The fact we’re already talking about this bike now is a surprise, as when I rode it a week ago the whole project was being kept firmly under wraps by Cy and his Cotic team. Being asked to contribute to a feature on ‘brands who hadn’t built an e-bike yet’ forced his hand though. So here we are with the lid off a project that actually started two years ago, but is at least another two years from being available to buy. And that’s if Shimano delivers the EP8 motor and 630Wh battery on time, which certainly isn’t guaranteed in the current supply climate.
What we do know is that the bike will be the first Cotic to use an alloy mainframe since the original Hemlock full suspension bike. It’s not that Cy hasn’t thought long and hard about creating a steel trellis-style space frame to handle the big battery, but by his calculations it would take around 50 welds between the short pipe sections and be insanely expensive and complex to produce as a result. That means the ‘Eeeeeeb’ (that’s the current working name in the Calver, Peak District workshop) uses a big box section downtube with open underside for battery access. The top tube and braced seat tube are relatively slim though, and follow the same format as Cotic’s steel frames.
The Drop Link suspension layout is the same too, although the raised main pivot point creates a higher level of anti-squat in the suspension and Cy has given it a more progressive spring rate too. The rear end is classic Cotic as well, with alloy chainstays for drive stiffness but steel seat stays to give some sprung compliance for locking down traction. The bridge of the alloy chainstays gives room for a 27.5 x 2.8in or 29 x 2.6in rear tire and I rode the prototype with both options. Whether the final bike will be twin 29er, mullet or come in both options doesn’t have to be decided for a while yet. Cy says he won’t be straying far from the current geometry or travel for the first motorized release as the 140mm rear, 64.5-degree head angle and long 490mm reach (large frame) is based on Cotic’s most popular current model: the Jeht all-rounder.
Initial impressions are very promising too, with plenty of tracking stiffness upfront through the big box section but without the jarring numbness of some big box bikes. In the lower-slung mullet setup it drops easily into turns and cuts hard inside expected lines on a regular basis too. The more ductile rear end still gives the Eeeeb a real ‘Cotic’ feel, both in terms of how it shrugs off impacts and adds grip-grabbing compliance. Cy’s current favorite tune of the Shimano EP8 motor prioritizes smooth delivery over brutal grunt, which really works with the frame for cleaning the long, rocky and rooty Sheffield trails we tried it on. While e-bikes always introduce more reliability issues, Cotic's reputation for geeking out on design and spec details, as well as above-and-beyond customer service, should be a very good place to put your trust if you can be patient with delivery dates.
For now, Cy’s going to push on with tweaking and tuning to make sure he’s found his sweet spot when the motors and batteries finally arrive, and we’ll keep you up to date with the story as it develops.