Introducing the 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap. Priced at €8,199 for the flagship model, the all-round race bike promises to strike the perfect balance between weight and aerodynamics. ROSE went all out on the 2023 model, designing a new frame, wheels and a one-piece carbon cockpit. Has all their work paid off?
The 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap is touted as an all-round race bike featuring the latest trends of this segment. With its dropped seat stays, complete integration, one-piece cockpit, D-shaped seat post with an integrated clamp and the tubeless-ready wheels, the bike is quite the looker. The disc brakes and electronic shifting are hardly worth mentioning in this segment.
When the German omnichannel brand sent us their new bike, we were pleasantly surprised as we unpacked it. The 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap made a good first impression. It features clean lines, beautiful wheels, complete integration, and a nice colour scheme with discreet yet clearly present decals, leaving us with one thought: how does it ride?
The 2023 XLITE 06 RED eTap is marketed as an all-round that’s both light and aerodynamic. Whether you live in the mountains or lowlands, it promises to deliver on a wide variety of terrain. As such, the ROSE is in direct competition with the popular Specialized S-Works Tarmac SL7 (review here), and it looks very similar too.
Comparing the new 2023 XLITE 06 with the previous 2020 X-LITE SIX
Since the 2023 XLITE 06 RED eTap looks completely different from its predecessor, the X-LITE SIX SRAM RED eTap (review here), we thought we’d take a closer look at the differences and similarities. The frame and design are entirely new, with ROSE choosing bright colours and a very sporty look. The internal cable on the electric models featuring SRAM’s wireless groupset is very neat, clamping the brake lines to the bottom of the handlebar before routing them into the frame. You only see a short piece of the brake lines where they exit the frame just before the brake callipers. A significant improvement from the previous model.
While being more aerodynamic, the 2023 XLITE 06 is 400 g heavier than its predecessor, which isn’t something you see often on new models. The old X-LITE SIX with the SRAM RED eTap groupset weighed in at just 6.9 kg in size 57, whereas the 2023 06 RED eTap weighs 7.3 kg in the same size. The added weight is predominantly due to the deep profile rims and wider tires. According to ROSE, the size 50 frame of the old ROSE X-LITE SIX weighs 790 g while the XLITE SIX tips the scales at 825 g. The respective smaller siblings aka cheaper models also show the same behaviour: The old X-LITE FOUR weighs 890 g, while the scale of the new XLITE 04 stops at 950 g. There’s a clear struggle between weight and aerodynamics going on here.
They’ve also made changes to the geometry. Compared to the previous model, we were struck by the 13 mm shorter top tube, measuring 558 mm in size 57. The stack height has also been reduced by 15 mm, coming in at 557 mm. The seat and head tube angles have remained the same. Likewise, the maximum payload will still accommodate riders weighing up to 110 kg. However, the maximum tire width has been increased to 32 mm. Wider tires offer improved comfort, resulting in less fatigue, and they’re also claimed to roll quicker while feeling more confidence-inspiring through the corners. ROSE are right on trend.
The ROSE XLITE 06 and its in-house components
ROSE no longer just make their own frames and forks and build their bikes in Germany; they’ve expanded their expertise to include the designing of components. On the XLITE, they’re relying on in-house components for the handlebar, wheels, and seat post. They make a good first impression and help keep the price as competitive as it is.
Take the ROSE RC SIXTY carbon wheels, for example, which feature on 4 out of the 5 available builds. They’re 60 mm deep, have an internal width of 21 mm, are tubeless-ready and are paired with NEWMEN hubs. The carbon rims are laced to the hubs with Sapim CX-Ray spokes and have internal nipples. Moreover, they have an asymmetric profile to balance out the one-sided braking forces. According to ROSE, the set weighs 1620 g. The XLITE 04 is available with ROSE R Thirty Disc or ROSE R Thirty Disc Light wheels made from aluminium. The standard version weighs 1650 g for the set while the Light version comes in at 1550 g. Both wheelset options are laced to NEWMEN hubs and feature a profile height and internal rim width of 19 and 31 mm respectively. Their only drawback is the less aerodynamic, shallow profile. Here, on the one hand, the aerodynamic advantage compared to the higher rims is foregone, but this can benefit driving stability in crosswinds. On the other hand, the smaller inner rim width provides less support for wide tyres, i.e. especially if you mount 32C tyres, they will start to waltz sooner than with the RC SIXTY rims with 2 mm wider inner rim width.
