Rose 2018 road and cyclo-cross bikes: which bike should you buy?
Rose allows riders to customise to their heart's content, but that can make buying a machine tricky, so here's our guide
The Germans do direct-to-consumer business models quite well. With both Canyon and Rose blazing a trail with that approach to selling bikes, it’s understandable many people are enticed by the prospect of ‘cutting out the middle man’ and buying direct from the source, resulting in savings on bikes that might otherwise cost a whole lot more.
We've covered Canyon's 2018 road and cyclo-cross range already but Rose also allows an extensive range of customisation so you can arrive at the bike you truly want, built up with a choice of groupsets, wheelsets and finishing kits so you don’t feel the need to upgrade later. On the flip side, the range is a little confusing to the uninitiated, and that's where this guide comes in.
The range opens with the X-LITE, a bike designed as a thoroughbred carbon racer with an aggressive geometry promising to give maximal stiffness, along with a few very recent aero tweaks since we reviewed its forebear last year. The X-LITE range also includes the CW and CWX framesets too, which will appeal if aerodynamics are even higher on your wish-list.
Next is the Xeon, which in CW and CWX formats is positioned as a value carbon aero frameset, while the standard Xeon RS is the brand’s entry-level racer. Moving on and the Pro family of bikes fit into the endurance category with a more relaxed geometry, and can be had in both carbon and alloy versions. Meanwhile, the Team GF is the frame to opt for if you want an aero-tweaked carbon bike ready to take on fast gran fondos and sportives without sacrificing comfort, according to Rose.
If cyclo-cross is your thing, then you have a choice of a tweaked Xeon carbon frame, or the DX Team and Pro Cross alloy machines, with all coming stocked with all the features needed to take on the multi-terrain course. Both the Xeon and DX Team bikes also come in a design customised for gravel riding, too.
Because of the crossover of frame names in Rose’s range, to help you narrow down your ideal bike we’ve split down the bikes into categories of riding – aero, lightweight, endurance, cyclo-cross and gravel, and included the models designed to work in those environments in their basic starter builds. Prices are correct at time of writing, and will vary with tweaks to the specification.
Got all that? Good - let’s get stuck in.[series]
If you’re on the look-out for an aero bike, then Rose has two frames tailored for the job, the X-LITE CW and the Xeon CW.
Both the X-LITE CW and Xeon CW frames are based on the race geometry of the standard X-LITE, and it’s the X-LITE topping the range with a blend of T40 and T60 high-modulus carbon fibre for stiffness and a sub-kilo claimed frame weight.
The Xeon CW comes in at a clamed 1,150g thanks to its use of cheaper T30 and T40 carbon fibre. That results in a standard build price starting from just shy of £1,600, while the X-LITE CW costs from around £3,640.
The disc-brake versions of the X-LITE and Xeon CW are badged as ‘CWX’, with the top-level X-LITE CWX claimed to save an extra watt in the wind tunnel versus the rim-brake version, with specific forks and chainstays designed to support the forces of disc braking. This bike starts from around £3,460, while the Xeon CWX once again is much cheaper at around £1,770.
Rose aero bikes 2018
X-LITE CW – from £3,548.72 (SRAM Red)
X-LITE CWX – from £3,468.06 (Shimano Ultegra Di2)
Xeon CW – from £1,594.84 (SRAM Force)
Xeon CWX – from £1,768.29 (Shimano Ultegra/SRAM Force)
If you want something featherweight to ride up mountains or challenge for KOMs on your local climbs, the newly redesigned, ‘standard’ X-LITE bike family is for you. Complete with a race-derived geometry and a top of the range ‘Six’ frame that weighs a claimed 760g, it’s also received some aero tweaks to help it glides easily on flat roads, too.
The Six frame uses T60 and T40 carbon fibre to achieve its high stiffness-to-weight ratio, with high-spec builds starting from around £3,730. If that price tag is a bit steep, you can opt for the Four (from around £2,000), which uses T40 and T30 fibres for a claimed frame weight of 860g in the new frame design, or the Two (starting at £1,560), which retains the design of the previous generation X-LITE.
There are disc brake versions of both the high-end Six and the mid-range Four if you want a premium lightweight frame with the benefits of discs, while the Xeon RS offers an alternative, entry-level carbon race frame, starting from near £1,390.
