Words: Dave Arthur
Photos: Irmo Keizer
German direct-to-consumer manufacturer Rose have been busy for the past year, introducing a slew of updated bikes and a complete redesign of their Uncle Jimbo 160mm enduro bike, which now gets upgraded to 27.5in wheels, for their 2015 range.
It’s fair to say that Rose bikes haven’t always been the best lookers on the market but that is all set to change for 2015. They’ve developed a new frame featuring smooth hydroformed curves doing away with the machined gussets and struts of the old bikes. This new front triangle design is shared across the entire range, including in order of travel, the Uncle Jimbo, Granite Chief, Root Miller, Ground Control and Dr. Z. Another positive outcome of the redesigned frame is a weight reduction.
And as well as the much needed improvement to the frame shapes, they’ve also drastically updated the graphics. Most of the assembled journalists at the Rose 2015 launch in sunny Austria seemed to be impressed with the graphics and decals, suggesting that the company are making a positive step in the right direction.
They already do extremely well on value for money, and performance was never in doubt, but now they have the looks to support those two appealing attributes. So let’s run you through the new range…
Pegged squarely into the ‘enduro’ category is the Uncle Jimbo. Last year it was a 26in-wheeled bike, it’s now sitting on 27.5in wheels and provides 160mm of rear wheel travel.
To improve the suspension performance, Rose have moved the rocker linkage from the top tube to the seat tube. They tell us this provides better anti-squat properties and improved standover height with a lower kinked top tube.
Geometry changes include a 66 degree head angle and they’ve pushed the bikes down the long front centre route of mountain bike development, with all bikes specced with short stems.
Rose employ a simple, but well designed, four-bar suspension configuration across the range, with a pivot on the chainstay. They’ve updated the axle with a new derailleur hanger integrated with the 12mm bolt-thru axle.
This 147mm bike was first introduced last year, and was the company’s first foray into 27.5in wheels. It shares an almost identical frame to the Uncle Jimbo, just a few slight changes to account for the travel and geometry differences.
It has a 67 degree head angle when fitted with a 150mm travel fork. On paper it should be the ideal UK thrashing bike, light and stable enough to climb, capable enough on the descents to put a smile on your face. There’s a new XS frame now available too.
Want a 130mm travel bike rolling on 27.5in wheels? The Ground Control is the bike for you, the short travel sibling to the Granite Chief.
It takes the place of last year’s Jabba Wood, which is a good thing because that is a ridiculous name for a bike. There’s a new XS frame size now being offered but rear wheel travel is reduced to 115mm.
The Root Miller has been a complete redesign for 2015, and shares nothing but the name with the old bike, claims Rose. It’s a 130mm travel 29er with now shorter head tube, seat seat tube angle and shorter rear stays.
A Supertrail version of the Root Miller sees fork travel boosted to 140mm as well as change to chunkier tyres and a piggyback reservoir shock. Rose didn’t have a production version of this bike at the launch, only this bare metal pre-production sample.
The theory is sound, it’s sort of like Specialized’s Evo version of their regular bikes. Same bike, beefier fork and shocks, tyres and wider bars and shorter stems. Could be a hit this one we reckon.
Rose’s 100mm 29er marathon bike has had a few tweaks aimed at making it more race and speed focused. That means a shorter head tube and longer front centre so racers can get low and stretched. They’ve given the frame full internal cable routing and new bolt-thru dropouts with integrated mech hanger.
Yes, even Rose are now offering a fat bike. This is The Tusker. The frame accommodates 4in wide tyres with a 100mm bottom bracket shell and 170mm rear axle. It uses horizontal dropouts so it can be setup with gears or singlespeed. They’ll be offering a number of builds with the choice of suspension or rigid forks. Rose reckon a complete bike should weigh between 14 and 15kg.
More at www.rosebikes.co.uk