Rose X-Lite CWX 8800 review

Hydraulic brakes and aerodynamics in a striking package

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £4,310.00 RRP

Our review

A light, intoxicatingly fast bike and Rose’s typically impressive value for money
Buy if, Your main objective is speed – with a set of clip-on bars the CWX could easily double as a time trial bike
Pros: Sharp handling, great kit and a super-quick ride
Cons: The very aggressive position won’t suit everyone; bolted thru-axles
Skip to view product specifications

German online retailer Rose has previous for producing well-specced, great value bikes – and it’s pulled out all the stops in the CWX 8800. This is an eye-catching machine that brings sculpted aero tube profiles to the world of disc brakes. You reckon that discs are only for gravel or endurance machines? Think again.

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The CWX 8800 doesn’t whisper aero road bike so much as scream it, from the horizontal time trial-style junction of top-tube and bladed seat-tube – complete with rear wheel-hugging cutaway – to the near-vertical seatpost. The huge down-tube and bulbous head-tube may look weighty, but aren’t.

The high-modulus carbon frame has a claimed weight of just 990g including fittings, with the overall weight within a few grams of the advertised figure. The fork is skinny in comparison, but features aero profiles right down to the tips with the thru-axle fittings. 

The geometry is aggressive, with the frame’s steep head- and seat-tube angles further emphasised by the downward slope of the 17-degree Profile Aeria stem. It forms a fine cockpit paired with Profile’s carbon Canta bar and its comfortable aero handholds, though the stem’s hidden bolts are a faff to access, tucked behind a nest of cables for aerodynamic reasons.

The CWX’s aggressive nature is married to impressive road manners

This bike rides exactly how it looks: fast. Take the CWX out on a flat, straight road – you’ll want clip-on bars to exploit it fully – and it maintains its speed beautifully. On rolling terrain you can hammer the Rose downhill while its low weight helps on the climbs. The front’s smoothness means on-the-hoods climbing efforts are comfortable, while the steep seat angle puts you directly over the cranks for an efficient pedalling action. The only downside is that this Rose doesn’t really get relaxed riding.

The CWX’s aggressive nature is married to impressive road manners, with the front end feeling particularly compliant. The rear is noticeably stiffer, which is great for efficiency, but its upright seatpost means you are going to feel any bumps. Thankfully, Selle Italia’s Monolink saddle has plenty of shock-absorbing padding, even with its slim nose.

Selle Italia saddle softens bump impacts that the upright post doesn’t absorb
Selle Italia saddle softens bump impacts that the upright post doesn’t absorb
David Caudery/Immediate Media

The SRAM Red 22 HRD groupset oozes quality. Shifting is smooth and accurate, it’s lighter than Dura-Ace and SRAM’s disc brakes are truly impressive. There has been a move to 140mm rotors on the road, but these 160mm versions offer much more lever feel, they’re more progressive and are less prone to noise. Smaller rotors will save a few grams but if you’re heavier we’d go for the larger 160s and enjoy the benefits. 

Top-end SRAM Red gears take care of shifting
Top-end SRAM Red gears take care of shifting
David Caudery/Immediate Media

The DT Swiss carbon wheels with 38mm-deep rims are an equally classy choice, and they’re shod with Continental’s quick and hardwearing GP4000s II tyres, their 25mm width taking the edge off of the poorest road surfaces.

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True, this is an expensive bike, but in Rose’s usual fashion it still represents great value. For a tad over four grand – including delivery – you get a sophisticated frame, a classy set of wheels and SRAM’s top groupset and hydraulic brakes, which would be £5000 or US$6500 from most brands. Our final criticism is a slight one: we’d prefer tool-free lever-operated thru-axles to Rose’s bolted setup. Don’t forget your multitool…

Product Specifications

Product

Name X-Lite CWX 8800
Brand Rose

Available Sizes 51cm 54cm 57cm 59cm 62cm
Rear Wheel Weight 1420
Wheelbase (cm) 100
Top Tube (cm) 59
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 52
Chainstays (cm) 41
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 28
Wheelset DT Swiss RC 38 Spline, carbon rims, 24 spokes front and rear
Weight (kg) 7.17
Trail 5.1
Stem Profile Aeria 11cm
Shifters SRAM Red Hydro
Seatpost Rose X-Lite CW
Seat Angle 74
Saddle Selle Italia SLS
Rear Tyre Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x25mm
Bottom Bracket PF30
Rear Derailleur SRAM Red
Headset Type Rose
Head Angle 73.5
Handlebar Profile Canta Ergo 41cm
Front Wheel Weight 1120
Front Tyre Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 700x25mm
Front Derailleur SRAM Red
Frame Material HIgh-modulus 40-ton/60-ton carbon fibre
Fork Offset 4.75
Fork CW High Performance carbon
Cranks SRAM Red 172.5mm, 52/36
Chain SRAM
Cassette SRAM Red XG1190 11-28
Brakes SRAM Red Hydro hydraulic discs
Frame size tested 57cm