Rose Bikes Ground Control 2  2015 Mountain Bike Review

Rose Bikes Ground Control 2 2015

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Rose Bikes 218,763

At A Glance

The Ground Control 2 from Rose is a 130mm trail bike with 27.5” wheels that is exceedingly well specced for the low price it is offered at. You can also configure the bike however you like on their website and upgrade components to your heart’s content. In its stock guise though, it is still an impressive package; Rock Shox Revelation forks, a Monarch RT3 shock, DT Swiss wheels and a mix of XT and SLX components topped with Formula brakes.

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At first glance this bike looks very impressive indeed, but how does it ride…

On The Trail

Our local trails sadly always start with an uphill, so it’s always the first thing about any bike that we notice. Pedalling efficiency is always at the top of the menu along with power transfer and grip over the rooty step-ups that we have to endure to get to the top of the fun bits.

The Ground Control 2 was a pleasant surprise in this arena, it is fast and nimble with plenty of traction, the rear wheel keeping good contact with the ground at all times. The stiff aluminium frame converts your pedal strokes into good forward momentum and there is plenty of drive even on the really steep sections.

The Monarch RT3 out back is an outstanding bit of kit, with the open, pedal and lock-out modes it offers a lot of choice once set up. We ran it on 25% sag and found with the switch you could get great suppleness down the trail whilst still getting a stiff feel in the pedal mode on the ups. For those long drawn out road climbs (we have to link some of our local trails with tarmac sadly) the lock-out on the fork was also a welcome addition.

With the hills dispensed with it was time to point it towards the kind of terrain we all crave - swooping, undulating and twisty single track. Here the stiff front end tracked brilliantly and in the corners the bike had a lively feel when pumped in, offering plenty of response on the way out. There was plenty of grip when going round the bends and we never felt like the bike was going to blow out sideways, the excellent Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres working wonders on the dusty dry terrain.

Point the Ground Control 2 downhill and the geometry will inspire confidence, even on the steeper stuff. The Revelation fork does a great job of keeping things tidy and smooth and is backed up by the Monarch RT3 at the rear. Over the rougher stuff the bike floats with ease if you carry speed and we had ourselves grinning stupidly from ear to ear on more than one occasion as we pushed the limits.
Putting the bike over some jumps we felt balanced and the landings were plush enough for a 130mm trail bike. Taking the bike over the really rough stuff at high speed did remind us of that travel though and as you would expect it started to feel harsh until normal service was resumed when the bike was back in its comfort zone.

The triple ring up front offers plenty of gear selection, but is definitely a nod to the price point on the Ground Control 2, the bike feels so capable it’s easy to forget the cost and the components on offer. Whilst there are the headline grabbing Formula brakes and Revelation forks the drivetrain is functional rather than fanciful.

With a few tweaks, adding a dropper post and tuning the drivetrain you could make what is a great bike at a solid price an excellent bike that will certainly see you through a few solid seasons of trail hunting!

Tech Heads

At the heart of the Ground Control 2 is the hydroformed frame, it features a new design for 2015 that saves on weight and we also think looks better than last year too. The suspension set up is still a four-bar design that utilises a Horst link. Another new update is repositioning of the linkage, which is now on the seat tube, as opposed to the top tube.

This again offers cleaner lines to the bike, but also allows Rose to improve the stand-over of the frame. This design has also been proven to improve pedalling efficiency, which was what we found when testing the bike. There is also a 12mm rear axle for 2015, this is integrated into the derailleur hanger, which will no doubt prolong the life of the frame.

Suspension is catered for by the excellent Rock Shox Monarch RT3 with open, pedal and lock settings, there is a Rock Shox Revelation RTL SoloAir up front with a 15mm axle and remote pushlock lock-out. The bike offers 130mm of travel front and rear.

The brakes are the excellent Formula CR1 with 180mm rotors front and back, the drivetrain is a mix of Shimano XT for the derailleurs, the rear being the Shadow Plus variety and there is a Shimano XT FC-M780 triple crankset up front. SLX takes over for the shifters and the cassette.

Easton take care of the cockpit with a set of 720mm EA70 Alu Flatbar’s connected to an Easton EA70 stem. At this price point there is no dropper post, but that can easily be configured on their website. The stock post is an Easton EA70 Zero. Lastly a Rose SL saddle finishes the cockpit off for your derrière!

Rose Ground Control 2 Medium

Seat tube 475mm
Top tube 585mm
Head tube 110mm
Chain stay 436mm
Wheel base 1116mm
BB Drop -18mm
Head angle 69°
Seat angle 74°

Weight w/o pedals 27.1lbs

For

Well priced, exceedingly well specced - in certain areas you get a lot of bike for your money with the Ground Control 2. We like the improved suspension set-up, this makes pedalling easy and efficient and the handling when pointing it through twisty single track is great too.

Against

We would recommend the dropper post upgrade at point of sale, it just makes the bike a far better package for not a huge investment. Whilst very capable, at high speed on fast and very rough tracks the Ground Control 2 will remind you what it is made for.

Overall

A really fun bike to ride at a great price, we love it when mountain biking doesn’t break the bank. Although it’s only 130mm of travel this is a very competent trail bike that can handle a wide variety of terrain.

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This review was in Issue 35 of IMB.

For more information visit Rose Bikes

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By Nigel Garrood
Nigel Garrood was one of the instigators of the IMB project and has been with us since the very beginning. This loveable rogue has more stories than the Bible and is known to enjoy a beer or two. On the bike, he’s fast and loose and often puts younger riders to shame. Equally he’s been known to suffer from the odd crash and carries the scars to prove it. He was once referred to as being a robot sent from the future to save us all!

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