David Arthur reports from the 2014 launch of Rose bikes.
It seems that those 27.5in wheels have been embraced by this German company. There’s also an updated 145mm bike, plus there’s a new carbon 29er cross-country bike. The freeride bike has also been dramatically redesigned
German company Rose took to the beautiful Austrian mountains recently to launch their 2014 product range, where it launched several new 27.5in bikes including a carbon fibre cross-country bike, and updated freeride and downhill bikes.
The company is now keenly adopting 27.5in as just about every manufacturer seems to be doing this year. The Thrill Hill is an all-new carbon cross-country bike with 27.5in wheels and last year’s Granite Chief and Verdita Green have been given a 27.5in makeover.
But while they’re embracing the in between wheel size, they are also sticking with 29in and 26in on key models. For long-travel fans the Unchained and Sky Fire replace the outgoing Beef Cake DH and Beef Cake FR respectively, both with 26in wheels.
Rose has also sought to simplify their range with pricing structure with just three price levels for each model, 1,2 and 3, the latter being the best build. Beyond that its huge online configurator allows for complete customisation, a slick website that allows you to change every single component on the bike, from stem length to tyre choice. Rose was keen to stress that just about any build you can dream of is possible.
An all-new platform for 2014, the Thrill Hill is Rose’s offering to cross-country riders and racers, or just those people who revel in getting up the climbs as quickly as possible. The frame is made from carbon fibre and they’ve saved weight with seat stays designed to flex a small degree, replacing the necessity for a pivot near the rear axle. It’s the only bike in the Rose range to not use a four-bar linkage, instead going for a simple platform that produces a light frame.
A carbon rocker linkage swings off the top tube and the shock is driven by the seat stays, delivering 115mm of rear wheel travel. The main pivot is placed just above the bottom bracket and uses a 12mm hollow shaft with needle bearings, which Rose say keeps everything compact and handles the high loads.
The frame also features a tapered head tube, internal cable routing and post mount rear disc fitting. There’s provision for a dropper post, as is largely typical of this style of bike. The front mech uses a direct mount setup. Frame weight for a size medium with shock is a claimed 1.9kg (4.18lb).
It’s not dissimilar to the new Canyon Lux launched a few weeks ago, but that’s no surprise as we’re told the bikes are made in the same factory.
The Granite Chief has been given a makeover for 2014, it now joins the growing ranks of 27.5in bikes. The frame has updated geometry to take into account the bigger wheels, and the shock leverage ratio has been tweaked and improved. This is a change that they’ve applied to all their new bikes this year.
The frame produces 145mm of rear wheel travel, down on the 150mm of last year’s model, and uses a new rocker linkage design that produces a lower leverage ratio, so less air is needed in the shock. The suspension curve is much flatter and more linear throughout the travel than before.That should improve small bump sensitivity and make it easier to achieve full travel.
The geometry has been adjusted to suit the change in wheel size, and they’ve shortened the head tube. The cables are routed internally and enter the side of the large tapered head tube, which is more oversized than previously to better accommodate the cabling. There’s still no ISCG tabs on the bottom bracket shell however.
Rose didn’t have any final production build specifications or prices yet, but the bike above is representative of the sort of bike you can expect to see. So that’s a new RockShox Pike fork up front (you’ll see this fork a lot in 2014) with a triple chainset and dropper post as standard. Hopefully Rose will work on the narrow handlebar and long stem situation before final production bikes arrive.
The Verdita Green is the women’s version of the Granite Chief, with the same basic frame design producing 145mm travel and rolling on 27.5in wheels. The key change is the tailored shock tunes, smaller sizes and the fitting of women-specific components to ensure proper fit.
If you want more travel than the Granite Chief, then look to the 165mm Uncle Jimbo. Interestingly they’re sticking with 26in wheels on this bike, at least for the foreseeable future. As with its short travel sibling it gets a redesigned rocker linkage to improve the suspension performance, with a lower leverage ratio. It’s much less progressive in the early stages of travel than last year so it copes better with smaller bumps. Travel has been increased 5mm over last year too.
Geometry changes amount to a 1 degree slacker head angle which has stretched out the wheelbase for more stability at speed. The head tube is a bit shorter as well. The other measurements carry over from the previous bike. There’s ISCG mounts on the bottom bracket shell so fitting a chainguard is a doddle, and all cables are routed internally. It’s dropper post compatible as well.
A brand new bike for 2014, the Sky Fire replace the old Beef Cake FR. It’s a radical redesign, still keeping the four-bar suspension platform but placing the shock lower in the frame. The rocker linkage is now mounted to the down tube and is much longer, extending about halfway up the seat tube.
The changes are a result of wanting to produce a stiffer frame and revising the suspension performance, and producing a lower leverage ratio as they have done on the shorter travel bikes in the range.
The main pivot sits above the bottom bracket and uses an oversized hard anodised aluminium hollow shaft. At the seat stay and Horst Link pivots they’ve used new double row bearings to reduce lateral flex and keep everything moving in one direction. Other changes include a front mech direct mount on the chainstay, which replaces their usual seat tube mounted bracket. The bottom bracket uses the PressFit 30 standard, and a bracing strut at the top of the seat stays stiffens the rear triangle.
The geometry has been updated centering around a longer top tube with a longer wheelbase – as seems to be the trend in longer travel bikes this year – and they spec very short stems on all bikes.
Rose has yet to put the bike into production, this was a development mule, as you can see from its raw metal finish, that it showed as this launch. It is still settling on the final geometry numbers and should have the finished bikes ready in time for Eurobike in September.
The most dramatic news from Rose is that they’re completely replacing all 26in-wheeled hardtails with 27.5in models, including the Count Solo picturered here. It’s an aluminium framed bike with 100mm travel up front and Rose say they’ve reworked the geometry around the bigger wheels. There’s a women’s version of this bike as well, called The Duchess. Yes, really…
Rose hadn’t confirmed final build specifications or prices for any of these bikes, but will at Eurobike in September. Head to www.rosebikes.co.uk for more info