Sick and tired of the astronomical prices of new mountain bikes? Well, the ROSE BONERO 3 hardtail is by far the cheapest bike in the test field and still managed to impress with a functional spec, excellent versatility and tons of trail fun, which make it suitable for experienced riders too. But how does it perform on the trail?
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike of 2022 – 14 models in reviewb
The ROSE BONERO 3 is the undisputed outsider in our 2022 trail bike group test. And it’s pretty clear why: it’s the only hardtail and by far the cheapest candidate, retailing for just € 2,199. Moreover, the absence of a rear shock helps keep the weight down to 12,9 kg, making the ROSE the lightest contestant together with the lightweight Mondraker Raze RR SL. Generating a generous 140 mm travel up front, the BONERO should be able to handle most trails. And while it’s aimed above all at beginners and people who are taking up riding after a long time, it should also be an excellent companion for die-hard enduro veterans who want to refine their skills and spice up old trails that have long lost their zest.
The spec of the ROSE BONERO 3
With the BONERO 3, the German direct-sales brand have clearly chosen practicality over bling. The frame combines a classic hardtail silhouette and several clever details: for example, the bottle cage can be mounted in two different positions, making room for a bikepacking bag in the frame triangle. You’ll find even more mounting points for mudguards and a toolstrap on the top tube and rear triangle. Unfortunately, the cables aren’t bundled together or clamped at the ports, creating a faint rattling noise on rough trails. A small TPU plate shields the down tube from impacts while a thin plastic protector covers the seat stay and chainstay, albeit offering very little protection.
ROSE BONERO 3
Fork RockShox Pike Select+ Charger 2.1 140 mm
Seatpost E*thirteen Vario Infinite 180 mm
Brakes Formula Cura 4 200/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM GX Eagle 1x12
Stem Levelnine Race 45 mm
Handlebar Levelnine Race Alu 780 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss M 1900 29"
Tires Kenda Regolith Elite SCT/Kenda Regolith Elite SCT 2.4/2.4
Size XS S M L XL XXL
Weight 12.8 kg
Tuning Tip: more robust tires for additional damping, more traction and better puncture resistance
The BONERO comes equipped with a RockShox Pike Select+ fork with Charger 2.1 damper, which doesn’t offer the five clicks of external high-speed compression of its high-end Ultimate counterpart but still delivers a solid performance on the trail. LEVELNIE supply the alloy cockpit with 780 mm handlebars. The 180 mm E*thirteen Vario Infinite Dropper Post ensures sufficient freedom of movement while its remote convinces with good ergonomics and haptic feedback. While the Formula Cura 4 brakes might be a rare sight on production bikes, they totally convinced our test riders, providing powerful and reliable deceleration. That being said, on our test bike, the tool-free reach adjustment was so hard to move that we had to resort to an Allen key to adjust the lever. The combination of a 200 mm front rotor and 180 mm disc at the rear is adequate for the intended use of the bike.
ROSE also chose reliability over bling when it comes to shifting, employing a SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain, which delivers a solid performance at a very reasonable price. Just as solid is the DT Swiss M 1900 alloy wheelset. Unfortunately, we can’t say the same about the Kenda Regolith Elite tires of the ROSE simply because the paper-thin casing doesn’t do justice to the character and intended use of the bike. Especially with hardtails, we recommend running robust tires that allow you to run lower air pressures for more traction, better puncture resistance and additional cushioning.
The ROSE BONERO convinces with a consequent spec and ensures top riding fun for all skill levels
The geometry of the ROSE BONERO
The ROSE BONERO is available in six sizes: XS to XXL. The two smallest sizes rely on 27.5″ wheels while all other sizes roll out of the factory as 29ers. Our test bike in size L combines 485 mm reach and a long 460 mm seat tube, which heavily restricts the freedom of movement on the bike. Since we’re talking about a hardtail, this is totally unnecessary because the absence of a shock and suspension linkage gives engineers much more freedom with geometries and frame designs. Furthermore, the straight seat tube allows you to insert a dropper post all the way into the frame. With hardtail bikes, freedom of movement is even more important than with full suspension bikes because the stiff rear-end calls for an active riding style and plenty of weight shifts. Chainstay length is 438 mm in size L and grows with the frame size, providing consistent handling across all sizes. This is extremely rare with bikes in this price range, which is a big bonus.
The ROSE BONERO 3 on the trail
As soon as you swing your leg over the saddle, the BONERO strikes with a comfortable riding position and offers excellent propulsion from the get-go. Needless to say, the stiff rear-end offers less comfort with potholes and irregularities in the trail. Pedalling uphill, the ROSE propels itself forward with great eagerness, feeling refreshingly lively with its firm rear-end and low system weight. On moderate climbs, this makes it easy to lift the bike over small steps and roots, but the significant lack of traction requires a vigilant and active riding style on technical sections.
Even when you drop its nose into the valley, the BONERO offers intuitive and direct handling. Downhill, the riding position is slightly front-heavy, robbing you of confidence on steep descents, where your endorphins are inhibited by a faint but omnipresent OTB-feeling. As a rule of thumb, the easier the trail, the more fun you’ll have onboard the BONERO. Familiar trails that have long lost their edge, become interesting again, with the direct handling of the bike opening new opportunities and exciting new challenges. However, when the going gets rough, the ROSE requires a vigilant riding style, especially in nasty rock gardens and cheeky root carpets, where you have to pick your line carefully and commit to it. Because the stiff rear-end passes on knocks and vibrations almost unfiltered and hardly forgives riding mistakes. Downhill, the ROSE demands more physical effort than any other bike in this test because you have to use your body to compensate for the lack of rear suspension.
The tires of the BONERO don’t do justice to the character and intended use of the bike. Especially with hardtails, robust tires bring many advantages.”
Whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider, the ROSE BONERO 3 has a lot to offer. Except for the tires, the spec is spot on and so is the price! Although the BONERO is available in many sizes, the long seat tube makes it hard to downsize. On the trail, it’s super direct and playful but requires a vigilant riding style and great physical effort, particularly in rough sections. However, if you commit to it, the ROSE rewards your efforts with bags of riding fun, opening up a whole new world of possibilities on familiar trails.
- well-thought-out spec
- high fun factor for all skill levels
- it’s a hardtail
- limited freedom of movement due to long seat tube
- it’s a hardtail ;)
You can find out more about at rosebikes.de
The test field
For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best trail bike of 2022 – 14 models in review
All bikes in test: Atherton AM.150 (Click for review) | Bold Linkin 135 Ultimate (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral 125 CF 9 (Click for review) | Canyon Spectral CFR (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 8.9 (Click for review) | Mondraker Raze RR SL (Click for review) | Propain Hugene (Click for review) | Rocky Mountain Instinct C70 (Click for review) | ROSE BONERO 3 (Click for review) | Santa Cruz Bronson CC X01 AXS (Click for review) | SCOR 4060 ST GX (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO S-Works (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper EVO Elite Alloy (Click for review) | YT JEFFSY UNCAGED 6 (Click for review)
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Words: Simon Kohler Photos: Peter Walker, Mike Hunger