We looked last week at some new goodies on the trail from German direct-to-consumer brand Rose bikes, but maybe just as interesting from them in 2017 is the broadening of their carbon road range and their general move towards bringing the same ride and performance of their top end road to more affordable bikes across the range. One of the highlights of that trickle down is the new Xeon CW/CWX which is essentially a lower priced version of the X-Lite CW that we first saw last summer and marks the growing use of disc brakes on the ever-expanding aero road bike segment. While the Pro CGF sticks with rim brakes it does the same thing bringing carbon road affordability into reach of a lot more cyclists.
At the same time that the Xeon CW 7 Pro CGF brings the price of carbon bikes down, an all new Xeon CDX Cross takes lessons learned on last year’s aluminum bike and transitions them over to a carbon bike still promising broad riding flexibility. Then the new X-Lite CDX takes Rose’s popular marathon/endurance road bike and lightens it up with new carbon and some detail tweaks. Take a look at some of the updates of these four 2017 bikes after the break…
While it might take a little bit of a naming and acronym glossary to keep all of Rose’s road range straight, it is probably worth the effort. It seems a bit muddied since they basically have developed new bikes at low, middle, and high pricepoints where they thought they best fit at the time, and then filled the line-up in if customers were happy with the bikes and wanted more options. The three tiers are essentially Pro at the entry-level, Xeon at a more performance level often with T30/T40 carbon, and X-Lite at the top-tier with T60/40 carbon. C denotes carbon, GF for gran fondo, W for aero, D for endurance, R for race, and X for disc brakes. With that out-of-the-way let’s look at the…
Directly based on the X-Lite CW/X, the new Xeon CW/X are being lunched as 2017 bikes to add a new lower cost of entry into the aero road bike segment. The bikes share the same geometry and tubing shaping as the bikes introduced last year, just with a slightly heavier frame from lower priced T30/40 raw material combo that requires a different carbon layup to get the same stiffness performance. The resulting Xeon-level aero frame is still claimed at just 1150g.
Like the X-Lite CW/X, the new Xeon uses the same aero frame shapes with features like the deep seattube with a tight rear wheel cutout, two position water bottle bosses tucked into the downtube to optimize aerodynamics for either single or double bottle configurations, internal routing, and a dropped seatstay configuration
And of course like the bike before it, this Xeon CW/X offers either direct-mount rim brake or flat mount disc brake setups. While the frame is the same for either CW or CWX builds except for graphics (this lime colored disc bike should have CWX written on the downtube) and offers brake setup flexibility, each brake type gets its own fork unique to either rim or disc brakes.
As to bike spec and pricing, the rim brake CW has a standard Force 22 build that will start at roughly 2250€, while an Ultegra mechanical/hydraulic 2×11 build of the CWX disc brake bike will sell for ~2500€.
It was this standard disc brake build that we had on hand to weigh for the CWX at 8.04kg/17.73lb, while the rim brake CW had an upspec’d Ultegra Di2 drivetrain that weighed in at a lighter 7.34kg/16.18lb and would probably add about 700€ to the pricing.
One key note about the flexibility, Rose will offer the forks as a standalone after market part to CW/X owners. They see this a potential for riders looking to buy an aero bike to race now, who might be constrained by current anti-disc sentiments or regulation and who may wish to update the bike to disc brakes once the current backlash blows over. While in most cases I personally don’t like the idea of a frame having both brake mounts, Rose has done well with the direct and flat mount standards in creating a pretty clean solution that doesn’t really look out of place in either configuration.
While the CWX disc bike uses 12mm thru-axles front and rear, the rim brake CW has a QR fork and a separate set of rear dropout inserts and rear derailleur hanger that allows the us of a QR rear wheel as well. Tire clearance on the frame is 28mm for disc brake setups, but that comes down to 25mm with the rim brakes due to less space around the caliper.
