The ROSE HOBO has quite a lot going on. It’s built to cater to a wide range of use cases, from city cruising to gravel adventures, with a little cargo-lugging thrown in too. The bike takes inspiration from lots of different places too, with a steel frame, carbon fork, front rack and wireless electronic drivetrain all thrown into the mix.Does this make for the ultimate urban bike?

ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR I 13,74 kg (inkl. Front-Rack) I 2.499 € I Hersteller-Website

In the world of (urban) bikes, the following four major trends have repeatedly emerged and subsided over the past 20 years:

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

2. Gravel bikes that look like road bikes, but with wide tires, allowing them to ride on bumpy terrain

3. Cargo bikes with plenty of carrying capacity

4.Ebikes in all shapes, colours, and sizes

Some have come to stay, while others fizzled out for good outside of their niche subcultures. ROSE have tried to combine at least three of these big trends in the HOBO: fixie, gravel, and cargo. The new urban bike is intended to be sturdy, stylish, and versatile, combining a vintage look with modern technology. But does this sporty cargo machine deliver the goods?

ROSE HOBO – What sets the urban adventure bike apart?

A particularly striking aspect of the ROSE HOBO is the choice of frame material: steel. Outside of custom builds and some more niche applications, steel hasn’t been commonly used for bike frames since the 1990s. Today, most frames on the market are made of aluminium or carbon fibre. While all steel isn’t equal, it’s generally heavier in direct comparison to the modern alternatives, though it’s also more robust. For a few years now, steel frames have seen something of a resurgence, not least for reasons of recycling and sustainability. The best proof of this is the Bespoked bicycle fair, which showcases handmade bikes, components, and accessories. There, you’ll struggle to find many bikes which aren’t made from steel. In this context, the carbon fork on the ROSE HOBO might seem contradictory at first glance, with steel considered to be robust and carbon generally perceived as sensitive. However, this is a very common combination on gravel and road bikes, 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, combining low weight with durability.

Fat tires and wide bars might sound more like mountain bike specs, but you’ll also find them on the HOBO. The 650B wheels are also more commonly found on mountain bikes. While the wheels themselves are a smaller diameter than the 700C wheels more commonly found on urban bikes, the large 47 mm tires help to make up the difference. The increased volume allows you to run them at lower pressures, offering plenty of cushioning and comfort. The 780 mm handlebar has a strikingly curved shape that is inclined towards the rider, shaped like an M. Again, this is reminiscent of a mountain bike, where handlebar widths of around 800 mm are common. A wide handlebar provides a lot of control, though the wide stance isn’t the most aerodynamic. If necessary, the handlebars can be shortened to 680 mm. The M-shape helps to keep the wrists in a more neutral, relaxed position compared to a more conventional flat bar.

The handlebar on the ROSE HOBO is quite wide for an urban bike. However, this provides plenty of control, and it can be shortened if necessary.

The ROSE HOBO has a lot to offer in terms of mounting points and proprietary parts. The various mounting points are very similar to those on gravel bikes, in which case they’re mainly used for bikepacking. The HOBO has three pairs of bosses inside the front triangle and one pair on the bottom of the down tube for bottle cages, locks, bags, or other gear. You’ll also find three bosses on each fork leg, along with mounts for luggage racks and mudguards too. On the head tube, you’ll find four very special fastening points, designed specifically to work with the HOBO RACK, which in turn works with the tailor-made ROSE HOBO RACK BAG, both of which are available as optional extras. The latter can be customised with Velcro patches featuring cool designs. ROSE also offer optional mudguards and lights from SKS and Knog.

The large front rack was designed specifically for the ROSE HOBO. The outer cage can be removed, leaving just a small rack.
The matching bag doesn’t just look great, but it’s also customisable thanks to Velcro patches, and highly functional with its integrated cooling compartment.

