German direct to consumer company Rose Bikes, looks to capitalise on growing success in the UK and elsewhere with three completely new models for the 2016 model year and significant updates to two more.
Rose’s well received and reviewed current road range has helped the company to a record UK sales performance in 2015. However the product development team has been hard at work developing some interesting looking new choices for customers for 2016, including a new aero road bike, a Time Trial/Triathlon Bike and a completely new Cyclocross bike. Alongside the new models, two of Rose’s best-selling models have been given a significant update.
I was lucky enough to be invited by Rose to the stunning Tirol region of Austria for a second year to see and ride some of the new models.
New X-Lite CW Aero bike
Roses striking new aero bike is also the first aero frameset that I’ve seen that will be available in disc or caliper brake versions – buyers will be able to choose which braking system they’d prefer and the company had sample bikes on display in both brake configurations. Rose say they’ve focussed on a more aerodynamic shape for the new bike and claim 8% less drag than their existing model with stiffness gains of up to 20% (at the tapered 1 1/8 to 1/5” head tube).
The caliper brake version uses direct mount brakes with the rear brake position under the bottom bracket, whilst the disc bike features Shimano’s new flat mount standard, along with 12mm through axles front and rear and 160/140mm disc rotors.
Interestingly for an aero bike the disc version has clearances for 28mm tyres, with the caliper version 25mm thanks to a width restriction with Shimano direct mount calipers (they’re not designed to accommodate wider than 25mm tyres) even though the frame itself has plenty of room for wider tyres.
Design features include shaping of the seat tube around the rear wheel for better aero performance, a flippable 180 degree seat post allowing customers to use the bike for TT/Triathlon riding as swapping the seat post around changes the seat angle for 74 to 76 degrees. The monolink seat clamp also enhances saddle adjustability, according to Rose, to get your position dialled in.
There also variable bottle cage mounts on the down tube to enable you to tweak the bottle position, whether you’re using one or two bottles and the cable routing has been integrated as much as possible for cleaner looks, better aero performance as well as easier maintenance.
The X-Lite CW will be available in 5 sizes from 51 cm to 62cm and the frame weight for a size 57cm frame is reported to be 1050 gms. Certainly even the disc build on display with SRAM Red and Zipp 303 wheels felt very light to pick up.
The Xeon Team CGF gets a significant update:
Rose’s very popular endurance bike, the Xeon Team CGF has quite major updates for 2016. I had ridden the previous model and enjoyed it but my first impressions on the revised bike are that it’s noticeably better than the current model.
The company has worked to lower the weight of the frameset and in part this is due to a new EPS manufacturing process, that whilst more complex and expensive to manufacturer means a much cleaner inside of the carbon frame, higher product quality as well as reduced frame weight. During the same process that meant new moulds were required, Rose have also modified the dimensions of the downtube and seat tube, modified the bends on the seat stays and widened the head tube area for greater front end stiffness. Tyre clearances have been improved and the Xeon Team CGF can now run 28mm tyres, so the fork design has been adjusted too for the wider clearances required. The dropouts have also been revised and optimised for easier handling and wheel removal. Cable mounting and routing has also been improved and the Xeon Team CGF now features the cable management system from the top of the range X-Lite Team frames for easier maintenance and cleaner aesthetics.
Interestingly Rose said they changed the amount of bend in the seat stays as a result of customer feedback, some of whom struggled with the looks of the previous generations bent seat stays, so this has been reduced in the redesign.
With the lower weight and boosted stiffness, Rose say there is an overall improvement in stiffness to weight of 10% over the current model. The new frame weight for a size 57cm is 970 gms with a fork weight of 320 gms.
There is also a new extra size for big guys and this new 64cm frame option brings the total range of sizes to seven.
Even with only a short 30-40 minute ride on the new Xeon Team CGF in the 3100 spec (Ultegra Di2 and with DT Swiss R23 Spline wheels) and I was very impressed with the improvements in the ride that all of these updates collective provide.
On a loop that incorporates everything from smooth tarmac, to broken surfaces and potholes, gravel surfaces with descents and climbs in the amazing Kirchberg countryside, the new Xeon Team CGF was very smooth, very comfortable, had better handling and was frankly a lovely bike to ride on first acquaintance. If you’re considering an endurance style road bike for next season, this one should go on your shortlist.
Pro-SL – Rose’s biggest selling road bike get a major makeover
The entry level alloy PRO SL has had a significant redesign to improve aesthetics and ride quality for 2016. The down tube gets a new modern shape, the seat stays have been lowered, allowing the seat tube to be shortened, which in turn allows more seat post to be exposed. Together this improves the comfort of the bike through the rear end over the existing version. Cable routing has also been improved including a new cable guide system that makes replacing the internal cables much easier. Tyre clearances have also been expanded with space for 28mm tyres front and rear.
