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Verdict: 
Terrific frame and excellent spec; a great choice for anyone who likes a more upright position
Weight: 
7,870g

The endurance road bike segment is booming these days and the GF Xeon Team GF-3100 (say that in a hurry) is Rose's attempt to muscle their way into the action. The bike makes use of an aluminium frame which combines a short and tall position with a slightly elongated wheelbase to provide stability and comfort for long rides, and pairs it with an outstanding component spec for the money. If you're on a budget and prefer a more upright riding style, this Rose looks to have you covered.

At the heart of the GF-3100 is an aluminium frame – unfashionable in these days of black plastic dominance, but closer inspection reveals a number of rare, perhaps even unique features. Foremost among those is the rear brake placement at the bottom bracket, which has allowed Rose to dispense with a seatstay brake bridge altogether. A number of brands have used this design for their top-tier carbon frames, but I can't recall ever seeing it done on a more budget-orientated aluminium frame (I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong).

Liberated from having to support braking forces, the seat stays are slender things and have a distinct kink in them at tyre level, presumably to provide some of that all-important compliance.

Also neat is the seat clamp which is integrated into the top tube and makes for an uninterrupted, clean look to the frame as a whole. The down tube is suitably oversized and morphs into a PF86 (pressfit for 24mm axle spindles) bottom bracket. Up front, a beefy head tube houses a full carbon fork with a tapered steerer tube in order to improve stiffness in this key area.

In another nod to stiffness and perhaps aesthetics, the GF forgoes traditional headset spacers for aluminium spacers that screw into the head tube below the upper headset bearing. These are available in either 2cm or 4cm heights – any finer adjustment must be made with normal spacers.

As mentionedo earlier, the GF's position is much shorter than Rose's or most other brands' race bikes. The 57cm test bike for instance, only has a top tube length of 55.5cm which is combined with a large-but-not-excessively-so 18.5cm head tube. I think most people will be able to achieve their desired handlebar height quite easily – slammed stem for the more aggressive, screw-in spacers for the back afflicted – but the reach is quite limiting in my opinion.

Rose lets you choose stem length up to 140mm at no extra cost (and with a swap policy for up to a month from purchase), but this change also affects handling significantly. I suspect most owners will have to increase their stem length by at least 10mm when swapping onto the GF, which will in turn slow down the steering response.

That said, as someone who has ridden and raced bikes with 140mm stems for the past two seasons, I didn't find the GF's handling with said length stem to be adversely affected (more on this below). For those used to shorter stems though, it is an issue worth taking into consideration.

The direct to consumer sales model seems to be making big inroads into the traditional sales path and with good reason: the specification you get for your money is often unbeatable. Rose is one such brand that sells directly through their website and the GF-3100 comes with a full Ultegra Di2 6800 groupset (that's the 11 speed version), Ritchey WCS finishing kit and some rather nice DT Swiss R23 Spline wheels. For a bike with a sub-£1800 asking price (including the £27.20 shipping cost), this is impressive indeed.

When going through the buying process online, there are plenty of options for certain components too: you can specify whatever cassette and chainrings ratios you want, and handlebar width, stem length and saddle are also customisable. And those are only the changes that can be made without extra charges. Feel like upgrading the wheels, or indeed, any other component? No problem, here's a selection. In some ways, you get a lot more choice than you ever would if you went to your local bike shop.

The Ride

Whether due to those slender, kinked seat stays, or the Ritchey Flexlogic seat post, or the 25mm Conti GP4000S tyres (hurray, decent tyres on a stock bike!), the GF-3100 is a smooth ride that seems to surf over tarmac irregularities. In practise, trying to attribute a ride characteristic to a single component is a pointless exercise as it's the whole package that matters out on the road. As a whole then, the GF lives well up to its sportive/endurance bike billing as a machine that's ideally suited for longer days on the bike, or even for just exploring those smaller country roads of dubious road surface that you'd usually shy away from.

Credit should also go to the fork and Ritchey WCS bars (which feature a comfortable back sweep on the tops) for reducing the road buzz transmitted to the hands and balancing the bike out nicely. Hitting a rough section of road, you can just plough on without having to make any changes to your position to reduce pressure on your bum or hands. As a result, the GF feels planted and ready to tackle whatever the road throws at it.