Wireless, mechanical, 1x – The build options of the ROSE HOBO

There are a total of three different model variants of the ROSE HOBO to choose from. Two of them come with mechanical shifting, along with a premium wireless option. However, all models come with 1x drivetrains, i.e. with a single chainring up front. While the frame is reminiscent of a fixie or singlespeed, the HOBO is designed for use with a derailleur based drivetrain. The ROSE HOBO Deore model has ten gears, while the HOBO GRX 810 has eleven gears, and both rely on hydraulic TEKTRO disc brakes, with a choice of either Pine Green or Maliblue frame. Topping the range is the ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR, produced in a limited run of 500 units, which has twelve wireless gears, and relies on SRAM disc brakes. The stylish Speckled White paint-job is exclusive to the limited flagship model. Moving up the range also leads to a decrease in overall weight, due to the higher spec components. Pricing for the ROSE HOBO ranges from € 1,599 to € 2,499.

The frame of the ROSE HOBO could easily pass as a single speed or fixie. At the moment, however, ROSE are offering it exclusively with 1x drivetrains.

To the city and beyond? Riding the ROSE HOBO Rival eTap AXS XPLR

As a true do-it-all bike, the ROSE HOBO should excel in all situations, from short errands in the urban jungle, to evening jaunts around the lake, to multi-day adventures away from the sprawl of the city. The dynamic riding position is certainly suitable for all of the above. It’s not as aggressive as a road bike, though it encourages an active riding style thanks to the wide handlebar and forward-leaning stance. This makes jetting through the city lots of fun. The wide tires provide ample comfort on all surfaces: from cobblestones to city parks, cycle paths, and woodland singletrack, always offering a smooth ride. The handling errs on the composed side of the spectrum, offering plenty of straight-line stability. On the flip side, it takes some effort to lean into the corners. However, this is also due to the wide, semi-slick tires with their pronounced shoulder knobs. The 47 mm WTB Byway tires come from the gravel bike segment and therefore roll especially well on gravel, but they also perform well in urban terrain.

The 1×12 drivetrain provides plenty of gear range, while the wireless SRAM shifter works at the touch of a button, offering fast, precise shifting, as long as you remember to charge the battery every so often. The LED on the derailleur indicates the battery level via different colours. If it starts to flash red, you know it’s time to recharge the battery – no need to panic though; it should last long enough to get you home. The vintage-looking leather saddle from Selle Italia looks great with the steel frame, but it’s very slippery if you’re wearing jeans. It also takes a while to break in. At first, the saddle feels quite hard, and it’s also rather heavy compared to more modern saddles. The front rack and matching bag is generally very practical. The set caters to a range of use cases as the bag comes with various compartments, and a handy shoulder strap. The bare luggage rack is big enough to carry a big stack of pizza boxes. A major disadvantage, however, is that loading goods on the front rack makes the ROSE HOBO rather front-heavy. This makes it tip over quite easily when you’ve got it leaning on the stand. There’s nothing quite as annoying having to scrape your pizza off the floor! Moreover, the front rack is quite heavy at 1.9 kg, and not exactly cheap at € 149.95. In size L, the bike weighs 13.74 kg including the rack, 11.82 kg without it. You can easily remove the outer cage of the rack via six screws, turning it into a compact mini-rack.

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

Tuning-Tipp: A more comfortable and practical saddle.

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

Who is the ROSE HOBO for?

The ROSE HOBO is an ideal bike for those who want to combine style and functionality, as well as for hip and fit city dwellers who want one bike to do it all. Former fixie riders looking for a more laid-back option for their mid-life crisis should find what they’re looking for here. The same applies to sports-lifestyle tourers yearning for (everyday) adventures closer to home. Finally, the ROSE HOBO is for all those who like vintage style, but need the everyday practicality and functionality of modern technology.

Conclusion on the ROSE HOBO

The ROSE HOBO shows what a modern urban runabout can look like. It’s a successful amalgamation of various categories, resulting in a versatile do-it-all bike. Thanks to the wide range of optional tailor-made accessories, it can be very practical too. It’s too bad about the heavy front rack, which causes the front wheel to flop to the side when you stop, potentially ejecting your luggage; and the hard, impractical saddle. Nevertheless, it’s a blast to ride and oozes old-school style.


  • versatile and fun bike
  • robust steel frame
  • ample comfort thanks to the high-volume tires


  • uncomfortable and impractical saddle
  • front-heavy cargo, making the bike tip over on the stand

For more information about the ROSE HOBO, visit

Words: Martin Staffa Photos: Antonia Feder, Jan Richter