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New Bright Green stock.
New Bright Blue stock.
The latest iteration Solaris is now here. Designed to take the best of our legendary Soul trail hardtail and bring all that to the 29" wheel format. We've evolved a new geometry and tubeset for the 29er, starting with the Soul but developed to make the most of the big wheels. The head angle gives similar mechanical trail to the Soul when using 44-46mm offset 29er forks, which is combined with a 10mm longer reach than the 26" wheel bikes to give a good long front centre. A shorter stem keeps your position and works great with wide, flat bars to keep the handling sweet. Chainstays have been tucked in as far as possible without resorting to kinked or offset seat tubes so you can still get proper seat drop and good sizing.
The tubeset is unique to the Solaris and Simple. It uses a new lightweight version of the BFe 34.9mm seat tube for better pedalling stiffness and frame precision, along with a dropper seatpost compatible 31.6mm seatpost size. The Ovalform top tube is larger than the Soul to tie down the higher head tube properly and account for the longer frame. It also interfaces beautifully with the new 44mm standard head tube which features zero stack top cup for minimised bar height and external bottom cup for full taper steerer compatibility.
New for 2013 is the introduction of the new Reynolds 853 DZB (Dual Zone Butt) down tube which adds an extra thick section just before the head tube end. This has allowed us to eliminate the gussets from the front end of the frame without sacrificing durability and brings back that original, signature, clean lined Cotic look.
All this combines to give the Solaris an agile and interactive ride, with a compliance and speed across the ground which has to be experienced.
The chart is a guide to frame size. Ultra Compact Geometry means that the frames are small and long. You can take this two ways. You can either have a regular position coupled with a small and chuckable frame, or you could go for the next size up and go long and racey without feeling like you're riding a gate. You lot are just too different to say for sure, so drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to discuss set up based on what you're riding at the moment.
|Frame Size||Small NEW!||Medium||Large||XL|
|Seat Tube (centre-top)||16"||17.5"||19"||20.5"|
|Top Tube Length||22.8"||23.8"||24.6"||25.4"|
|Chainstay Length (centre to centre)||440mm||440mm||440mm||440mm|
|Chainstay Length (horizontal)||435mm||435mm||435mm||435mm|
|Head Tube Length||95mm||100mm||110mm||120mm|
|Usual Height Range||5'5" - 5'9"||5'9" - 6'0"||6'0" - 6'3"||6'3" - 6'6"|
|All measurements based on 470mm axle-to-crown rigid fork/80mm travel suspension fork at ride height. 100mm or 120mm suspension forks will slacken angles by 1 and 2 degrees respectively.|
Seatpost diameter: 31.6mm (wise to get a decent length one)
Front Mech: 34.9mm (Top Pull)
Bottom Bracket width: 73mm
Headset: 44m cup (for example a Hope 2H)[click here for info]
Mid 2010: The time had come to get some 29er experience. The forks and tyres available were now at a point where I felt I could design a frame without any compromise for components, so the Solaris project was born.
The first element to sort out was the head angle. With 44-46mm offset 29er forks, the head angle still needed to be steepened by 1 degree compared to the Soul to get a similar mechanical trail, so the front centre was getting shorter. With chainstays tucked in as far as possible without resorted to offset or curved seat tubes, they were still 15mm (horizontal) longer than the Soul. This meant the rider's weight was moving a long way forward in the wheelbase compared to the 26" wheel bikes. I attempted to counter this is two ways. Firstly, by increasing the top tube length by 10mm and expecting to use a 10mm shorter stem to maintain my position. Also, I postulated that the longer chainstay would stand a slacker seat angle without ruining the weight distribution, which would shorter than wheelbase a touch and also potentially make it more comfortable for taller riders with long femurs. The final piece of the jigsaw was a taper steerer compatible head tube. The head tube height was coming out some 45mm higher than a Soul, so I reduced the length by 10mm and decided to try out the tapered head tube design I had which used traditional 1 1/8" top cup and 44mm bottom cup. The tubeset was based around the Soul, but with a lightweight version of a BFe seat tube to try out, partly for stiffness, partly for dropper seatpost compatibility. The drawings were created and prototypes ordered.
April 2011: The first prototypes arrived and I built my large up with 100mm travel Reba Maxles, 70mm stem (usually use 80mm on my Soul) and Sunline 762 flat bars cut down to my usual 710mm width. The Bontrager 29-4 tyres originally ordered for the bike turned out to be hugely tall (nearly 30" wheels!), and they hit the front mech on the seat tube clamp, so these were soon replaced with some lovely 2.2 Maxxis IKON 3C's which were superb and fitted with plenty of space to spare.
