The ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD focuses on the perfect combination of comfort and versatility. To this end, the German brand relies on the EKAR drivetrain and matching Campagnolo wheels. Can this make the bike versatile enough to compete with the best all-rounders of 2022?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best gravel bike 2022 – 19 models on test

ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD | 8.39 kg in size 57 | Manufacturer’s website

The ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD features subtle lines and a sleek but modern design language. The excellent integration and dropped seat stays also add to this. However, the bike’s well-thought-out design goes deeper than that, reflected in details that you’ll only see at second glance.

It features a host of mounting points, including on the fork, top tube and rear triangle. They’re so inconspicuous that you have to look closely to see them, keeping the bike looking very clean. The finish has a trick up its sleeve, too, looking subtle in the shade yet sparkling in the sun.

The stem of the ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD looks a bit rudimentary, which clashes with the bike’s otherwise clean look. It also makes the bike less comfortable at the front than at the rear, despite the relatively compliant fork.
Well done
Due to the low seat stays and seat post clamp, the seat post is allowed to flex and generate plenty of comfort at the rear.
Gets hung up
One of the reasons why the performance of the Campagnolo EKAR drivetrain suffers is because the shifter tends to get stuck on the brake lever instead of jumping back into its default position. Although this is an adjustment error, it happens so often that you could consider it a weakness of the drivetrain.


€ 5,599


Seatpost ROSE D-Shape
Brakes Campagnolo EKAR 160/160 mm
Drivetrain Campagnolo EKAR 1x13
Stem ROSE Square 100 mm
Handlebar Ritchey Butano Comp 420 mm
Wheelset Campagnolo Shamal Carbon C21 CB
Tires Continental Terra Speed 700 x 40C

Technical Data

Size 50 53 55 57 59 62
Weight 8.39 kg

Specific Features

excellent integration despite the two-piece handlebar and stem combination
smooth and sleek look despite the wealth of mounting points
low seat post clamp for added compliance and comfort

Almost invisible
The ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD has all the mounting points you need. While other bikes have them too, they’re not integrated as inconspicuously as on the ROSE.
Well protected
The plastic cover on the down tube of the ROSE protects this exposed part of the frame. It also features mounting points for another bottle cage or on-bike storage solution.
Cable eater
Even if the ROSE stem itself doesn’t look very refined, it offers internal cable routing, keeping the bike looking neat and tidy.

Glittery paint and hidden mounting points – the ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD won us over with its beautiful design details.

Unfortunately, ROSE’s engineers seem to have lost interest in the design when they arrived at the bulky stem. It doesn’t just have a negative influence on the look of the bike, but also on its comfort. While the rear end offers plenty of compliance with its dropped seat stays and low seat post clamp, the cockpit feels much harsher, which is due to the stiff stem. As such, there’s an imbalance in comfort between front and rear, letting you feel bumps and vibrations a lot more clearly at the front. As a result, your hands will tire out more quickly, especially in rough terrain. The riding position is comfortable and feels nicely integrated with the bike, though riders with short torsos are likely to find themselves stretched out due to the seat post’s large setback. In size 57, our test bike tips the scales at 8.39 kg and can be yours for € 5,599.

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°
Chainstays 427 mm 427 mm 427 mm 434 mm 434 mm 434 mm
BB Drop 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm 76 mm
Wheelbase 1,000 mm 1,012 mm 1,021 mm 1,039 mm 1,051 mm 1,072 mm
Reach 371 mm 380 mm 386 mm 395 mm 404 mm 417 mm
Stack 536 mm 555 mm 570 mm 586 mm 601 mm 623 mm
Helmet MET Allroad Mips | Glasses 100% Eastcraft | Jacket Rapha Trail Lightweight Jacket
Jersey Rapha Trail Technical T-Shirt | Pants Rapha Core Cargo Bib
Shoes Rapha Explore Powerweave Shoes

