With the all-new Sneak+, ROSE present an ebike for the urban jungle and it’s been pared down to the absolute minimum. All you get is one gear, one remote and one relatively weak motor. Read on to find out how the concept fares in the real world and who should buy this urban ebike.

ROSE Sneak+ | 15.28 kg in size M | € 2.599 | Manufacturer’s website

More is more? Many of you will remember a time at school when you bragged about your new bike and all its features, comparing it with what your friends have. Who has the most expensive bike, the loudest bell and the most gears? Early on, we were convinced that higher, faster and further is the way to go. Even today, most modern ebikes are designed and developed according to the belief that a bike with more X and Y is better than a bike with less of this and that. More Newton metres, more watt-hours, more functions, more remote buttons. Of course, these numbers look good on the spec sheet and impress readers. Many of them get blinded by the figures and encouraged to buy the more expensive bike with the most of everything. In reality, it would often make no practical difference to the rider if the bike had less of X and Y. But, as they say, it’s better having something you don’t need than needing something you don’t have. How, then, does the new Sneak+ presented by German brand ROSE fit into the picture? Quite simply, it doesn’t. It hasn’t got a huge battery or an impressively powerful motor. And there’s nothing much to speak of in terms of gears and buttons either. The ROSE Sneak+ prefers keeping things simple, believing that one is all you need, equipped with one speed and one button. Going for absolute minimalism and that fixed-gear, care-free and simple feeling. But will the concept find appeal in the modern age, or have ROSE made a mistake, presenting a bike without a target group?

ROSE Sneak+ first look – Practical minimalism

If this is an ebike, where are the motor and battery? Looking at the new Sneak+ from the side, it’s hard to believe that you’re dealing with an ebike. You can’t see the motor in the rear hub or the battery in the down tube. It features a very clean look and low-key branding. The gold Formula Cura brakes are the only thing that pop out. While it might be an eyesore for some, the splash of colour is sure to please others. Along with that of the motor, we were impressed with the integration of the cables and lights on the Sneak+. The brake cables are fed into the side of the headset and the LightSKIN lights are neatly integrated into the handlebar and seat post, both of which are powered by the main battery. That’s how it should be!

Pure minimalism. The ROSE Sneak+ has exactly one gear and it’s fast.
The LightSKIN lights are perfectly integrated into the handlebar and seat post. However, they clearly fall into the “be seen” category.
Typisch Brooks: Die Griffe müssen sich erst noch eingreifen und sind zu Beginn noch recht hart und rutschig.
Der Rahmen ist für den Riemenantrieb mit Rahmenschloss und horizontalen Ausfallenden ausgestattet. Der Nachteil: Muss das Hinterrad bei einem Defekt ausgebaut werden, müssen erst die Schutzbleche gelöst werden.

For the drivetrain, ROSE chose to rely on the GATES CARBON DRIVE. Besides the advantages a belt offers, it also adds an additional degree of complexity. To fit the belt and tension it, the rear triangle must have a splitter and horizontal dropouts. If you’re unlucky enough to puncture the rear tire as you cruise through the city, this means you’ll either have to be very skilled and mend the tube without removing the wheel or first dismantle the mudguard so that you can slide the wheel out of the dropouts. Unfortunately, you won’t find a stand or luggage rack on the new ROSE either and you can’t retrofit them since it doesn’t have the necessary eyelets and mounting points. So, the bike’s minimalistic approach also applies to the accessories, merely equipped with two, somewhat skinny mudguards. We would have preferred if they had been slightly less minimalistic here. On the upside, the Sneak+ has bosses for a bottle cage or the optionally available range extender on the seat tube and a lock on the top tube. The urban explorer’s carbon fork also comes equipped with mounting points for small cargo cages. Regarding the quality of the workmanship, the Sneak+ doesn’t have to hide and makes a high-quality impression.

The GATES belt has a specified service life of 20,000 km. Who can ride that far in two years?
The bosses on the underside of the top tube can be used to attach a bike lock to the frame.
The bosses on the seat tube can be used for a bottle cage or the optionally available range extender.

