Contender Ten Best of 2021: A Lavender OPEN WIDE RTP

Written by Alvin Holbrook, on December 27, 2021

It might be hard to miss an OPEN gravel bike. After all, its tube shaping isn’t curvaceous like a Pinarello, nor do they have the name cachet of a Santa Cruz or Moots. What then is someone to do if they want the engineering and ride prowess of an OPEN but they also want to stand out? They choose custom paint, which is exactly what this OPEN WIDE RTP bike is.

open wide ready to paint custom at contender bicycles - rear side profile

OPEN’s choice to offer their gravel bike frames in an RTP (ready-to-paint) option was fairly uncommon at the time. There are a number of reasons as to why that might be, but one of the largest ones is that it is hard to sell a raw carbon frame to a customer. Carbon layup is often an imperfect process, one that sees cosmetic imperfections in its build-up. Most manufacturers can hide those imperfections underneath the paint, but OPEN has to go a step further to make sure that isn’t the case. As a result, the OPEN RTP frames we receive look phenomenal just in raw carbon and are great examples of what a quality carbon frame should look like.

open wide ready to paint lavender bike contender bicycles - rear side profile

The other reason OPEN offers RTP is for customization. Outside of a few occasions, OPEN doesn’t sell complete bikes, allowing riders to customize components and build their bike according to their needs. But a custom-painted bike allows people to work with local painters (like our in-house painter) to execute their vision better than any normal product planner. Rarely does a custom-painted OPEN bike look like another. The results are often surprising.

open wide ready to paint lavender bike contender bicycles - downtube detail

As for this OPEN RTP? This one isn’t as crazy as some of our other custom-painted bikes, but the lavender color is something you’d struggle to find on a bike you’d find from a bike shop (outside of maybe a Santa Cruz Stigmata). In fact, this one looks like something straight from the factory, down to the color-matched OPEN logo and OPEN colors at the bottom of the head tube. We think it's a sensible choice, but one that allows the bike to set itself apart from other bikes. 

The same sensibility can be said of the rest of the build. ENVE AG28 wheels pair nicely to the SRAM Force AXS mullet drivetrain, and the rest of the components are sensibly chosen as well.

open wide ready to paint lavender bike contender bicycles - drivetrain

Custom paint isn’t for everyone, and that is okay. But for those who want to stand out a bit and execute what they imagine their bike to be, 

See the rest of the build, as well as more photos, below.

Frameset OPEN WIDE RTP LG - Lavender
Fork OPEN U-Turn, Lavender
Headset Chris King Dropset 2, 45/52mm, 45 degree - Black
Groupset SRAM Force AXS shifters, XX1 Eagle AXS Derailleur
Crankset SRAM Force AXS - 172.5mm/Wheels Manufacturing Thread-Together, BB386 EVO/DUB
Brakes SRAM Force HRD
Gearing Absolute Black 110 BCD Oval chainring - 40t, SRAM XX1 XG-1299 10-50t - Oil Slick
Wheelset ENVE AG28/ENVE Alloy Hub
Tires F: Schwalbe Racing Ray 27.5 x 2.25”, Addix / R: R: Schwalbe Racing Ralph 27.5 x 2.25”, Addix
Handlebar ENVE Gravel Handlebar - 46cm
Stem ENVE M6 Carbon - 65mm
Seatpost Easton EC70 Carbon - 0mm setback
Saddle Specialized Toupe
Accessories ENVE bottle cages, Shimano XT Race pedals, Supacaz Super Sticky Kush - Black handlebar tape

See the Contender Ten Best Bikes of 2021

open wide ready to paint lavender bike contender bicycles - headtube detailopen wide ready to paint lavender bike contender bicycles - cranksetopen wide ready to paint lavender bike contender bicycles - fork detail


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