ROSE rely on Campagnolo’s Italian expertise for the components. For example, you get the mechanical 1×13 EKAR groupset for the drivetrain, which has the same strengths and weaknesses as on all the other bikes using it. With a 40 t chainring and 9–42 t cassette, however, it’s geared more towards top speed than the Falkenjagd and the Ridley with their 38 t chainrings. As such, you’ve got fewer reserves available for the climbs and you’ll need a decent breakfast and strong legs if you’re planning to haul your luggage uphill. The upside of the EKAR drivetrain is its range with lots of small steps in the smaller gears and a very simple shifting logic. However, it feels spongy when downshifting and gets hung up too often when upshifting as on the other EKAR equipped bikes. However, these issues can be mitigated to a large extent by perfecting the settings.

The Campagnolo Shamal Carbon C21 CB wheels have an internal rim width of 21 mm. This is too narrow for a modern gravel bike, though, and they’re just wide enough to offer 700 x 40C Continental Terra Speed tires a good amount of support. The tire choice of the ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD performs best on various kinds of compacted surfaces and broken asphalt. Here, it offers light-footed acceleration and a level of efficiency that puts it in the leading third of the test field.

Tuning tips: adjust the Campagnolo EKAR drivetrain | a more compliant stem

The bike’s balanced and intuitive handling is equally well-suited to compact surfaces and poorly maintained asphalt. On this kind of terrain, the steering almost feels like that of a road bike, which is agile without being nervous, while offering sufficient precision. As long as the surface isn’t too bumpy, the BACKROAD EKAR LTD is very composed, too, and you can enjoy the ride without constantly having to keep the bike on track. The only weak point in the handling is that the front end feels slightly floppy when riding slowly and standing up to pedal. The comfortable 420 mm wide Ritchey Butano Comp handlebar can’t remedy this. If you stay on the preferred terrain of the ROSE, then the Campagnolo EKAR brakes do an excellent job, bolted directly to the frame with 160 mm rotors front and rear. They offer excellent braking power, first-class reliability and easy modulation. On loose surfaces, however, braking grip and pedalling traction go out the window due to the smooth tread of the Continental Terra Speed tires. Nevertheless, the bike manages to instil you with confidence. This is underlined by the fact that hardly anything rattles, offering a nice and quiet ride!

Riding Characteristics



  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively


  1. firm
  2. comfortable

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data


Size: 50 53 55 57 59 62
Weight: 8.39 kg
Price: € 5,599

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3

Our conclusion on ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD

The ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD is a well-thought-out bike aimed more at fast gravel riding on smooth surfaces. If you stay in this kind of terrain, you get a high-quality bike that also works well with bikepacking bags, with the only downer being the drivetrain getting hung up. To prevail against the best all-rounders on test, the ROSE lacks the necessary off-road performance. The overly stiff cockpit also prevents the bike from getting on the podium.


  • lots of inconspicuous mounting points
  • frame protector on the down tube
  • good efficiency and handling on hardpack and asphalt


  • look of the overly stiff stem
  • shifting performance of the Campagnolo EKAR drivetrain
  • not capable enough in rough terrain

You can find out more about at

The testfield

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best gravel bike 2022 – 19 models on test

All bikes on review: 3T Exploro Ultra (Click for review) | BMC URS LT ONE (Click for review) | Cannondale SuperSix EVO SE (Click for review) | Canyon Grizl CF SLX 8 eTap Suspension (Click for review) | Cervélo Áspero GRX Di2 (Click for review) | CUBE Nuroad C:62 SLT (Click for review) | Curve Kevin of Steel III (Click for review) | Falkenjagd Aristos R (Click for review) | Felt Breed 20 (Click for review) | FOCUS ATLAS 6.8 (Click for review) | GIANT Revolt Advanced 0 (Click for review) | OPEN WI.DE. (Click for review) | Ridley Kanzo Fast (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD EKAR LTD | SCOTT Addict Gravel Tuned (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Crux (Click for review) | Stelbel Nina XCr (Click for review) | Storck GRIX.2 Platinum (Click for review) | Wilier Rave SLR (Click for review)

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Words: Photos: Benjamin Topf, Peter Walker