Rose Root Miller - Review

Sep 25, 2017 at 8:25
by David Arthur  


Rose Bikes might fly under the radar outside of Germany but the company operates the same direct-sales business model as Canyon and YT which means very competitively priced bikes. But it goes a step further than those two brands with a custom bike configurator allowing you to change any of the parts on the bike to suit your budget or personal requirements.

The Root Miller is the company’s 140mm travel bike and it’s been completely updated this year, with more modern geometry putting it firmly in the same space as other top picks in this category. You have a choice of 27.5 Plus or the 29er wheels too – I opted for the later in the top-end Root Miller 3 build comprising a Fox 34 fork and Float FIT FPS shock and a SRAM XO1 drivetrain with DT Swiss wheels and RaceFace SixC carbon bars costing £3,726.20 plus £46 shipping.



Rose Root Miller 3
• Intended use: xc / trail / all-mountain
• Rear wheel travel: 140mm
• Fork travel: 140mm
• Wheel size: 29’'
• 67º head angle
• Aluminium frame
• Boost spacing front and rear
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Weight: 28.19lb / 12.79kg (size L)
• MSRP: €4,199 / £3,726.20 + £46 shipping
• Contact: Rose Bikes

Rose Root Miller
Rose Root Miller

Frame Details

It’s worth stating right off the top that you won’t find any carbon fibre frame options in the Rose mountain bike range, for now, they only deal in aluminium. That’s clearly a good call on the price front; less money in the frame material means more for the build kit. And there’s nothing at all clunky looking about the frame, Rose has really worked the tube shapes to inject some style into the frame, with a kinked top tube amping up the standover clearance and the curved downtube simultaneously providing fork crown and plenty of space for a full-size water bottle. And the welds are all smoothly finished. Common on carbon frames, Rose has added a plastic downtube guard to protect against rock strikes.

While it’s not my place to comment on the aesthetics, German brands have sometimes lagged behind their slick US counterparts when it comes to the visual appearance, but Rose has worked hard to shake off those preconceptions. This is a great looking bike. The all-black finish with reserved graphics gives an understated and purposeful look. I like it. If you prefer a bit more colour, there’s a bright blue frame option as well.

Rose has embraced Boost, as most bike brands are now, with the wider axle not only allowing a stiffer rear wheel but also allowing the designers to increase the spacing of the main pivot bearings for extra frame stiffness. The bike is also compatible with up to 29in x 2.6in and 27.5in x 3.0in tyres, and indeed it even offers the choice at the point of purchase.

One detail that will get the thumbs up from everyone who has suffered the groan of a press-fit bottom bracket is a traditional external threaded bottom bracket. All cables are internally routed with near bolt-on ports where the cable outer enters and exits the frame, and there’s stealth routing for the dropper post. Though the test bike had a 1x11 drivetrain, there is the provision to fit a front mech and go 2x if you wish.

Rose Root Miller

Suspension

The Root Miller uses a four-bar suspension layout with a Horst Link chainstay pivot to deliver 140mm of travel. A compact two-piece aluminium rocker connected to a Fox Float DPS Metric shock while cartridge bearings keeping things working smoothly. The main pivot bearings have been spaced more widely apart thanks to the transition to a Boost rear axle, with the main pivot sitting right over the bottom bracket. To increase swingarm stiffness Rose has added a brace at the top of the seat stays, and there’s also a stiffening tube where the rocker meets the top of the stays.


Geometry

For 2017 the Root Miller has been completely redesigned and guess what, it’s longer and slacker than the previous version. But then you probably already guessed that, because that’s the theme of pretty much every new bike release at the moment.

The changes amount to a head tube that is 1.5-degree slacker and the reach is 15mm longer than the previous version. The Root Miller is available in three sizes (small, medium, and large) with the same 447mm chainstay length across the size, instead of size-specific chainstay lengths as with the Norco Sight. A 67-degree head angle, 74.5-degree seat angle, and a reach of 453mm for a size large are modern numbers and put the Root Miller in good company with the likes of the Trek Fuel EX, Santa Cruz Hightower, and Norco Sight.

Rose Root Miller


Setup
It took some time to get the rear suspension dialled into my liking. Initially, while very plush and smooth on small to medium-sized impacts, I found the suspension was too soft on harder impacts with a harsh bottom out noticeable off big landings and I had to resort to adding more air. The solution was simple: adding a large volume reducer spacer to the Fox shock, an easy tool-free 5-minute job. It vastly improved the suspension performance with greater bottom out resistance and I was able to run lower pressures to keep it supple and ensure the rear wheel followed the smallest contours of the trail.