The bike's stability and sure-footedness translates well to descending. You feel like you can really commit to aggressive lines around corners and feel confident dropping into them. Going back to the point about the short reach perhaps requiring a longer than normal stem, the steering response could feel slower than many riders are used to, but personally, I find this to be a positive thing, especially given the type of rider the bike is designed for.

Efficiency is a combination of not only bump compliance, but stiffness with respect to pedalling inputs too. In this regard, there's really not much to say beyond the fact that, stepping straight off my high end carbon race bike that I've used all season, it didn't feel like I was getting any flex out of the frame when really going for it.

Throw away your preconceptions about aluminium frames; when done right, they can be every bit as good to ride as carbon frames, particularly in this price range which is generally the crossover point between frame materials.

Having complimented the frame, the bits hanging off it aren't all that bad either. Indeed, there's nothing really negative that can be said about any of the components.

Ultegra Di2, which we've reviewed separately so I won't go into too much detail, is superb and its flawless performance and ergonomics ensure that you simply stop noticing it at all when riding. It just does its job.

Some of the new technologies this groupset brings to the table have even been incorporated into the frame design. The GF's bottom bracket rear brake location, for example, makes use of Shimano's new direct mount standard which mounts using two bolts instead of the usual one. Bottom bracket brakes can often feel mushy, a feeling which only gets worse when the brakes inevitably get caked in muck, but that's not at all the case in this instance. The direct mount brakes are, in my opinion, the best brakes on the market and provide all the power and modulation you could ever want, in addition to improving tyre clearance so that you can easily fit 28mm tyres in there if you want.

The bottom bracket position does make them a bit harder to adjust, but their dual mount design means that they can't ever be knocked off centre, and Rose have included an inline quick release on the cable so that the calliper can quickly be opened up for wheel changes. If I were to truly pick nits, it would have been better for this quick release to be positioned in front of the handlebars instead of on the stretch of cable between the exit port on the down tube and the brakes.

The battery is integrated into the seatpost, keeping it out of harm's way and improving the bike's overall appearance.

The wheels, often an area of disappointment when it comes to bike specs, are DT Swiss' excellent R23 Splines. At 1600g they are decently light and their solid construction make them ideal training wheels that won't slow you down any on the hills. I had a small issue with the plastic rim tape on the front wheel being off centre, leading to punctures, but that was easily fixed using the engineer's best friend: gaffa tape.

Overall, the GF-3100 is an impressive addition to the endurance bike market on Rose's part. The frame features a number of details which you don't usually find on aluminium frames, or even many frames at this price, and performs well on the road too. The very short top tube is one area which needs to be taken into consideration by any prospective buyer and I suspect many will have to increase stem length to compensate.

The spec in general is outstanding for the money, with the Ultegra Di2 in particular being the perfect companion for the frame and its intended usage. Once set up correctly, it continues to perform come rain or shine, such that you can forget about it completely and focus on actually enjoying your ride. It's unusual to encounter a stock bike where there isn't at least one component which begs to be swapped out immediately, but that's the case here.

Verdict

Terrific frame and excellent spec; a great choice for anyone who likes a more upright position

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Rose Xeon Team GF-3100

Size tested: 56

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: 7005 T6 Aluminium

Fork: Full carbon fibre with tapered steerer tube

Groupset: Ultegra di2 6800 w/ direct mount rear brake and full choice of gear ratios

Wheels: DT Swiss R23 Spline

Tyres: Continental GP4000S 25mm

Stem: Ritchey WCS 4 axis

Handlebar: Ritchey WCS Streem II

Seatpost: Ritchey WCS Carbon Flexlogic (27.2mm)

Saddle: Fizik Antares MG

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?

