8 March 2018 update: since we published this review, Rose has changed this bike's name to the Pro SL Disc 105. The spec remains identical at this time apart from a not unwelcome move to 28mm tyres.
The Rose Pro SL Disc-2000 is an affordable alloy-framed road bike and the disc counterpart to the outstanding Pro SL-2000.
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Classed as a “marathon” bike by Rose, the Pro SL Disc is still moderately racy, and it offers a generous spec and fantastic all-round performance at a very reasonable price.
A Rose by any other frame
All the praise I lavished on the rim brake bike’s frame applies to the disc machine.
Adding rotors to the mix brings a small weight increase, with the claimed figure for the frame up 70g to 1,350g, a respectable figure for such a relatively affordable bike.
The fork has sprouted a thru-axle, but the rear end remains quick-release. This will doubtless raise the odd eyebrow, but in real-world riding we’re not convinced it makes a blind bit of difference, and rear wheels are less frequently removed anyway so consistent alignment is less of an issue.
In geometry terms, little has changed. The wider rear spacing necessitated by the move to discs means the rear end has got slightly longer (to maintain an acceptable chainline), but the claimed reach and stack figures remain the same at 379mm and 546mm respectively for a size 53.
Also carried over is the quality of the finish — the smoothed welds at the head tube and the seat cluster look very carbon-like, while those at the rear dropouts and bottom bracket are lumpier, but entirely unobtrusive.
Internal cabling adds to the clean look, and in the metal the glossy red paintjob looks sublime.
Once again, Rose has neglected to fit mudguard mounts, an omission that seems particularly egregious on a bike that’s otherwise perfectly suited to the role of all-weather commuter or winter trainer.
In any case, this is undeniably a handsome machine, and one that doesn’t look ‘budget’ at all.
The build: massive spec for the money
Hydraulic disc brakes are the headline here, and the Rose is outfitted with Shimano’s RS505 levers with matching calipers.
They’re ugly things, but effective in practice, offering loads of braking power and good modulation.
Shifting is very competent too, if not quite as crisp as you get with Shimano’s more expensive offerings.
The rest of the groupset is all 105 — there are no nasty bargain basement substitutions here — while the wheels are Mavic’s eminently sensible (if not very thrilling) Aksium Discs.
They’re fitted with equally adequate Vittoria Zaffiro Pro tyres and while our test bike came with 25s, the Rose website now specifies 28s, a smart choice for this bike’s target audience.
The cockpit and seatpost are pretty standard Ritchey items, with the funky Road Comp Streem II putting in another appearance.
I’m a fan of the slightly-stepped ergo bend on these, and the swept tops ease wrist strain for comfy cruising.
Better yet, they’re wrapped in classy Fizik Microtex tape, which has a lovely grippy suede-like finish.
For my testing I swapped out the short 90mm stem for something longer for a better fit. It’s worth noting that Rose doesn’t let you alter the spec for cheaper models like this on its website, so any component swaps will need to be post-purchase.
Rose on the road: capable and fun
The rim brake Pro SL was delightful to ride, and the disc version is just as good if not better.
Rose seems to have eked out a little more comfort, perhaps a side-effect of there being no brake bridge between the seatstays, meaning they have more freedom to flex.
That longer rear end might be a factor too, although it’s hardly a major change.
Mavic’s latest Aksium Disc wheels now have a 17mm internal width (vs. the 15mm of previous generations) which means a touch more tyre volume and the ability to drop pressures slightly for extra plushness.
In any case, the Pro SL is a fine thing to ride. It’s stiff without being vulgar about it and while rival Canyon still bests it on absolute comfort with its Endurace AL Disc, it’s up there with the best.
There’s scope to soften the ride further anyway by taking advantage of the large tyre clearances at both ends.
I’m pretty sure a 30mm tyre would fit through the fork just fine, and likely bigger rubber at the rear.
Rose may class this as more of an endurance ride, but if you size down and fit a longer stem as I have, it’s got enough edge to feel racy and exciting.
Verdict: Rose has done it again
The Pro SL Disc-2000 is a seriously accomplished bike with no real flaws.
Its ride quality, while not quite best-in-class, is very good indeed, and the bike is racy enough to appeal to experienced riders without being too aggressive for beginners.
Mudguard mounts on the frame and fork would add welcome versatility, but that won’t be a concern to many riders.
Of course, if you really are a fair weather rider and don’t need to improve braking offered by discs, you could save money (and weight) by opting for the rim brake version.
In any case, the Pro SL Disc-2000 is a brilliant bike that represents huge value for money.