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New Rose Count Solo. Tested On Cross Country Race.


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Straight from the box to the XC race - that's how I started my long distance test of a new 2018 Rose Count Solo 2 hardtail. The race was extremely hard, very muddy and I did quite well, finishing 5th. I'll describe here my first impressions, as the bike has to go through another 1800 km in my test.


999€ or 1230$ for an XC machine?

Yes, you can race on the bike of that price range and you can do it well. I got 5th in the Masters category (I'm 38 years old), but my average speed would also give me a 9th position in the Elite category - pretty cool!


For 999€ plus shipping you get an alloy hardtail with some Shimano SLX components. The real weight of my bike in Large is 12,9 kg out of the box, so without the pedals. Besides that you get the RockShox Recon RL fork and Mavic Crossride wheelset on Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires. Not bad!

New for 2018 - Count Solo frame.


Comparing to the previous generation, the Count Solo frame got more classic design. It has a tapered head tube with a new Rose logo, well made, but not smoothened welds and no through axle. The frame weighs some 1800 grams, according to Rose, so it's not a high-end product, but you can definitely expect some durability here. I do... The rear brake and rear derailleur housing is routed externally and the front mech got an internal one. The frame is also equipped with the eyelets for the racks and fenders, as the bike at this price point is not only designed for racing. 


Small issues? Yes - the cable routed inside the down tube is loose and it rattles on the cobblestones.

How it rides?

The Rose Count Solo rides beautifully through the easy trails, but it won't slow you down on an aggressive Cross Country track. The race I made on the bike was a 4 km long loop with a rock garden, a small jump, some logs and plenty of steep descends and climbs. The melting snow made it also super muddy. The geometry is balanced, though my "Frog" (Merida Big Nine Lite) has much shorter wheelbase. The Count Solo feels pretty stable, but rides well through the corners as well (just look at the pictures below). The 2x11 drivetrain is versatile and I had no problems with it in the mud, changing the gears constantly. The RockShox Recon RL has the 32 mm stanchions and can be used as a 100% XC fork. It is stiff enough and simply does the job on the course. Some of you were telling me about the OneLoc remote, that opens by itself on the bumps - mine works fine so far.


All the components come from a known manufacturers - you know what you're buying. 


The RockShox Recon RL with an OneLoc remote isn't super light, but it works fine and it's stiff! Good value for the money.

Who should consider buying the Count Solo 2.

There are two groups of riders, who should check out this bike. It is the overall MTB amateurs, from easy trail riding to commuting and the XC / marathons racers on a budget. If you plan to train and race in mountain biking, this will be a very well spent 1000€.


Choose your line and don't make any unnecessary moves and your Count Solo will let you pass many riders in the corners. The Schwalbe Racing Ralph tires are versatile and I pushed them to the limits on the mud with some good results.


The Rose Count Solo on the steep climbs... When there was to much mud, I chose to push the bike, rather than carry 13 kg on my shoulder.


Jumps, logs, rock gardens - no problem for Count Solo. Remember - it is your technique, that makes you fast, but the bike has to let you do your thing...


The questions you'll probably ask...

1. No through axles?!

Nope, quick release front and rear. I would appreciate the through axles on an XC bike, but to be honest - didn't feel any lack of stiffness.

2. Would the 1x11 drivetrain be better?

No. The 2x11 drivetrain did great in the extreme conditions and it will suit defferent needs of the "budget MTB" riders.

3. This bike is definitely trail-ready and race-ready, but a carbon seat post can give you a bit more comfort. If you're serious about XC - get the dropper post.


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