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Cotic Jeht Gold XT mountain bike review

Cotic’s latest bike slots into the mid-travel sweet spot but can a semi-steel small bike builder compete with the best carbon and alloy mega brand machines?

Cotic Jeht Review
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Hard-charging, progressive geometry 29er all-rounder with the added dynamic life and energy of steel

For

  • Muscularly dynamic ride feel
  • Dialed progressive geometry
  • Sorted, highly-tunable suspension
  • Enhanced flow and traction
  • Awesome customer support
  • Tough and practical
  • Well curated kit choice
  • Tons of custom options

Against

  • Heavier than carbon and alloy

Cotic’s new mid-travel trail bike is a brilliant ‘best of’ blend of surefooted speed, confident control and steel charisma that makes it an awesome alternative all-rounder. Weight on the scales is a lot less noticeable than you might think on the trail too.

Design and geometry

With 140mm of rear travel, the Jeht drops into the gap between Cotic’s 125mm travel FlareMax and the 160mm RocketMax but most of its structural elements come from the bigger bike.

That means it gets the larger gauge down tube and dramatically center flattened Ovalform top tube from Cotic’s custom Reynolds 853 weld hardening steel tubeset. The welds themselves are immaculate with reinforcing gussets behind the 44mm head tube and small fins bolstering the seat tube to down tube junction. Tapering alloy chainstays sprout from the two-piece forged and welded chainstay bridge that gives generous clearance for 29 x 2.5in tires. The chainstay rotates on a 15mm pivot just above the threaded BB, with the rear pivot at the end of the tapered steel seat stays. These also carry the rear mech cable internally while the Boost rear axle uses the Syntace X-12 system with a cunning vertically bolted replaceable rear mech hanger. You get a small One-Up chain guide as standard and the offside pivot also holds the P clip for the rear brake routing which stays external up the downtube alongside the mech and dropper cables. 

The shock sits on an alloy shoe bolted to the downtube which means bottle mounts are under the top tube and down tube, but you can get surprisingly roomy custom Restrap frame bags to sit under the shock. The ‘Droplink’ shock linkage sits lower on the oversized, kinked seat tube which leaves more room for longer stroke seatposts and also gives the Jeht a more linear shock rate than the RocketMax.

Cotic Jeht Review

Cable routing is neatly fed through the seatstays (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The first 30 Jeht mainframes were built in Scotland by Five Land bikes but they’ve all been sold and production frames will be made in Taiwan, saving you £300. All alloy fixtures are made in the UK though and the final assembly of all frames and complete bikes are at the Cotic HQ on the edge of the Peak District where the bikes are developed.

All Cotic’s LongShot bikes share the same extended reach measurements with a 490mm on the large we rode. Head angle is 64.5-degrees with seat angle at 75.5-76-degrees depending on how high you run the saddle. Chainstay length is 447mm on all sizes with a 27mm BB drop on the stock tires.

Components and build 

We tested the default Gold XT version of the Jeht with a Cane Creek Helm 2 150mm travel fork and Cane Creek DB Air Inline Climb rear shock. Stop and go equipment was Shimano XT while wheels were the optional Hunt Trail Wide wheels with WTB Verdict High Grip Light 29 x 2.5in and Trail Boss Fast Light 29 x 2.4in rear tires. The 780mm bar, 35mm stem and saddle are all Cotic items with Hope Technology providing the headset and seat collar for the X-Fusion Manic dropper post.

There are stock builds from ‘Silver SLX’ at £3599 to the Platinum X01 with titanium Cane Creek eeWing cranks for £6599. There are loads of pull-down menu options for upgrading any of the stock bike specs, including very popular Hope mods and a Cane Creek Kitsuma piggyback shock upgrade. Cotic will be offering RockShox and Fox-based builds soon too. If you want to mix and match with components you already have then Cotic will also be happy to help or you can just buy the frame kit as a DIY base.

Ride, handling and performance 

Bikes that ‘make sense’ as the mid-point of a range can sometimes feel a bit lost in terms of purpose and character compared to more extreme or focused machines. The Jeht feels absolutely ‘right’ from the first time you grip the bars and set your feet on the pedals. Even the static interplay between those two contact points underlines the solidly muscular feel of the mainframe. Start sending impacts through it on the trail and it’s still a determinedly accurate front end but with a subtly sprung compliance that alloy and carbon can’t replicate. While the tubeset is essentially the same as the RocketMax, the shorter fork creates less leverage and there’s less mid-stroke 'dead zone'. That means you can charge it through random boulder and root sections flat out without any of the ricochet or deflection you can get from the bigger bike if you properly clout it. You still get noticeable traction boosting stiction rather than slice and slap and the steel feel helps the Jeht flow smoothly over small chatter despite the initial stroke of the Cane Creek Inline shock not being quite as sensitive as the latest Fox and RockShox dampers. 

