We spent a lot of time looking at a variety of shiny things at the Cycle Show, but one of the most interesting new bikes we saw wasn't actually in the show, it was locked up outside in the complimentary parking pen. The bike in question was the new >X< cyclocross bike from Cotic (hereafter just called the 'X' as that's less of a faff) and it had been ridden to the show by Cotic's own Cy Turner.
Seems like you're not anyone these days if you don't have at least one 'cross bike in your range, no matter how small that range might be. Some of these might be considered to be jumping on the bandwagon a bit, but Cotic's route to market is a lot more true-blood than that. Originally Cy was approached by Cotic rider Kate Potter's coach to build her a CX bike for the World Cup races at the back end of 2008. with just 10 weeks to get from nothing to a fully functioning race bike it was a quick learning curve, but the 853-framed, Taiwanese-built result was a big hit at the 2009 Cycle Show, to the point that Cotic decided to put it – or at least a production bike based on it – into their range.
Reynolds 853 was ruled out early on for reasons of cost – frame and fork would have been over £700 – so Cy instead designed his own heat treated tubeset for the X. It's a bit heavier than Kate's race bike but the flip side is that the frame and forkcomplete bikes are much more affordable. The Sora/Tiagra Weekday model is a Cyclescheme-friendly £1,000 whereas the more race-oriented Sunday, with full 105 groupset, is £1,300. The geometry of the range is extrapolated from the original race bike and the frame and Carbon/Alu fork are both disc-ready.
"With it being a steel frame it was never going to be a pure race bike, and I like bikes with a bit of versatility. Very few people just race their cyclocross bike, so we came it it from an all-round user perspective", Cy told us. The upshot is that there's lots of practicality built in to the X. There's two bottle cage mounts but they're both on the down tube, so you can still shoulder the bike easily; the top cage point is designed for a 500ml bottle and you can get a bigger one in the lower cage.
The ovalised top tube isn't specific to the X – all the Cotic bikes feature them – but it does make the bike a bit more comfy to carry, and the cables are routed under the bottom bracket. The rear triangle is ported from the Roadrat and you get removeable brake bosses front and rear so that you can have nice clean lines if you opt for discs. There's good mud clearance all round – especially at the bottom bracket where there's no bridge, just a mudguard mount – and bosses for mudguards if you're going to be commuting on it in the wet.
All in all it looks an excellent all-rounder, and you'll be able to buy one... soon. As soon as we hear they're available, we'll let you know.
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.