The Rose Xeon doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to performance. It even looks fast standing still.
Highs: A super- light and violently fast frame with an incredible component specification
Lows: Possibly not the most comfortable choice for a long day on British roads
Buy if: You want top performance for your money, regardless of comfort.
The first shock with the Rose Xeon is the complete lack of mass – it’s only just above the UCI weight limit. There are no hyper-light parts but there is a SRAM Force groupset along with a Ritchey WCS carbon bar and alloy stem, Rose carbon seatpost, Prologo saddle, Ksyrium wheels and Conti tyres.
The T30/40 high modulus aerospace grade carbon frame has subtle graphics and is light. But ours was in the raw carbon finish, saving more grams.
The tapered head tube, massive down tube and BB30 bottom bracket adjoin straight and deep rectangular chainstays that transmit power effectively. The flattened seatstays twist 90 degrees before meeting the carbon dropouts for some compliance.
All cables are internal, the neat rear mech routing accepting mechanical or electronic systems.
From the off the Rose was rapid, the Conti tyres hissing along quickly. At first the 24mm Force rear tyre felt odd, seeming to slide around when we were out of the saddle. But we soon got used to it and appreciated its extra volume.
The ride is immediate and very stiff. Any input sends it scurrying forward, and when climbing we felt we were holding it back, with reserves of performance we couldn’t tap.
The front end is lively and requires constant correction but we soon became attuned to it. The light handling and solidity of the Ksyrium wheels mean the Rose is steerable as much through the saddle as the bar, and we confidently railed technical corners faster than usual.
In keeping with bikes from several German brands, the ride is on the racy side of firm. Although it was fine on average roads, a rough descent was a very choppy experience indeed. The stiffness and lack of weight make the bike skip at speed on bigger bumps, although it still holds its line relentlessly.
The Xeon would make a great race bike, because it’s so fast to accelerate. But a long day out would be a tough prospect even with the slender seatpost and larger rear tyre. However, you can spec the Xeon to suit.
With the same clinical finishing as Jürgen Klinsmann, the Xeon fires itself straight into contention.