Cotic’s BFe gets the MAX treatment, gaining more travel and bigger hoops in the process to give you a hardtail that can take on pretty much anything.

Cy Turner tells how the BFe got the Captain America treatment to become the BFeMAX and has become their most capable hardtail to date.

What was the impetus for the BFeMAX?

Despite making the SolarisMAX 140mm compatible last year, there were still some customers who were asking for more, or wishing the SolarisMAX was optimised for 140mm forks. That’s not really what the SolarisMAX is about for us. It’s a super capable all rounder. Clearly there was a demand for a burlier 29er hardtail and the BFe has sat next to the Soul in that same role since 2005, so it made sense.

Once you’d made that decision, what happened next?

We set out what we wanted from the bike, but broadly we applied the BFe vs Soul formula to the BFeMAX vs SolarisMAX. It gets designed around the longer 140mm forks (so compared to the SolarisMAX with 140mm forks it has a lower BB and a steeper seat angle), but is made strong enough for up to 160mm.

It gets a stronger, stiffer Cotic FM / 853 combination tubeset which brings the price down a little. Bit of prototyping to double check things, lab test, away you go.

What did the BFeMAX borrow from other bikes like the BFe and the SolarisMAX?

As mentioned above, the BFeMAX uses a similar tubeset to the BFe, but shares it’s rear end and some general sizing with the SolarisMAX. The head angle with 140mm forks is the same as the SolarisMAX because we know that works so well, but it’s got a steeper seat angle than the SolarisMAX, and a dropped top tube, plus so extra bottle/luggage bosses here and there, so it’s definitely learnt from both bikes, and added few of it’s own things into the mix.

Endura Takeovertea

How did you adapt Longshot to this bike?

As there was never a OFI (our previous geometry system) version of the BFeMAX, there wasn’t any adaptation really. It was a matter of applying what we know about that geometry system across all of the bikes. It’s fairly closely related to the SolarisMAX in a lot of ways, so it was relatively straightforward.

What changes do you need to make to accommodate a larger wheel?

As I said, in terms of the geometry this is more a development of the SolarisMAX than the BFe, so it wasn’t really a matter of “accomodating” the wheel, we were starting from a 29er hardtail anyway. The main things the BFe leant the bike are structural, so that experience counted when making sure everything was strong enough.

Did you consider making the BFeMAX in the UK?

No. Five Land simply don’t have the capacity to make more frames for us right now so we are concentrating on the Droplink model lines in the UK. The hardtails and gravel bikes will remain in Taiwan. They’re awesome at what they do, they have the capacity we need, and unlike with the Droplink bikes, they can hit a lower price.

Was the timeline for this bike affected by CV-19?

Only a little. Taiwan have contained Covid-19 incredibly well, so there hasn’t been too much delays there for orders placed prior to the pandemic. We’re seeing some delays on deliveries due later in the year, but right now it’s OK. The main thing that slowed us down is getting the bikes built and photographed here in the UK.

We are super busy (and incredibly grateful for that), but we’re down on capacity due to physical distancing, so getting bikes built and photographs shot takes longer. It’s worked out well though. The frames are in stock this week so people don’t have to wait too long from seeing the bikes to getting them.

Check out all the build and spec options for the Cotic BFeMAX on Cotic’s website here.

Read all our other product development interviews on our Features page here.