Climbing

With a weight of just over 28lb the Root Miller behaves impeccably when the trail points up or you want to cover ground quickly. For sure it's not as rapid as the lighter carbon fibre Cube I tested before getting onto the Rose, but for long trail or cross-country rides with a view to covering miles of terrain, the Root Miller is very well suited. It's flattering on the steeper gradients with reasonably good stiffness from the frame and swingarm to ensure you're not wasting energy flexing the frame rather than going forward.

Once adjusted to my liking, the suspension provides ample support for climbing. There’s a tolerable amount of pedal bob on very steep climbs even in the open mode, but the middle compression setting was the best all-around mode for everything but the fun descents. I found few occasions to flick the compression lever to the firmest setting, but it's useful should you have to pedal along the road for a bit. The high bottom bracket comes into its own when tackling tricky rooty trails and dealing with ruts and holes, with few pedal strikes compared to my old Specialized Stumpjumper. The steep seat angle also puts you in a really efficient position for climbing, and it was right at home on long grinds to the summit.

A highlight of the Root Miller was how it performed on one of my favourite trails. This one undulates along the edge of a huge escarpment, dipping in and out of copses and bomb holes, full of short poppy rises and sweeping corners. A bike that picks up speed quickly and maintains good momentum makes this trail really come alive. The Root Miller has all of the necessary qualities. Get it up to speed and it just flies along. I was impressed. I wasn't so impressed with the Mountain King tyres in dealing with a wide range of trail conditions, but that's something that is easy to change at the point of purchase.

Rose Root Miller


Descending

That the Root Miller was a competent climber was no surprise, there aren’t many 140mm travel 29ers that are slow on the ups. But there’s a huge variation in the ability of bikes in this category when it comes to descending prowess, and getting straight to the crunch, the Root Miller isn’t the best in class.

The updated geometry does bring the Root Miller plenty of improved ability compared to its predecessor. The slacker 67-degree endows the Rose with a good level of stability and lets you attack the descents with plenty of gusto and commitment. The 453mm reach means a reasonably roomy cockpit without feeling unwieldy, and the 800mm bar and 50mm stem provide plenty of control for muscling the Root Miller between the trees.

Rose Root Miller


While the changes to the geometry, for the most part, result in a positive experience on the trail, the high bottom bracket and long chainstays do counteract the good. While good ground clearance is a boon in some situations, the Root Miller never really felt as planted through the corners, especially fast bermed turns, as other bikes in this category, like the Trek Fuel EX.

The long chainstays also reduce the nimbleness of the bike in really tight and twisty technical sections, it doesn’t turn with the agility that I’d like when the direction changes are needed quickly. However, things improve when the speed increases on very fast trails, so it’s not all bad. I just found it to lack the engaging and playful handling of other bikes with similar numbers, I wanted more reward from the climbing prowess it displayed on the way to the top of the hills. Instead, it was competent in getting through the twisting trails but it wasn’t as much fun as it ought to have been. And for me, that's a bit of a deal breaker. But I don't feel the Root Miller is that far away from being nearly perfect, a few more changes here and there would take it from okay to great.


Rose Root Miller
Rose Root Miller
The down tube protector is a smart addition but the seat stay bridge limits mud clearance at the back.


Component Check

• Race Face SixC 800mm bar and Turbine 35mm stem: Sticking an 800mm handlebar on the bike is a smart choice, and it’s easy to chop down to your preferred width. There’s absolutely no flex from the bar and stem setup, and the shape of the bars puts your hands in a comfortable position.

• Fox 34 FIT fork: The Fox 34 has an excellent feel in all trail conditions and a wide range of adjustment making it easy to get a good tune to suit your preferences and riding style.

• Continental Mountain King Tires: Tires are a personal choice and what works best on your local trails, and while they are a fast rolling and efficient tyres, I just found the Mountain Kings lacked dependable traction on wet and slippery tracks, with more than a few sketchy slides until I swapped them out.

• SDG Circuit MTN Saddle: I just didn’t get on with this saddle. The shape was too flat and the padding simply too firm for my tastes, so I swapped it out for another saddle during the test. The Rose online bike configurator does allow you to choose from a wide range of saddles though.



