As part of Rose's Marathon range, the Pro SL Disc 3000 Hydraulic is designed for those big rides where you want to rack up the miles at a decent pace on a bike that is easy to live with. Thanks to its neutral handling and impressive build spec, the Pro SL is the ideal steed for a day in the saddle with no surprises.
In the first few miles on a new bike you quickly pick up on the little quirks and characteristics that the frame and fork may have: how it responds to rough surfaces, position changes, braking, steering... And it's this overload of information that lets you know exactly what you're working with, it's that all-important first impression.
The Rose is very quiet in this respect; it doesn't 'talk' to you in the way a lot of other bikes do, either through vibrations from the frame or the way it moves around underneath you and transfers feedback from the tyres through to the bar and saddle.
Personally, I like to feel a part of a bike, taking every little signal passed up from the road, to increase the fun factor and involvement of the ride, and the Pro SL was just a little subdued for my liking.
I can see why the Rose designers have created the Pro SL to ride like this, though – after all, not everybody wants to be living with a bike that has the manners of a bucking bronco, especially when it's aimed at sportives and other lengthy challenges. When fatigue becomes an issue and you find yourself on an unknown road, a little bit of dependability goes a long way.
Rose claims a frame weight of 1,350g, which is pretty impressive for an aluminium alloy, disc brake frameset – although oddly, as a complete bike the Pro SL does feel a little heavier than the readout on the scales would have you believe. This could be down to the Mavic Aksium wheels, which are a touch weighty, although the Ribble Gran Fondo Disc that I tested recently also had them and was a slightly heavier bike overall, yet felt as though it had a bit more zip and go about it.
It could just be because the Ribble's frame was also a bit more buzzy over the road, with that feeling of more going on compared to the more subtle Rose, giving an impression of speed.
The numbers on the Garmin certainly seem to back this up, as the performance was easily up there with what I'd been achieving on the Ribble, and also the Simplon Pavo Gran Fondo.
Most of this comes down to the Rose's ability to crush those miles on the flatlands. Tapping out a steady pace for hours on end really suited the Pro SL, and thanks to the compact drops of the Ritchey handlebar, swapping to a multitude of positions was no issue at all, a big bonus if you aren't too flexible.
Through the bends the Rose is exactly as you'd expect: the handling is pretty neutral so you can pick your line and the bike will track without any dramas whatsoever.
As the speed increases, the Pro SL becomes less direct; it's not a race machine with steep frame angles so that is to be expected, but it's here that you could really do with just a bit more feedback from the frame so you know what is going on beneath you, should you go into a bend a little too hot.
If things get really technical, or you have to change a line for a pothole or some gravel, for instance, I'd like to be able to ride it by the seat of my pants a bit more. I could always just slow down a little I suppose, and enjoy the Rose for exactly what it is.
Everywhere else, though, the Pro SL is a decent performer. The stiff frame means that power transfer isn't an issue on even the steepest of climbs or lung screaming sprints, although the trade-off is a ride that is on the firm side, especially on rough road surfaces.
Frame and fork
The Pro SL Disc 3000 uses a 6061-T6 grade aluminium alloy tubeset for its frame and all of the tubes are triple butted, which means that the wall thickness has three varying measurements: thicker at the weld ends and getting thinner towards the centre to save weight and promote a little bit of flex.
Because of this I was quite surprised about the firmness of the ride quality; the Rose doesn't have as shock absorbing a feel to it as most of the other aluminum bikes I've ridden – my own Kinesis Aithein, for example, or even the Bowman Palace:R race bike.
The down tube is fairly oversized, which marries well with the tapered head tube to keep the bottom half of the frame tight to resist the various forces from steering, handling and acceleration. The rectangular profile chainstays also come into play here, although Rose hasn't gone overly massive with the Press Fit bottom bracket shell.
Rose has also resisted the urge to go pencil thin with the seatstays – an area usually exploited for flex and, therefore, comfort, although sometimes that can translate to a soft rear end which I'm not really a fan of. With the Pro SL running disc brakes, Rose has done away with the brake bridge so that could promote a little movement, though it'd be barely detectable.
