Great price, great spec, great looks, but is its performance great too? The ROSE GROUND CONTROL seems almost too good to be true. But how does this beautiful 29er with 120 mm travel perform on the trail?

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ROSE GROUND CONTROL 3 | 120/120 mm (f/r)
13.70 kg in size L | € 2,499 | Manfacturer’s website

Is that a carbon frame? If you see the new ROSE GROUND CONTROL for the first time you’ll probably ask yourself this question. To cut a long story short, it’s not! Instead, by cleverly hydroforming the tubing, ROSE have managed to give the aluminium frame it’s sleek look. On top of that, the 13.7 kg bike is the lightest on test, even though it is also the second most affordable.

If this has you thinking that ROSE probably specced the bike with inappropriately light and flimsy tires or omitted a dropper post, you’d be wrong. The componentry is high quality and fit for purpose. The bike comes with a complete Shimano XT drivetrain and RockShox suspension, consisting of a Pike Select RC fork and a Deluxe Select+ shock. The Formula Cura brakes are unusual and we rarely see these on complete bikes anymore. There is nothing to complain about in terms of power, but the modulation could definitely be better as they tend to grab very suddenly. The 60 mm stem and 760 mm handlebar in combination with the low front end make it feel like an XC bike. The Schwalbe Nobby Nic tires suit the bikes intended use well, but a Hans Dampf up front turned out to be a worthwhile upgrade during our test.

The aluminium frame is beautifully finished and could be mistaken for carbon at first glance.
The Formula Cura brakes bite almost immediately as you pull the levers. This takes getting used to and requires you to be very careful.
The rear end of the ROSE is super efficient. There’s no need for a climb switch here.


€ 2,499


Fork RockShox Pike Select RC 120 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Deluxe Select+ 120 mm
Seatpost ROSE-Dropper 150 mm
Brakes Formula Cura 180/180 mm
Drivetrain Shimano XT 32 (10-51)
Stem Level Nine Race 60 mm
Handlebar Level Nine Race 760 mm
Wheelset DT Swiss M1700 29
Tires Schwalbe Nobby Nic 2.35"

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 13.70 kg

Specific Features

For only € 2,499, you get a top-specced bike without any room for complaint. The DT Swiss wheels are great too.
Well protected
An extra pad protects the front part of the chainstay from chain slap and keeps things quiet – thumbs up!
Pretty low
The Levelnine handlebar hardly has any rise and thus contributes to the aggressive riding position – we would recommend choosing a model with 25 mm rise.

The geometry of the 2020 ROSE GROUND CONTROL

Although the ROSE GROUND CONTROL was only released this year, its geometry is anything but modern. ROSE hold onto a 470 mm seat tube (size L), making it almost impossible to choose a larger frame size or to fit a longer dropper post. The head and seat tube angles are both remarkably conservative. The reach isn’t particularly long either at 460 mm and the stack height is rather low at 615 mm. The 441 mm chainstays are supposed to guarantee balanced handling.

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 410 mm 440 mm 470 mm 500 mm
Top tube 558 mm 586 mm 614 mm 641 mm
Head tube 105 mm 105 mm 115 mm 125 mm
Head angle 67.0° 67.0° 67.0° 67.0°
Seat angle 75.0° 75.0° 75.0° 75.0°
Chainstay 425 mm 441 mm 441 mm 441 mm
Wheelbase 1,111 mm 1,163 mm 1,192 mm 1,221 mm
Reach 410 mm 435 mm 460 mm 485 mm
Stack 572 mm 606 mm 615 mm 625 mm
Helmet Bell 4Forty MIPS | Jersey Leatt DBX 3.0 | Shorts Fox Ranger
Shoes Specialized 2FO Cliplite | Hip bag CamelBak Podium Flow

Is this even a full-suspension bike? Is my sag set correctly? After the first few meters on board the ROSE GROUND CONTROL, you’ll be surprised at how firmly tuned the rear suspension is. It doesn’t bob at all and accelerates very efficiently. The riding position is stretched, making it perfect for aggressive riding. If you prefer a more upright and compact position, you will definitely want to order the bike with a higher rise handlebar or more spacers under the stem, both of which you can do in the online configurator. Despite the low cockpit, you have to actively weight the front end on technical, steep climbs to keep the front wheel going where you want it to.

What a rocket – the ROSE flies uphill. But it isn’t particularly comfortable!

As firm and defined as the ROSE feels on the climbs, so it is on the descents. The bike can’t be classified as comfortable but that’s exactly what makes it so much fun to ride. Anyone who generally rides on flat trails that are mostly about carrying speed and generating more by pumping the bike will find what they’re looking for here. The GROUND CONTROL is one of the most direct feeling bikes on test while still offering lots of reserves. Both the fork and the rear suspension make very effective use of the available travel, only using as much as you really need. Even with the limited travel, it’s almost impossible to bottom out the rear end. Indeed, the poppy feel means the bike loves to get airborne over obstacles and jumps. The low front end keeps enough of your weight on the front wheel when cornering. However, you have to ride the bike very actively on steep and demanding terrain, because it hardly generates traction on its own. Here, the ROSE’s firm suspension and aggressive riding position demand a lot of power from the rider. We recommend fitting a handlebar with more rise or an extra spacer under the stem.

How does the ROSE GROUND CONTROL compare to the competition?

The ROSE is one of the firmest and most aggressive bikes on test. It marches uphill a bit better than the MERIDA ONE-TWENTY but is not as comfortable as the YT IZZO. However, the firm suspension demands a lot from the rider on the descents. It is very similar to the MERIDA but less composed when you’re pushing its limits. The Trek Fuel EX is a much more good-natured and versatile option, though not as direct.

Tuning tips: fit a grippier front tire | handlebar with more rise

Riding Characteristics



  1. sluggish
  2. efficient


  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced


  1. harsh
  2. plush

Fun Factor

  1. planted
  2. poppy

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Intended Use










If you’re looking for a bike to finally have fun on your flat home trails and would like to compete in a marathon race, the ROSE GROUND CONTROL is the right choice. The bike is direct, firm and fast but you do have to make a few compromises in terms of comfort and composure.


  • very efficient
  • direct handling
  • excellent value for money


  • requires lots of strength and input from the rider
  • the front wheel doesn't stay planted on steep climbs
  • not very comfortable

You can find out more about

The test field

Click here for an overview of the the best trail bike under € 3,200 € in review

All bikes in test: Canyon Neuron AL 7.0 (Click for review) | FOCUS JAM 6.8 NINE (Click for review) | GIANT Trance 29 1 (Click for review) | MERIDA ONE-TWENTY 9.700 (Click for review) | ROSE GROUND CONTROL 3 | SCOTT Genius 950 (Click for review) | Specialized Stumpjumper ST COMP (Click for review) | Trek Fuel EX 8 XT (Click for review) | YT IZZO COMP (Click for review)

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