Once you’re into the stroke, damping control is impeccable, with the slightly higher than average weight giving it a seriously planted stance without it ever feeling dull or dead. Tweakers will love having separate high and low-speed compression and rebound adjustment and the more neutral shock tune means you can play around with volume spacers to tweak progression. We found the couple of volume spacers fitted as standard were absolutely spot on with a smoothly progressive rate that’s great to carve corners on but still holds onto speed very well through flat out hammer sections. 

There’s a climb switch as well to increase compression and rebound under power but we rarely felt the need to use it. Despite the hefty overall weight of the bike it climbs way better than you’d think, with a really stout and connected feel under power and great communication of the excellent traction. Having a relatively high bottom bracket also helps ground clearance on the rocky, steppy climbs that characterize the Peak District riding where it was developed. While it’s obviously not as explosive as a lighter carbon bike, it’s not wasting any of the watts you can put through the pedals so it accelerates with real purpose. That means you can properly hustle between turns or boost launch speed noticeably in a few crank turns.

While the superb frame balance between damped and dynamic is what underlines the character of the Jeht, the geometry also plays a massive part in its assured confidence. Again it takes some smart steelwork to hold everything together at either end of such a long reach but there are decades of experience and evolution keeping that 64.5 head angle accurately on track. While weight, length and stability mean it’s not a hyperactive flicker or whipper, you can still separate it from the ground easily and snap react to catch failing traction without any nervy shimmy or hesitation even if it slaps down hard afterwards. 

Cotic Jeht Review

The bottom bracket isn't slammed for ultimate handling but this gives the Jeht extra clearance for rolling over trail obstacles  (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

The relatively high bottom bracket needs a little more effort to tip over if you’re slamming the bars right over into the apex but the longer rear end adds cornering stability as well as rear tire traction so once you’re over it holds a line supremely well. As a result, we were never shy about really taking liberties with the toothy High Grip front tire and while we’re not normally massive fans of the Trail Boss, we had no issues with slip at the rear unless we deliberately drifted it to push the nose in even harder and faster.

The Helm 2 fork is a great match up front too, with a more open damping map than before giving it better sensitivity and tuning scope for more riders, but with the same excellent mid-stroke control as the Jeht’s rear end. Hunt wheels, XT kit and Cotic’s own brand contact points do the job well and for what’s basically a small batch artisan bike, the overall value is impressive considering the level of support and build collaboration Cotic provides.

Verdict

There are a bunch of really well-sorted mid-travel, 29er, do it all bikes out there and some of them are lighter and/or better equipped than the Cotic Jeht. Hit the trails hard though and it’ll soon show you that character can be a whole lot more important than stats. Geometry is totally dialed for boosting speed/sketchy moment control and the default kit and suspension are naturally sorted with loads of custom options available too. 

The ‘buy it now’ that separates it from other options is the fine tuned semi steel ride vibe though. It balances character beautifully between being the most muscularly hench Cotic yet, but still retaining the spring and life that makes their bikes so engaging and enjoyable.

Tech Specs: Cotic Jeht Gold XT Hunt

  • Discipline: Trail 
  • Price: £4,349.00 
  • Head angle: 64.5-degrees
  • Seat angle:  74.5-degrees
  • Frame material: Custom Reynolds 853 mainframe, alloy chainstays
  • Size: Large
  • Weight: 15.2kg without pedals 
  • Wheel size: 29-inch
  • Suspension (front/rear): Cane Creek Helm 2 150mm travel, 44mm offset/Cane Creek DB Air Inline Climb 140mm travel.
  • Components:  Shimano XT M8000 32 x 10-51T 12-speed gearing and chainset. Shimano XT M8000 brakes with 180mm rotors. WTB Verdict High Grip Light Slashguard 29 x 2.5in front and WTB Trail Boss Fast Light Slashguard 29 x 2.4in rear tires on Hunt Trail Wide wheels. Cotic Calver 780mm bar and Cotic 35mm Shorterstem, X-Fusion Manic 150mm dropper post, Cotic saddle. 

Test conditions

  • Temperature: 8-12 degrees.
  • Surface: Man-made blue grade flow circuits and natural rocky woodland trails. 
Guy Kesteven

Guy Kesteven is Bike Perfect and Cyclingnews’ contributing tech editor. Hatched in Yorkshire he's been hardened by riding round it in all weathers since he was a kid. He got an archaeology degree out of Exeter University, spent a few years digging about in medieval cattle markets, working in bike shops and warehouses before starting writing and testing for bike mags in 1996. Since then he’s written several million words about several thousand test bikes and a ridiculous amount of riding gear. To make sure he rarely sleeps and to fund his custom tandem habit he’s also coughed out a handful of bike-related books and talks to a GoPro for YouTube, too. We trust Guy's opinion and think you should, too.


Rides: Pace RC295, Cotic FlareMax, Specialized Chisel Ltd MTBs, Vielo V+1 gravel bike, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Di2 Disc road bike, Nicolai FS Enduro, Landescape custom gravel tandem

Height: 180cm

Weight: 69kg