Beautiful Bicycle - An OPEN UP Built for a (Chris) King

Written by Alvin Holbrook, on October 14, 2022

We’re proud to announce our submission for the Chris King Open House 2022, a custom-built OPEN UP gravel bike. Chris King has done an open house yearly with a brief intermission in 2020, inviting some of the most talented international builders from around the world. This year they’ve sought to include a select range of bike shops across the country, and we’re fortunate to help out. 

The design prompt? Submit a show bike using a smattering of Chris King components using their latest color: Matte Midnight. Of course, we put our finest minds together for a fun build with a rare Shimano GRX polished groupset, Chris King Matte Midnight components, and our favorite finishing kit.

Want a set of the new Chris King Matte Midnight components or a Shimano GRX Limited Groupset? Contact us; we have limited availability for each.

OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - front side bike detailThe base of the build is the OPEN UP, a bike we’ve become quite familiar with over the years. We have a close relationship with OPEN, and the UP ticks just about every box one could want for a gravel bike: low weight, plenty of tire clearance, and just enough mounts for any single-day ride one might want to do. What is perhaps most surprising about the UP is just how good it is through rough, high-vibration gravel roads. UP is a smooth, willing accomplice across an array of terrain types.

Some folks choose a drivetrain for practical reasons, like gearing or consumables replacement costs. Others choose drivetrains because they’re cool. The choice to use the new Shimano GRX Limited drivetrain falls squarely in the latter category. Standard GRX drivetrain parts come with a satin grey finish, but this version goes for a high-polish look that is distinctive in a sea of greys and carbon finishes. And while this Limited drivetrain was a very limited release, we were fortunate to get a set for ourselves for this build.OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - GRX Limited polish cranksetAnd now to the Chris King bits. As mentioned earlier, this build wouldn’t be possible without the 2022 Chris King Open House and the new colorway commemorating the event: Matte Midnight. These Matte Midnight bits are found at the headset, hubs, and with a matching decal set for the wheels. A King headset is a bit of bling to match the hubs, but the quality and serviceability are quite high. The King R45 hubs promise great excellent build quality and durability. The R45D hubs don’t buzz like a bottled batch of angry bees, but still have quick engagement and responsiveness.OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Chris King Matte Midnight hubsAll the Chris King bits here are about as top-shelf as they come, and the new wheels are a pleasant surprise too. The rims are made from a thermoplastic carbon fiber manufactured for Chris King by CSS Composites in Central Utah. According to Chris King, thermoplastic carbon fiber allowed for a more forgiving, vibration-damping rim without being too heavy. Best of all, thermoplastic carbon fiber is recyclable; if you damage your rim, they will take it back to make the rim into more carbon fiber.

Last note here: the handlebar, stem, and seatpost come from Beast Components. These award-winning parts look good, function great, and have a high level of finish that is befitting a bike decked out with Chris King parts. They’re made in Germany too, if that’s your jam.OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - bike profileWithout further ado, here are the build specifications:

Frameset
OPEN UP Frameset - Size M - Orange
Headset
Chris King - Matte Midnight
Groupset
Shimano GRX Limited Polished
Gearing
172.5mm crank, 42T chainring, 11-46t cassette
Wheelset
Chris King GRD23 - Matte Midnight color, Shimano HG freehub, ceramic bearing upgrade
Tires
Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H - 700c x 45mm - black sidewall
Handlebar
Beast Ultrabar - UD finish - 44cm tops/55cm drops
Stem
Beast Road Stem - UD Finish - 110mm
Handlebar Tape
Supacaz Super Sticky Kush - Oil Slick w Oil Slick Plugs
Saddle
Brooks Cambium C13 - 145mm - Crivets C13 Orange Rivets
Seatpost Beast Straight Seatpost - UD Finish - 27.2mm

Want to build an OPEN UP for yourself? Get started with our complete custom bike builder options, or contact us to get started.OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Pirelli Cinturato Gravel tires

OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Shimano GRX Limited brake caliperOPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - polished crankset 2OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Shimano GRX polish crank reviewOPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Chris King Headset matte midnightOPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Chris King Headset 2OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Supacaz tape detail

OPEN WIDE Chris King Build Contender Bicycles - Brooks C13 saddle

Words by Alvin Holbrook. Images by Carter Hall.


0 comments

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published