Red Bull are the road brand of german online bike supermarket Rose bikes, with an extensive array of seven clock-beaters to choose from, from £1,410 to £6,000. the AF 3000 sits bang in the middle, offering a very polished aero performance for your currency exchange.
Ride & handling: Willowy ride and long cockpit won't suit power riders
Once we’d chopped the seatmast to size it was time to saddle up and see whether the clean lines of the Red Bull would give us wings (the bikes will actually be rebranded as Rose in the UK for 2011 to avoid confusion with the energy drink company ed). Even with the saddle shunted forward, the top tube and stretched cockpit make this a very long bike, even accounting for the large frame.
This is great for long-backed riders, but several of our testers ended up with forearms sloping forward rather than tucked underneath their shoulders. The good news is Rose are regulars on the British bike demo circuit, so if you live in the UK you can try before you buy.
While the deep but narrow tubes create minimal airﬂow disturbance and maximum physical distance where knees and thighs normally come close to the frame, they have a noticeable effect on handling too. There’s a very ﬂuid relationship between the front end, centre and back of the bike.
While basic geometry is okay, the 1in-steerer front end feels vague and distant, twisting and squirming rather than leading the bike decisively into turns. This became more of a problem on test rides where we upgraded to deeper section wheels, with the bike lacking the muscle to keep them straight in gusts.
It feels like the cranks are swinging underneath you in relation to your shoulders and wheels as the frame ﬂexes sideways along its length. This undermines the otherwise solid power feel of the Aero Flyer, particularly when you’re putting the power down hard. This left it lagging behind when group rides got jumpy.
Deep tubes don’t offer the same softness in a vertical plain. Add the uncomfortable saddle and ﬁrm wheels, and the Red Bull clatters and bangs over any surface roughness, making it hard to keep a rhythm or smooth cadence.
Chassis: Fluid, lightweight frame looks gorgeous and slices through wind
The tall integrated seat tube puts the frame into the prestige league straight away. The whole chassis is seamlessly blended and melted through its various curved junctions for an outstandingly eye-catching look. The short head tube uses a narrow 1in diameter fork to minimise frontal area, and brake and gear cables disappear into the frame not much further back.
The deep oval down tube curves through a gradual S-curve to follow the trailing edge of the front wheel, with a ledge for the bottle cage moulded into the top face. It bulges out for full width support of the conventional bottom bracket, with the S- curved seat tube snaking up and back around the rear wheel. Clean white and slender rear stays look more like glider wings than bike parts, while vertical dropout slots make wheel insertion and removal easy.
Making the seatpost part of the frame rather than a conventional telescopic setup makes accurate cutting to length crucial but there’s some vertical adjustment in the deep seat cradle if you cut off slightly too much. The whole seat clamp slides fore and aft to alter the seat angle. Despite the integrated seatmast, our size large frame weighed just 1,430g. The deep, ﬂat-bladed-front carbon fork is impressively light too (410g).
Equipment: Good wheel choice, but bars add even more stretch and we didn't like the saddle
The carbon dinner-plate FSA time trial chainset has ‘54 T’ printed proudly on the outside to show you mean business. With only a 23-tooth rear sprocket and 42T inner chainring for steep hills, though, you’ll be straining, not spinning. Easton’s EA90 Aero wheels are a useful compromise between windproof handling and some drag advantage.
The long extension, forward-sloped wing bar Vision cockpit adds extra reach to an already stretched top tube and stem, so take that into account when buying. While the ribbed ‘slide control’ nose Pro Logo saddle stops you sliding around, we didn’t like the crotch-numbing bumps. Continental Triathlon tyres are top performers.