Rose Pro SL 2000 review£860.00

Rose puts petal to the metal with a performance bargain

BikeRadar score5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

The idea of buying a proper bike online rather than in a shop doesn’t seem at all odd these days, and German giant Rose is just one of the brands that specialises in direct sales. The Pro SL 2000 is what Rose calls a “marathon” bike, which is to say an endurance or sportive machine with slightly less aggressive geometry than a full-on racer.

The Pro SL’s aluminium frame is a lovely looking thing that’s claimed to weigh around 1,280g. Its white paint job isn’t the most exciting thing in the world and the graphics are a tad corporate, but the overall appearance is like that of a much more expensive bike. The welds on the upper half of the frame are lovely and smooth, to the point where you’d have to look very closely to determine that the bike is in fact made of metal, rather than carbon.

The cables are mostly internal and the combination of the slightly sloping top-tube and skinny, dropped seatstays is very BMC-esque, marking the Rose out from the competition — this doesn’t look like an entry-level bike at all.

The overall appearance is like that of a much more expensive bike
The overall appearance is like that of a much more expensive bike

In spec terms it doesn’t fit our definition of entry-level either. In addition to that slick frame, the matching fork has a tapered carbon steerer for a stiff and light front end. Better yet, Rose gives you a full Shimano 105 groupset, right down to the chain, something rarely seen at this price point.

The Mavic Aksium wheels are a familiar sight but again, they’re better than what you might expect on a bike this affordable — it’s honestly hard to see how Rose is making a profit here.

On a technical note, while I haven’t always got along with press-fit bottom brackets, Rose goes some way to justifying its choice of one here by actually exploiting the extra width it offers over an external unit. The Pro SL’s huge downtube uses the full span of the bottom bracket shell as an anchor, contributing to the bike’s excellent power transfer.

Wide, press-fit bottom bracket aids power transfer
Wide, press-fit bottom bracket aids power transfer

That lateral stiffness does come with a side order of firmness, there’s no question. The dropped seatstays and slim seatpost imply more comfort than they actually impart and the frame is rigid enough that you’ll be aware of road imperfections even out of the saddle, as knocks are transmitted through the soles of your feet.

This doesn’t really detract from a ride that is extremely likeable overall, however. The bike feels alive and willing when you push hard, and unless you’re on a properly rough road, it’s a delight whether you’re climbing steep inclines or blasting down the descents.

With 561mm of stack and 384mm of reach in a 55cm, the geometry is middle of the road, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this isn’t an exciting machine – it is.

It’s a delight whether you’re climbing steep inclines or blasting down the descents
It’s a delight whether you’re climbing steep inclines or blasting down the descents

The quirky Ritchey bar won’t suit every hand shape, but I found them confidence inspiring on high-speed sections, my hands securely locked into the angled section of the ergo drop.

The finishing kit is all nice stuff, although it’s worth noting that unlike with Rose’s more expensive offerings, you can’t tweak component sizes when you order.

Fundamentally, the Pro SL is an awful lot of bike for the money. It’s a proper grown-up road bike that doesn’t feel entry-level and it’s specced exceptionally well for the money. Nice one, Rose.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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