We had that nice Cy from Cotic in the office today, and he brought along this rather fetching road bike prototype in Duck Egg Blue for us to cast our envious eyes over. It's still in the prototyping stage right now but looks like it'll be a goer for 2013. I can't believe we're talking about 2013 already.
Anyway, the bike. This frame has been put together using True Temper S3 tubing but the actual production bikes will most likely be Columbus Spirit. The tube profiles will be similar, although the teardrop section top tube (with the point runnning along the base of the tube) will be swapped out for an oval section one. The down tube is a biaxial oval profile, tall at the head tube for steering stiffness and wide at the bottom bracket for better power transfer. The seat tube is a 34.9mm tube (to fit a 31.6mm seatpost) so it's pretty beefy, and the stays are fairly chunky too, ending in cowled dropouts. All in all, it looks very purposeful. We didn't get to have a go on it but it had the look of a stiff, fast steel bike rather than a wispy, soft riding one.
Geometry wise it's a pretty traditional shape, with the 58cm frame we saw getting 73° seat and head tube angles and a 58cm effective top tube. The head tube is long but not massively so, giving a fairly classic sportive position that should be good for most road riding. The steel frame is mated with a Carbon/Aluminium fork for now and the prototype bike (Cy's own) was sporting a mix of 105 and XT gear; Cy runs a mountain bike chainset because his knees don't like narrow road cranks.
It's still a work in progress. Currently the bike's not set up to accept mudguards; there's no eyelets and the bottom bracket features side lugs to increase stiffness rather than a chainstay bridge. Cy's warming to the idea of mudguard eyelets though, possibly hidden on the inside of the seat stays a la Cannondale CAAD 8. Certainly it's the kind of bike you could imagine being pressed into all-year-round service. Currently the frame will take a 28mm tyre, so it's entirely possible that later versions will have room for 25s and a full-length mudguard. I guess we'll see.
And the name? Ai is just the prototype sticker that all the Cotic development bikes get. What it will actually be called is anyone's guess. "The naming usually happens when the factory calls me up to say the bikes will be delayed if we leave it any longer", says Cy. Production is probably a year down the line, as there's prototyping in the production material to do yet, as well as a bunch of testing. We're looking forward to it already though.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.