Lightweight bikes always impress and, at 6.09kg, this 57cm Rose X-Lite Team 8810 eTap is among the lightest I’ve tested.
Note that this bike has been superseded by the new X-Lite since this review was written. You can read our initial impressions on that bike here.
Headline-grabbing lightweight specials often use expensive components, and although not exactly cheap, Rose has fitted a standard SRAM eTap groupset, Ritchey finishing kit and a Mavic wheel system.
The X-Lite’s lack of mass can be felt as it accelerates, there’s no whip from the frameset, instead it feels reassuringly solid. However, standing to crest the first rise brought a hint of brake rub, something repeated almost every time, despite pre-ride caliper centring, and pads set 2–3mm from the rim.
Pushing hard up a short, steep climb created enough deflection to make the rear rim rub the brake pads even while seated.
Ritchey Superlogic Link 15 Flexlogic carbon seatpost is a weight saver Robert Smith / Immediate Media
Light, simple and intuitive, SRAM’s Red eTap groupset is a joy to use with great looks and ergonomics too. The 52/36 rings and 11-28 cassette are a favourite combination and ideal for most fast road riding, which this bike is aimed at.
Ritchey’s WCS finishing kit is robust, beautifully finished and light, while the SLR Lite Flow saddle is firm but comfier than it looks.
At list price, Mavic’s R-Sys SLR wheelset sucks up around a third of the bike’s cost, and with a claimed weight of 1,295g, and 195g tyres, it’s obvious why.
The move towards larger volume tyres is a good thing, so finding 23mm rubber on a performance bike is a surprise. Especially when on rims with narrow 15mm internal width that limits air volume and demands higher pressures to prevent impact punctures, therefore reducing contact patch, grip and comfort.
The SRAM Red front derailleur provides great shifting power Robert Smith / Immediate Media
The tubular carbon and bladed Zicral spokes give great stiffness, and the hubs had no play, so the frequency of rubbing for a 75kg rider was unexpected. On the other side, the shallow rims aren’t bothered by crosswinds, and their agility keeps the X-Lite’s handling crisp.
I’d prefer more grip, especially when braking. Some riders swear by Mavic’s Exalith braking track, others swear at it. Its propensity to eat brake pads in the wet, squeal far too loudly and grab at the rim places me in the latter category.
Initial bite is less definite than I’d like, and coupled with lowered grip, fast cornering became too tentative. The frame can take wider tyres, but I’d advocate wider rims too. Rubbing rims are inefficient and annoying, but only you can decide if that’s a price you’re willing to pay for a super-light ride.
Rose will deliver internationally and pricing for shipping and postage is available via its website.
Rose X-Lite Team 8810 eTap specifications
Weight: 6.09kg (57cm)
Frame: High Modulus Aerospace T40/T60 carbon fibre H.O.C. Technology
Fork: High Performance carbon
Gears: SRAM Red eTap 52/36, 11-28
Brakes: SRAM Red
Wheels: Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS
Tyres: 23mm Mavic Yksion Pro
Bar: Ritchey WCS Superlogic Evocurve carbon
Stem: Ritchey WCS C220 alloy
Seatpost: Ritchey Superlogic Link 15 Flexlogic carbon
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Lite Flow