Four birds with one stone: ROSE have conceived four different models based on the BACKROAD+ platform and equip all the bikes with a carbon frame, Shimano EP8 motor and 360 Wh battery. Prices? Starting at € 3,999. We tested the BACKROAD+ as an E-gravel bike and tell you how it performs on a trip with kids, coffee and beer.
Let’s get one thing straight before we get started so you can’t say we didn’t warn you. If you’re looking for a review of the ROSE BACKROAD+ that will furnish you with a straightforward, numerically evaluated summary that results in the time-old school grade of A or B within just a few sentences, you’re in the wrong place. Instead, we want to invite you to spend a day with us riding the BACKROAD+. Completely informal and without any expectations, you’re free to enjoy a glass of wine or a cold beer on the side. This is exactly what our production and editorial teams might have done – of course, the test riders only get to drink water. Is your drink ready and your helmet affixed firmly to your head? Then let’s get going!
Four bikes in one – All versions of the ROSE BACKROAD+ compared
Anyone interested in gravel will almost certainly have come across the name BACKROAD in the last two years. The BACKROAD gravel bike from Germany is one of the most popular bikes in the ROSE portfolio, so it’s not all that surprising that we’ve tested it several times in numerous incarnations. For example, the FORCE ETAP AXS LIMITED build had to prove itself in our last gravel bike comparison test against 12 other bikes. To make the bike and gravel riding accessible to an even bigger audience, the ROSE engineers have got together and decided to motorise the bike. However, that’s not the end of the story! The German bike manufacturer has gone one step further and offers four different models based on the same frame. In addition to the E-gravel bike, there is also a fitness, an urban and a randonneur version. Clever!
The heart of the new BACKROAD+ series is Shimano’s EP8 motor which boasts a maximum torque of 85 Nm and is powered by an internal, 360 Wh battery. The battery sits invisibly inside the down tube and can’t be removed. That’s not good news for anyone who leaves their bike in a garage or bike cellar without a power outlet. Instead, the bike will always have to be brought indoors for charging, which could mean dirt in the hallway or stairs that have to be climbed. Luckily, it’s not just the motor and battery that have been integrated into the bike. The BACKROAD+ shows its best side with its completely internally routed cables.
Another feature common to all four models is the frame material. ROSE use carbon throughout and don’t offer an aluminium version of the bike. In our opinion, that’s a pity as it prevents the price for entry into the BACKROAD+ adventure from being lower. That means the price for the cheapest model, the BACKROAD+ Fitness, sits at € 3,999. In addition to mounting points for mudguards, racks and bottle cages in the main triangle, the carbon fork offers three additional mounting points on each leg for bottles, bags or other equipment. Like the BACKROAD, there is a cut-out on the seat tube. This moves the clamping area of the seat post further down, increasing its flex. The generous clearances for tires up to 700 x 50C have also been adopted. Brilliant! This greatly increases the possibilities for experimenting with different tire sizes. However, there is one change compared to its unpowered colleague: the chainstays and wheelbase have been lengthened slightly. You can find out later what this means in practice.
The BACKROAD+ Fitness offers the entry into the model range, which are all equipped with 1×11 transmissions. It is equipped with flat handlebars instead of drop bars and, accordingly, comes with Shimano SLX and XT mountain bike components, starting off the range at € 3,999. With this bike, ROSE wants to make new trails accessible and bigger distances possible. Like the other models, the BACKROAD+ Fitness is available in two different colours. In addition to the sand/light lime colour in which our test bike is finished, a more discreet matte black finish is also available. The next model is called BACKROAD+ Urban and is based on the Fitness setup with flat bars and a Shimano SLX/XT mix. However, to be best-equipped for everyday use in the city and the daily commute to work, ROSE have added mudguards, lights, a rear rack and a kickstand to the Urban. The price: € 4,499.
Let’s move on to the part which will likely be of greater importance to most of you: the BACKROAD+ models with drops bars. We’ll start with the BACKROAD+ GRX RX600 for € 4,699, which, as the name suggests, comes with Shimano’s GRX gravel groupset. If you prefer electronic shifting and a little less weight, go for the GRX RX810 Di2 model we tested for € 5,699, which, in addition to the Di2 groupset, rolls on ROSE G Thirty Disc Light wheels instead of DT Swiss’ Hybrid Gravel 1800 Spline E. Unsurprisingly, that also makes it the most expensive model. Last but not least, ROSE offer the BACKROAD+ Randonneur, a version intended for explorers. Identical to the Urban build, it comes with mudguards, a rear rack and lights, but with drop bars and a GRX RX600 groupset instead, costing € 5,199.
