Things are about to get gnarly! Consumer direct manufacturer ROSE stirs up the mountain biking world with the launch of their brand-new downhill and bike park bike, the SCRUB, which drifts into the summer with a mullet setup, top spec and a whopping 200 mm of travel front and rear – all for just € 4,499. But how does it fare on challenging DH tracks with big jumps? We tested it on the gnarly trails of Whistler to find out!
German direct order brand ROSE Bikes is stirring up the downhill world with the launch of the new SCRUB. As one of the most demanding disciplines in the MTB segment, DH requires a mad set of skills and a suitable rig to allow riders to shave seconds off their competitors. The ROSE SCRUB is meant to do just that, and also looks extremely stylish in the process. But is the new ROSE all style and no substance? To find out, we put the € 4,499 top-spec SCRUB DC3 through the wringer on a mixture of Whistler’s best- and least-known trails, hitting some classics like A-Line, Pulp Fiction and Dirt Merchant, and pushing the limits on some fresh loam off the beaten track. How did ROSE’s 17.66 kg downhill bike fare?
The new 2023 ROSE SCRUB DC3 in detail
The ROSE SCRUB DC3 rolls into the dusty 2023 summer with an understated look, combining a discreet finish and minimalist branding, and is only available in one colour: clear-coated brushed aluminium. The simple branding consists of a chunky R head badge, SCRUB lettering on the top tube and a small ROSE logo on the rocker arm. Despite its understated look, the SCRUB DC3 sure turned heads at the Whistler lift, receiving countless nods of approval from bike park attendees – though this might’ve been partly due to the new RockShox Boxxer on the front!
The rocker arm is neatly integrated into the seat stay and the shock splits the seat tube, protected from flying debris by a big mudguard. The latter is secured to the frame with magnets, which makes it extremely easy to remove when you want to adjust the shock’s rebound settings – awesome!
Home mechanics and tuning enthusiasts will be pleased with the cable routing, which appears to be integrated into the frame, but is actually just hiding under the extensive, removable down tube protector rather than inside the frame, so if you want to convert your SCRUB into a single-speed park shredder, you don’t have to faff around with internally routed cables. Furthermore, the cables are clamped to the fork’s bump stops, preventing them from rattling and ensuring a discreet look. At the same time, this makes it easy to service your bike and change components.
The extensive down tube protector is complemented by a rather meagre chainstay protector, which leaves a large section of the frame exposed. As you might’ve guessed from looking at the picture, this results in loud chain slap on the trail and has already left visible marks on our test bike after just a few laps. Unfortunately, the seat stay is completely exposed to the elements, so we recommend adding a generous portion of mastic tape.
The spec of our 2023 ROSE SCRUB DC3
For this review, we tested the ROSE SCRUB DC3 spec variant, which generates 200 mm of travel front and rear and comes equipped with RockShox’s brand-new BoXXer Ultimate DH fork. This relies on a Charger 3 RC2 damper, which was borrowed from Rockshox’s single crown forks and adapted for their new double crown fork. In the latest Charger 3 damper, the high- and low-speed compression circuits are connected in series, which is meant to reduce “cross-talk” between the two circuits and provide independent High Speed Compression (HSC) and Low Speed Compression (LSC) adjustments. The clicks are well defined and the dials extremely intuitive to use, which, together with the clear labelling makes it easy to adjust the fork. Furthermore, the Trailhead app helps you through the process, providing both air pressure and tuning recommendations based on your body weight. Designed to absorb high-frequency vibrations and small impacts even before the air spring starts working, RockShox’s proprietary ButterCups are meant to help reduce arm pump significantly. You can find out more about the new BoXXer here.