Pinkbike's Take
bigquotes On the whole the Root Miller impressed, with decent build quality and an impressive aluminium frame that is a reminder that you don’t have to be swayed by the carbon temptation. For riders looking for a fast and rapid bike on long distance rides with reasonable capability in the steep and rough, the Root Miller is a fine choice, and the competitive price and customisable build options are bonuses. But it’s not quite as much fun as contemporaries like the Trek Fuel EX, to name one example of a bike that just has better descending talents. David Arthur







About the Reviewer David Arthur is a freelance mountain biker writer based in the UK.
Stats: Age: 36 • Height: 5'11" • Weight: 155lb • Industry affiliations / sponsors: None




89 Comments

  • + 32
 We've reached a saturation point in trailbike offerings and still more appear.
$6825 for a 140mm FS 29er using a modified Horst link suspension. What's better about this than the other (often cheaper, LBS-supported) bikes on the market?

Orange Five
Intense Carbine
Canfield TOIR 29er
Santa Cruz Hightower and Tallboy
Yt Industries Jeffsy
Canyon Spectral
Niner RIP9 RDO
Cube Stereo 140
Radon Slide 140
Giant Trance
Marin Mount Vision
Trek Remedy 29
Rocky Mountain Instinct
Banshee Prime
Whyte T129s
Specialized FSR Comp 29

and more......
  • + 19
 Where is everyone getting these numbers from. You've gotta remember that the Rose pricing is including VAT, which adds a substantial amount. The USD pricing, minus VAT would be about $4143.02.
  • + 4
 @PHeller: Holy cow, around $2700 for VAT alone???? Is that accurate?? And I thought US taxes were insane!
  • + 40
 @streetfighter848: you guys finally get a taste of what we feel in Europe when we open US online shops...
  • + 14
 @streetfighter848: I don't know where people are getting the 6825 number from. The bike tested is €4,199 or $4972. VAT is 20% of original Euro price, which is €699 or $827 USD.
  • + 11
 The specification with the $6825 price tag is for a different bike (Probably the cube in the descend picture)
  • + 7
 @Trailsoup @PHeller @chrod Sorry guys we had the wrong specsheet in there. The MSRP is €4,199 / £3,726.20 + £46 shipping.
  • + 2
 Plus shipping to the US is 800 euros. www.rosebikes.com/shipping/aid:884157
  • - 6
flag bonkywonky (Sep 25, 2017 at 13:03) (Below Threshold)
 Quite a lot of money for a bike that apparently handles like shit..
  • + 0
 Got the Jeffsy myself... Good bike great prize !
  • + 8
 But your price is wrong, and this one is totally blinged out, and Rose is one of the more expensive direct-mail consumer brands because they actually are more a shop and service center. Also 7 years warranty on the frame, I myself had 2 cases where they returned the bike repaired no questions asked in 10 days. Yes they have a different focus than other brands, that doesn't make them worse.
  • + 2
 @PHeller: Ah ok, 20% sounds more reasonable...
  • + 3
 Well the Remedy 29 doesn't exist anymore so scratch that one off the list.
  • + 1
 €4199 + €20 (box) + €807 shipping = €5026 =
$7370 Cdn or $5957 US
  • + 1
 @bcmrider: Jeebus they've gotta get a handle on their shipping.
  • + 0
 No Devinci?
  • + 1
 @bcmrider: you forgot to subtract the sales tax: $5957 - $827 = $5130
  • + 6
 @chize: FANTASTIC BARGAIN! who's not stoked to spend nearly a grand on shipping? LOL
  • + 3
 I'm waiting for the Bart Brentjens signature "Root Tree" version...
  • + 4
 Saturation yes, which is why we need more DH bike reviews. Let me repeat: more DOWNHILL BIKE reviews.
  • + 0
 My two favorite 29ers right now are the Pivot Switchblade and the Trek Fuel EX 29. I am leaning towards purchasing the Pivot Switchblade.
  • + 1
 @bcbikeman: careful with cracking swingarm issue on the Switchblade. Don't go used!
  • + 27
 I don't get the near disdain for AL frames. Sure, carbon is nifty in its ability to be shaped in all sorts of ways, but Al can be manipulated in all sorts of ways as well, and I love the look of a good weld. It is highly resilient, formable, paintable, does not puncture easily if wall thickness is sufficient, and is recyclable. What's not to like? Enough of the poo poo, PB.
  • + 5
 Yea that bothers me, too. I'm not rich but I could probably afford a carbon frame. I just prefer ALU. Every bike I own is ALU and I don't see myself becoming discontent with these bikes for a long time.
  • + 3
 .and no ocean fill. I want my grandkids to see real dolphins in the wild, not in a fucking zoo.
  • + 2
 @Boardlife69: well maybe you should stop all the supertankers washing there tanks with caustic and sea dumping it
  • + 4
 Yeah, but carbon has a real nice profit margin
  • + 4
 @nick1957: I try to buy local when its possible to prevent the need for supertankers in the first place. Thats the only way I know how to unf*ck the world.
  • + 2
 I just got a new Commencal Meta (alu) and I'm surprised by how much attention it gets. No one cares that it's not carbon, and everyone who's tried it says it feels stiff and not too heavy.

