Rose Bikes have been making steady inroads into the UK market over the past few years, both as a supplier of aftermarket spares, parts and upgrades, and also with their rather nifty – and ever-expanding – range of mountain bikes.
For 2015, there have been a load of modifications and re-designs across the range, so Rose shipped a pile (collective noun) of journalists, including me (Barney – hello!) out to Kirchberg in the Austrian Alps to get a feel for the new range, with its occasionally… ‘unconventional’ nomenclature.
The main idea is one of complete customisation. On Rose’s website, you can select the frame, fork and bits you want, and some clever mechanic-type person in Germany assembles everything for you and ships it to your door. There’s no swapping bits out as a weak spot; you can get everything built as you like it. It’s a neat idea, facilitated by their online-only method of doing things: you just select a model in the rough price range, click on a spanner and get fiddling.
If you’re after a test ride before you stump up the readies on the website, that’s no problem either. Fin Paton (firstname.lastname@example.org) – the chap behind Rose’s UK operation – has a fleet of 20 or so test bikes, in a variety of models and sizes, so you can get an idea of what the bike’s like, fixing what is typically a flaw in the online-only sales model.
Several of the full suspension bikes have common features: hydroformed tube sets, pivots on the seat tube, a neat rear mech hanger which also includes the thread for the rear axle. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but what with the customisation idea they’re really quite hugely variable. Here are some pics:
With a somewhat unusual name, the Root Miller is a do-it-all 29er with 130mm travel at each end. The short seat stays, the slack head angle (68.5º is relatively slack for a 29er) and a seat angle of 74.5º help to make it ride like a smaller-wheeled bike, apparently. We shall see! There’s also a Supertrail version, with a 140mm fork and correspondingly different angles for extra shred…
A clever rear dropout with integrated axle thread means you’ll never worry about ruining your frame by cross-threading the axle.
Most of the full suspension bikes have very similar design cues, including tidy seat tube mounted pivots. Although they all look rather similar as a result, they’ve all been designed with different capabilities, from enduro/all-mountain through to nose-down XC.
The Ground Control (no, not that one) is the 27.5in trail workhorse of the 2015 Rose lineup. With 130mm of travel (although the teeny tiny XS size only has 115mm), a 69º head angle and 74º seat angle, it’s designed to be a real all-rounder.
100mm travel. Long top tube, short head tube. 70.5º head angle. Did someone say full-sus XC race machine?
And so we get on to the bigger guns. The Granite Chief rules over all igneous intrusive rock types with 27.5in wheels, 150mm of travel and 67º head angle. Weighs a bit less than your average granite batholith too, as you’d expect.
Apparently this is a Super Enduro bike. The fantastically (?) named Uncle Jimbo is a 160mm travel beastie for schralping the gnar. A 66º head angle, a 75º seat angle and 431mm chainstays help with fast descending and agility, and you can still winch up the climbs.
Want a so-hot-right-now fatbike? Designed for 4-inch tyres, the Tusker has sliding dropouts to run single speed or geared. Sir can enjoy the fatness either rigid or with the Rockshox Bluto fork.
I rode a few of these on some of the trails around Kirchberg in Austria, and Premier readers can tune in later on this week to find out what I thought…