At the rear, a RockShox Super Deluxe coil shock with Hydraulic Bottom Out (HBO) controls 200 mm of travel, providing excellent small bump sensitivity while at the same time preventing the rear suspension from bottoming out hard with big, nasty impacts. Code RSC brakes with tool-free reach and bite point adjustment ensure reliable and powerful deceleration, with SRAM’s proprietary SwingLink lever ensuring optimal modulation. The brakes are paired with a massive 220 mm rotor at the front and 200 mm disc at the rear. A 7-speed SRAM X01 DH rear derailleur provides just enough range for lift-to-lift transitions and explosive finish-line sprints. The mullet wheel setup with a smaller 27.5” wheel at the rear and bigger 29” wheel at the front should provide good rollover characteristics. German tire giant Schwalbe takes care of the tires, combining a Magic Mary at the front and Big Betty at the rear, both in the Super Gravity casing and Soft rubber compound. While the Soft compound is a little harder, ensuring longer service life, a downhill bike calls for a tougher casing, like Schwalbe’s Super DH, which is only available in the soft Ultra Soft rubber compound which tends to wear faster. Tipping the scales at 17.66 kg, the ROSE SCRUB DC3 retails at € 4,499, which is more than reasonable considering the spec – the fork alone costs € 2,279!
Fork RockShox BoXXer Ultimate 200 mm
Rear Shock RockShox Super Deluxe Coil 200 mm
Seatpost Reverse mm
Brakes SRAM Code RSC 220/200 mm
Drivetrain SRAM X01 DH 1x7
Stem Truvativ Descendant Direct Mount 35 mm
Handlebar Truvativ Descendant 800 mm
Wheelset Newmen Evolution E. G. 30 29"/27,5"
Tires Schwalbe Magic Mary Super Gravity Soft/BigBetty Super Gravity Soft 2,4"/2,4"
Size S M L XL
Weight 17,66 kg
More spec variants of the 2023 ROSE SCRUB
The SCRUB is available in a total of four variants, retailing between € 3,299 and € 4,499. Alongside three downhill models with a dual-crown fork, there’s also a freeride version with a single-crown fork, which is aimed at riders who love spending the day sessioning tricks at the bike park. None of the SCRUB models have a dropper post, not even as an upgrade option, meaning that the bike was designed specifically for lift- or truck-supported shredding sessions. Only the top-of-the-range DC3 is available in the raw aluminium finish, while all of the other models come in a cherry or vanilla colour, meaning a dark red or cream-coloured frame. Both the ROSE SCRUB DC (Dual Crown) model 1 and model 2 come equipped with a new RockShox BoXXer Base fork, which offers fewer adjustment options than its Ultimate flagship counterpart and forgoes the ButterCups. Both the 1 and 2 models feature a 7-speed SRAM GX DH drivetrain.
The SCRUB DC1 relies on a RockShox Super Deluxe Select coil shock and SunRingle wheelset with Schwalbe Big Betty Bikepark Edition tires front and rear, which form part of Schwalbe’s Performance Line tire range. These were developed with durability in mind, but aren’t available in any of Schwalbe’s popular tire casings – and also rely on a cheaper rubber compound. SRAM also supply the 4-piston DB8 brakes, which are paired with a 220 mm rotor at the front and 200 mm disc at the rear. The entry-level DC1 model retails for a very reasonable € 3,299, offering an excellent spec at a very fair price. For the same price, you can get another exciting model, the ROSE SCRUB SC (Single Crown), which is the only one in the SCRUB range with a shorter-travel, 180 mm RockShox ZEB Select+ single crown fork. The only difference between this and the Ultimate flagship model is the lack of ButterCups. At the rear, the SC model relies on a new RockShox Vivid Ultimate air shock, which has a reduced stroke, generating only 190 mm of travel. Other than that, the SCRUB SC shares the same spec and € 3,299 price tag as the DC1 variant.
The fourth model in the SCRUB range is the DC2. This relies on a RockShox Boxxer Base fork and Super Deluxe Ultimate coil shock, which offers more adjustment options than the cheaper Select variant fitted to the DC1. For the wheels, ROSE combine a Newmen Evolution wheelset and Schwalbe tires, with a Magic Mary at the front and Big Betty at the rear. Like our test bike, the DC2 comes with the Super Gravity casing and Addix Soft rubber compound. Braking is taken care of by SRAM Code R stoppers with a 220 mm rotor at the front and 200 mm disc at the rear. The cheaper R lever offers tool-free lever reach adjustment but forgoes SRAM’s SwingLink technology and externally adjustable bite point adjustment. The DC2 retails for a fair € 3,899, but we recommend spending the extra money for the flagship DC3 model to enjoy the perks of the new RockShox Boxxer Ultimate fork, and better brakes.