The one-piece ROSE Race Carbon cockpit feels nice to the touch, especially if you like the feel of raw carbon. However, the aero cockpit is reserved for the ROSE XLITE 06 series with electronic shifting as the XLITE 04 series comes fitted with a classic two-piece stem and handlebar. According to ROSE, the one-piece Race Carbon cockpit complies with stringent safety standards (Zedler Adv+) and the 110/420 mm version weighs just 395 g. It’s available in four sizes that depend on frame size. To put the rider in an aggressive position, the stem is angled at -9°. The drop-bar has a reach of 83 mm, paired with a 130 mm drop and an astounding 3° flare. While this used to be restricted to the gravel bike scene, we’re seeing it pop up on more and more road bikes. With the drops flared slightly outwards, you’ve got more control and stability in that position. The tops, on the other hand, are narrower, making that position slightly more aerodynamic than with a standard handlebar.
Moreover, ROSE claim that the one-piece cockpit is easy to remove and doesn’t require you to disconnect the brake lines. Speaking of which, the ROSE XLITE is easy to put together once it arrives and doesn’t require any special know-how. All you have to do is turn the handlebar, instal the wheels, insert the seat post and screw on the pedals. The one-piece cockpit comes with a mount for your GPS device, offering an adjustable angle and a GoPro mount on the bottom. Cool!
The carbon seat post is D-shaped, matching the shape of the frame tubes and underlining the fast look of the 2023 XLITE 06 as well as the XLITE 04.
Components of the 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap and other builds
The ROSE XLITE is available in a total of 9 builds, with sizes ranging from 50–62. Four of them are part of the XLITE 04 range, which rely on the heavier T30/40 HM/HT carbon layup, whereas the remaining five XLITE 06 models benefit from the lighter T40/60 UHM/HT carbon frame.
We tested the size 57 of the 2023 XLITE 06 RED eTap in the Borealis Green/Chalk colourway in size 57, and there was nothing to complain about regarding the SRAM RED eTap AXS drivetrain on the flagship model. Shimano fans will be happy to hear that there’s a DURA-ACE option too. That said, the eTap drivetrain offers precise, reliable and almost silent shifting. The brakes are easy to modulate and instil you with confidence.
Considering the target group of the 2023 XLITE 06, it would have been nice if there was a power metre included, which isn’t the case, unfortunately. If this is something you need, you could retrofit the SRAM RED AXS Power Meter Kit for an additional €650.
The claimed weight of the ROSE XLITE 06 is between 6.9 and 7.3 kg in size 50. The ULTEGRA groupset which costs 4,199€ is available with the ROSE R Thirty Disc Light wheelset and the two-piece cockpit consisting of a Ritchey Comp Streem II handlebar and a ROSE Square stem. The Shimano DURA-ACE Di2, Shimano ULTEGRA Di2, SRAM FORCE eTap AXS and SRAM RED eTap AXS groupsets are available with the 60 mm deep ROSE RC SIXTY carbon wheels, which are fitted with 28C Schwalbe Pro One TT tires featuring the retro tan wall look. These variants all come with the one-piece ROSE Race Carbon cockpit and the Fizik Antares Versus Evo R5 saddle. The ROSE XLITE 06 is available in Borealis Green/Chalk or matt carbon.
The ROSE XLITE 04 is claimed to weigh between 7.3 and 8.1 kg in size 50, it rolls on 28C Continental GP 5000 tires, and they’ve decided to stick with the Fizik Antares Versus Evo R5 for the saddle. Depending on the model, you can choose between the mechanical Shimano 105 or ULTEGRA groupsets or the electronic Shimano ULTEGRA Di2 or SRAM FORCE eTap AXS groupsets. The available colours include Chalk, Bottermelk and Aggro Papaya.
