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26/09/2017 - Me, my Escapade and the Turino-Nice Rally

Escapade Adventure

Rachel Sokal had her first adventure on her Escapade, here's her story...

A while back I was gifted an Escapade by a good friend of mine with the instruction to go and have fun and adventures. Up until now it’s been in singlespeed commuter mode so despite getting some very good use, I’ve yet to fulfil the fun and adventure part of the deal.This summer I set out to change that.

The heritage of my Escapade steered me towards choosing a long distance route. My want for a personal challenge and my obstinate attitude of my legs to climb hills meant it needed to be a lumpy one. The Turino-Nice Rally, now in its second year, is a self-supported ride which climbs 18,000m over 700km across the Alps. Part road, part gravel, part off-piste with a flexible route depending on bike, ability and will, it perfectly matched the brief for me and my Escapade. I persuaded my Other Half this would make for a good summer holiday and plans were made for the trip.

Miles and miles

I was never going to make this in singlespeed mode so upgraded to a 2x11 set up. With shifters and mechs all fitted it then dawned on me that a road cassette wasn’t going to work with my 29er MTB wheelset. With little time – about two days before departure – and funds to change the wheels then I looked for other options. And salvation came in the shape of a little converter (and 18 Bikesexcellent service) which increased the reach of the rear mech to swallow an 11-40 cassette. At the time it seemed a real bodge: the range of gears exceeded that of the mech which left we with miles of slapping chain, I couldn’t run certain gear combinations and it looked rather Frankenstein. But it worked and so with few other options, it would have to do.

We couldn’t make it to Turin for the official start of the ride. And to be honest, whilst I know we that means we missed out on a big part of what these rides are about – the people, the stories, the comradery – it rather suited me too. I can be a bit of a loner when it comes to riding my bike and I was quite happy to do this one at my own pace with only my pre-chosen riding partner for company or to find space from as required.

It wasn't all pedalling

We were aiming for a steady six days of riding but without a concrete deadline for a flight home, had enough flexibility to take longer if need be. It felt rather arbitrary dividing up the route into chunks and we had no real idea of how our 3,000m climbing a day was going to be comfortably achievable or beyond the capability of our legs. As we rolled out from Turin on day one, with the mountains looming ahead, I was part eager to get to the climbs and get stuck in, and part wanting the flats to last to get some easy miles into my legs.But even on the flat tarmac roads the going wasn’t that easy with the extra weight from the bike packing kit quite noticeable; I was filled with excitement and trepidation for our journey ahead.

After a couple of hours we started to climb. And it was by no means a gentle introduction. The 10% plus incline had me down in that teensy-tiny gear that I never intended to have and I was only just able to winch up the hill. As the tarmac’d surface ended the gradient mellowed a little but the challenge remained as the deep gravel sucked the momentum from our wheels for the rest of the 1,000m gain.

Dipping our toes in the Med

We were wowed by the views from the first of our colles (Italian; cols for the French). In the clear skies we could see miles and miles off the Columbardo to mountains ahead and the flat expanse behind back towards Turin. We marvelled at the sight of the switchbacks we had just climbed and were excited about those which would take us down the other side. Across the six days of our trip these moments seemed only to get more impressive with differing terrain, scenery, weather and levels of exhaustion and exhilaration all influencing the views.

As the days and cols went by there were times that I climbed more strongly than I’ve ever done before, settling into a steady rhythm as the meters and kilometres, minutes and hours ticked by. And at times I climbed like a drunken walk home; for every half, stumbling step forwards there was a sway and stagger from side-to-side and a small topple backwards. And then there were the descents, it only really sinks in quite how far you’ve climbed when it takes you over an hour of descending to get down the other side.

Our timing through towns and villages was lousy all week. The end of the summer season meant most cafes and shops were only open certain hours of the day and rarely the ones when we rode by. We spent most the week eating cereal bars, yesterday’s pastries and supermarket cheese and bread. On our fourth day, having finished our supplies of muesli bars with two for dinner the night before and another two for breakfast that morning, we were rather relieved to find a small village café open at the base of a 1,200m climb to the Colle del Morti. After half an hour of their opening we had polished off the day’s stock of croissants and half of the polenta cake with several coffees to wash it all down.

Guided by our original schedule and pushed on by sudden end of summer warmth in the few days since we started, we made good progress racking up the hours and distance in the saddle. This gave us a rather leisurely last day down to Nice where we took a little more time to take in the views as we descended our way to the finish. Theoretically this was a great last day; in practice I rather missed the challenge of the long days and climbs that had gone by.