I'd rather save the $$$ and not have to deal with carbon paranoia.
  • + 2
 @rezrov: Exactly, it's better to have an alloy frame and better wheels.
  • + 10
 4200 euro seems a bit steep for an alloy direct to consumer bike, even with top of the line components. The new Rocky Mtn Instinct A70 is clad with the same level of components, and is priced within a few hundred euros... and you can buy it with full shop support.
  • + 4
 Commencal are priced similar, for maybe a bit less spec, unless you want to go YT or Canyon they still best value though
  • + 5
 The spec on that rocky isn't even close to the same.
  • + 1
 Merida one forty 2018 is on my radar
  • - 1
 @jfyfe:

Who gives a rip?

I'd take the new Instinct base model over this any day.

Rocky's doin sh$t right.
  • + 1
 @jfyfe: No, you're right. But the rocky's actually a thousand bucks less, I was looking at the wrong model. The suspension on the Rocky is the performance elite, so while it may not be bling it does come with the high end dampers. So you can put the extra thousand dollars in to upgrading key parts of the drivetrain and getting a nicer bar/stem combo.
  • + 9
 Were they high when they were developing this bike's geometry? The MEDIUM is recommended to people from 173 cm and has a 470mm seat tube coupled with a 150mm dropper post?!
  • + 8
 Probably the worst part about the bike, honestly. Large should be 19" seat tube with 470mm reach.
  • + 4
 Exactly. Who's designing these things that badly? That sizing would work with 1% of the population.

With 170mm droppers becoming the norm, no medium needs longer than a 430mm seat tube, and 450mm on a large. The minimum reach for those lengths should be 440 and 470mm
  • + 5
 You guys don't understand. They target buyers are T-Rex, not humans.
  • + 1
 Hmm, so I would ride a medium? It's like I'm 16 again!
  • + 5
 @seraph: unpopular yes but still a virgin?
  • + 2
 burn
  • + 6
 "It’s worth stating right off the top that you won’t find any carbon fibre frame options in the Rose mountain bike range, for now, they only deal in aluminium."
Pikes Peak Enduro has a carbon frame. Some of the Marathon and CC bikes, too.
  • + 4
 Yeah, I was actually surprised to see a review on the Root Miller instead of the Pikes Peak. Maybe at the time of testing that frame wasn't available yet.

I think the North American view on the market is different. To me Rose is a very different brand than Canyon and YT. Rose is more a shop that happens to have a home brand should you be after a complete bike whereas I consider Canyon and YT brands that do their own sales. But you can't visit YT to buy separate rear mechs, socks, handlebars and chain lube. Also Rose is about choice whereas YT originally was about offering only a single build of each frame (though the diversified recently).
  • + 2
 @vinay: True. The configurator is nice and if something doesn't show up you can ask them and most of the time thell fulfill your wish. Bought a Granite Chief at last years sale and I didn't like the saddle. An upgrade to a SQLab saddle was really cheap. Also got wider rims. If you live nearby, like me, you can also pick up the bike at their large store.
Also their customer support is much better than other companies (canyon meh)
  • + 2
 @Dogart: I'm from The Netherlands so if I'd ever want one of their bikes yeah I'd love to come visit their physical shop. Currently though I'm on the fence about a hardtail with either Rohloff or Pinion. If anything is valuable to me it would be the peace of mind that I can go out and have a blast without feeling guilty if time is tight and I don't get to clean and lube my bike. Just discovered 11antsbikes.com. They're about 40km from home so that's doable. The only thing is it would take me a fair while to save up Wink .
  • + 9
 Cube Stereo pic snuck it's way into the descending section
  • + 3
 That, and a "Float FIT FPS shock" snuck into the second paragraph, plus the incorrect price discussed above. Someone at Pinkbike must be hungover...
  • + 1
 @Rooster09: And the no carbon frames...
  • + 3
 "You won’t find any carbon fibre frame options in the Rose mountain bike range, for now, they only deal in aluminium."
Really? What about the Pikes Peak, tested here on PB some time ago?

