After testing numerous bikes from the German online giant Rose, we know that it can teach most people a thing or two about aluminium. Its Xeon DX disc frame is another fine example, combining great looks, smooth welding, internal cable routing and Di2 compatibility in one of the most striking alloy frames around. But the beauty of this Rose is more than just skin deep...
- HIGHS: Great frame, great kit, great brakes – great bike
- LOWS: Rims aren't friends with crosswinds
- BUY IF... You want a disc-equipped road bike at a good price
Its oversized tapered head tube houses an all-carbon fork, with legs and crown designed to take tyres wider than the 25mm Continentals that are fitted. The top tube tapers along its length, meeting a 27.2mm seatpost before flowing into slender seatstays.
The geometry is at the racy end of sportive, the handling neutral, the ride smooth – helped by a quality carbon handlebar and seatpost from Ritchey. The WCS bar has a mid-size compact drop and we love its slightly backward swept top shape. The tyres add more smoothness to the ride, but they feel fast and the grip levels are stunning.
The frame is free of unwanted flex, while worries over the torsional effects of the brakes have been addressed by the frame and neat Nine2Ten axles', a halfway house between the through-axles used on the latest mountain bikes and quick-release axles. The axle has been increased in diameter to 9mm, so it is both stiffer and has more contact with the dropout.
The brakes may 'only' be Avid BB7 cable discs but they're more powerful than most callipers and it's the way you can control power delivery that's the biggest benefit. On our test loop's most technical descent we were able to attack the corners and up the pace. We suffered no pad rub, and only got the occasional noise once the rotors were hot.
Our only issue is with the wheels. These are stiff, well built and free of flex. But add the tyre depth to the 30mm rims and you've got a fairly slab sided 50mm profile, and the front wheel suffers a fair amount of disruption in crosswinds.
We have to admit we've been sceptical as to whether discs will find a place on road bikes – as opposed to gravel, commuter or 'cross bikes – but the DX certainly adds a big tick to the plus column.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.