The saviour

The Escapade performed flawlessly all week despite being laden with my kit and tired legs. The ever changing terrain means there is no ideal bike for the Rally but if I did it again, I wouldn’t change much about my set up. I ran 35mm 700cc gravel tubeless tyres on my MTB wheels and suffered just one puncture. On some of the rockier descents a smaller wheel and a fatter tyre would have been nice but there’s enough fast rolling tarmac to balance things the other way. Hydraulic disc brakes were a real pleasure and I was consistently grateful for their power and control, with my OH’s cantis a stark comparison. And for my last minute MTB cassette to road mech fix and the tiny gears for big cols, I will always be grateful.

Thanks to Tom and Jenn for the bike and instruction, and to James of the Torino-Nice Rally for all the meticulous route planning and great week. I vow this to be the first of many proper adventures on my Escapade.

Dusk on the Sampeyre

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22/09/2017 - New Builds on the Droplink Bikes

New Build Kit on the Droplink Bikes

Flare 27.5 Flare Max Rocket Max Rocket 2017 build

Here at Cotic we don't really do model years; we prefer to develop our bikes and release them when they're ready, whilst adding detail improvements as we go along on current models. Things like the Rocket getting the revised hose routing, more sculpted swingarm heads and pinstripe detailing of the rest of the droplink range, when compared to the original batch from early 2016. The latest batch of Flare frames now have the stiffer seatstays from the Rocket with the smooth internal gear cable routing. The latest batch of RocketMAX frames got a gloss finish on the green and added orange detailing from the FlareMAX that's proved so popular, plus some more tidied up details. They are fundamentally the same great bikes, just with minor tweaks. So whilst there isn't a whole LOOK AT OUR NEW STUFF thing going here, we're always striving to make the bikes better.

And although we don't do model years, our suppliers do and the latest kit from them is now in stock and making the bikes look amazing. Starting with X-Fusion, all their forks are now black stanchion and low key graphics which mean their looks now match their amazing performance. They also key in perfectly with the latest Cane Creek DB Air IL shock on the rear of the Gold build bikes to make a brilliant bike even better.

On the drivetrain front, groupset of the moment SRAM Eagle GX is now an option for 12spd wide range gearing. Looks great, works great.

And finally those finishing touches; we have Cotic Calver bars and Shortstems available and they feature on all our Silver and Gold build bikes. The bars are 780mm wide x 25mm rise, with a really comfortable 9 deg back sweep. The stems are 35mm or 45mm and suit our long reach frames perfectly. You can order them separately for your bike here.

The final piece of the puzzle on the look of your bike is that you can now order the full range of Hope coloured parts with your build. The Gold build options feature Hope wheels, seat clamp and headset anyway, so you can colour coordinate or go full clashy! If you get Hope brakes and BB we can match those up too. Just add a note to your order for which colour you'd like. Check out the orange parts on the FlareMAX to see an example of what's possible.

Rocket Max Rocket Max Flare Max Flare Max Flare 27.5 Flare 27.5 Flare 27.5 Rocket 2017 build Rocket 2017 build Rocket 2017 build

There are loads more photos of all the details on the bikes over on our Flickr page


Read more about the droplink bikes here…

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21/09/2017 - Cy Talks Through The RocketMAX

Cy talks us through the RocketMAX on Facebook Live


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21/09/2017 - Cotic Owners Ride Out

Cotic

Social Ride Out

Cotic Owners Ride Out

On Sunday 17th September we held a Cotic Owners Social Ride Out. We're trying to hold a couple of these a year, as they're great fun and give you a chance to meet fellow Cotic owners, and it's so nice for us to meet up with you! We try to go for longer rides, but we ride at a relaxed, sociable pace. We wait at the bottom of hills and the top of climbs and never leave anyone behind!

Cotic Owners Ride Out

We loved seeing these green Rockets in a row!

Cotic Owners Ride Out

Thanks again to everyone who came along for a fantastic day out in the Lakes. We hope to see even more of you at the next one! Look out on our demo calendar for our next Ride Out.


Our demo calendar…


19/09/2017 - Wes Fife Ard Moors

Wes Fife

Ard Moors Enduro

Wes Fife at Ard Moors

Ard Moors is an enduro race on the edge of the North York Moors National Park. 5 stages and 35km 2500m of combined climbing and descending. This year Ard Moors really lived up to its name. It was well 'ard.

