Luxury Bikes

ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR in the test – all-round urban adventure bike in a vintage look?

There’s a lot going on at the ROSE HOBO. It’s designed for a wide range of uses, from city riding to gravel adventures, with some luggage transport. The bike also draws inspiration from many different places, with a steel frame, carbon fork, front rack and wireless electronic drivetrain. Is this the ultimate city bike?

ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR I 13.74 kg (incl. front luggage rack) I €2,499 I Manufacturer website

In the world of (city) bicycles, the following four major trends have repeatedly emerged and weakened over the last 20 years:

1. Steel fixies, usually without brakes, such as those used by bicycle couriers

2. Gravel bikes that look like racing bikes but are equipped with wide tires that allow riding on bumpy terrain

3. Cargo bikes with a lot of loading capacity

4.E-bikes in all shapes, colors and sizes

Some have come to stay, while others have disappeared from their niche subcultures for good. ROSE tried to combine at least three of these big trends in the HOBO: Fixie, Gravel and Cargo. The new urban bike is said to be robust, stylish and versatile, combining a vintage look with modern technology. But does this sporty transport machine deliver as expected?

ROSE HOBO – What sets the Urban Adventure Bike apart?

What is particularly striking about the ROSE HOBO is the choice of frame material: steel. Aside from custom builds and a few other niche applications, steel has not been widely used in bicycle frames since the 1990s. Today, most frames on the market are made of aluminum or carbon fiber. Even though steel is not the same as steel, in direct comparison to modern alternatives it is generally heavier, but also more robust. Steel frames have been experiencing an upswing in recent years, not least for reasons of recycling and sustainability. The best proof of this is this Tailor-made bicycle trade fair, showcasing handcrafted bikes, components and accessories. You will hardly find any bikes there that are not made of steel. In this context, the carbon fork of the ROSE HOBO may seem contradictory at first glance: steel is considered robust, carbon is generally considered sensitive. However, gravel and racing bikes are a very common combination that is intended to save weight.

A carbon fork combined with…
…a steel frame might not make sense at first. But it’s actually a great combination that combines low weight with durability.

Fat tires and wide handlebars might sound more like mountain bike specs, but they can also be found on the HOBO. The 650B wheels are also more commonly found on mountain bikes. While the wheels themselves are smaller in diameter than the 700C wheels commonly found on city bikes, the large 47mm tires help make up the difference. The increased volume allows operation at lower pressure, providing plenty of cushioning and comfort. The 780 mm handlebars have a strikingly curved M-shape that slopes towards the rider. This is also reminiscent of a mountain bike, where handlebar widths around 800 mm are common. Wide handlebars offer a lot of control, although the wide stance isn’t particularly aerodynamic. If necessary, the handlebars can be shortened to 680 mm. The M shape helps keep the wrists in a more neutral, relaxed position compared to a more traditional flat bar.

The handlebars of the ROSE HOBO are quite wide for an urban bike. However, this offers a lot of control and can be shortened if necessary.

The ROSE HOBO has a lot to offer in terms of mounting points and proprietary parts. The various attachment points are very similar to those on gravel bikes and are primarily used for bikepacking. The HOBO features three pairs of bosses in the front triangle and a pair on the bottom of the downtube for bottle cages, locks, bags or other gear. You’ll also find three bosses on each fork leg, as well as mounts for luggage racks and mudguards. On the head tube you will find four very special attachment points, specifically designed for use with the HOBO RACK, which in turn works with the bespoke ROSE HOBO RACK BAG, both of which are available as options. The latter can be customized with Velcro patches with cool designs. ROSE also offers optional mudguards and lights from SKS and Knog.

The large front luggage rack was developed specifically for the ROSE HOBO. The outer cage can be removed, leaving only a small frame.
The matching bag not only looks great, but is also individually adjustable thanks to Velcro patches and highly functional with the integrated cooler compartment.

