The idea of 29+ (created by Surly, which supplies the Rooster’s Knard tyres) is to get the ‘float’ of a fat bike without the weight, rolling resistance and odd component sizes. The Rooster is a simple bike that’s no mile-grinding puritan – it’s often fun as well.
Frame and equipment: comfort-enhanced steel
As most will be bought as a frame and fork, we’ll say little about our build beyond the 720mm USE carbon bars being a great vibe-damping choice and that robust-yet-light Shimano and Hope parts are a very good match. We’d fit a shorter stem than this 110mm Sunline to reduce the weight on your hands, drop a couple of teeth from the 34T front ring and fit a chain device, as the clutch-equipped SLX derailleur can still leave it hanging off the pedal axle.
The Rooster's simple frame and Reynolds steel fork don't weigh any less than a full-susser
The Reynolds steel fork is specific to this frame, and uses a tapered steerer to reduce flex around the headstock. It’s stiff enough for reasonable accuracy, but not brutal – the 9mm QR axle brings some comfort-enhancing twang. The offset is long at 55mm (it’s typically between 46mm and 51mm) but, despite a fairly steep 70-degree head angle, that very tall front wheel still steers a little floppily.
Ride and handling: big-booted fun
The way it tucks so slowly is useful, especially on loose, technical climbs. The Rooster will diesel up rivers of rolling, slimy pebbles and tangled deadwood in a friendly way. It stays manoeuvrable thanks to short chainstays – 439mm with the eccentric bottom bracket fully back – though on faster, twistier trails these galumphing tyres on their 45mm Velocity Dually rims can still feel like running in wellies.
The eccentric BB facilitates singlespeeding
That eccentric BB facilitates singlespeeding, though with our 10-speed weighing 12.6kg (27.7lb) without pedals you'll need strong legs. A direct-mount front derailleur adapter allows 2x10, but there’s not enough chain clearance for a triple. Tyre clearance around the bottom bracket is also very tight, although there are plans to increase it, and the Knard rubber rolls surprisingly well – if noisily – on smooth trails and roads. The Rooster feels and rides lighter than it actually is.
The Rooster is a tough bike that’s great for expeditions into the wilds, but it’s not so sensible it can’t show you a good time on random natural terrain. It’s no lighter than a full susser and struggles on faster, rougher man-made trails, but for big rides it’s big, tough and amusing.