road.cc headed to Lermoos in Austria recently, a beautiful town backing onto some stunning mountains with sweeping roads slicing between them, to see the latest bikes from Rose. The German company is a big concern in their native country, and in recent years have become a more regular sight on UK soil... and Tarmac. They follow the same direct-to-consumer business model as Canyon, so you buy a bike through their website.
Rose make some really well engineered bikes, as you might expect from a German company. And the big news this year is the introduction of two bikes aimed at this growing ‘endurance’ sector, where bikes are built for comfort over all-out speed. There’s also hydraulic disc brakes on some models. Let’s dive in for a closer look...
Xeon Team CGF
The bike that really caught my eye is the Xeon Team CGF.
This is an all-new platform for 2014 aimed at the rider who values comfort for longer rides as well as speed, which is being labelled as ‘endurance’ by many manufacturers. Rose, however, are calling it ‘marathon’ but as that’s a popular term with mountain bikes we’re not sure it’ll catch on. Anyway, the frame has a slightly taller headtube, longer wheelbase that is 17mm longer than their race geometry, and a 10mm shorter top tube. Measurements that should promote a comfortable position.
A new fork has been developed with a tapered steerer tube designed to allow a little flex from road vibrations and impacts, while providing a high level of lateral stiffness, so it handles directly and reduces road buzz. The rear stays are slender and designed to offer some compliance as well, while the chainstays are on the large side. The fork weighs 330g, while the frame is a claimed 850g for a size 57cm.
It’s not an aero frame as such, but Rose have considered the importance of aero even for a bike that probably won’t be raced, but still ridden hard and fast. The tube shapes all have a slight Kammtail-esque profile, while the seat clamp is neatly integrated into the seat tube.
The rear brake, as we often see on dedicated aero bikes, is mounted down by the bottom bracket, and uses a Shimano direct mount caliper. It’ll also take SRAM’s new Hydro rim brake.
Cables or electronic wiring can be cleanly routed inside the frame, and there’s no mount on the outside of the frame for a battery - it works with Shimano’s new seatpost battery. That rules out using Campagnolo EPS then, unless you mounted the battery to the bottle bosses.
Rose have also made an aluminium version, the Xeon Team GF, which has the same essential DNA. Frame weight for a size 57cm is a claimed 1,400g.
Questioned about the weight, Rose said they didn’t want to offer the lightest possible aluminium frame, leaving that to other manufacturers. They were more interested in a feature-packed frame. One very neat feature is the adjustable head tube.
In a similar style to Argon, you can remove or add screw-in head tube spacers that allow the height of the front end to be adjusted, without relying on a stack of headset spacers. It uses the same carbon fork as the Team CGF bike.
The Pro SL is an existing bike that has been updated for 2014.
Rose have concentrated on the geometry and essentially refocused it with a longer head tube, so it sits more neatly between their current race bikes and the new endurance models. We can’t help feeling that customers might have a job choosing between three quite closely related bikes, at least in terms of geometry. But it is more choice and as bike fit is so important, it’s a nice stepping stone between the race and endurance bikes.
It’s an aluminum frame, very neatly welded together to the point that it looks carbon from a short distance. The top tube and seatstays are new, the former is short, and the changes improve stiffness and ride comfort. It’s not Di2 compatible though. While we don’t have any UK prices yet, the €1,100 price for the frame is sure to be very competitive and appealing for those wanting a decent aluminium road bike.
The Xeon DX was getting the most attention, on account of the new SRAM Red hydraulic disc brakes it was carrying.
This model that carries over from the 2013 range with no significant changes, other than now being offered with SRAM’s new Red 22 groupset with Hydro disc brakes. It’s an aluminium frame and the reason there’s no carbon version is because the company is waiting to see which way the wind blows regarding the UCI giving the nod to disc brakes on road bikes in the pro peloton. They’re sitting on the fence, but at least they’re honest about it.
The SRAM Red hydraulic caliper mounted inside the rear triangle. That's a 160mm rotor.
All cables, and even the rear disc hose, is routed inside the frame. Rose use a similar head tube design on all their road bikes, with the cable entry ports on the front.
The front disc hose is neatly routed along the trailing edge, with two zip ties securing it in place.
Cross Pro RS
This is a brand new cyclocross bike carrying an old name. Rose have changed every tube profile to make it lighter and stiffer. It now has a tapered head tube and new fork. These changes have resulted in a 150g lighter frame and a similarly weight reduced fork.
The new tubes offer completely integrated compatibility with Shimano Di2 groupsets, using the new internal seat tube battery. All cabling - and the wires if you're using a mechanical groupset - are routed internally, so everything is out of the mud, apart from where they momentarily pop out of the down tube under the bottom bracket shell. It’s also specced with a 27.2mm seatpost for some extra comfort.
Pro DX Cross
While the Cross Pro RS (above) is undoubtedly aimed at cyclocross racers, the Pro DX Cross is more suited to those people who may do the occasional cyclocross race, mixed in with some commuting and bashing down bridleways after work.
For that reason it’s built around disc brakes. The frame will also take mudguards.
No changes to the Xeon CW aero bike, aside from a new TT/TRI seatpost that allows a wider range of seat angle adjustment. It works with rail or monolink saddles, and will take a Di2 internal seatpost battery.
So that's the highlights from the Rose 2014 launch. No prices or final specifications have been announced for these bikes yet, we'll let you know as soon as we get that info. Check out www.rosebikes.co.uk for more info.
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.