And why one of the action shots shows a Cube? Razz
  • + 5
 It looks like an old santa Cruz.
  • + 18
 except its not in any way whatsoever.
  • + 2
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Wise you are friend!
  • + 4
 Short chainstays comments again *groan*. Theres more to tight corners than just stay length.
  • + 2
 Maybe the designers of the bike wanted it to be more stable at high speed? Short CS are great fun but in a park or DH setting ("enduro" if you will) short CS bikes can get downright twitchy at high speed.
  • + 2
 Its not the size that matters, but how you yank yer chain.
  • + 2
 Seriously...
Perhaps they are pining for the days of this:
goo.gl/images/VmWPNq
  • + 6
 Specialized Tallboy?
  • + 3
 140mm :-/

it's like they said, let's go the opposite direction of YT, a pricier, less capable, less travel bike...?
  • + 14
 140mm with 29 inch wheels is a sweet spot that can pedal and shred, its a very common setup these days. I feel like a lot of people overbike in a big way. Most of us do not need a 170 front 160 rear bike for our normal trails.
  • + 1
 @ClaytonMarkin: I guess I always want the extra cush of knowing if I come up short on a drop or case a jump that I won't un-true my wheel quite as easily...
  • + 3
 @ClaytonMarkin: what if I told you most of us do? Everyone I see here in the BC black trails do need 160mm
  • + 8
 @mollow: there is a hell of a lot of people in the UK that ride flat, trail centre flow trails on 160mm carbon enduro machines. It is really unnecessary for most riding but is probably quite good due to the money that can then be put into the development of these bikes for those that do use the full travel
  • + 1
 @ClaytonMarkin: agreed 100%. Having grownup in Durango and I having ridden Moab multiple times a year, I personally just don't see it with these big bikes.
  • + 2
 @Longtravel: lmao look at your username
  • + 2
 @ClaytonMarkin: Agree with you so hard right now. You really don't need more than 140mm for just about any trail in the Southeast, but I could imagine 160s in the Midwest. People are trying to find a "one bike to do it all" when that doesn't exist. 160mm is way under gunned in a DH park. You need 170 bare minimum for high speed gnar gnar and not more than 160 for trail use, IMO.
  • + 1
 @mollow: It's all about location I guess. You guys probably do need 160s, almost no one in my region (Southeast USA) actually needs that.
  • + 1
 @mollow: oddly it was in reference to my Tallboy LT, which is now more of a mid travel now. lol
  • + 4
 A mediocre Rose or two Jeffsy's? Yeaaaaaaaaa no.
  • + 3
 Actually the pricing is more similar than it'd look, minus VAT. That's actually Rose' biggest issue, they aren't tailored for sale in North America. Which is weird, because they will in fact ship the USA. Plus it's a 28lbs non-carbon bike, which is really impressive. I'm not sure the Jeffsy in size large is that light.
  • + 1
 @PHeller: my 2012 giant reign 1 is 28 lbs and id way rather take a reign over this
  • + 2
 @PHeller: the Al Jeffsy 29er frame only in medium feels like it's made of pig iron!! Full build is over 30lbs in medium...
  • + 0
 Good for them, yay variety, but this looks super familiar, IS NOT A BARGAIN of any sort, ridiculous shipping, etc. Hard pass on this one
  • + 2
 Looks like a bike, hey, look at dat.
  • + 1
 im thinking you need long stays on a 29 er bike.
want a fast tight cornering bike?
Nothing beats 26 inch wheels.
  • + 1
 So that's where those Blur LT top tubes went!
  • + 1
 @davidarthur: latter, not later. Wink
  • + 1
 Looks like a blur LT
  • + 0
 that has to be one of the ugliest swing links i've seen in a while
  • + 1
 Looks like a Ripley
  • - 2
 Maybe these sell well in Germany but ffs come up with same names that sound like MtB bikes, Root Miller, really!!
  • + 4
 yeah, some cool name where numbers substitute for letters and pronunciation is not a thing! like x00t [\/]i//3Rr
  • + 1
 I don't know where Rose bike names come from : Root Miller, Granite Chief, Uncle Jimbo....
  • + 3
 @Whipperman: they probably got some kind of inspiration from Schwalbe
  • - 3
 Looks nice but there are better bikes out there that come with a carbon frame for less money.

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