Cotic Escapade road bike  £949.00

7/10

Comfortable, grin-inducing all rounder with virtually infinite build options

Weight 10700g   Contact  www.cotic.co.uk

by Stuart Kerton   May 25, 2014  

Cotic's new Escapade continues the 'do-it-all' style of bikes we've been seeing more and more of since the tail end of last year. If you're looking for a nippy commuter, light tourer or something in between the Cotic is a smart investment.

The frame is chromoly steel which isn't the most advanced of materials used in bike building but it always offers a good solid ride. Cotic have used butted tubing (thinner in the middle than at the ends) it to save weight and add a bit of comfort.

Geometry wise it's long and low. Ultra Compact they call it and like Giant did with their OCR/TCR years ago Cotic offer the Escapade in just three sizes with stem length variations taking care of the exact fit. The small we've got on test here has a 54cm (effective) top tube with just a 48cm seat tube. Reach and stack are 364.5mm and 574.9mm respectively, head is 72° while the seat angle is a degree steeper.

The frame is one of the most versatile out there thanks mostly to the Dogsbody 2 dropouts. They are horizontal allowing you to run the Escapade as fixed, singlespeed or set up with a hub gear, ideal for low maintainance commuting or touring. There is a gear hanger to should you want to run deraillieur gears. It isn't replaceable but steel gear hangers can usually be bent back if disaster strikes.

Tyre clearances are massive. There's room for up to 46mm cyclo-cross tyres on the standard rims here, or you can also go 29er with a narrow 1.8-inch off road tyre should you fancy about of dirt track. Even with these huge allowances the geometry means that the Escapade doesn't look 'gappy', one of my pet hates on bikes that are designed for guards that aren't wearing them.

Continuing with the 'do it all' theme there are braze on bosses for everything you need: full mudguards, disc brakes, racks and water bottle cages. The rear disc mount is positioned in board and includes adjustment grooves making moving the caliper easy to account for chain length should you run fixed or singlespeed.

The fork is Cotic's own steel unit and the first thing you'll notice is that it doesn't have dropouts as such. The 9mm quick release hollow axle is fully surrounded by material, so you have to fully remove the skewer to get the wheel out.

For £949 you can get the build here with a full Sora group, Shimano cable discs and Alex rims with Cotic's own hubs or you can go for a frame only option (£249) or the frame, fork and 9mm through axle for £329. Two rather fetching paint options are available which are Matte Duckegg blue or this Gloss Black Grape.

At 10.7kg (23.6lb) I wasn't exactly expecting a sporty ride but give the Escapade a kick and it's a nippy little so and so, especially in an urban environment, darting between traffic and road furniture. The steering is direct without being twitchy.

The Shimano BR-R517 cable operated brakes work well in traffic to with enough bite to get you out of trouble. They haven't got the crispest of feedback though, feeling a touch on the spongy side, but they are consistent.

The Maxxis Overdrive Excel 28mm cut slicks were perfect for a bit of canal path action and again here the Cotic was in its element smashing through potholes and rough gravel sections flat out. I love it when a bike gives you that little grin factor even when mental speeds aren't a factor.

When you're not scything through the rush hour or scaring dog walkers the Escapade is very well behaved. The high front end gives a nice relaxed position for cruising along the tarmac and although the wheels and tyres aren't the lightest once up to speed you can roll along at a decent speed.

The frame feels just like a steel frame should, stiffness but that cushioned edge just taking away any harshness from the road.

The Cotic Components finishing kit offers a decent degree of comfort for what are pretty standard alloy pieces. The anatomic handlebars are a nice fit though, the pistol grip drop shape i just right for getting your head down on a windy day.

No matter what size frame you buy you're going to be running a lot of seatpost which brings with it plenty of flex for comfort. The thin saddle is a good un to.

Once the road turns skyward having a 32-tooth cassette on the back is a life saver. Paired with a 34-tooth chainring you can haul that 10.7kg weight uphill in the saddle. The Sora gearing has some pretty tidy shifting under load and feels neater than the eight-speed version its evolved from. In fact the black gloss makes it look a much more expensive groupset than it actually is.

Don't worry about running out of gears on the way down though as a 50/11t combo will give you something to push against up to around 45mph and when you get there you'll be impressed with how well the Cotic handles. The long top tube allows you to get low and spread your weight for flying round the bends. It doesn't track as tightly as a race bike but you only notice this at high speed as you lose a little of the sharpness.

Overall the Escapade is a proper all rounder that does everything well without specializing to the point of superlatives in any particular area; it does come close in a lot of departments, though. The frame is well put together, finished off with that deep paint job and it's certainly going to handle some abuse whether it's in the countryside or the city.

The £949 for this full build is pretty good value in terms of a quality frame and fork built up with sensible kit and groupset for day to day riding. If you've got a specific goal in mind for your finished build though £329 for the frameset is a very tempting offer.

It might not be the quickest or the lightest but it's a hell of a lot of fun.

