German retailer Rose Bikes will no longer sell bikes to the UK market due to changes in internal assembly processes that mean it is not feasible to set bikes up with the front brake on the right, as required by law in the UK.
Components and other parts will still be available to order from the retailer.
What is changing at Rose Bikes?
Previously, Rose allowed for a level of customisation that was unique among direct-sale retailers, allowing consumers to swap – among other things – tyres, finishing kit and groupsets on certain models. This meant most bikes sold by Rose were built to order.
This was undoubtedly good for consumers but, obviously, increased overheads for the brand.
Rose is streamlining its internal operations and the brand is moving to serial production for its bikes, getting rid of or reducing customisation options across the board. According to Rose, this has been done in a bid to improve delivery times.
This presents a problem for the UK market because – unlike pretty much everywhere else in the world – it is the norm to operate the front brake with the right hand. It is also required by law that complete bikes are sold set up this way (more on that below).
Accommodating this was simple when building each bike to order, but serial production makes it prohibitively expensive and inefficient to do so.
Isn’t it easy to swap brakes? Can’t I just swap the brakes myself?
Swapping brakes on something like a SRAM flat-bar brake lever is a very simple job (the lever is ‘ambidextrous’ and can simply be swapped from clamp-to-clamp).
However, on the majority of disc brake bikes, it is a fairly involved process, requiring a hose swap and, at minimum, a bleed at the lever. Unwrapping and rewrapping handlebar tape on road bikes further complicates the process, even on rim brake bikes.
This is an easy (albeit annoying) job for any good bike shop to carry out but, as a consumer-direct brand, Rose does not have the luxury of knowing its consumers possess the mechanical savvy to carry this out competently.
Regardless of any rider’s mechanical know-how, UK law dictates that an assembled bike must be set up such that the front brake is operated by the right-hand lever (The Pedal Bicycles (Safety) Regulations 2010). This means if they’re set up ‘Euro’ style, a bike cannot be imported or sold in the UK.
Rose could, of course, introduce a number of UK-compliant bikes into its serial production runs, but this adds complexity to the process and would require it to accurately predict sales of each bike in the territory.
This news will, no doubt, come as a bit of a disappointment to riders in the market for a new Rose bike. It is one of our favourite brands and its bikes regularly score well whenever reviewed by BikeRadar.
With all of that said, it sounds as though Rose intends to reenter the UK market in the future once it has completed its “transition in our production”.
Full statement from Rose
As some of you have already noticed, we recently had to discontinue the assembly and shipping of ROSE bikes for the UK. This was a difficult decision for us, so we want to take some time to explain it to you.
In the UK, bicycles are constructed differently than in the rest of Europe: the market standards and laws in Great Britain, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland clearly convey that the front brake lever must be mounted on the right-hand side of the handlebar and the rear brake lever on the left-hand side. For the rest of Europe, it is the exact opposite.
With the technical complexity of our bikes increasing, we are facing the ever-growing challenge of being able to offer affordable Rose bikes with a high level of quality and safety. And because we want to shorten our delivery times for our customers, this summer we decided to gradually shut down the configuration of bikes, so that we are able to maintain our usual standards. Installing the brake cables and brake levers on the opposite side would require the type of special solution for the UK that we simply can’t realise right now.
We want to be able to guarantee each and every ROSE bike rider that they are sitting on a safe bike and keep the same level of quality. As soon as we are done with the transition in our production and get more clarity about the future of doing business with the UK, we will look for a long-term solution. Because we hope to soon be able to offer our bikes again to the UK and its vital market.
Until then, you can still find our bikes on www.rosebikes.com and in our stores in Germany and Switzerland. We’re hoping for your understanding.