The Rose Pro SL, in more exotic builds, has done well in Bike of the Year tests, so it was a bit of surprise not just for it to make it into a shootout in this price bracket but for it to come with such an impressive specification.
Unlike most of its peers, with the Rose you can customise a lot of the kit, including choosing different groupsets and wheels from an extensive online menu. And it’s that eschewing of the bricks-and-mortar approach that has enabled the German company to be so competitive. True, the bike will arrive in a box and you’ll have to do some spannering before you can ride it, putting in wheels and seatpost and setting up the handlebar. But then you look at the price...
- Highs: Very low weight, quality groupset and exceptional wheels
- Lows: Not as comfy as carbon but otherwise nearly impossible to fault
- Buy if: You’re looking for a light, fast aluminium flyer
In the past we’ve appreciated the aggressive ride and extremely low weight of earlier models, but this did come with a flipside: the supersized down tube and chunky seatstays made for an uncompromising, not to say overly firm, ride. We get the impression German roads are smoother than British tarmac. We also get the impression Rose is aware of the trend towards increased comfort.
The 2014 SL2000’s ride is just as impressive, just as aggressive and just as pacy as before, but slimmer seatstays have vastly increased long-distance comfort, helped by a quality saddle. The ride may not have the carbon smoothness of Boardman's Team Carbon, but 100-mile sportives will be well within this bike’s compass and they won’t leave your backside battered and bruised – and your personal best might just get better.
A lot of the Rose’s thrill-filled riding experience comes from its Ksyrium wheels
The Rose weighs a mere 8.3kg (or under 18.5lb, which sounds lighter). If you’re upgrading from a typical £500 road bike this is a difference that you will feel immediately. That weight doesn’t just make it a featherweight against the direct competition, but it undercuts a lot of machines from our Bike of the Year test. And it does this while offering an excellent ride too, with the cranks and bottom bracket the only kit compromise. The frame has a tapered head tube and a full-carbon fork for instant direction changes: this is a machine that would make a great first race bike. Although the head tube isn’t that short, if you fancy the occasional time trial with clip-on tribars, this would do that job well too.
Part of that low weight and a lot of the thrill-filled riding experience comes from the Ksyrium wheels. It’s an achievement to see Aksium wheels at this price, Ksyriums are virtually unheard of. Along with the frame they allow you to tackle hills – the ups and downs – with great pace and confidence. Out-of-saddle sprints? A breeze. This Rose? Blooming great!