Verdict

Comfortable, grin-inducing all rounder with virtually infinite build options.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Cotic Escapade

Size tested: 53

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: Custom butted Cromoly with Ovalform top tube

Fork: Cromoly, disc specific with 9mm Captive dropout

Drivetrain: Shimano Sora

-9spd STi

-Sora 34/50 Compact Double Chainset

-11-32 9spd cassette and chain

Brakes: Shimano cable disc

Finishing Kit: Cotic Components 'CC',

-440mm wide handlebar

-100mm x 10 deg stem

-Layback 330mm seatpost

-CC Cromo Rail Saddle

Headset: Cane Creek Headset

Wheels: Alex R450 rims on Cartridge bearing CC disc hubs 700x32c tyres

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

It's for pretty much everyone to be honest. The versatility of the dropouts means you can ride it fixed, SS, hub or derailleur geared. Tyre clearance up to 29x1.8in/700c x 42mm slicks or knobblies.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

A nicely finished steel frame for the money that looks and feels solid when you're riding.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Custom butted chromoly steel is used for the frame while the forks are plain gauge in the same material. Bosses for racks, guards and discs are all there.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

Long and low, compact style frame. Geometry table here - http://www.cotic.co.uk/product/escapade#sizing

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Pretty normal stack wise for this style of bike although the reach is longer than a lot of the competition.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes, you can't beat a well put together steel frame for comfort.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

You can feel a bit of flex at the bottom bracket if you really stomp on the pedals but it's nothing too noticable.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Yeah pretty well, although it can give quite a punchy turn of speed massive power efforts aren't really what it's about.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Nippy when cutting through rush hour traffic and can hold its own on descents.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Having a lot of seatpost showing adds comfort and the own brand components do a good job too.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The alloy components bring a tight feel to the frame and the Sora chainset seems pretty solid too.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The hybrid tyres caused a bit of drag on the tarmac but obviously give you the option of mixing your terrain up.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

Sora has come on a long way and the lastest 9sp version looks very slick

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

The wheels seem strong and will deal with various terrain without issue. The tyres were pretty good on road although if that's where you are going to spending most of your time something lighter and slicker would be faster.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

The pistol grip bars offer plenty of positions and will work well for most riders.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, it's fun.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
7/10

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course!  My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

24 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Am I going crackers or has it got dirt drops on in the first picture and ergos in the later ones?

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
25th May 2014 - 17:30

208 Likes

Like the look of this very much (esp in duck egg) - very Kona-esq. Just one question - do quick release wheels work OK with horizontal dropouts - never come across this set up before? Any downsides to this setup?

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [222 posts]
25th May 2014 - 20:46

207 Likes

It's most likely that you would just clamp the wheel in the dropout slot as far forward as it will go so it can't move. Should work fine.

joemmo's picture

posted by joemmo [908 posts]
25th May 2014 - 21:30

199 Likes

QR works fine, have done exactly that on a Surly before.

posted by jacknorell [570 posts]
25th May 2014 - 21:57

202 Likes

pastaman wrote:
Like the look of this very much (esp in duck egg) - very Kona-esq. Just one question - do quick release wheels work OK with horizontal dropouts - never come across this set up before? Any downsides to this setup?

Why wouldn't QR work on those dropouts? It's been OK for years on steel frames.

posted by daccordimark [15 posts]
26th May 2014 - 7:54

207 Likes

and it's in UKIP colours which looks like the way we're all headed nowadays

Northernbike's picture

posted by Northernbike [173 posts]
26th May 2014 - 17:43

206 Likes

All - thanks, that's helpful Smile

Pastaman

posted by pastaman [222 posts]
26th May 2014 - 17:54

199 Likes

daccordimark wrote:
pastaman wrote:
Like the look of this very much (esp in duck egg) - very Kona-esq. Just one question - do quick release wheels work OK with horizontal dropouts - never come across this set up before? Any downsides to this setup?

Why wouldn't QR work on those dropouts? It's been OK for years on steel frames.

They look like track ends to me...

Having said that yes QR's work just fine with semi-horizontal drop outs as found on traditional steel frames or on track ends if running a single speed.

I wouldnt trust modern QR's if you were running it fixed, the way round it is to swap the QR out for a vintage steel shimano QR from the late 70's or early 80's as they have a much stronger cam mechanism in them then modern QR's intended for use in vertical drop outs.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
26th May 2014 - 18:07

202 Likes

I think normal Shimano QRs will do just fine, modern or not. Strongest on the market and the internal design hasn't changed in ages.

posted by jacknorell [570 posts]
26th May 2014 - 18:55

201 Likes

pastaman wrote:
do quick release wheels work OK with horizontal dropouts - never come across this set up before? Any downsides to this setup?

I have a QR on my Roadrat and it's OK, but I did have to get an extra chain tug for the non-drive side as well.

posted by Chuck [435 posts]
26th May 2014 - 20:40

200 Likes

Bikes are much better if you put the right amount of air in the tyres.

posted by samuri [18 posts]
26th May 2014 - 21:07

201 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
I think normal Shimano QRs will do just fine, modern or not. Strongest on the market and the internal design hasn't changed in ages.
No they have changed.

