German consumer-direct Rose Bikes introduced two completely new road bike platforms focused on aerodynamics this week, with one available in either caliper or disc brake builds for everyday riding and the second a dedicated aero machine for solo racing against the clock. The X-Lite CW was developed to be able to be built-up with either direct mount caliper brakes or disc brakes for two distinctly different rider types. The basic sculpted aero carbon frame is the same for either brake configuration, with the use of brake-specific forks and some modular mounting.
Join us after the jump for details on road vs. road disc, and a look at the Aero Flyer TT bike…
The X-Lite CW takes big steps to get more aero than its aero road predecessor the Xeon CW, with truncated aero tubing profiles throughout and seatstays dropped and widen to ease airflow. While aero improvement was the big push on the new bike, Rose engineers paid special attention to keep lateral and drivetrain stiffness, since that is often lacking in narrow profile, aero bikes.
The disc brake fork and frame both get 12mm Maxle thru-axles and flat mount brakes making the bike compatible with either 140mm or 160mm rotors. The frame’s thru-axle works with small aluminum inserts keyed into the carbon frame at the rear end. The empty holes behind the bottom bracket for the direct mount caliper get rubber plugs and are totally inconspicuous.
Max tire size on the disc frame is quoted at 28mm, which assumes a 28mm-marked tire and some moderately sized rims. Actual clearance at the frame and fork is a shade over 30mm, but of course actual tire width and height can very a lot from rim-to-rim and tire-to-tire.
The caliper bike gets a direct mount-specific fork and a direct mount caliper mounted behind the bottom bracket. The fork sticks with a quick release for the front wheel, and with the modular keyed inserts, keeps a QR for the rear wheel as well. The disc flat mounts also have a pretty minimal visual impact on the caliper-equipped bike, when covered with rubber plugs, and give a bit of future flexibility.
The caliper bike was quoted to be limited to 25mm tires, even though it shares the same frame. The limit is actually the Shimano direct mount brakes which officially only have 28mm of clearance, which can get used up pretty fast with 25s and wide rims.
In addition to the convertible dropouts and brake mounting options, the X-Lite CW also gets the modular clip-in cable stops that trickle down from Rose’s X-Lite Team to offer easy internal routing for mechanical or electronic drivetrains and mechanical or hydraulic brake lines. The bike also gets a simple rearward facing aluminum clamp that grabs the reversible aero seatpost.
The bikes get tapered 1.125-1.5″ steerers, and with the flip-able seatpost can go from a seattube angle of around 74° to an effective angle of over 76° for a very forward saddle position. Five frame sizes from 51-62cm will be available, with the 57 frame tipping the scale at 1050g.
What are the aero benefits and losses when you add disc brakes in the midst? We don’t know, and Rose has tested frames-only up to now. But these pre-production complete bikes are going into the wind tunnel next month to go head-to-head. And Rose promised to let us know by the end of Eurobike what the real impact of the brakes will be in as good of a direct caliper vs. disc test as you could hope to see.
The Aero Flyer is also an all new bike time trial and triathlon bike, that pretty much only keeps the name from the previous generation. Big updates come from optimizing the overall integration and updating tube shaping. All cables and wiring (mechanical and electronic) stay completely internal, from the bar and extensions and out the back.
One big update is its tiny tapered hourglass-shaped headtube that ends up hidden by an extension of the fork and capped by the stem that transitions smoothly into the toptube. The bike gets very clean Di2 battery integration through a small compartment at the top of where the seatstays join the seattube, since the seatpost is too narrow to house a battery, and which makes it less disruptive to swap out the battery.
The bike gets an all new Rose 1-piece bar and stem, with a low base bar and armrests and extensions that can be adjusted up and down with 30-60mm spacer stacks for individual positioning. Rose developed the fully integrated front and rear linear pull brakes in-house and built aero covers that cleanly move air around them. Also noticeable on the toptube are bolts to mount an aero bento box that was developed with Profile for refueling during a race, and Rose also talked about working on another box that would sit over the stem to store a tool and flat repair in a similar aero manner.
The bike will come in 4 sizes and weighs 1400g in a Medium. Important to note for many potential buyers is that the Aero Flyer is UCI legal. Also as some TT bikes have had clearance issues with wider rims or uniquely shaped disc wheels, Rose says they have designed it with compatibility in mind, and all current wheels will work.