Cotic has released a new drop-bar bike - the Cascade. Built from Reynolds 853 steel tubing, it fills the gap between the Escapade gravel/road bike and the SolarisMAX trail hardtail.
The central idea of the Cascade is versatility, so it's a bike that can be built up as the best bikepacking bike for your needs, as a speed demon for pushing gravel biking to the ragged edge of what's possible on drop bars, or as a comfortable all-day dirt tourer. Or, in fact, it can be anything in between.
Consequently the Cascade offers all the bag, rack and mudguard mounts you could possibly want; huge tire clearance (2.6in front and 2.4in rear; and the option to run a host of different forks, even a full-on 100mm mountain bike suspension fork. You're not stuck to short-travel gravel forks here.
Cotic takes pride in frames that encapsulate the 'steel is real' feel. The Cascade uses large diameter, thin-walled, air-hardened Reynolds 853 steel tubing, with a custom-profiled Ovalform top tube and similarly custom sizing/shaping in the rear end.
Cotic says such elements give its frames a lively and compliant ride quality, and that's certainly the case with previous models we've ridden.
Up front is Cotic's new chromoly Alpaca fork, which has an axle-to-crown length of 483mm and a 44mm offset. It will clear a 2.6in 29er tire, and if you want more volume a 3.0in tire will fit if you use 27.5in wheels.
The frame is 1x specific and uses wide Boost hub spacing for the most robust wheel setups (important on a fully loaded bike), and results in that massive 2.4in tire clearance. If you've opted for 27.5in wheels, you can go up to 2.8in instead.
Mounting options are plentiful for your best bikepacking bags with bosses under the down tube, on the seat tube, under the top tube (by the seat tube) and on top of the top tube for a standard top tube bag. The fork features three-bolt Anything Cages on both legs, a micro-rack, fender bosses and low rider mounts. There's internal dynamo routing for those taking on all-night adventures, too.
The Cascade uses what Cotic calls Sureshot geometry. Taking inspiration from its own Longshot mountain bike concept, it combines long top tubes with short stems and geometry that's either fairly progressive for a gravel bike or for traditional cross-country, depending on your perspective.
The head angle sits at 69 degrees (or 68 degrees on a size small), while the seat angle is 74 degrees. The deep 70mm bottom bracket drop should keep the Cascade feeling planted in the corners, along with a decent reach of 410mm (in size medium).
The Cascade's standard Alpaca fork can be upgraded to a carbon Salsa Firestarter 110, for a weight saving of around 730g that doesn't sacrifice bikepacking practicalities. Alternatively, if you want to go full monstercross you can spec a RockShox Sid SL Ultimate fork with 100mm travel.
Appropriately for its rowdy intentions and MTB influences, the frame features stealth routing for a full-sized dropper post too.
Cotic even says you don't have to have drop bars; instead, it can be built up with risers for that old-school rigid mountain bike vibe.
Development of the Cascade
Gravel skeptics are never shy of reminding everyone it's just 'mountain biking from the 90s.' While this generally just wrong, it's a little closer to the truth when it comes to the Cascade.
The idea for the Cascade came from an old mountain bike... albeit a six year-old Cotic Solaris rather than a 30 year old clunker. After seeing Duncan Philpott strap a pile of bags to his SolarisMAX for the 600km Dales Divide bikepacking route, Rich and Cy from Cotic began Frankenstein-ing various drop-bar setups to find out which bike is best for bikepacking. It was the pre-Longshot geo Solaris that won and became the basis of the Cascade.
Builds and pricing
Cotic is offering the Cascade in all kinds of options, from frame-only to full build.
Alone, the frame is £719, while adding the Alpaca fork takes it to £849. If you want to upgrade the fork, it's £1,359 for the Salsa fork and £1,469 for the RockShox SID package.
The full builds come in Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum tiers, starting at £2,099 for the MicroShift-equipped base model and topping out at £4,529 for the Platinum with a SRAM Force eTap / X01 Eagle AXS mullet drivetrain and Cane Creek eeWings cranks.
Framesets are in stock now in all sizes, as are the £2,699, Shimano GRX 800-equipped Gold builds. The £2,499 Silver model with its SRAM Apex drivetrain can be ordered but isn't expected until July, while the Bronze model is in the same situation but due sooner, in March.
Meanwhile the £4,529 Platinum bikes – or more specifically, the parts to complete them – are not expected until September.
For more details check out the Cascade at Cotic.co.uk.