The geometry of the 2023 ROSE SCRUB DC3
The ROSE SCRUB is available in four sizes, S to XL, and employs a downhill-oriented geometry. By turning the cups of the ACROS headset, you can change the head tube angle from 63° to 64°. Given the small rear wheel, the chainstays are on the short side. Moreover, the chainstay length grows with the frame size, from 435 mm in sizes S and M to 445 mm in L and XL. This is meant to ensure consistent handling across all sizes.
The geometry of the 2023 ROSE SCRUB DC3 in low setting
The ROSE SCRUB DC3 on the trail – Scrubbing or popping?
As soon as you swing your leg over the SCRUB’s saddle, you’re nicely integrated with the bike, which is partly due to the high front end and low bottom bracket. However, the latter can cause the pedals to smash into obstacles if you’re not careful when pumping through rollers before hitting a big kicker ;). The mullet setup with the small rear wheel enhances the integrated ride feeling, and at the same time ensures plenty of freedom of movement on the bike, keeping your backside safely away from the rear tire. This made it easier for us to get our weight far back over the rear wheel on the steep, nasty Canadian chutes. On top of that, the SCRUB generates tons of traction, with the DH suspension sticking to the ground like Velcro. In combination with the high front end, this ensures excellent composure and inspires huge amounts of confidence, though it does require a fair amount of physical effort to hold your line. On the other hand, the ROSE SCRUB DC3 ploughs its way through nasty terrain without sharp turns like a knife through warm butter, always making you feel in control.
When riding jump lines, the rear end tends to buckle in fast corners and strong compressions, like the ones you get on Dirt Merchant and A-Line. As a result, you’ll have to actively weight the front wheel to keep it tracking. While this makes for a rather unbalanced ride, you can make up for it by adjusting the shock’s compression settings – at least to a certain extent. At the same time, when riding over rocks and ledges, the rear suspension tends to buck slightly. All in all, the ROSE SCRUB requires a meticulous setup to exploit its full potential when riding both: DH trails and big jump trails.
If you have the right set of skills to navigate jump-heavy trails like A-Line and Crabapple Hits (or the European equivalent), you’ll benefit from the SCRUB’s excellent composure, which inspires confidence in the air but also requires a fair amount of physical effort to add style points to your jump – but the effort is worth it when the lift queue pulls a Mexican wave for you ;). The spec matches the bike’s intended use perfectly and contributes to the high sense of safety, except for one thing… the tires! In a nutshell, downhill bikes aren’t made for compromises! If a bike’s designed specifically for downhill riding, it’s pointless not to use downhill-specific tires. We recommend upgrading to more robust tires with tougher Super Downhill casing, combined with the softest Addix Ultra Soft rubber compound at the front. While this combo might not be as durable, it radically improves cornering traction and stability, boosting the overall performance of the bike as a result – trust us!
Who should take a closer look at the 2023 ROSE SCRUB DC3 and who should look elsewhere?
If you don’t live right next to a bike park, a DH bike would probably die of boredom in your garage for the best part of the year. On the other hand, it’s an excellent tool if you want to improve your riding skills quickly. A few bike park sessions with a downhill rig make you progress fast as a rider, because a potent, confident-inspiring downhill bike boosts your confidence, allowing you to get better quicker. If you can afford an extra bike and have room in your bike cave, it’s an excellent +1 to complement your existing enduro or trail oriented bike fleet.
The fair price tag and excellent price-performance ratio make the ROSE the ideal second (/third /fourth…) bike. The Single Crown variant is the ideal choice for the price-conscious trail trickster and, of course, for all those riders who live right next to a bike park.
Our conclusions about the new 2023 ROSE SCRUB DC3
The new ROSE SCRUB DC3 is fast, confidence inspiring and very good looking. The model we tested might not be the most flickable downhill bike out there, but it is an excellent companion for rowdy descents and relentless scrubbing. While the short chainstay protector and weak tires spoil the overall excellent impression, these are details that can be remedied with little effort and a relatively small investment. Overall, the ROSE SCRUB is a solid alloy ripper and an excellent complement to your existing enduro bike.
- Semi-integrated cable routing ensures clean look and easy servicing
- Top price/performance ratio
- Super composed
- Distinctively understated
- Shock requires thorough setup to keep the rear suspension under control
- Chainstay protector is too short, resulting in loud chain slap
For more info, visit rosebikes.com.
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Words: Julian Schwede Photos: Peter Walker