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Cosmic's strength have always been their MTB's. Almost all of their MTB's have been entry level for general commuting purposes and also for anyone to get the taste of mountain cycling. With aggressive pricing, Cosmic have always been in front when compared to its other competitors for MTB's. From the 2016 range we got the opportunity to test ride the Cosmic Exotic 27.5 and here is what we thought.
Price: INR 19,900
Bicycle Courtesy: Just Buy Cycles, Chennai
Few things are more confidence-inspiring for amateur riders than the ability to make a mistake on the trail without risking the tender parts of the body. The ExoticÈs gradually sloping top tube gives its rider a precious inch or so of extra standover clearance. The down tube which joins at the front with the top tube makes up the ExoticÈs backbone, widening to a stiffness enhancing section at the front where it joins the head tube to help disperse the stress from frontal impacts. The head tube isnÈt tapered for extra steering precision, but thatÈs least of the problems on a recreational MTB as this.
The limiting factor on hard trails would be the Cosmic ExoticÈs relatively basic and chattery front suspension fork. It would be churlish to grumble too much about the forks on a MTB at this price. But a slightly longer travel, better damped and more accurate fork with lockouts would massively improve the trail riding experience on this MTB.
Trail riding is mainly associated with flashy colours and graphics. Cosmic have always followed that trend with standout designs for its MTBÈs. The Exotic 27.5 which I test rode came in a full silver body with slight shades of dark grey and orange. The bicycle wasnÈt the flashiest but the gloss colours were sharp. The neat graphics on the frame makes the bicycle aesthetically more appealing. The joint welding of both the top and bottom tube at the front makes the frame look bulkier. The Exotic 27.5 also comes in a black colour variant.
Offering a total of 24 gears, the Shimano drivetrain with Altus at the rear and Tourney at the front does everything it should without much fuss. At the back, the 8-speed Altus performs well and prevents dropped chains in rough terrain. The Tourney at the front was on the other hand quite noisy and did skip gears while quick shifting during the test ride. For moderate trails these gears will take you through without much complaints. The Shimano EF65 Shifters isnÈt as fast as the more expensive shifter options, but it has no problem finding the gear you demand of it.
The ExoticÈs mechanical disc brakes lack any significant power, and their minimal levers are flexy, resulting in a slightly mushy feel. Those mechanical disc brakes werenÈt fully reliable at high speeds, with a noticeable lag between pulling the lever and the bicycle actually beginning to slow down, which led to repeated unplanned gear shifts during the test ride. It only takes a couple of rides for the cables to start feeling sharp too.
The alloy handlebar on the Exotic wasnÈt the most aggressive like many MTBÈs. The minimum raise gives the bicycle a slightly more relaxed riding posture than an aggressive one. The grip patterns were hard patches which did not give any extra cushioning support.
The wheelset is a highlight on the Exotic, mainly because of the tires. The stock 27.5ÈÈ x 2.125ÈÈ MTB tires are proper off-road tires with tough treads and a big enough profile to considerably boost comfort as well as offering decent grip in most conditions. The build of the wheels are good too, thanks to its alloy rims. They also rapid roll due to their low knob profile. Cosmic have tried to go with a performance based saddle in terms of shape. The stock saddle is wide but the front tip is slightly more cushioned than it should be which gives a weird shape to it. But the saddle does feel comfortable on short bouncy rides. The over-all ride quality was sturdy and felt confident on uneven dirt surfaces.
The Exotic 27.5 is a hardtail mountain bicycle that belies its reasonable price tag in a few areas. With modern trail geometry and a comfortable handlebar it handles better that most MTBÈs in this price point. This fun, capable and confidence inspiring Cosmic Exotic 27.5 should be a top choice to consider if you are looking for a bicycle to get a taste of some serious trails without burning a hole in your pocket.