Wireless, mechanical, 1x – The setup options for the ROSE HOBO

There are a total of three different model variants of the ROSE HOBO to choose from. Two of them have mechanical shifting and a premium wireless option. However, all models have 1x drivetrains, i.e. with a single chainring at the front. While the frame is reminiscent of a fixie or singlespeed, the HOBO is designed for use with a derailleur drivetrain. The ROSE HOBO Deore model has ten gears, while the HOBO GRX 810 has eleven gears and both rely on TEKTRO hydraulic disc brakes, with a choice of Pine Green or Maliblue frames. The frontrunner is the ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR, produced in a limited edition of 500 copies, which has twelve wireless gears and uses SRAM disc brakes. The stylish Speckled White paint is available exclusively for the limited flagship model. An increase in the series also leads to a reduction in the overall weight due to the more highly equipped components. The prices for the ROSE HOBO are between 1,599 and 2,499 euros.

The frame of the ROSE HOBO could easily pass as a singlespeed or fixie. However, ROSE currently only offers it with 1x drives.

Into the city and beyond? Ride the ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR

As a real all-round bike, the ROSE HOBO is intended to shine in all situations, from short errands in the urban jungle to evening trips around the lake to multi-day adventures away from the big city. The dynamic seating position is certainly suitable for all of this. It’s not as aggressive as a road bike, but encourages an active riding style thanks to the wide handlebars and forward-leaning stance. Jetting through the city is really fun. The wide tires offer sufficient comfort on all surfaces: from cobblestones to city parks and bike paths to forest single trails, and always ensure a smooth ride. Handling is on the calm side of the spectrum and offers plenty of straight-line stability. On the other hand, leaning into turns requires some effort. However, this is also due to the wide semi-slick tires with their pronounced shoulder lugs. The 47 mm wide WTB Byway tires come from the gravel bike segment and therefore roll particularly well on gravel, but also cut a fine figure in urban terrain.

The 1×12 drivetrain provides a wide range of gears, while the SRAM wireless shifter works at the push of a button for fast, precise shifting as long as you remember to charge the battery from time to time. The LED on the rear derailleur shows the battery level using different colors. When it starts flashing red, you know it’s time to charge the battery – but there’s no need to panic; It should take long enough to get you home. The vintage-look leather saddle from Selle Italia looks great with the steel frame, but is very slippery in jeans. Breaking in also takes a while. At first the saddle feels quite hard, but compared to more modern saddles it is also quite heavy. The front luggage rack and the matching bag are generally very practical. The set covers a range of uses as the bag has various compartments and a practical shoulder strap. The naked rack is large enough to carry a large stack of pizza boxes. A big disadvantage, however, is that the ROSE HOBO is quite front-heavy due to the load on the front luggage rack. This means it can easily tip over if you lean it on the stand. Nothing is as annoying as having to scrape your pizza off the floor! In addition, the front luggage rack is quite heavy at 1.9 kg and at €149.95 it is not exactly cheap. In size L, the bike weighs 13.74 kg including the luggage rack and 11.82 kg without the luggage rack. The outer cage of the rack can be easily removed using six screws and transformed into a compact mini rack.

Live it or hate it: the vintage leather saddle is a matter of taste in terms of both appearance and fit.
Clean! The wireless shifter provides a very clean and tidy look.

Tuning tip: A more comfortable and practical saddle.

Lean in! The ROSE HOBO is a lot of fun to drive!

Who is the ROSE HOBO suitable for?

The ROSE HOBO is an ideal bike for everyone who wants to combine style and functionality, but also for hip and fit city dwellers who want to be able to do everything with one bike. Former fixie riders who are looking for a more relaxed option for their midlife crisis should find what they are looking for here. The same goes for sports lifestyle travelers who long for (everyday) adventures close to home. Ultimately, the ROSE HOBO is for everyone who likes vintage style but needs the everyday usability and functionality of modern technology.

Conclusion on the ROSE HOBO

The ROSE HOBO shows what a modern city car can look like. It is a successful fusion of different categories and results in a versatile all-round bike. It can also be very practical thanks to the wide range of optional, tailor-made accessories. It’s a shame that the front rack is heavy, as it causes the front wheel to tip to the side when you stop, potentially throwing your luggage out. and the hard, impractical saddle. Still, it’s fun to drive and exudes old-school style.


  • versatile and fun bike
  • robust steel frame
  • sufficient comfort thanks to the large-volume tires


  • uncomfortable and impractical saddle
  • front-heavy load, causing the bike to tip over on the stand

Further information about the ROSE HOBO can be found at

Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Antonia Feder, Jan Richter

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