Rose lightweight bikes 2018
X-LITE Six – from £3,728.23 (Shimano Ultegra Di2)
X-LITE Four – from £1,993.77 (Shimano Ultegra/SRAM Force)
X-LITE Two – from £1,560.15 (Shimano 105)
Xeon RS – from £1,386.70 (Shimano 105)
X-LITE Six Disc – from £3,554.79 (Shimano Ultegra Di2)
X-LITE Four Disc – from £2,427.38 (Shimano Ultegra/SRAM Force)
Rose comes well-stocked with endurance frames, and there’s one to suit almost any budget. Top of the group is the X-LITE CDX Disc, positioned as the brand’s ‘deluxe endurance racer’.
So, if you’re after a fast and light sportive bike without the super-aggressive geometry, plus clearance for 30c tyres for added comfort, then this bike starting from £2,750.06 could be the one for you.
From there, you could opt for the TEAM GF Four, in either a rim or disc brake guise (from approximately £1,820 and £1,910 respectively). This bike is designed for the keen sportive and gran fondo rider, and has aero tweaks in a frame that still sneaks under the 1kg barrier.
Next is the PRO CGF, Rose’s entry-level carbon endurance bike. This one starts from just over £1,340, and features clearance for 28c tyres inside its rim-brake calipers, with builds tailored to the endurance cyclist not after the last word in high-end performance.
There are also the PRO SL and PRO SL Disc frames, both of which are made of 7005-T6 triple butted aluminium tubing. The disc brake version costs from around £1,210 and the rim brake under a grand at about £950, offering a more cost-effective entry point to the road bike market.
Finally, the Backroad (a carbon bike starting from nearly £1,910) is available, and is aimed at endurance road riders who might like to take their bike on the gravel from time to time, too.
Rose endurance bikes 2018
X-LITE CDX Disc – from £2,750.06 (SRAM Force)
Backroad – from £1,907.04 (Shimano Ultegra)
TEAM GF Four – from £1,820.32 (Shimano Ultegra/SRAM Force)
TEAM GF Four Disc – from £1,907.04 (Shimano 105)
PRO CGF – from £1,343.34 (SRAM Force)
PRO SL – from £953.09 (Shimano 105)
PRO SL Disc – from £1,213.26 (Shimano 105)
Got a cyclo-cross race in mind? There are three frames offered by Rose here, starting with the Xeon Cross from approximately £1,820. This bike is claimed to be a cyclo-cross racer at heart, with a penchant for gravel and adventure riding, too.
You get a claimed frame weight here of 1,040g along with a geometry said to be equally suited to road, cyclo-cross and gravel riding. A true all-rounder, according to Rose.
The Team DX Cross starts from £1,820 and is an alloy-framed cyclo-cross race bike. Here, the frame is made of 6066-grade aluminium, and is designed with a 'sporty and agile' geometry - handy for competitive racing, you'd think.
Finally, the PRO Cross frame props up the cyclo-cross range and is made from tough 6061 aluminium tubing (the frame comes in at a claimed 1,450g), ready to stand up to the abrasive conditions of a cross race. The PRO Cross starts from just over £1,210.
Rose cyclo-cross bikes 2018
Xeon Cross – from £1,820.32 (Shimano 105)
Team DX Cross – from £1,776.96 (Shimano 105)
PRO Cross – from £1,213.26 (Shimano 105)
When it comes to gravel riding, Rose uses the Xeon Cross and Team DX Cross frames as inspiration and specs them with components designed for the job at hand.
So, you’re no longer limited to using’cross-specific 33c tyres and can up this to 42mm; you also get a tweaked geometry to aid the transition from gravel to road and back again.
Testament to their versatility, mudguard and pannier mountings come integrated to the frames. The Xeon Cross Gravel is the carbon-framed offering, with builds costing from a touch under £2,170, while the TEAM DX is a high-level 6066-tubed aluminium option, starting from a little over £1,730.
Rose gravel bikes 2018
Xeon Cross Gravel – from £2,167.21 (SRAM Force 1)
Team DX Cross Gravel – from £1,733.60 (Shimano 105)