ROSE GRX RX810 Di2 2022
Seatpost ROSE Backroad Seatpost 8 mm
Brakes Shimano GRX 180/160 mm
Drivetrain Shimano GRX Di2 RX810 42 (11–42)
Stem ROSE Square 80 mm
Handlebar Ritchey WCS Carbon VentureMax 420 mm
Wheelset ROSE G Thirty Disc Light
Tires Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 45C
Size S M L XL
Weight 14,9 kg (in M)
|Top tube||518 mm||553 mm||590 mm||620 mm|
|Seat tube||465 mm||500 mm||530 mm||570 mm|
|Head tube||120 mm||140 mm||170 mm||200 mm||Head angle||69,5°||71°||71,5°||72°|
|Chainstays||436 mm||436 mm||436 mm||436 mm|
|Wheelbase||1042 mm||1047 mm||1067 mm||1087 mm|
|Reach||386 mm||399 mm||411 mm||426 mm|
|Stack||549 mm||573 mm||604 mm||634 mm|
Wee day out – The ROSE BACKROAD+ on test
If you’ve hit the jackpot and sired not just kids but bike-crazy shredders, you’re rarely alone on a trip with your own bike. Of course, long solo rides are still on the agenda from time to time but the focus will have shifted to tours that involve fewer miles but all the more laughs. And so, it’s no surprise that today’s outing on the BACKROAD+ starts with your little one, who carves around corners and flies over the trail without fear. Trying to keep up, the ROSE bike proves its off-road abilities and shines with decent grip, a lot of confidence and good comfort. This is also thanks to the Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M tires, which offer great cushioning and plenty of grip. No matter how rooty or rough the trail is, the wide 700 x 45C tires rarely reach their limit. The BACKROAD+ has more problems with tight corners, where the long wheelbase and the lengthened chainstays turn out to be a disadvantage. The ROSE bike isn’t a lively and playful fun machine but stands out for its smooth ride and stability at higher speeds on less twisty trails.
In terms of motor support, the Shimano EP8 motor is clearly too powerful for the start of this ride – its enormous power is too extreme for slow rides with your kids. The lowest of the three modes, Eco mode, is appropriate here, or you can switch the motor off completely and save charge for the rest of the day. Practical: the motor handling can be tuned and adjusted via the E-TUBE PROJECT app. If you are often on the road with children, you will appreciate the numerous attachment options for luggage. In this respect, the BACKROAD+ impresses with eyelets on the fork, main triangle and rear triangle for racks, bags and bottle cages.
After you have dropped your little squirt off at his or her best friend’s, it’s across the city and out into nature. Now the Shimano motor can fully show its strengths and turns the BACKROAD+ into an absolute rocket. Powering off at traffic lights, the car behind you will still be in first gear while you’ve already shot through the junction. However, if you want to keep up with the traffic in a 30 km/h zone, your own legs are called for. At the 25 km/h threshold, the EP8 motor knows how to convince with a very natural riding feel, with a smooth transition from motor support to pure leg power. On top of that, the ROSE bike can be held at speed remarkably easily. Important for all commuters: the BACKROAD+ can be equipped with mudguards and is thus also perfectly equipped for bad weather. Those who alternate daily between rides in the city and the forest will love that the Shimano motor’s characteristics can be changed and saved under two different profiles. You can switch between them on the bike without a smartphone, letting you select the appropriate one for the current conditions.
Finally, the city is behind you and it’s time for a cool refreshing drink. Thanks to the little early riser, it’s not yet late and you have enough time left for an extended tour – provided you don’t let yourself be shuttled around in Boost mode all the time. With a capacity of 360 Wh, the battery isn’t huge and gets emptied quite quickly depending on the terrain. However, if you keep on pedalling, ride in Eco mode and are in less hilly terrain, ranges in the high double digits are possible despite the comparatively small battery. The riding position is sufficiently relaxed for long days in the saddle and the comfort is well-suited to long distances. Small vibrations are completely absorbed by the tires and even stronger impacts are sufficiently damped by the frameset, seat post and handlebar. Speaking of handlebars: the Ritchey WCS Carbon VentureMax model takes some getting used to at the beginning due to the unusual shape of its drops. Nonetheless, after some time, the bars prove to be extremely comfortable and offer a lot of grip.
ROSE BACKRROAD+ conclusion
With the BACKROAD+, ROSE make a strong debut in the E-gravel bike market and present a very versatile bike. Like the bike, the Shimano EP8 motor impresses with beginner-friendly handling and the customisation of the motor handling. Thanks to the numerous mounting points, the BACKROAD+ can also be used as a commuter with mudguards and a rear rack. Off-road, the bike impresses with a lot of grip, control and comfort, but is not very playful on winding trails. Instead, on long tours, it feels all the more comfortable. .
- beginner-friendly Shimano EP8 motor
- long-distance capability
- good comfort level
- numerous mounting points for racks and mudguards
- great stability
- plenty of grip
- not very playful
For more information about the ROSE BACKROAD+, visit rosebikes.com
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Words & Photos: Philipp Schwab