Practice had many riders worried about the muddy conditions, then the downpour of rain that evening meant that many riders decided against it. Many people that did attempt to ride it didn't finish. Our development squad rider Wes did us proud and slipped and splashed his way round to the finish! Nice one Wes!

#ardmoors2017 summed up in one photo 😂 despite the 💩 conditions, still had an absolute blast of a race! Rode all of stage 5 with no back brake and a slight hint of a front one! Not surprised to hear that only 400 of the 800 people who entered actually raced 😂 was a bit muddy to say the least 💩💩💩👍😆 Well done everyone #Ardmoors #gripplease #slidyslidy #funonbikes @coticbikes @polarisbikewear @hktproducts @sensusgrips

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Splashing my way down 'dead sheep gully ' on stage 2 yesterday #ardmoors #wetterthananotterspocket #flatout @coticbikes

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19/09/2017 - Adele Mitchell Enduro

Adele Mitchell

Swinley Enduro

Swinley Enduro

Adele Mitchell braved her first mountain bike enduro last weekend. A 25km loop with 8 timed stages. It's a lot to take on! In her new blog post she explains the 10 things she learnt from this experience. It's well worth a read, as it's very true!

She bumped into our Development Squad rider Will Easey while she was there. Will absolutely smashed it and came 3rd in his category. Well done Will!

Nothing better than coming into a stage listening to this racket!!😂😂 Although people may complain about swinley, it still has its hidden gems with some pretty fun stages! #mtb #rideordie #cotic @dd_cycles @coticbikes @swinleybikehub @hktproducts @truemtb @riderschannel #swinleybikehub #steel #steelisreal #oioi #endurogame #soenduro #callmecurtiskeene #braap

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Adele Mitchell's blog …

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13/09/2017 - Announcing Factory Collection

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Cotic Factory Collection

As of this week we now have a Factory Collection option for your Cotic bike, and our Factory Demo Service from our base at Calver in the heart of the Peak District.

As part of the Factory Collection service, you will come down to our showroom at Unit 6 where you can have a sit down and a chat and check out your lovely new bike, as well as have a look at the demo bikes for planning your next purchase!

Cotic Spring Party

Although we strive to have your bike as complete and set up as possible when we box them up for delivery (the gears, brakes and headset will all be adjusted, for example), there's only so much we can do when you're not actually with us. With Factory Collection, one of us will set you up on your new Cotic - installing your pedals, setting up the suspension, tweaking the bar height and position, maybe even swapping the stem to make sure it's all spot on for you. We can answer any questions you may have.

You can then take your new bike for a blast around our test loop which is straight out of the door, and give your bike a proper shakedown before taking it away. You can also have a look through our clothing and merchandise options and get discounted rates for buying on the day with your bike.

Cotic Spring Party

The Factory Demo service is available from 1pm-5pm Monday to Friday, also from Calver. You can stay local and do laps of our demo loop if you're unsure of frame size or wheel size, taking out different bikes to test back-to-back. Or if you have a clearer idea of what you'd like, then you can go out for a few hours to really get under the skin of the Cotic you're considering getting. You can even just pop down to have a look at the bikes in the metal if you don't have time for a ride. It works just like our demos out on the road - bring some collateral like a Credit Card or similar, and some ID, and we will set you up on the bike and you can head out for a spin.

This is something we have been doing informally for a while. Due to the size of the demo fleet, we have some or all of the fleet around at the workshop most of the time, and we have had a few local people pop down and get a demo ride in during the week. It works great, and all you need to do is contact demo@cotic.co.uk ahead of time to make sure the bike or bikes you would like to have a go on will definitely be here. Speaking of Factory/Calver Demos, we have a bumper back-to-back Calver Demo weekend coming up on the 30th September / 1st October. All of us will be around at some point during the weekend, and we will be guiding the rides around the demo loop, drinking tea and coffee and eating biscuits extensively.

Cotic Spring Party

Demo calendar …


12/09/2017 - James Swinden PMBA win

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Race Result

Swinny winny

Yesssss! Top step again for James Swinden at the PMBA Pro class at Gnar Bike Park at the weekend. Stoked to bits. With so many sections at this round riders had to be so consistent - and fast. Consistently fast then! Well done lad.


Fastest Bike in UK Enduro…


read news from earlier in 2017...

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