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Versatile steel flat bar road bike gets updated with carbon fork and tapered head tube

When it first launched in 2006 the original Roadrat was an attempt by British mountain bike brand Cotic to offer a fast and versatile urban city road bike with a compact frame, flat bars, disc brakes and lively handling that would suit those coming from more of a mountain bike background. It was a bike that was ahead of its time.

And it has just been updated. This is the 4th generation Roadrat, which retains the geometry of the previous version but gets a few modern revisions including a tapered head tube and a lighter carbon fibre RB4 fork with a 12mm thru-axle. The original had a steel fork and non-tapered head tube.

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The frame is still made from heat treated chromoly with a signature Ovalform top tube to increase stiffness. As before the dropouts are horizontal to providing compatibility with singlespeed, fixed, hub and derailleur gear setups. There are mudguard and rack mounts as well.

Tyre clearance is adequate for the latest generation of wide tyres, up to 700x40c and even the trendier 650bx47mm that we’re seeing popular with road plus and adventure bikes at the moment. Cotic is offering the choice of WTB Horizon or Byway tyres and will set them up tubeless straight from the factory. That’s a nice touch.

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The revised Roadrat frame will cost £499 and complete bikes will start from £899 for a singlespeed, £999 for a 1x9 geared bike, rising to Alfine 11 for £1,299, with UK delivery included in the price. It will ship anywhere in the world. There are plenty of upgrade options, including Road Plus tyres, Hope 20Five wheels, brakes, bars, seatpost and custom colour options through the company’s Go Custom build programme.

When it launched in 2006 the Roadrat really was ahead of its time, with disc brakes that were only just appearing on the road bike industry horizon. The geometry and pitch of the bike stood out as well, with a longer front centre designed around a short stem and flat bar, to provide a comfortable, long and low position, but more accessible than a drop bar road bike.

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The original also boasted bags of versatility. It could be fitted with just about any groupset you could imagine and was dual compatible with rim and disc brakes. Usually, the fork had disc brake mounts on the front, to prevent the front wheel ejecting, which was a cause for concern at the time when quick release axles were still standard, long before thru-axles started appearing.

"It was born of a desire for something swift and rugged to take on the rapidly crumbling tarmac of the urban landscape, but also up for disappearing for a few days with nothing but your sleeping bag and mat for company. We melded our iconic mountain bike fit and handling with fast road features and rigid forks," explains the company. 

road.cc tested the Drop Bar version back in 2009 and we’ll be looking at giving the new version a thrashing as soon as we can prise one out of Cotic. Check out the new bike at www.cotic.co.uk/product/roadrat

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David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.