Strengths: Handling and poise by the bucket load. Great price. Nicely finished. Plenty of mud clearance even with a high volume tyre. It's every bike you will ever need!
Weaknesses: None whatsoever. A perfect score.
I've always been a fan of the original Cotic Soul so decided to try out its slightly mad, hardcase brother. It's a nice looking frame. The proportions are just right, the welds are neat and the paint is flawless. Although cheaper than the Soul, it has clearly been built to the same standard. A good start.
Out on the trail it's true character is revealed. The geometry is the same as the Soul and by and large it has a similar feel on regular terrain. It feels slightly harsher at the rear end, and on a longer ride you do start to feel it compared to the comfortable Soul. But when things get rough and steep the BFe sprouts horns and really comes into its own. It's just rock solid. Whereas the Soul starts to feel a little unsure of itself, the BFe just gets on with it. It carves its way through anything, no messing around here. It just bullies its way through anything and challenges you to push harder and harder.
I've tried different forks from 120 to 160 and discovered it happiest at 140mm. They like a short stem, so make sure you pick your size on top tube length as well as standover.
To sum up it's a great frame. If you like the Soul you will love the BFe.
Similar Products Used: Cotic Soul, Dialled Bikes Alpine, lots of steel hardtails over the last 20 years.
Bike Setup: 2x9 SLX drivetrain. Formula the One brakes with big rotors, Joes Enduro times on Hope hubs, Magua Thor 140AM fork, maxxis tyres, Dropper post, Chromag 780 fubars, CK headset.
a Weekend Warrior
from Kenosha, WI USA
Date Reviewed: March 9, 2012
Strengths: Stiff bottom bracket area. Smoother ride than my aluminum HT. Geometry. Fairly light for it's intended purpose.
Weaknesses: If it matters, to me it doesn't, it's about a half pound heavier than my aluminum frame.
I rode this bike pretty much in the winter thaw. To warm weather folks that's ALOT of mud. I rode the SC one day and had to stop several times to "clear mud". Yes, I came to a grinding halt. Rode the BFe the next day, same trail and mud (2 to 4 inches) and didn't stop once! Same wheel-tire combo (switched wheels). So it has the tire clearance. When it dried out a bit and I was able to let it fly, the ride is fantastic. I always liked the SC, but it was just a hair off on handling, the front wants to wash out. I liked the M2, but it was twitchy at speed. This bike falls between the two. The faster I go, the better it feels. It's not incredibly raked out. It climbs just fine and doesn't lift the front wheel like my other bikes. The total weight is 27.8lbs, and as you can see, I could drop an easy 2 pounds in the setup. The bottom bracket area is stiff, I can feel the power going to the drive train. The ride is just as everyone has said about steel frames, it's not harsh, but plenty stiff. There is something odd, the sounds are louder and more pronounced, ie. shifting, freewheel, road noise. The vibrations aren't transmitted through the frame. Might be the reynolds tubing, I don't know, but it only adds to the whole expirence. I'm a heavyweight, 250lbs, and this bike is more than happy to accommodate that. If you are a lighter rider, the Soul might be a better fit. I am so glad I picked this frame, not that there is a huge market for steel hardtails. Everyone that's asked about it, I proudly say,"Take it for a spin" and they come back smiling. I was a bit worried about the long travel fork, making it a chopper, which I've done once before. I was worried over nothing. It likes it. I've mtb'd for over 20 years and this frame is the most fun. More fun than any FS bike I've ridden or owned...But Cotic do have a FS coming soon....
Similar Products Used: Santa Cruz Chameleon, Specialized Stumpjumper M2, Trek 8500, Iron Horse MT400
Bike Setup: 2011 Cotic BFe, Marzocchi RLO 44 140mm, Hope Tech X2 brakes and floating rotors, Race Face Diabolus 1 70mm stem w/DMR 5 butt steel bars and LS Peaty grips, XTR shifters, Hope headset, XT derailieurs w/short cage rear, Race Face Evolve Sterling crank-triple, Tioga MX pro pedals, Hope EVO hubs with Syncros 28 rims, Control Tech Seatpost w/Selle Italia Flite Gel saddle
a Weekend Warrior
from Sacramento, CA
Date Reviewed: May 6, 2011
Strengths: Decently light for a steel frame(5.2lbs size:small), stiff while pedaling and still being more compliant than aluminum, great geometry, nice build quality.
Weaknesses: No replaceable derailleur hanger, gritstone color option is really just gloss black powder coat with invisible stickers
I came directly off of a Transition Trans Am frame which worked well for climbing and general aggro XC but didn't feel right to me on the freeride type stuff so I bought this frame. The Cotic BFE is fantastic! it climbs well, feels very nimble through the technical stuff, and inspires confidence when hitting drops and jumps. I will say that if you plan on running a 160mm fork the front end slacks out to about 65degrees and likes to wander, so an adjustable travel fork is a good idea if you climb as much as you go down. I use this bike for everything from XC to DH and I'm more than happy with it's performance.
Thanks Cotic for the dialed geometry