Handling the ROSE Sneak+ – How user-friendly is it?

A big advantage of the Sneak+ is its super low weight of just 15.28 kg. So, if you have to lift your ebike over obstacles on your daily commute to work, carry it up two flights of stairs or simply pick it up to board the subway, use an elevator or place the bike on your wall-mounted rack, you’ll be happy about the compact dimensions and weight of the Sneak+. Besides the aforementioned disadvantage of the GATES belt drive system, it also offers big advantages in day to day life. Due to the design, it’s completely maintenance-free and GATES specify a service life of 20,000 km, which should be enough to last most of us several years. Since it doesn’t require any lube, you never risk ruining your expensive trousers when riding to work either.

If you prefer parking your bike in the garage, basement or outside in the courtyard, you’ll have to make sure that there’s a power outlet nearby. The battery of the ROSE Sneak+ is firmly bolted to the inside of the down tube and isn’t removable. Your only option is to charge the ebike while you’re at work – assuming there’s a socket nearby – or purchase the optionally available range extender. This additional 208 Wh battery is shaped to look like a water bottle and gets attached to the seat tube using the bottle cage bosses, feeding the main battery via the charging port. It does so regardless of whether you’re on the move and the main battery is in use or standing still. However, since the internal battery has a capacity of 252 Wh, the range extender isn’t big enough to completely recharge the main battery once it’s depleted.

You won’t find any eyelets or bosses for a rack on the rear, but you can bolt cargo cages to the sides of the rigid fork.

The ROSE Sneak+ motor – The MAHLE Ebikemotion X35+ in detail

ROSE rely on the MAHLE Ebikemotion X35+ hub motor for the Sneak+, allowing them to keep the design as clean as it is and supporting the rider with a torque output of up to 40 Nm. Compared to other motors like the 85 Nm Bosch Performance Line CX, this is comparatively little, but it suits the bike and its intended use perfectly. The X35+ can be controlled via the remote in the top tube and an app on your smartphone, weighing in at 3.5 kg including the battery, cables and control unit. Together with the optional 208 Wh range extender, the battery capacity of the ROSE Sneak+ totals 460 Wh, giving you a range of up to three-digit kilometres. However, you’ll only achieve this in the lowest of the three support modes, requiring lots of physical effort. Note: the range doesn’t just depend on the size of your “tank”! The electricity consumption, degree of efficiency, performance of the motor, and around 20 other external variables also play into the equation, including the riding style, rider weight and kilometres ridden above the 25 km/h threshold. As such, it’s impossible to make a general claim about the range. To delve deeper into this topic, we recommend reading “The truth about lab tests” in our sister magazine E-MOUNTAINBIKE.

With the help of the Ebikemotion smartphone app, you can customise the three support modes, see your routes and analyse previously collected riding data, including your power consumption. Another convenient function is being able to link the app with your heart rate monitor and define certain heart rate ranges in which the motor should assist and with what intensity. However, while this can turn a bike with gears into a perfect training partner in hilly terrain, its usefulness is rather limited in conjunction with the single-speed Sneak+. The iWoc ONE remote in the top tube uses colour LEDs to indicate the selected support mode and the remaining battery capacity in 25% increments. Unlike most other ebike motors on the market, the MAHLE X35+ doesn’t regulate the assistance according to cadence or the rider’s input, but according to the speed at which the cassette rotates in relation to the hub. As such, the X35+ assists even if you’re not putting in any effort but simply spinning the cranks. Compared to systems with a torque sensor, the support doesn’t feel very natural in these instances as it’s independent of your cadence and how much force you’re applying to the pedals.

One button, that’s all. The MAHLE Ebikemotion X35+ motor gets operated by the iWoc button in the top tube.