The GF-3100 is probably best described as an endurance road bike; that is, it provides a more relaxed position and a more comfortable ride quality for getting the miles in.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

The combination of unusual tube shaping and smoothed over welds means that the Xeon can easily be confused for a carbon frame. All of the frame details from cable routing to the seat post clamp seem very well thought out and executed.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

High quality aluminium is an under appreciated frame material these days, but Rose have made a strong case for it with this bike. The carbon fork nicely balances the performance of the frame in its compliance and ability to dull road buzz.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The GF's handling tends towards the more stable end of the spectrum, which is a good thing in this case.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The reach is quite short for the stated size and I suspect many will have to compensate with a longer stem.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Very smooth over the rough stuff with a nice balance of feedback between the hands and the bum.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

No noticeable difference in stiffness under power between this and my usual race bike. You couldn't really ask for a more direct response to pedaling input.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

Excellent, see above.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

Unusually for me, this wasn't an issue.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? On the stable side of things.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Very surefooted when descending and attacking roads of dubious surface quality. This is a bike that enjoys being thrashed around country lanes.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

Difficult to isolate a single component: the wider 25mm tyres, seatpost and seat stay design all contribute to comfort.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

The frame's front triangle is beefy and takes the credit for this.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10

As good as most race bikes.

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
7/10

Some issues with wrist clearance when in the drops depending on how you ride.

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The high front end doesn't put you in the best position for the very steep climbs.

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
9/10

Flawless.

Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
9/10

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10

I had some issues with punctures due to incorrectly installed rim tape.

Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
9/10

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
9/10

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 190cm  Weight: 69kg

I usually ride: Canondale EVO Red  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Semi pro

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, mtb,

 

For 5 years, racing was my life and I went all the way from a newbie bonking after 40 miles, to a full-timer plying my trade on the Belgian kermesse scene. Unfortunately, the pro dream wasn't meant to be and these days, you're more likely to find me bimbling about country lanes and sleeping in a bush on the side of the road.

19 comments

Avatar
KiwiMike [1420 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Acknowledging there are as-of-yet undiscovered tribes in the heart of the Peruvian jungle who knew I was going to ask this...

Ahem:

'Mudguard mounts'?

Avatar
KoenM [129 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

"but I can't recall ever seeing it done on a more budget-orientated aluminium frame (I'm sure you'll correct me if I'm wrong)." Weird because u even put it on your website a few weeks ago, the new 13 brand from Halfords have it.
This is an awesome bike though, and after Canyon ditched their Roadlite and Ultimate Al (without the SLX), i'm seriously concidering buying my next bike from Rose.

Avatar
s_lim [221 posts] 4 years ago
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Decathlon beat Rose to market with direct-mount brakes on the Alur. But that's a brilliant bike for the money; I'm looking hard at Rose for my next race steed.

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macbob [50 posts] 4 years ago
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Informative and comprehensive review. Thank you.
Any chance of a review of the carbon version (the CGF) to see if it's worth the extra £ ?
Alternately, anyone out there got one ?
Reviews of Canyon & Rose bikes are so important as one can't generally to to test ride them. I don't need your reviews of the new Trek or Cannondale as (like most of your readers) I can get a test ride on all the major brands within a few miles of where I live and make up my own mind.
The direct-sell Germans are offering what looks like some stunning deals at the moment - we need more reviews like this one.

Avatar
KiwiMike [1420 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Query to Rose suport re mudguards: "Dear Mike,
many thanks for your e-mail. Sorry, at none of our road race bikes you can mount a proper mudguard. There is only one mudguard, that fits to all bikes: [link to SKS Raceblade rubber-band jobbies]

...so that's that one off the list of UK sportive bikes for winter months, then.

Sigh.

If any 3D-printing clever-clogs fancies a crack at a removable after-market brake bridge for bikes where the design omits one therefore rendering long guards impossible, I'm guessing there's already a market...

Avatar
WDG [59 posts] 4 years ago
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I have a CGF 3100 that I bought this year. It took 5 weeks to arrive, but I was happy to wait as the bike was exactly as I specced it - different bars, saddle, seat post, saddle, wheels, bar tape. The price was incredible (and has since dropped by £350!)

As for the ride, I wanted an upright sportive bike and it's exactly that. Obviously I've never ridden the alu frame, but my carbon is supremely comfy - it just absorbs all the road buzz but is still super fast. The people I ride with and Strava all comfirm that!

If you can get over the fact that you're paying big money (still literally thousands less than some competitors) for a bike you've never ridden then you won't regret the purchase for a second. It's a great handling, comfy bike that you customise exactly to your requirements for a price that's barely believable. Do it!

