Ryan’s Personal OPEN ONE+ Plus Mountain Bike
What started as a few dirt rides on my snowbike, turned into an obsession with better traction than my daily rider provided for the trails around Salt Lake City. While I wasn’t really interested in riding with the wider stance and greater weight of most fat bikes, the increase in traction was awesome. In the fall of 2015, I bought my first PLUS bike, an Orbea Loki. It was fun and the traction on the dirt was much closer to riding a fat bike than riding an XC full suspension bike or a high-end hardtail. I also rode it as a snowbike about a half-dozen times, as I waited for my true fatbike to show up. It did surprisingly well in all but the softest conditions.
My next purchase was a Scott Scale 710 Plus. This bike was a little more than 3 pounds lighter than the Orbea. I was sure I was going to love it. With some small upgrades, I had this alloy framed bike down to the mid 25 pound range with 27×2.8 tires. Huge improvements in the lighter, quicker and snappier categories. I rode the majority of the 2016 season on this bike and was sold on its performance. The Plus tires paired with a nice hardtail frame made for a great balance of cush, light-weight and grip. I could stand to charge over the top of climbs that I would normally sit and eventually bog down. Going downhill, the lighter bike still offered the same sense of security and confidence. Despite a hugely positive overall vibe on the Scott, I still wanted something lighter. Once you’ve had a 21lb. hardtail, you sort of expect the rest of them to be that light.
In the spring of 2016, we were asked to help OPEN co-founder Andy Kessler assemble his personal ONE+. We were blown away to see this “cut-no-corners” plus complete bike that ended up in the 18lb range. We did a soft launch of this then-new product at our store before it’s official launch at Sea Otter a few days later. Once I saw that, I knew that I needed an upgrade.
Fortunately for the shop, the summer of 2016 was a busy one at Contender. Unfortunately, this meant I was not able to get my OPEN up and running until September. I kept riding all summer on my Scott, and I kept saying how much I loved the Plus concept. Every time I rode, I had a huge smile on my face, and I knew it was only going to get better.
Finally, I had an opportunity to build my OPEN. Someone had borrowed my Scott and hadn’t returned it in time for me to ride on the weekend. This was a perfect opportunity to rally a couple of mechanics at the shop and get my OPEN ONE+ up and running. While the Scott was perfect for solidifying my support of the Plus bike concept, the upgrade to the OPEN was awesome. No longer did I second guess the few extra pounds on the longer climbs, something that was inevitable when riding with a bunch of guys 15 years younger than me, most riding 20lb hardtails.
My first ride on the OPEN was a long climb with about 3,000 feet of elevation gain, followed by a descent of the Wasatch Crest Trail. On the climb, I never second guessed having 2.8″ wide tires. When the trail got steeper, I stood up and charged the gradient and recovered when the trail slacked out. This is something I could not do on a normal 29″ hardtail. While most people on this trail are riding 120mm-150mm travel full suspension trail bikes, I felt ready to throw down (at least I was wearing a helmet with a visor). On the downhill, I was faster than I would have been on my 100mm travel full suspension bike. The bike floated over the chewed up terrain and offered incredible control and braking. For sure, really rocky sections made the lack of suspension damping an obvious weakness. It was easily forgotten, however, as I reminded myself that I carried 5 fewer pounds up the hour long climb.
Now, with around ten rides logged on the One+, I’m sold. The Scott was a great bike and served me well as the perfect gateway-drug to the benefits of Plus tires. Yes, I can see times where I would want full suspension. And yes, the sub 21 pound build makes me feel like I can actually put the hammer down on climbs again. I can say that my days on mountain bikes with tires narrower than 2.6″ are in the past.
We’re glad to share with you that OPEN has now been presented the 2017 Design & Innovation Award for their ONE+ frame. This is hot on the heels of receiving the same prize for the U.P. Gravel Plus frameset, definitely an excellent showing for a small bike brand that has only released three frames so far! This is what the selection committee had to say “the OPEN ONE+ is a bike that doesn’t just exceed the current confines of mountain bikes, but launches itself over them and hurtles away from any category.” We at Contender Bicycles couldn’t agree more.
If you are interested in building up an OPEN ONE+ please feel free to contact me with questions. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 801-364-0344. Here’s what my personal build (21lbs with pedals, cages and a bell) looks like this:
OPEN One+ Frame (Medium), Rockshox SID RLC 29”/27.5” Plus Fork (100mm travel), Sram Eagle XX1 Drivetrain (32T chainring), Stan’s Flow MK3 27.5’ Wheels (Boost spacing, 29mm internal width), Schwalbe Rocket Ron 27.5”x2.8” (Setup tubeless)
Based on the performance of Ryan’s personal rig (and similar builds we’ve selected for other One+ fans), Contender Bicycles has created our own signature One+ build. Our OPEN One+ Eagle XX1 Complete Bike offers our go-to build that, we believe, maximizes the performance characteristics of the One+ frame. It’s nearly identical to the rig Ryan is riding, and a full spec list can be viewed here.
And just a few more photos from out on the trail…