Older hubs were intended to run with semi horizontal drop outs which face forward so the cam is bigger and offers far more mechanical force to prevent the wheel getting pulled forwards toward the seat tube under drive and locking the wheel up, Mavic QR's were also very heavy duty for this reason.

If you want to post contradictory answers just for the sake of looking clever and possibly put people at risk then so be it but they are not the same dimensions anymore, they certainly don't offer enough bite if you intend to run a home brew fixed hub on a re-dished wheel.

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
27th May 2014 - 10:01

198 Likes

What's this like in comparison to the Planet X Kaffenback at £800?! You never seem to test Planet X bikes!

Dangermouse's picture

posted by Dangermouse [14 posts]
27th May 2014 - 19:54

190 Likes

Dangermouse wrote:
What's this like in comparison to the Planet X Kaffenback at £800?! You never seem to test Planet X bikes!

Plus Planet-X have an understanding that small means a top-tube less than 54cm. I had one of the original Kaffenbacks - did sterling service as a winter bike for a few years before I had something similar made in titanium for disc brakes.

Make mine an Italian with Campagnolo on the side

posted by monty dog [382 posts]
27th May 2014 - 20:02

190 Likes

I'm sorry, but that is little more than a hideous looking assortment of bits painted purple with some wheels fitted to it.

Steel bikes should be beautiful. That one looks like a cut 'n' shut job done on two different sized Halfords specials from the 70's.

I am impressed by one feature though... its the only bike I've ever seen that had a coccyx!

My eyes prefer Celeste, my bum prefers titanium.

Jack Osbourne snr's picture

posted by Jack Osbourne snr [310 posts]
27th May 2014 - 21:59

190 Likes

MKultra wrote:
If you want to post contradictory answers just for the sake of looking clever and possibly put people at risk then so be it but they are not the same dimensions anymore, they certainly don't offer enough bite if you intend to run a home brew fixed hub on a re-dished wheel.

Who said anything about running fixed except you? Whole different kettle of fish that and I'd never recommend QRs... bolt in please.

I wasn't responding to your theoretical fixed scenario, but rather to the original question of whether a QR would work on this bike. You know, the one being reviewed, with gears.

Also, if you're using track ends, you'd have one or two chain tugs if you're not putting the axle all the way forward.

posted by jacknorell [570 posts]
27th May 2014 - 22:30

188 Likes

Is it just me or does it look to have an insanely short wheelbase? The front centre also looks really short as it seems to have masses of front wheel/foot overlap. If it wasn't for that, I'd say this looks like a really well-sorted bike, but there's simply no need to build with toe overlap.

posted by alexb [52 posts]
28th May 2014 - 8:52

178 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
MKultra wrote:
If you want to post contradictory answers just for the sake of looking clever and possibly put people at risk then so be it but they are not the same dimensions anymore, they certainly don't offer enough bite if you intend to run a home brew fixed hub on a re-dished wheel.

Who said anything about running fixed except you? Whole different kettle of fish that and I'd never recommend QRs... bolt in please.

I wasn't responding to your theoretical fixed scenario, but rather to the original question of whether a QR would work on this bike. You know, the one being reviewed, with gears.

Also, if you're using track ends, you'd have one or two chain tugs if you're not putting the axle all the way forward.

I mentioned the need for a heavy duty QR if you wish to go fixed without track nuts.

You then directly contradicted that.

It's not semantics, you just could not be bothered to read my post properly.

You are also wrong about Shimano QR's having been the same "for ages".

They are not.

Moving swiftly on to a more productive conversation with someone who is not "on the spectrum".

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
28th May 2014 - 11:21

175 Likes

It's not clever to use 'on the spectrum' as an insult.

posted by Jerm [39 posts]
28th May 2014 - 20:44

174 Likes

The big problem for me with this are the track ends. I like Cotics and have 2 but the track ends on the roadrat combined with SKS mudguards make sorting roadside punctures a nuisance.

posted by richcc [45 posts]
29th May 2014 - 6:55

167 Likes

richcc wrote:
The big problem for me with this are the track ends. I like Cotics and have 2 but the track ends on the roadrat combined with SKS mudguards make sorting roadside punctures a nuisance.

Buy an additional set of SKS secu-stay clips and push the rear mudguards into these instead of bolting them in place. Then when you need to get the rear wheel out you just pop them out of the way.
http://www.sjscycles.co.uk/sks-secu-clips-for-front-mudguard-stays-per-p... all of £1.50!

posted by alexb [52 posts]
29th May 2014 - 14:43

161 Likes

Jerm wrote:
It's not clever to use 'on the spectrum' as an insult.

Cheers Jerm. I took it more as a sign of projection than anything really.

posted by jacknorell [570 posts]
1st June 2014 - 16:14

120 Likes

jacknorell wrote:
Jerm wrote:
It's not clever to use 'on the spectrum' as an insult.

Cheers Jerm. I took it more as a sign of projection than anything really.

And yet you remain wrong.

Party

posted by MKultra [285 posts]
2nd June 2014 - 10:40

113 Likes

What the f*** does on the spectrum mean?

posted by sodit [75 posts]
3rd June 2014 - 17:23

99 Likes

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