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Miles253 [198 posts] 4 years ago
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Great review, as has been said above, any and all reviews of the German giants would be much appreciated. Get an Xlite Team in please  1

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smj [12 posts] 4 years ago
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Another vote for a detailed review of Rose X-Lite Team please !

The new X-LITE TEAM-3100 looks a very good spec (6.4kg, Ultegra Di2, Ksyrium SLS wheels, Ritchey Carbon bars) for £2500.

The X-LITE TEAM-4000 (6.05kg, Dura Ace, £2750) looked rather nice on the Rose stand at the Cycle Show last month.

Other alternative I'm considering is the Canyon Ultimate CF SLX 8.0 Di2

Avatar
TheHound [117 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Am I missing something?

Why would anyone buy this when you can get the exact same bike, cheaper, with a light carbon frame?

GCF-3000 seems much better value no?

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Rich_O [9 posts] 4 years ago
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TheHound wrote:

Am I missing something?

Why would anyone buy this when you can get the exact same bike, cheaper, with a light carbon frame?

GCF-3000 seems much better value no?

Di2?

Avatar
Rich_O [9 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes
TheHound wrote:

Am I missing something?

Why would anyone buy this when you can get the exact same bike, cheaper, with a light carbon frame?

GCF-3000 seems much better value no?

Di2?

Avatar
TheHound [117 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

lol, so yes, I've clearly missed something, a big something.

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bendip [49 posts] 4 years ago
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http://goo.gl/CMCKMz

Carbon version with force 22 around 7kg..the brakes are the interesting bit..ain't seen anyone with Srams hydraulic rim brakes yet.

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cidercyclist [11 posts] 4 years ago
0 likes

Semi-related comment!

I ride a 63cm Xeon RS-5000 with Chorus and a 66cm Pro DX-4400 with Force with full guards and rack etc over the winter.

Easily the two best bikes I have ever owned.

Rose even sourced a longer Richey carbon monolink post for me for the Xeon after I bought it and couldn't get the saddle high enough! They arranged free return shipping of the standard one and sent the replacement in a couple of weeks as it took a while to source.

A friend bought a carbon Rose on the back of my experiences and he totally agrees with the quality! Check them out on Facebook as Rose UK; Fin is their man over here and does have some bikes that they can demo if necessary.

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WDG [59 posts] 4 years ago
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Good luck with getting a demo, I got in touch before I bought mine twice and didn't even get a reply

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Oolon Colluphid [44 posts] 4 years ago
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Just taken delivery of a Rose RS 3500 - ally framed with Campag Athena groupset, Zonda wheels, Ritchey bars/stem/seatpost. Absolutely outstanding value at £1400 delivered. It's a full kilo lighter than my Merckx carbon race bike and it's utterly lovely to ride  1

Got it to use for summer training, but suspect I might do as much racing on it as on the Merckx next year...

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KatieMacK [6 posts] 4 years ago
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WDG wrote:

Good luck with getting a demo, I got in touch before I bought mine twice and didn't even get a reply

Similar problem here. I was poised and ready with the money to make a purchase having already contacted him once months before. First time around we arranged a place to test ride the bikes but I didn't receive a reply when trying to arrange a time. I knew exactly what I wanted this time around and had got over the annoyance of last time. I just wanted to confirm sizing before spending £2000. Arranged a place again and even a day, but when I replied with a specific time, I didn't hear back. It's put me off buying a Rose, which is a shame because they tick all the boxes for me. Looks like Canyon will benefit from my grudge!

Avatar
e.vicente1986 [1 post] 3 years ago
0 likes

Hi all
Anybody have put 28mm tyres on this bike?
On the review they said that it is possible but I contact Rose and they said to me that the maximum tyre allowance is 25mm. so I am confused.

Thank you

Avatar
macbob [50 posts] 1 year ago
0 likes

The link to the Rose review brings up a review which is FOUR YEARS old !

The new Rose Team GF Ultegra (7.1 kilos, full Ultegra, DT Swiss Spline 1750 wheels, Conti's top tyres and high class finishing kit) has garnered reviews all over Europe, but not of course in the UK. I suspect their advertising budget isn't big enough.