We sent Faye Sanders over to the sunshine of the Alps for a few days of Alpine ripping on the new 2012 range from Rose Bikes. Expect to see more of them in the UK in the coming months and years. And now it’s over to Faye:
Vaujany, a small mountain village nestled in the French Alps, was the stunning location for the Rose 2012 press camp. A stone’s throw away from Alpe d’Huez and with over 200km of riding and lift-assisted trails scattering the mountainside, it was the perfect place to get to ride the new 2012 Rose bikes.
Rose is a family-run German company with over a hundred years of experience in bike manufacturing. It claims to be the biggest mail order company in Europe and boasts the biggest shop in Germany, the Rose BIKETOWN (6,000m² of bikes and bits galore, with over 20,000 products!). Rose is big in the European market and is just starting to gain a bigger presence in the UK scene, with UK downhill rider Katy Curd riding its bikes on the international circuit.
Like most companies, you can buy a standard bike from Rose which ranges in price depending on component choice, set up and spec level. However, Rose isn’t like most companies, and likes to do things a bit differently through a unique buying experience called the ‘bike configurator.’ This is an online program that allows you to custom design a Rose bike to suit your riding style and budget exactly.
First choose your bike of choice – based on bike type (mountain bikes, road bikes, dirt bikes etc), frame preferences (aluminium/carbon), field of use (from XC race to downhill), sex (male or female…), budget or body measurements.
Then choose your frame and initial spec level. With prices ranging from £1500 to £4000 you can pick a bike to suit your budget.
Finally, pick and choose the parts you want; from suspension to saddles, cranksets to wheels, seatposts to sprockets, you can custom tune the bike so it fits you to a T and matches the wad in your wallet. Gone are the days of buying a bike, only to strip it of the parts you didn’t like and changing them to ones you do! With such a huge amount of freedom given to the customer each Rose bike is uniquely suited to its rider.
2012 sees four new models join the Rose fleet:
The Jester, a 120mm slopestyle bike; Dr Z, a 100mm, full-suss, 29in XC race/marathon bike; Mr Big, a 29in, 100mm carbon hardtail; Psycho Path, a 26in, 100mm carbon hardtail. All are available for order from mid-November.
For 2012 all Rose’s full-suspension models have undergone revision and Rose says that they now offer super sensitive damping and optimum control and comfort as a result. All models with the RP23 Fox air shock feature Fox’s new Adaptive Logic Technology that gives riders more control over tuning. Depending on the rider’s weight, two different damper choices are available for the Granite Chief (all mountain) and Uncle Jimbo (enduro) bikes. The full-suspension bikes also have a stiffer 142mm wide rear stay with a 12mm thru axle as standard, which has been specifically developed with DT Swiss to make it easier to mount the rear wheel. All Rose frames have internal cable routing, keeping them protected from mud, dust, cow poo and other trail nasties. With the new anodised frames featuring a matt base colour with matching gloss graphics, the bikes look clean and understatedly cool.
Further developments for 2012 are the new super light 26in Psycho Path and 29in Mr Big carbon hardtails. Together with the World Cup Team and carbon design experts, Rose has developed two new hardtail frames with two carbon variants; a cheaper, slightly heavier Pro frame and a super light high-modular carbon World Cup version, resulting in a sub-1000g frame weight for the 26in Psycho Path (with it only being 300g heavier for the Pro variant). The 29in Mr Big weighs in at 115g for the World Cup version and 1400g for the cheaper Pro model.
Rose’s take on female specific design
Rose offer two female specific bikes, the Verdita Green and the Crystal Stoke. These are based on the male equivalents (the Granite Chief and Jabba Wood respectively) with a few tweaks here and there to suit the female rider, including suspension tuning designed especially for a lighter rider (softer compression and rebound damping), smaller frame sizes (starting at 16.5”) and slightly different component spec including shorter cranks (170mm as opposed to 175mm), a women’s saddle and a shorter top tube which positions the rider in a more comfortable and less aggressive riding position. The female specific bikes are proving a popular choice, with the all-mountain Verdita Green being the first model to sell out at Rose HQ in 2011.
Verdita Green and Granite Chief 150mm all-mountain bike
The Verdita Green/Granite Chief is a 150mm all mountain bike, available in six specs ranging from £1649 to £3249. A light aluminium frame weighing in at 2.54kg (Verdita Green) and 2.59kg (Granite Chief) can be built up, depending on how you spec the bike, to your desired bike weight. The Verdita Green I rode in the Alps weighed in at 11.8kg.
The Fox Float RP23 Boost Valve (with the special lighter tune on the Verdita Green model) and Fox TALAS RLC forks coped well with the rocky alpine singletrack. The low weight and responsiveness of the bike was great for navigating through tight switchbacks and rocky descents. And it climbed effectively too – even in the 34° heat…
The super sensitive Formula The One brakes were a bit too responsive for my personal preference and there were a few too many nearly over the bars moments until I’d become accustomed to the responsiveness. However, thanks to the Rose bike configurator, when picking your own bike you can choose between Avids, Shimano or Formula brakes.
The KS Vario i-950 uppy-downy seatpost was a welcome feature when it came to technical descents and kept the seat right out of the way.
All in all, a great do-everything bike, with the lightness and manoeuvrability to tackle most trails.
Crystal Stoke and Jabba Wood 130mm tour bike.
The Crystal Stoke/Jabba Wood is a 130mm tour bike, and that’s the Euro definition of ‘tour’, not the British one; think of it more as a regular trail bike.
The frame comes in at 2.44kg (Crystal Stoke) and 2.52kg (Jabba Wood) and again the final weight is determined by your choice of spec. The Crystal Stoke I rode was blinged to the max, with a Crank Brothers Iodine wheelset and SRAM X0 crankset. It coped really well in tight switchbacks and the light front end made popping the wheel up over tricky roots/rock steps a doddle. The bike was in its element on the long, flowy singletrack, constantly pushing me as a rider, encouraging me to lay off the brakes a little more and just letting the bike take control. And when it did, it flew! The speed and lightness of the bike was fantastic allowing it to skim over the trails. Although the travel sometimes felt too short for the trails I was riding, the bike coped better than expected. It climbed well on the road too, thanks to the stiff suspension lock out which made it feel as though all my power was being transferred well and not wasted. It’s definitely a bike that will surprise with its versatility.
Beef Cake FR 180mm Super Enduro/Freeride bike
The Beef Cake FR was by far my favourite bike to ride around the Alpine trails of Alpe d’Huez. I rode the Megavalanche track on it and it bombed down, a lot more successfully than the rider… The 180mm RockShox Domain Coils and rear Fox Vanilla RC hit everything thrown at it with ease; a truly confidence-inspiring bike.
The wide 760mm Syncros FR bars gave the bike great handling and control, especially when it came to playing in the bike park; it was a really, really great bike to ride and thrash about and at 16.9kg the weight only started to become an issue while racing uphill in the afternoon heat to try catch the last lift of the day!
Thanks to Fin and all at Rose Bikes for the launch, Franz for the pics and to Faye Sanders for the report.