’ve ridden long chainstays on such bikes before. There is a reason we are going shorter vs longer. Especially a bike like this.

    Not to say there aren’t parts of the country or world where the trails that exist or the type of riding someone does that this could be nice for (ski resorts, long flowy downhills, bikepacking, and so on). But for a hardcore hardtail, it seems like a waste especially now the Solaris max can fit bigger tires, longer travel forks, and had a longer reach.

    • Totally agree. I’ve had a 29er with long stays and it was no fun. totally made riding off a curb a chore.
      I’m bummed, I was waiting for this release but it looks like l’ll have to go with the Honzo or RSD Middle Child.

      CY- Why’d you do it?

      • Disagree. Bikes need some balance. Longer up front, longer out back. Right move. You get used to it and it’s all good.

    • 44cm is not a particularly long chainstay, nor does it make a bike particularly bus like. Look at bikes available on the market and lots and lots sit around 44cm, very few of them get described as poor handling. Also, very short back ends on very long front ends can be prone to washing out if you don’t consciously keep weight forwards, a little balanced is much more user friendly.

    • I totally agree- 444mm is long, 17.5 inches. The slack head angle and short stem will help to get the front wheel off the ground, and the big wheels often obviate the need to lift the front wheel (with bikes like this, you can roll over obstacles rather than jumping or half-jumping them)- but there still are situations where you need to loft the front wheel. Like when going off a drop, or taking advantage of a jump. Or if you simply want to wheelie or manual.

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