The MAHLE Ebikemotion motor fares better in terms of acceleration, pushing you gently up to the 25 km/h threshold. Depending on the selected support mode, intensity and rider input, you’ll get up to speed more or less quickly. You’ll soon notice that the two lower support modes are very similar, even after fine-tuning them on the smartphone app. Depending on the setup, only the highest support mode offers a noticeable amount of assistance. To select a different mode, you’ll have to let go of the handlebar with one hand to operate the iWoc ONE remote in the top tube. The motor is pleasantly quiet and the sound it makes will fade into the background once you’ve gotten used to it. One of the strengths of the X35+ is riding at the 25 km/h threshold. The assistance fades out very linearly before leaving you to pedal on your own, so it never feels like you’re crashing into a wall. The motor’s relative lack of power works in its favour here since you can’t rely completely on the motor, requiring you to put in a certain amount of effort throughout, depending on the terrain. The motor kicks back in just as imperceptibly, not jerking or causing any other unpleasant side effects.

When riding the ROSE Sneak+ uphill, you’ll immediately notice how comparatively weak the motor really is. It’ll never feel like you’re being shuttled up the climbs, as you might be familiar with from more powerful mid-mounted motors, requiring you to put in quite a lot of effort. To make matters worse, the single gear is too big for hilly terrain and the motor isn’t efficient at low speeds. The choice of motor and drivetrain makes no secret of the fact that ROSE’s headquarters are in Germany’s lowlands. It’s only there that the ebike can fully exploit the strengths of its minimalist concept. In hilly terrain, you’ll either need a derailleur or a more powerful motor.

The ROSE Sneak+ on the road – How does the ebike ride in everyday life?

Some bikes surprise you with their handling and you expect certain attributes based on the geometry or components. Riding the ROSE Sneak+ for the first time, we were struck by how much it rides the way we expected it to. Its handling is direct and agile, though it never gets nervous or unpredictable. The riding position aboard the ebike is rather stretched and aggressive as is, but you could make it even more so by removing the spacers under the stem. Advanced riders and sporty commuters will appreciate the fun handling of the Sneak+, allowing them to lean it over into the turns. However, newcomers and those who want a lot of assistance aren’t this ebike’s target group, purely in terms of the motor’s output.

Tuning tips: Mount for your mobile phone (Quad-Lock, SP Connect, etc.) | Bar roll on handlebar | Beer cage on the seat tube

The Pirelli Cycl-e DT tires offer excellent damping and are the bike’s only source of comfort.

If you’re after a comfortable ebike for relaxed commuting along meadows and woodland paths, you won’t enjoy the ROSE Sneak+ either. The bike is very stiff and responsive. Curbs, potholes and cobblestones get passed on to the rider unfiltered, the only effective source of damping being the Pirelli Cycl-e DT tires. It’s clear that the Sneak+ belongs on paved roads and feels most comfortable in the city centre. In terms of braking, the Formula Cura is also better suited to connoisseurs and experts as they’re very on/off, making them difficult to modulate for newcomers. However, experienced riders will appreciate this too and get a very coherent package overall.

As narrow as its target group: the LightSKIN LED handlebar gives you that fixed-gear feeling.
Not for beginners: the Formula brakes are very digital and require a certain amount of time to get comfortable with.

The ROSE Sneak+ in a nutshell – Our conclusion on the all-new German ebike

With the Sneak+, ROSE certainly haven’t made an ebike for the masses, addressing a very specific target group with the minimalist concept instead. If you’re looking for a beautifully designed, quiet and fun ebike featuring perfect integration and very intuitive handling, this could be the bike for you – as long as you have the skills and stay on paved surfaces. In return, you’ll be rewarded with the full Sneak experience, giving you an agile bike for quick city jaunts.


  • clean look and perfectly integrated motor, cables and lights
  • great design
  • very intuitive handling
  • direct, agile handling
  • completely silent


  • the rear wheel is difficult to remove
  • lack of damping
  • limited versatility

For more information about the ROSE Sneak+, rosebikes.com

Words: Philipp Schwab Photos: Benjamin Topf