Late May 2011: It took some doing to get comfortable on the bike as I like low-ish bars, but the Sunline 762's were spot on, especially once chopped down to my usual 710mm width. Even though the Solaris has short head tubes as 29ers go, the 29er layout does make it hard to get bars low if you like that, so we'll be recommending flat bars mostly and sizing you guys up carefully to make sure it's spot on for you. It's also hardened my resolve not to do a small size. If I'm 6ft 3in and I found the bike felt too high with anything other than flat bars on it, then there's no way small size people are going to get anything out of a 29er in my opinion, or certainly nothing apart from something that rolls quick but has your bars higher than your ears so you can't it throw around, and where's the fun in that? A bike you can't chuck around certainly is not a very Cotic bike, that's for sure. We'll be doing medium for people down to around 5ft 9in, and there will be an XL size inserted above our usual large for guys up to around 6ft 7in ish.
I've been really pleased with how the bike handles and I've been doing a lot of direct back-to-back loops with the Soul to get a really firm idea where we're at with this bike. Climbing is pretty similar between the two, with the Soul making easier weight shifts and trialsy moves vs the Solaris running over larger bumps easier. Contouring and on swooping singletrack the Solaris just flies. It carries speed so nicely. Really impressive. On bumpy downhills, (Devil's Elbow/Piper Lane in Blacka Moor for the Sheffield locals), the most marked difference was observed. It's a fast downhill with fist to babyhead sized rocks, and a lot of possibilities for straight lining bumpy sections as the DH boys have carved in their own lines. The Soul is just a massive amount of fun down here, boosting off rocks, over sections, whipping between lines. The Solaris, on this particular size of bumps is COMPLETELY BALLISTIC. Proper FS bike speed. Not as easy to pop or move line, but I didn't need to, it was so insanely fast. I was laughing like an idiot at the bottom of the hill! Just to see how far I could push it I took it up to somewhere seriously bumpy where 150mm travel bikes usually fly. Definitely found the limit of the 29er bump smoothing! Rode fast, but was really quite scared and took a while for the vision blur to stop at the bottom ;-) Really interesting defining the differences between the bikes though. I can't see us ever replacing 26" wheel hardtails with 29" wheel, but they both have their pros and cons, so both have their place in the range. For smooth speed the 29er is incredibly fast.
There were some things not quite right though, the main one being seat angle. As explained above, I went a little slacker on the Solaris because I reasoned that the longer back end would mean the weight distribution didn't end up getting mucked up, and the taller gentlemen has longer legs which suit slacker seat angles. It unfortunately hasn't worked and the front end is a little too wandery on climbs for my liking, which has been confirmed by feedback from some other guys who've ridden the bike. I also planned on making the front end longer than the equivalent 26" bike to compensate for the shorter front centre brought on by steepening the head angle relative to the Soul. This would allow a 10mm shorter stem as well to keep steering sharp. I managed to mis-calcuate this due to the increased height of the head tube compared to the Soul and the prototype bike has ended up effectively a couple of mm shorter than a Soul size-for-size. As the bar height has been an issue I'll move to the 44mm zero stack head tube as well to bring the bars down further without shortening the already short head tube. So, another prototype was required, as the seat angle needed bringing back to Soul equivalence, and I needed to do my sums right on the top tube length!!
August 2011: Lots of feedback about the mech preferences when discussing the tight clearances on the seat tube of the Solaris prototype. As most people sided with us on the use of a standard clamp mech, and having thought about it some more that's what we're sticking with. Clearance on production frames will be better than the prototypes as the seat angle will be 1 deg steeper than the blue prototype. So, you can use a regular clamp mech and get OK clearance, or you can chop the bottom pull arm off and get good clearance. We've also since found that the 2012 SRAM high band front mech use a very slim steel band and having tried them, they offer more clearance than anything else we've seen.
We also at this point went for a very big long ride in the Lakes, the first ride of 29er Prototype2 which we had built up in double quick time by 18 Bikes.
As mentioned above, Prototype 1's slack seat angle and too short top tube weren't right. It rode well, but wasn't really long enough and on steep climbs the front end popped up much too easily, plus stiffness wasn't ideal (high head tubes on 29ers seem to need more top tube stiffness compared to 26" bikes). So, prototype 2 was commissioned with fixes: Top tube sums done right so 10mm longer than equivalent Soul to keep the front centre nice and long, 10mm shorter head tube, 1 deg steeper seat angle than prototype 1, next size up top tube. Result? AMAZING! We were really quite surprised by how immediately right the bike felt. Sometimes it's hard to spot changes to frame layout, but the combination of the above turned the 29er into a brilliant bike. So, we've found our final frame spec, and drawings and factory orders were placed.
February 2012: First production frames arrive.
November 2012: Solaris placed in What Mountain Bikes Top 10 Bikes Of The Year.
February 2013: Latest iteration production frames arrive now using a full Reynolds 853 front triangle. The switch resulted from Reynolds DZB (Dual Zone Butt) tubing becoming available in lengths suitable for 29er use. This down tube allows us to eliminate the gussets whilst still getting meeting the regulations and getting the durability we require. Back to the super clean Cotic lines!