Keeping things looking clean, the front end of the bike is drilled for internal cable routing for both gears and hoses to the brakes via the frame and the fork. Rather than running through the chainstays, though, the rear mech cable takes the more traditional method of sitting underneath.
The brake callipers are attached to both the frame and fork using the latest flat mount system, which gives a sleeker look than the original post mounted versions.
That fork is full-carbon fibre apart from the dropouts, and is certainly up to the job of dealing with the power of the disc brakes. Even under really heavy braking you can't feel any flex from the front, helped in part by the inclusion of a thru-axle setup resisting the twisting forces of the single-sided disc.
For keeping the front end tight under steering loads, the fork has a tapered steerer: 1 1/8in in diameter at the top and 1 1/2in at the crown to match the head tube of the frame.
The overall finish of the frame is to a good standard, with the smoothed welds looking neat and then finished with a hardwearing paint job.
We see a lot of bikes at this price come with Mavic's excellent Aksium Disc wheelset. These wheels are so solid and dependable that you can ride them through pretty much anything without fear of them being damaged. Like I said, though, they are a little on the porky side, so if performance is on your mind you might want to upgrade to a lighter set. As an all-rounder, though, they are pretty tough to beat.
Tyre-wise, Rose has fitted Vittoria Zaffiro Pros, which are cheap and cheerful in the grand scale of things but perform way higher than their price would reflect. Grip levels are decent enough in the wet and dry, and rolling resistance doesn't feel too stodgy. Again, though, if you want to up the performance levels, swapping them for something like the Schwalbe Ones would make a massive difference pretty much everywhere.
Ritchey components have always had a good following, most likely because it's good looking kit that performs well. The alloy stuff here is nothing flash but is easy to adjust and set up. The bar and stem combo is quite stiff, though, and with this firm frame can make for a bit of a tough ride for your hands.
Perched atop the Ritchey seatpost is a Selle Italia SLS saddle which I didn't really get on with; it was a little firm for my liking, especially around the cutout section. I often find this, though, as they have to be firm to stop them sagging into the gap.
Shimano Ultegra is an excellent groupset, so its inclusion here is great to see for the price. Our model comes with a 50/34T compact chainset and an 11-32T cassette, giving a wide spread of gears to cover most terrain.
Rose has specced a long cage rear mech to cope with the 32-tooth sprocket, giving you plenty of flexibility to fit whatever cassette you want depending on the topography of your rides.
Gear shifts and braking are taken care of by Shimano's ST-RS685 levers paired with the latest RS805 callipers, and it is a great setup. The shifting is as slick and precise as if you were using an Ultegra lever, and the braking is easy to control and modulate thanks to the amount of feedback through the lever.
Looking at the competition, the Rose is competitively priced compared with what I'd say is its main rival, Canyon's Endurace AL Disc 7.0, which comes in at £1,499 – just £30ish more expensive than the Pro SL at £1,463.32, though that does fluctuate with the exchange rate. Don't forget to take into account the delivery charges on both bikes, too.
I've already mentioned the Ribble Gran Fondo Disc, and the one I tested was £1,503. Although it has a 105 groupset rather than Ultegra, it does have a carbon frame – and a pretty good one too.
Around £1,500 is a very busy price point for this style of bike, and while you can get a lot of carbon fibre frames for this money, there is still room for a quality aluminium one like the Pro SL – especially one that is draped in such excellent finishing kit.
A well-specced road bike that'll happily tap out the miles in a sedate manner
road.cc test report
Make and model: Rose Pro SL Disc 3000
Size tested: 54cm
About the bike
State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.
