German bike brand ROSE want to prove how versatile their gravel platform is, sending us the BACKROAD AXS MULLET BUILD for our big bikepacking group test. Can the BACKROAD come out on top with its high-end spec?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best bikepacking bike in review

ROSE BACKROAD AXS MULLET BUILD | 9.12 kg in size 57 | Manufacturer’s website

You want to know everything about bikepacking and bikes, gear, route planning and accommodation? Click here for our detailed Bikepacking 101. In terms of style, the BACKROAD AXS MULLET BUILD doesn’t have to hide and we’d give it a perfect score out of the box. Along with the hot “Deepest Purple” paint job, ROSE have specced the bike to match: the 1×12 groupset consists of SRAM Force AXS brifters and cranks combined with the X01 EAGLE derailleur and cassette from SRAM’s mountain bike range. The SRAM XG-1275 cassette offers a 500% gear range, giving you an easy climbing gear despite the relatively large 40 t chainring.

Going downhill, you can rest assured knowing you can rely on the stopping power and easy modulation of the SRAM FORCE eTap AXS HRD brakes paired with a 180 mm rotor up front and a 160 mm rotor on the rear. The SRAM groupset configuration on the ROSE immediately won all of us over! We were equally impressed with the cockpit! The excellent ergonomics of the Ritchey WCS Venture Max bar combined with the suspended Redshift ShockStop stem (review here) are a match made in heaven. The only small complaint we had is regarding the D-shaped seat post which, though it is available with either 25 or 8 mm setback, makes the frame incompatible with standard seat posts and prevents you from upgrading to a suspended model. However, the seat post clamp is beautifully integrated into the frame and didn’t give us any trouble during the course of our test. Weighing in at 9.17 kg in size 57, the ROSE is one of the lightest bikes on test and considering it’s € 3,699 price tag and the excellent choice in components, it’s amongst the best value bikes too.

Perfect choice
Every component on the ROSE has been carefully chosen. We were particularly impressed with the ergonomics and comfort of the cockpit.
Gripmaster 3000
The WTB Venture tires previously convinced us in our gravel tire group test. The 650 x 47B version offers even more grip.
Reliable stopping power
With the 180 mm rotor up front, you never have to worry about the SRAM brakes overheating on the descents.
Size dependent
Choosing the right seat post depends on the length of your legs: the sweet spot in compliance is very narrow and depends on how far the seat post extends out of the frame. If you’ve got long legs, we’d recommend the version with 8 mm setback. If you don’t need to pull the seat post out as far, the version with 25 mm setback is the better choice.


€ 3,699


Seatpost BACKROAD Seat Post
Brakes SRAM Force eTap AXS HRD 180/160 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS mit SRAM X01 Eagle AXS 40 (10–50)
Stem Redshift ShockStop Suspension 90 mm
Handlebar Ritchey WCS VentureMax Blatte 380 mm
Wheelset ROSE R THIRTY Disc
Tires WTB Venture Road TCS Tanwall 47B

Technical Data

Size 50 53 55 57 59 62
Weight 9.12 kg
Wheelsize 650B

Specific Features

Redshift ShockStop stem
bosses on the fork
fender eyelets
either a 700C or 650B version

Bar Bag (14 l, € 137.99) | Frame Bag Large (4.5 l, € 83.99) | Saddle Bag (14 l, € 129.99)
Size 50 53 55 57 59 62
Seat tube 450 mm 480 mm 500 mm 520 mm 540 mm 575 mm
Top tube 515 mm 534 mm 550 mm 568 mm 582 mm 602 mm
Head tube 100 mm 120 mm 135 mm 150 mm 165 mm 188 mm
Head angle 71.0° 71.3° 71.5° 71.8° 72.0° 72.0°
Seat angle 75.0° 74.5° 74.0° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
BB Drop 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm
Chainstay 427 mm 427 mm 427 mm 434 mm 434 mm 434 mm
Wheelbase 1,000 mm 1,012 mm 1,021 mm 1,039 mm 1,070 mm 1,072 mm
Reach 371 mm 380 mm 386 mm 395 mm 412 mm 417 mm
Stack 536 mm 555 mm 570 mm 586 mm 605 mm 623 mm

The Redshift stem is an excellent choice for bikepacking bikes, absorbing bumps when you’re on the hoods and in no way affecting the bike’s sprinting capabilities in the drops. Brilliant!

Helmet Rapha Helmet | Glasses MYKITA MYLON MALLORY
Jersey Rapha EF Education First Technical Shirt | Shorts Rapha Men’s Pro Team Bib Shorts II
Socks FINGERSCROSSED BOYS DON’T CRY | Shoes Rapha Explore Shoes

The acceleration of the Rose is efficient and quick, easily keeping up with the bikepacking competition. While some bikes like the Fern or the Bombtrack are slightly better at carrying their momentum, the BACKROAD doesn’t ask much of its rider to be brought back up to speed. It’s just as light-footed up the climbs, not only proving itself with its climbing capabilities but also with its powerful and easy to modulate brakes on the way back down.

The handling is precise and comparatively agile. The front end responds to rider input immediately while the rear end lags just slightly behind. When you strap on all of your bags, the added weight compensates for this behaviour. In bikepacking mode, the bike feels balanced, though sits more on the agile and playful side. That said, the handling of the ROSE never feels nervous or overwhelming. The Redshift stem provides first-class comfort up front while the 650 x 47B WTB Venture tires and the carbon seat post do a good job of absorbing vibrations at the rear. The bike’s high level of comfort combined with the excellent grip of the tires instils you with confidence in yourself and the bike. However, the ROSE might not be the best option for bikepacking newbies: while the handling is precise and does exactly what you tell it to, it requires an assertive and active riding style. For experienced bikepackers or those who just want to ride gravel without hauling all of their luggage, the bike is guaranteed to put a smile on your face wherever you ride!

Tuning tips: If you’ve got long legs, take the seat post with 8 mm setback. If you’re not going to have the saddle as high, the seat post with 25 mm setback is the better option since they differ in their compliance which is heavily dependent on how far you pull it out.


With the ROSE BACKROAD AXS MULLET BUILD the German brand have built a bike that isn’t to be taken lightly by its competitors in the bikepacking segment. It offers balanced comfort, spritely and agile handling and a carefully specced selection of components, never failing to put a smile on the faces of experienced bikepackers even on steep mountainous terrain. To come out on top, the ROSE would have needed to be a little more composed. However, if you can live with its agile nature, this is a great all-rounder offering excellent value for money!


  • very efficient and agile acceleration
  • high-quality spec at a fair price
  • value for money
  • comfortable cockpit
  • versatile and excellent as a gravel bike too
  • looks


  • D-shaped seat tube not compatible with aftermarket seat posts like the eeSilk

For more info head to

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best bikepacking bike in review

All bikes in test: Bombtrack Hook 2 (Click for review) | Canyon Grail AL 7.0 SL (Click for review) | Fern Chuck Explorer (Click for review) | Marin Headlands 2 (Click for review) | Mason Bokeh GRX (Click for review) | MERIDA SILEX+ 8000-E (Click for review) | RONDO BOGAN (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD AXS Mullet Build | Salsa Cutthroat GRX 600 (Click for review) | Specialized Diverge Comp Carbon (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Epic HT AXS Custom (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 9.9 XTR Project One (Click for review)

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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf, Robin Schmitt, Valentin Rühl