Our long-term tester Benjamin has been collecting trail kilometers with the Rose Granite Chief for over half a year now. Find out how the 27.5″ trailbike with 145 millimeter of travel performed during this time. and over more than 50000 meters vertical drop in this review.
The central piece of the bike is the, new for 2014, Granite Chief frame with 145 millimeter of travel, which was also upgraded to the bigger wheels, tapered steerer and direct-mount. The head angle is 67 degrees, the chainstays are pretty short at 434 millimeter length. In combination with the 590 millimeter top tube (420mm reach, size M) this brings the wheelbase to 1154 millimeters. So much for the frame, but what’s with the spec?
Maybe you guys remember the story in issue #009, where we tested the Rose’s online bike configurator tool? Well, the Granite Chief of Benjamin is the result of this test! Not surprisingly, the specs are pretty custom – Benjamin put together the bike of his dreams for sure: While the configurator allows much lighter setups, we went for an alrounder with good downhill capabilities.
We selected a RockShox Pike with 150 millimeters of travel for the front of the bike, accompanied by a RockShox Monarch rear shock. The brakes are the Elixir 9 Trail from Avid, the drivetrain is build from SRAM’s X01 11-speed group set. You can find our long-term reviews on the DT Swiss XM 1501 Spline One wheels and the Kindshock LEV Integra seatpost, mounted in the Granite Chief, just a click away on our website!
Schwalbes Magic Mary tire on the front wheel and the Hans Dampf, also by Schwalbe, on the rear wheel ensured a grip-optimized choice. With this spec, the Rose weights in at about 13,5 kilograms and costs just over 3000 euros.
On the Trail
The main testing-ground for the Rose Granite Chief were the trails around Landau, Germany, but Benjamin didn’t hesitate to take it to some races of the Bluegrass Enduro Tour and even some bike parks.
Sitting on the bike, the position is slightly stretched but still central and comfy, and epic rides are no problem. In “open”-mode, the rear suspension bobs a bit and if it’s getting steep, the rear shock compresses, resulting in a feeling of pedaling from behind. But if you switch the shock to pedal- or climb-mode, the bike can deliver its full potential: it climbs in an efficient and agile manner, held back only by the massive tires and the robust components Benjamin choose. With another mix of components, the Rose Granite Chief was one of the best climbers in our trailbike test in issue 009.
In downhill sections, the stiff aluminum frame impressed with it’s plush suspension and stable handling, precisely cutting the desired lines even through the ugliest root sections and challenging rock gardens. The bigger wheels and the well-dialed suspension help a lot in this situations. Apropos the suspension: The overdamped and over progressive characteristics of the suspension that had been seen before, were much better in this model, it seems the guys at Rose did their homework.
Setting up the rear shock requires some time and is crucial for the suspension performance. Running the Granite Chief with to much air pressure in the rear shock results in a stiff suspension and a steep geometry, immensely decreasing it’s downhill capabilities. Selecting to soft a setup, you’ll find yourself bottomed out a lot. Once you found your personal sweet spot, you’ll get an very plush, confidence-inspiring suspension, fork and rear shox harmonising very well.
Rapid changes of direction are easy with the Rose. Generally, the bike get’s a lot of it’s maneuverability out of it’s front, enabling spectacular – but controlled – rear wheel drifts in fast corners. The bottom bracket height of 344 millimeter (-13 mm BB drop) is well-thought out, and provides not only good handling characteristics but is also noticeable on technical climbs: You can pedal relaxed over rough terrain without having to worry about your pedals to much. The high cockpit provides a lot of confidence in steep terrain.
Most of the parts turned out to be solid and problem-free. Only the KindShock LEV Integra seatpost got a bit rough after around 700 kilometers – a service reduced the problems but didn’t eliminate them.
With the parts Benjamin chose, the Rose Granite Chief is a perfect alround-bike with very good downhill capabilities. Thanks to the Rose online configurator, it’s possible to fine tune the bike to individual demands, for example a much lighter setup with better climbing abilities. But no matter what parts you choose, the Granite Chief frame is a solid and versatile foundation.
You can follow our experiences with the Rose – and all other longterm testbikes – in our interactive timeline: Including broken parts, tuning modifications and everyday-impressions, but also all the great stories we experienced with our bikes – you should swing by regularly!