Visually arresting, the Xeon X-Lite takes what we already knew about Rose’s Xeon range and turns the spec sheet up to 11. Not content with being hard, fast and great value for money, on paper, the 4100 is even faster, with enough bike bling to satisfy the most selective buyer.
- Highs: Incredible kit, speed, wheels, price
- Lows: It just needs a little something
- Buy if: You want a great spec at a great price
But, of course, a top specification alone does not make a great road bike, and when we’d finished wondering how Rose can offer so much for the price, we saddled up.
The 1K carbon weave finish provides a glossy skin to the bike’s high modulus aerospace carbon fibre backbone, and the tried and tested configuration of sturdy lower frame with a more compliant top works well.
Super-chunky down tube and deep rectangular chainstays embrace the BB30 bottom bracket, while a tapering top tube and seatstays resist torsional loads and allow vertical compliance.
A tapered 1 1/8in to 1 1/2in steerer is dwarfed by the outsize head tube, and the frame is topped off with a 27.2mm carbon seatpost for extra plushness. This all translates into an astonishing greed for speed, with stereotypical German efficiency.
In many ways the Di2 groupset is the perfect match for this frame, as with a light finger press the Dura-Ace mechanisms unerringly go about their work, always precise, always reliable.
The frame delivers impressive performance, whether climbing, sprinting or cornering, and could be a very hard proposition, but the Mavic Cosmic SSCs bring some Gallic flair to the package, and really enhance the ride.
The 52.5mm deep carbon rims have 20 flat carbon-bladed spokes each, radiating from between the hub’s paired large flanges, and they manage to be superbly responsive while increasing the overall comfort levels. Combined with the new Exalith braking track and specific pads, the Cosmics stop as fast as they go.
Mavic supply quality wheels and tyres
Handling is light and lively, the front wheel seemingly always on the move, and while it lacks the more relaxed, planted feeling of some bikes, it is well mannered, and the comfy Ritchey cockpit and SLR saddle provide fine control.
The Xeon X-Lite has a stunning component list that is hard to better, and unusually it’s the frame that is found wanting. At this level any criticism is splitting hairs, and for most riders this could be more bike than they will ever need, but up against some, albeit more expensive, competition the Rose just lacks the X Factor that would make it truly great.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.