FRAME 6061 T6 Ultralight Aluminium, triple-butted, from approx. 1350 g
FORK PRO SL Modulus full carbon disc 1 1/8"-1.5
WHEELS Mavic Aksium Disc CL
TYRES Vittoria Zaffiro Pro III tyre set, 700x28C
CRANKSET Shimano Ultegra FC-6800, Compact 50/34
REAR DERAILLEUR Shimano Ultegra 6800 GS
COGSET Shimano Ultegra CS-6800 11-speed 11-32
CHAIN Shimano CN-HG700 11-speed
FRONT DERAILLEUR Shimano Ultegra FD-6800
SEAT POST Ritchey 2B, WTD 27,2mm
SADDLE Selle Italia SLS Flow
HANDLEBAR Ritchey Comp Road Streem II
HANDLEBAR TAPE fizik Microtex
STEM Ritchey 4 Axis WTD
Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Rose says: "The PRO SL DISC-3000 is our price sensation with speed guarantee! Triple-butted frame made from 6061 T6 Ultralight aluminium, PRO SL Modulus full carbon disc fork, with conical head tube and internal cable routing, plus more clever features. The bike rolls on stylish Mavic Aksium Elite WTS wheels, which – besides their good looks – also impress with good lateral stiffness. The shifting system is Shimano's Ultegra, the incarnation of the upper middle class. Equipped with excellent ergonomic features and new shift cables, it treats the cyclist to defined, smooth and lightning-quick gear changes. The hydraulic Shimano Flat Mount disc brake ST-R 685/BR-RS805 provides the same level of quality and comes with a puristic design, with fine braking power modulation and supreme braking performance. You don't need any other bike than this to ride at the front of the pack!"
The Pro SL Disc 3000 is a solid bike to get the job done, but if you are after a bit of excitement and 'engagement' with your bike then the Rose might not be for you.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
Overall the frame and fork is well finished with neat looking, tidy welds.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame is built from aluminium alloy in a 6016-T6 grade with each of the tubes being triple butted. The fork is full carbon fibre including the steerer, which is tapered from 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
Compared with its race bikes, the Rose Pro SL has a shorter top tube and taller head tube for a more upright, relaxed ride style. Full details are here - https://www.rosebikes.co.uk/bike/rose-pro-sl-disc-3000-hydraulic/aid:892055
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
This 55cm model has a stack of 561mm and reach of 384mm, pretty much as I'd expect on a bike of this style.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
The frame is very firm, which limits its appeal on rough road surfaces.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Yes, the Pro SL is a very stiff bike, which is what provides that firmness in the frame mentioned above.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Thanks to the stiff frame the Rose transfers power well especially at the bottom bracket area, but for the ultimate performance a lighter set of wheels would make a massive difference.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?
Yes, and no.
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
The handling was everything you'd need for the style of riding intended. If you like the challenge of technical descents, though, you might be underwhelmed by the lack of involvement with the bike.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I don't really get on with saddles with cutouts, and that was the case here with the Selle Italia. It was quite firm too.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Ritchey finishing kit is very stiff, which is great for performance, but can be a little jarring on poor surfaces.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The Mavic Aksium wheels are solid performers but their weight can take the edge off climbing and acceleration.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
A Shimano Ultegra groupset is a welcome sight at this price point, especially when paired with the excellent Shimano hydraulic brake levers. An 11-32 cassette and long cage rear mech as standard is a neat idea considering the type of riding expected for this type of bike, i.e. in the hills.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so, what for?
The Aksium Disc wheelset is a hardwearing, solid wheelset that looks good too. If all-out performance is your thing, though, you might want to swap them for something lighter.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so, what for?
The Vittoria Zaffiros perform pretty well across the board considering they sit at the budget end of the market. Grip, rolling resistance and puncture proofing are all perfectly acceptable.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
It's an all-alloy setup for the Ritchey finishing kit but it all works well. The compact style bar will work for the majority of riders using the hoods and the drops.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? It lacks a little rider/bike engagement for me.
Would you consider buying the bike? No
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
As an all-round pound package the Pro SL Disc 3000 is certainly a decent bike for the money, and while its ride didn't exactly get my juices flowing it has been designed to deliver exactly the type of ride quality and character that a lot of people want from a bike of this style.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.