Bikes from German direct sales brand Rose aren’t a regular sight on UK trails, but with machines that rip as hard as the Granite Chief available for less than £3,000, all that could be about to change.
The aluminium frame cuts a distinctive shape, with its curved top tube and tight rear triangle.
While the 66.6-degree head angle is fairly conservative for a 150mm-travel bike, there’s a decent 456mm reach on the large size and the chainstays are a compact 431mm.
The 74.9-degree seat angle puts you in a reasonable pedalling position for all-day missions into the mountains. Small Allen key clamps that hold the internally routed cables in place and stop them rattling are a nice touch.
All Rose bikes can be customised via the company's online ‘configurator’. We took the Granite Chief 2 as the base for our build but upgraded the rear shock and tyres, and swapped the double crankset for some single-ring Race Face cranks and an e*thirteen chain guide.
The Shimano XT transmission delivered precise gear changes on the whole, but we did find that the chain would sometimes stick on the largest sprocket.
Magura’s MT5 brakes offer plenty of power and modulation, but the stock pads only lasted for two days of wet riding.
The 30mm internal width of the DT Swiss M 1700 Spline TWO wheels provided a supportive platform for our upgraded Maxxis High Roller II tyres. We dented the rear rim on our second ride but were able to bend it back and the wheels were otherwise problem free.
On the way up the hill, the Rose gets on with things without fuss. It pedals well for a 150mm bike and I rarely needed to flick the lever on the Fox DPS shock. At 5ft 10in I had plenty of room to breathe and a comfy, fairly upright seated position.
Pointed downhill, the Granite Chief has a lively yet planted feel that gives you plenty of options on line choice and riding style. You can plough through sections, making it do the work for you, or apply a bit more body language to pump and skip along the trail.
Run with 25 per cent sag, the rear shock offered enough support to pump trail features for speed while still feeling supple at the beginning of the stroke. The Horst Link back end never seemed to get hooked up in holes or on square edges, so the bike carries speed well.
We had to add a Bottomless Token to the Pike fork to improve its mid-stroke support but once that was in place, the grip and control was excellent. It worked well with the Fox shock, creating a balanced ride across all but the steepest terrain. This was especially apparent when setting up for and tipping into corners, where being positioned nicely between the wheels made it easy to weight the front end, boosting traction and confidence.
The only time the Rose felt out of its depth was on very steep trails, where the head angle felt a little too upright. Some offset bushings or an angled headset would be a good investment if you ride this sort of terrain regularly.
While it’s good to see an 800mm bar specced as standard, the 35mm clamp Race Face Atlas bar/stem combo is very stiff and felt harsh on rocky hardpack trails.
The Rose Granite Chief 2 is a lively and capable ride at a great price and with a customisable spec.