Pricing for the 2023 XLITE 06 ranges from €4,199 to €8,199. Its small brother, the XLITE 04 featuring the heavier carbon layup and more affordable spec ranges in price from €2,999 to €4,79. Due to supply chain issues, you will have to wait until autumn this year for the ROSE XLITE 06 models featuring the one-piece ROSE Race Carbon cockpit. Fortunately, some of the ROSE XLITE 04 models that rely on mechanical groupsets like the Shimano 105 or ULTEGRA are in stock and ready to be shipped.
The geometry of the 2023 XLITE RED eTap
The geometry of the 2023 XLITE 06 RED eTap is clearly aimed at sporty and performance-oriented riders. Sitting on the bike, you’ve got to bend over low to reach the bars since there are zero spacers beneath the stem, making for a low cockpit and an aerodynamic riding position. This position is amplified by the shorter top tube compared to the predecessor.
|Seattube||430 mm||460 mm||480 mm||500 mm||525 mm||565 mm|
|Toptube||504 mm||523 mm||541 mm||558 mm||575 mm||593 mm|
|Headtube||105 mm||120 mm||135 mm||152 mm||168 mm||192 mm|
|Chainstays||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm||410 mm|
|BB Drop||72 mm||72 mm||72 mm||69 mm||69 mm||69 mm|
|Wheelbase||975 mm||980 mm||990 mm||998 mm||1,013 mm||1,027 mm|
|Reach||372 mm||382 mm||391 mm||398 mm||410 mm||422 mm|
|Stack||508 mm||526 mm||542 mm||557 mm||573 mm||597 mm|
How does it ride? The 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap in review
The moment you climb aboard the 2023 ROSE XLITE and step on the pedals, you’ll hear the buzzing of the 60 mm deep rims and feel every pedal stroke being transferred to the road, encouraging you to pedal even harder and feel the wind in your hair.
The XLITE is a road bike that does exactly what it should – it’s fast and efficient. As soon as you get up out of the saddle to sprint, the bike responds accordingly and surges forward, which is largely down to the frame’s ample stiffness. Due to the somewhat heavy wheels, it isn’t the quickest out the gate, though you’ll only notice then when starting from a standstill. Once you’ve got the ROSE XLITE RED eTap up to speed, it rolls along very efficiently. As such, the ROSE feels most at home on flat topography, descents and rolling hills.
Comfort and efficiency are always in a tug of war: as the one goes up, the other usually goes down. It’s no different on the 2023 ROSE XLITE, which sacrifices some comfort for more stiffness. It’s a thoroughbred race bike after all, and it hasn’t found a miraculous solution to this age-old problem. That said, it isn’t overly harsh and provides a balanced level of comfort between the front and rear. By swapping the tires for wider 32 mm models and setting them up tubeless, you can make the 2023 ROSE XLITE RED eTap quite a bit more comfortable.
However, inexperienced riders shouldn’t let themselves get put off by this since the handling of the 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap is generally confidence-inspiring.
Tuning tip for beginners: shallower profile rims. The RED eTap brakes, the grip offered by the 28 mm Schwalbe Pro ONE TT tires and the handling all contribute to a high level of control and confidence.
Our conclusion on the 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap
ROSE seem to have done a lot right with the new XLITE, delivering in terms of performance. The in-house components make a good impression overall and are on par with the otherwise high-end spec. As such, the 2023 ROSE XLITE 06 RED eTap is able to keep up with the more expensive high-performance bikes of its class. More than just a hanger-on, it represents an attractive entry into the aero segment, offering damn good looks and excellent performance at a fair price.
- coherent concept at a fair price
- balanced handling for most skill-levels
- sexy looking design
- no power metre
For more info, visit rosebikes.com
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Words: Simon Hänle Photos: Simon Hänle