The Pro CGF is similar in that it also take the ride of the more expensive bike – here the Xeon Team CGF introduced last year – and reworks it as high-performing budget ride. With the move down to the still high-quality all T30 carbon the bike adds just 110g to keep the same stiffness and similar ride quality. It even gets the same premium carbon bump-eating fork used in the higher end Xeon marathon road bikes.
Again geometry and tubing shapes are both the same as the more expensive models, and even share the same tech like direct mount brakes and up to 28mm tire clearance. Rose also specs a house brand RS1550 wheelset to offer a solid balance between weight and stiffness.
The big take away from the Pro CGF is how affordable it makes a top spec carbon road bike. In the Ultegra configuration that we hung on our scale at 7.41kg/16.34lb, it has an expected retail price of just ~1850€. When you bring that down to the entry spec planned for the bike with the excellent performing 11 speed double 105, the price is forecast to be just ~1600€. That’ll be pretty hard to beat in a bike still under 8kg/17.5lb.
Xeon CDX Cross
We rode the previous aluminum version of the all-purpose cross bike last year, and while it didn’t seem too much like a cyclocross race bike it did promise a lot of potential as a all-terrain gravel, adventure, and touring bike. And to be fair that is really what the Xeon CDX Cross is being sold as. It is a bike meant to be ridden all year on all sort of road and trail surfaces, but gets a lighter and more forgiving ride quality than its alloy predecessor. According to Rose the biggest contingent of buyers of last year’s Team DX Cross were actually cyclists riding more extended tours on and off-road – something of a mix of adventure gravel, bikepacking, and randonneur. And it was these cyclists that pressed Rose to develop a carbon version for both lighter weight and a smoother ride.
The new carbon frame gets completely new tubing shapes and details, and is said to come under 1100g. It gets paired with an updated 450g fork. Both frame and fork are disc brake only with new flat mount calipers. With the brakes out of the way and the freedom of carbon shaping, both frame and fork get generous clearance for up to 42mm wide tires (bring that down to around 35mm with full coverage fenders.)
Geometry is similar to the previous alloy bike, but gets a 0.5° steeper head angle and a 0.5° slackened seattube. Overall the wheelbase is also shortened by almost 2cm. Each of those relatively small changes together should lend a more lively ride based on out time on the alloy bike last year. The carbon bike will be available in a smaller 5 size range, but able to fit most riders with a 51-62cm frame range.
Of course like the previous bike the new Xeon CDX Cross is designed to be versatile. It includes rack mounts on the outside of the seatstays and somewhat hidden mounts for full fenders inside the stays. To meet customer demand a lightweight randonneur build version will also be available with a complete rear rack, fenders, and integrated lighting setup. Just supply your own favorite bags.
The Xeon CDX Cross will mostly come built up with mechanical/hydro Ultegra double groupsets for a complete bike price of 2350€ like the red and black bike that we weighed in at 8.67kg/19.11lb complete. Like the gray and green bike an Ultegra Di2 upgrade will also be available for ~650€ more.
The X-Lite CDX is a premium update of the current Xeon Team CDX. The long distance marathon/endurance road bike had been introduced at the mid-range T30/40 carbon level, but due to positive feed back Rose decided to develop a lighter version, that also gets some improved standards.
The new X-Lite CDX then uses Rose’s premium T40/60 blend in the same geometry, by a slightly modified frame design. The biggest visual difference is that the strong kink in the lesser bike’s seatstays right at the tire is replaced by a more subtle bend closer to the seattube that does the same job of damping impacts without being so visually striking.
Additionally both frame and fork get updated to the growing 12mm thru-axle standards and at the same time improve tire clearance for up to 32mm rubber for use on an even broader range of surfaces. The bike’s internal routing has also been updated with more user-friendly clip-in modular stops.
As with all Rose bikes, each of these road going rides will be able to get personalized setups through their online bike configuration system. As for availability, the new Xeon CDX Cross is expected around October which may mean time for fall/winter training, but probably not for real cyclocross racing. The new road bikes on the other hand should show up in Rose’s online shop around January/February 2017.