The Rose name might be new on road bikes, but the German company’s bikes were previously brought into the UK bearing the Red Bull name (no relation to the purveyors of caffeine-charged drinks). At first glance the aluminium Pro-RS 4400 seems a little outgunned by the opposition’s carbon fibre bikes, but this only goes to show how appearances can be deceiving.
It has a massively oversized down tube, beautifully smooth welds and excellent paintwork. But why pay over a grand for aluminium in an age of carbon? Well, performance, weight and maximum bang-for-your-bucks for starters. Buying aluminium lets you get a good quality frame that doesn’t break the bank, and you end up with a high performance and very light bike.
‘Sweet’ and ‘nippy’ are two of the words our testers used to describe the Rose’s super-sharp handling, and given its weight, its rapid turn of speed should come as no surprise. In fact, the 4400 was the second lightest in our 2011 Bike of the Year selection, weighing just 7.65kg (a shade under 17lb). The result is a bike offering amazing acceleration, and once you get it up to speed it’s very easy to keep it there.
Climbing is fast and punchy, aided by excellent Continental GP4000 tyres and equally impressive DT Swiss R1500 wheels. The SRAM Force groupset also impressed. Shifting is quick, accurate and the action lighter than Shimano 105’s, and our impression is that the braking is also superior, offering excellent modulation but with less effort than 105 requires.
Any downsides? If you’re looking for a super-plush ride this probably isn’t your ideal machine as the ride leans towards firm. But the sensible component choice stops the ride becoming too wearing; Fizik’s Antares saddle and the 27.2mm carbon seatpost look after your backside, while the wing-profile 3T bar proved comfortable for most riders.
Rose bikes are only available in the UK online or from BikeLab in Poole, Dorset, but they’re made in a large range of sizes, from 51-66cm, and in five different colours. And if you prefer Shimano, the Ultegra-equipped Pro-RS is a steal at £1,359.
But whether Shimano or SRAM is your thing, both are efficient, lightweight, hard-riding race bikes. With a comparatively short head tube, a pair of clip-on tribars could even be added so you could use it for occasional time trials. All of this at a price your wife, husband, significant other or bank manager would approve of.