Despite being established in 1907, Rose may not be a brand you’re familiar with. Based in Germany, these days it sells direct online to customers around the world and has developed a reputation for bikes that deliver high performance and excellent value for money.
The X-Lite Six disc we have on test is the highest spec you can buy, but we think it might also be the cheapest road bike with full SRAM Red AXS that you can buy. Although its groupset does differ from the version fitted to the S-Works in that it has a different cassette ratio of 11-28 and no integrated power meter.
When ordering online you can spec your bike out to suit your needs, with Rose offering a choice of gear ratios and handlebar widths, as well as crank and stem lengths. Rose also offers a very good exchange and returns service should the bike not be to your liking.
Giving away just 45 grams to the S-Works in weight, the X-Lite is also true to its name and this lack of weight is particularly welcome on the climbs. The own-label wheels, meanwhile, are good performers, being deep enough to offer aerodynamic benefit while remaining responsive and stiff.
They’re also tubeless ready, although the Continental GP5000 tires they come supplied with aren’t. Switching to tubeless could improve comfort, although we still found this a very smooth bike to ride, even on rougher lanes and poorly surfaced roads.
While geometry is aimed as faster riders, it doesn’t leave you so low or stretched out that handling becomes an issue, and we reckon the performance it offers will appeal to most people. Downhill and on faster sections it feels very confident, flying through corners with aplomb, something those high-quality (non-tubeless) tires do admittedly help with.
Its Ritchey components are and light and excellent quality, too, although it’s quite surprising to see a traditional seatpost fitted given many bikes not have a more aero d-shaped design. The Ritchey Evo-curve shaped bars, meanwhile, are very comfortable with a very slight backsweep, offering an ergonomic position on the tops of the bars.
Value – Possibly the cheapest bike currently available with a full SRAM RedAXS groupset.
All round performance – Munches on all types of terrain.
Semi-custom build – The online option to change certain parts is a big plus.
Not so good
No integrated power meter – Although this keeps cost down.
Direct sale – Won’t suit those who prefer to deal with their local bike shop.
Short bottle cage bolts – Makes fitting some bottle cages very tricky or even impossible.
Helped by its low weight and good wheels, the performance the X-Lite offers is fantastic, yet it remains a comfortable bike to ride on all roads. Add in a high end, very desirable groupset for a price that undercuts almost all the competition and this adds up to be one impressive package.
Frame/Fork: T40/60 UHM/HT carbon/high performance carbon disc
Groupset/Brakes: SRAM Red eTAP AXS,12 speed/SRAM Red eTAP AXS, 160mm
Chainset/Cassette: SRAM Red eTAP AXS, 48/35/SRAM XG-1290, 10-28
Bars/Stem: Ritchey WCS Superlogic Carbon Evo Curve/RitcheyWCS C220
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Lite Flow
Seat-post: Ritchey WCS Superlogic Flexlogic
Wheels: Rose RC 40/50 disc carbon
Tires: Continental Grand Prix 5000,700x25c