22/02/2018 - 2018 Rocket

New Rocket for 2018

ANNNNDDDD more new things! This time it's the turn of the Rocket, our mega fast, multi-race winning enduro bike. Turned up to 11 for 2018, featuring all our latest refinements, geometry and details.


How cool does that look?! Longshot geometry, Boost spacing for massive 27.5 x 2.6" tyre clearance, our new 1x specific swingarm and integrated chainguide, it's all here. Now sporting 157mm of travel and certified for up to 170mm forks, this bike is the result of over 2 years of research by me, and was raced and developed in prototype form all through last season by Swinny and Chay of Cotic Racing. So despite only just reaching production, this bike has already won the PMBA Enduro Series Title and scored multiple Tweed Valley Triple Crown podiums!

New colours are our beautiful Cyan Blue with orange details, the shiny, shiny Mercury paint - this time with CMY (Cyan/Magenta/Yellow) detailing - and our super stealth black/grey option for all you trail ninjas out there. How awesome would black/grey look with a smattering of coloured Hope parts?

Since the new BFe and Soul Gen 5 frames and the new FlareMAX appeared, there's been a lot of chat about this new Longshot geometry of ours. It's not just longer, slacker, lower for the sake of it. I've been working on this for over 2 years, since the original Longshot prototype was delivered in December 2015. It's been through many iterations, and with Paul and Sam and Richard and the Race Team, we worked through plenty of testing on all sizes in the range to make sure the new fit system worked for everyone. The key thing is that it's a system - you can't do one thing without the others. The main focus was on giving riders enough space on the bike to be able to use a 35mm stem. Getting the stem this short (shorter than the fork offset) gives incredible feel for the front wheel, and responsive handling. But it also needs a much longer frame to give you enough space to fit properly on the bike, and it needs a slacker head angle to balance the super responsiveness of the short stem. I tried it on everything from exactly the same as the current Rocket, just longer with the short stem, all the way to full Geometron with a head angle in the 63's and the back end off the MAX 29er bikes. That was a bit much, but I found a middle ground and began to understand how it all worked together. Paul tried the longer frame and 35mm stem with the original Soul geometry and it was terrible. The new bike is 2 degrees slacker on the head angle and works brilliantly. The short stem needs a slacker head angle to balance against.

The length of the bikes doesn't affect the climbing as some people seem to think it will. It's one of those old myths that a bike needs to be steep and short to climb. Back in the day the 'received wisdom' was that you needed a tiny short chainstay to get a bike to climb. As with everything in bike geometry, that isn't it in isolation. You needed a short chainstay because the front of the bikes were so short back then, so you needed to balance the rider as well as possible within the (tiny short) wheelbase of the bike. Now the opposite is true: With a longer front centre, you need a longer rear to keep the rider in the middle of the bike. It needs a reasonable seat angle and to be balanced by the length of the rear end, but actually the new bikes climb better than the previous generation. The room in the cockpit puts your weight much more in the middle of the bike. On the descents they are just amazing, with really crisp handling and vivid feedback from the front wheel allied to a feeling of just being properly behind the front wheel. Because you're right in the middle of the bike, they don't actually feel long, because you are position on the turning axis, instead of being behind it. It's so confidence inspiring in the steep stuff. I vividly remember testing the bike at Revolution Bike Park in Feb 2016 with the team. I was scared about riding at Revs, but one run down Ghetto and I was hooked. Smashing the front of the bike off drops and into this great big rooty holes with this brilliant feeling of 'I can't crash this bike'. A proper revelation and Revolution!

The new Rocket frame is 1499 with the X Fusion O2 shock, or 1799 with Cane Creek DB Air IL, or 1849 with the Cane Creek DB Coil IL with VALT Spring. Bikes start with the Silver SLX based build at 2699, and then head on up to the Gold builds with either XT or Eagle GX at 3699. The big change here is that the Gold build now features the amazing Cane Creek HELM fork. The Platinum build new features Hope cassette, Tech3 X2 brakes and XTR/Next SL kit. All Hope parts are available in your choice of colour, with Hope headset and other upgrades all available through the Go Custom programme on the bike builder.

These will be going straight into demo next week, so from the first weekend of March, if you're booked on a Rocket at a demo, then you'll be riding the latest bike. If you aren't booked on a demo yet, check out the Demo calendar to see where you can get involved.



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