Rose Bikes Pikes Peak 2 AM 2018 Mountain Bike Review

Rose Bikes Pikes Peak 2 AM 2018

Reviews / Trail Bikes

Rose Bikes 218,276

At A Glance

Since the beginning of the 20th-century, German company, Rose has grown through family generations from a tiny bike shop into a huge direct sales outfit, which employs nearly 350 people. Their latest introduction to their bike range is the Pikes Peak which offers two different 27.5 bikes based on the same versatile lightweight (2380g) carbon frame.

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Aimed at the ‘enduro’ end of the market is the bigger hitting steed providing 165mm travel at the rear and a 160mm fork, whilst their ‘AM’ version is a tamed down version with 150mm of travel front and back. Both models roll with the wider axle Boost set up to keep the chassis nice and stiff.

There are 3 different spec options to choose from in both versions as well as the option of using Rose’s build configurator to really maximise the customer's options. We have been testing The PIKES PEAK AM 2 which boasts a solid line up of components and comes in at a respectable £3208.

Rock Shox is responsible for the suspension with a Pike RCT3 fork and Deluxe RT3 rear shock, and the gearing is provided by a Shimano XT 1x11 drivetrain. Keeping things German, Rose have opted for the latest Magura MT Trail Sport brakes which grab the front rotor with four pistons and the rear with two, ticking the power to weight box nicely.

DT Swiss M1700 Spline wheels with a wide but light 30mm rim keep things rolling and both wear Schwalbe’s new Nobby Nic 2.35 tyres. The cockpit is bang up to date with a Race Face Turbine 35mm stem, Atlas 800mm wide bars and some popular Ergon grips, nice! The overall weight comes in at a touch under 13kg without pedals.

Three size options are available in small, medium and large. I’m 6”2 and was assured that the large would do me just fine, so take note that you may want to jump down a size. The small and medium come with a 125mm Rock Shox Reverb as standard whilst the large has a 170mm to cater for taller riders. There’s a bottle cage mount with room for a half litre bottle on the small and a litre bottle on the medium and large, whilst the triangle above the shock is perfect for neatly attaching a small frame bag and/or innertube.

The most notable difference on the PIKES PEAK compared to your average trail bike is the introduction of Rose’s new patented PROGEO system. This system not only allows you to make adjustments to the bikes geometry but the progression rate of the rear suspension too, hence the PROgression and GEOmetry. This fancy piece of technology offers four different positions for the rear shock linkage, which is adjusted by a ‘flip chip’ at the bottom of the shock.

Essentially what we have here is a bit of a trail chameleon. The angles of the head and seat tube can each be altered by a degree, and there are two stages for the progression in both the slack and the steeper setting.

On The Trail

Although I was strongly reminded before leaving the IMB headquarters that this is a trail/am bike, just looking at it I couldn’t help think that there was a little more to the Pikes Peak AM, and boy was I right.

Sitting in the saddle for the first time put a smile on my face, a nice long reach combined with the short stem, wide bars and a low standover gave an early indication that the two of us might just get along fine. After being a little sceptical about being given a size large when I would usually jump on an XL, my mind was put to ease as the fit was perfect. I think anyone 6”4 or over might well struggle though.

Acceleration through the pedals is great, the light stiff carbon frame is to thank for this, which is further enhanced by the stiffness provided by the Boost axle set up as well as the big industrial pivot bearing which has room due to Rose doing away with a front mech mount.

It’s definitely easy to over think the PROGEO settings. It completely depends on where you’re riding and how you like a bike to feel. The great thing here is that you have the option to change things if you so wish, however if you want to stick with just one or two settings then that’s fine too as the PROGEO unit is so light you can forget it’s even there.

For really long climbs, turning the flip chip to a high progression and steep geometry makes sense. The steeper angles allow for more effective pedalling and handling as it sits you further over the bottom bracket, and the front end feels a lot more responsive and direct. It still climbs pretty well at the opposite extreme with a low progression and slack geometry too, so for any rides where you are up and down a lot, there is no need to be stopping all the time to adjust things.

With more progression, the suspension becomes tighter and provides greater feedback from the rear end, as well as lifting the bottom bracket height to avoid unwanted pedal strikes. With low progression the suspension is allowed to use all of its travel, eliminating rough ground and perfect for hitting the descents.

I have spent a lot of time trying all the settings on different terrain, and for the majority of the riding I do, the flip chip stays locked into low and slack. This works really well for descending at any speed, particularly fast flowing trails. When the riding starts to involve hitting reasonable size drops or heavy compressions knocking the progression up a notch to the ‘mid’ setting really helps to stop the bike from bottoming out, as well as providing more confidence by reducing pedal strikes when pedalling through technical sections.

Steepening the angles by 1 degree really does make a noticeable difference to the feel of the ride. It’s great for going uphill and even those slow speed tight twisty trails but for me gives a less satisfying descending experience. Obviously Rose knows this, which is why they have given the range of options!

Adjusting the PROGEO is done using a 6mm hex key, and after a bit of practice can be done easily in less than 30 seconds. So it’s not quite the flick of a switch, but quick enough to do without holding your pals up on a ride and has been wisely engineered so there is no risk of losing any small parts on the trail. Rose has been testing this system for around two years on a prototype and say that they’ve had no issues with wear to date.

Keeping things slack and selecting low or mid compression most definitely turns this bike into a descending machine. At speed, it feels super stable, well balanced and confidence inspiring. Its ability to rail corners is fantastic; the long wheelbase keeps it planted yet the short 430mm stays make it feel more agile than it should for a bike of this length.

If manuals are your bag you will love it, it’s as though it was designed to help riders find that sweet spot. Stability in the air is great too, I found myself hitting jumps with confidence and even a bit of style too as it’s so manoeuvrable thanks to its low weight.

When things get really rough the Pikes Peak has the ability to pick its way through at a steady pace, but hit this sort of gnarly terrain at speed and you will find the limit of the bike. This is what separates the performance of the AM from the Enduro version, which has more travel and slacker angles.

The components have been superb on this bike. I love that the rear shock has 3 pedal settings to give more options to work alongside the PROGEO and that the Pikes have slow speed compression adjustments to help fine-tune the ride. The Magura brakes have been flawless, great stopping power and modulation with the advantage of less weight due to four pistons up front an two at the rear. The DT Swiss wheels were also a really impressive combination of weight, strength and durability. The only thing I changed was the front tyre, the new Nobby Nic works fine as a trail tyre but if you want to squeeze everything out of this bike then a more aggressive side tread will help you dig the front end in.

Overall

It is evident after some thorough testing that Rose has really taken the time and care in bringing this bike to the table. The PROGEO may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it works and adds a unique element of versatility to the trails. It looks fantastic, it’s great value for money and is guaranteed to provide buckets of fun. If you’re looking for a trail bike that can hold its own on the occasional enduro this is a great shout. A rare balance of stability with agility, this one has been a joy to ride.

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This review was in Issue 53 of IMB.

For more information visit Rose Bikes

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By Charley Oldrid
Charley Oldrid is a man who spends a lot of time in the saddle. A highly experienced Mountain Bike Guide, having led trips all over world riding the finest trails he can find. His personal riding style can only be described as wild, getting sideways isn't an option on a ride with Charley, it's mandatory. If anyone can find the limit of a test bike, it's him.

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