For what’s a very affordable model in the Rose range, the PRO SL also features the company’s excellent full carbon tapered steerer road fork, which weighs in at 320gms. This fork is not only light but very smooth and a very good good fork that Rose use right up to their top of the range X-Lite Team bikes.
In the flesh the new frame design looks great – particularly in the matt black finish Ultegra spec bike that was at the launch. I managed to get out and ride this updated version and it was a very likeable bike. Lively with a firm but comfortable ride, the PRO SL did everything well for an entry level bike, it climbed, descended and cornered well and even with the relatively portly Mavic Aksium wheels on the demo bike, the bike felt light to ride. This is definitely worth a look if you want a fine road bike, that rides well and won’t cost you a fortune. It’s another example of a good alloy frame. The existing bike with a full 105 groupset and Aksium wheels sells for around £800 complete. Whilst I’ve not ridden the old one, the new one should be priced similarly and looks like being a great bike for the money.
The PRO SL will be available in 9 sizes from 48 to 65cm frames and the frame weight for the 57cm size is 1.35kg, which is very respectable for a bike at this price point.
New Rose Team DX Cross bike
Rose are also launching a totally new Cyclocross bike for 2016 – the Team DX Cross is an alloy framed bike designed for the new flat mount disc brake standard and also features a brand new tapered full carbon fork with 15mm through axle compatibility and internal cable routing, including for a dynamo system.
The new frame design includes modern tube shaping and a new geometry designed to be in between traditional cross racing and the trend towards gravel or all road framesets. According to Rose designer Juergen Telahr, the new geometry is perfectly suited to racing and a wide range of riding and this flexibility was a key part of the design objectives.
In the process of the new design, Rose have worked to improve the ride quality of the bike while increasing the versatility. The new bike features mudguard mounts and mounting points for low-rider panniers, enabling customers to consider the Team DX Cross as a commuter or even randonneur bike as well as a comfortable Cyclocross racer.
For customers looking for the versatility of a Cyclocross bike without resorting to the traditional low and long riding position of a racing frame, the Team DX Cross might be just what you’re looking for.
As well as bikes specced for Cyclocross, I got out for a first ride on an “all road” version of the new bike at the launch. This featured 32mm tyres (there is space for up to 42mm tyres) and a deeper section alloy wheel set along with an Ultegra mechanical drive train and Shimano’s brand new flat mount brakes.
Whilst being a bit heavier than the pure road bikes I tried, the Team DX Cross rolled along well, handled rough surfaces with aplomb and had a position that didn’t feel too stretched out (with a 110mm stem). The geometry felt a little more aggressive than the endurance bike I rode before it but it did everything well on my short ride leaving a good first impression.
It’s my opinion that bikes like this are only going to get more popular as more and more riders look for the versatility they offer. To that end, the Rose Team DX Cross looks like a very solid contender into this landscape.
New Aero Flyer TT and Tri bike:
The Aero Flyer is Rose’s second new aero frame for 2016 that’s UCI legal for racing and the frame, stem handlebar and fork were all designed together to look like they a one piece design. Combined with “invisible” cable routing – particularly on a Di2 build the front of the bike is cable free and very clean to look at. The mechanical version only requires one short external piece of cable run, so is also clean through the front end.
The integrated brakes on the Aero Flyer are Rose’s own design to help maximise the aero profile of the bike. If running Di2, the battery is mounted inside the frame in the seat tube as the seat post is too slim to fit it.
The one piece handlebar and stem can be adjusted for position (vertically) using 30mm or 60mm spacers and the new slim profile head tube features a tapered steerer.
On the top tube of the new frame is a mounting system for nutrition allowing a box to be fitted and the team at Rose are currently looking at whether a second one may be able to be fitted to the stem prior to final production and they’ll have more news on this at Eurobike.
The Aero Flyer has been designed to fit all wide rims currently available including Zipp Firecrest and Firestrike and up to 30mm wide disc wheels.
Rose poised for greater success
In addition to the PRO SL, Team CGF and the Team DX Cross bikes I tried, I also managed to get in a ride on the Xeon CDX which has been a big sales success for the company since it’s launch. It’s also been a strong seller in the UK and it’s a little surprising how fast UK riders are making the leap to discs and the Rose is a strong choice offering low weight, compelling prices and a good ride.
For me though, the star of the show is the revised Xeon Team CGF. I was really impressed with this bike. I rode the previous version and liked it but I feel that the extensive list of updates has taken a fine bike and looks to have turned it into a very good one indeed. If I’m lucky I might get the chance to review one in more detail on UK roads during the next year. The new PRO SL also impressed, especially if you’re look to spend £1,000 or less but if you’re budget can stretch higher and like me, you’re not looking for a race position, the Xeon Team CGF looks like a terrific choice.
My thanks to Rose Bikes for inviting me to the launch and thanks for reading.
Keep an eye on the Rose website for more information in due course including pricing, which I don’t have as yet. Rose will be sharing more information on their 2016 information at Eurobike.