See our custom builds of the OPEN MIND road bike HERE.
In a lot of ways the road bike has become old news to cyclists drawn to the do-it-all attitude of a gravel bike. I’ve had people call gravel bikes less fussy than a road bike. I’ve also had people say that a road bike doesn’t allow them to be as adventurous as they want to be. But perhaps most of all, it seems like cyclists wanted to see something different than the traditional road bike. This has forced the road bike to adapt and evolve, and in this regard, the OPEN MIND road bike is on the cutting edge in many ways.
What is the OPEN MIND? Well, there’s a chance you probably know OPEN, the brand most famous for their genre-defying U.P. all-road bike that is perfectly happy with a 28c road tire one day and a mountain bike tire the next. That means the MIND is more specialized, fitting a 32c tire with room to spare, with quicker handling than the UP and WIDE. It leads to what OPEN calls pure road bike feel. Gravel bikes might be more popular in our parts, but nothing feels as good as finding the perfect line down a canyon sweeper on a road bike.
At the same time, the MIND defies categories. Most new lightweight road bikes have aerodynamics in mind at some level, aero road bikes forgo long-distance ride quality, and endurance road bikes don’t have the energetic feel of something like the MIND. Its sleek tube profiles are reminiscent of bikes like the TIME VXRS, which were designed as road bikes with little pretense for anything else. And in 2020, a bike that makes no claim to be anything that it isn’t is refreshing.
If anything, there are a number of parallels between this and the VXRS, a bike we to this day believe is one of the best road bikes around despite being released sixteen years ago. The most obvious similarity is the integrated seat mast or continuous seattube, which many might consider is the glaring weakness in the bike’s argument for simplicity. Saddles are secured by OPEN-designed seattube top clamps, which offer up to 35mm of saddle height adjustment when attached through the continuous seattube. The system is simple overall with little chance of slippage.
Why a continuous seattube? It’s all about seated comfort. Plenty of bikes have gone toward various elastomers, built-in springs, and other systems in an effort to improve comfort while pedaling through rougher roads. In comparison, the 25mm seattube – slim in comparison to a 27.2mm seatpost and an even larger seattube – can be lighter and allows OPEN to better control the bike’s overall ride comfort without the complication of the aforementioned systems. Being able to ride comfortably in the saddle means that riders can go faster, farther, regardless of what the road looks like.
Additional seated comfort comes from wire-thin seatstays and chainstays, which are both thinner than anything else we have in the shop that isn’t a vintage steel road bike.
The other part of the OPEN MIND comfort equation is tire clearance, something the VXRS struggles with in comparison to contemporary road bikes. Their thought here is that the best way to save energy is not by minimizing aerodynamic drag, but by increasing comfort. Using a 700 x 32c tire allows just that while benefitting from improved grip and lower rolling resistance of a wider tire.
Elsewhere, the MIND is about as modern as it gets. Like most other OPEN frames, the MIND uses flat-mount brakes set up for 160mm rotors and has the bolts going right through the fork. It’s a clean setup that promises to be a bit lighter and stiffer than other mounting systems that require more brackets. The frame is designed for electronic drivetrains and hides the brake lines internally. A BB386EVO bottom bracket is reliable and offers compatibility with just about every crankset on the market.
The bike’s geometry is a mix of modernity with a bit of tradition. Most sizes receive a 72.5-degree head tube angle (size small receives a 71-degree angle) and 72.5-degree seat tube angle, though with the zero offset post head that is more like a 73.5 or 74-degree angle. That makes for a bike, with a 28 or 32c tire, has effective trail numbers matching that of the likes of the Cannondale SuperSix EVO and Pinarello Dogma. Besides that, the bike has a shorter front-center than plenty of road bikes, an effect of the desire to retain a “realistic saddle-to-bar drop and reach” on OPEN’s end. Further, the bottom bracket drop makes for a bike that looks to be surprisingly nimble given the more endurance-oriented fit and wider tires.
Of course, we won’t know what the bike handles like until we get one built up for personal riding. But looking at the numbers, it looks to be something one can quickly grow accustomed to; a willing canyon carver with great balance on tighter roads. How much is that like the TIME VXRS to which it draws a slight resemblance? Stay tuned.
All in, an OPEN MIND frame weighs just 880g with an uncut seatmast and hardware. The fork weighs 330g uncut, which OPEN claims is the lightest road thru-axle fork on the market. Our complete bike here weighs 16 lbs even. Add in a lighter set of wheels, bar, and stem, and this can come in under 15 lbs without much hand-wringing.
Like other OPEN Cycle products, the MIND road bike is available in a ready to paint option. This allows you to truly customize your ride, even down to the color combination. The stock Midnight Blue paint scheme is just like the frame: a minimalist aesthetic with strong attention to detail. And while this not sold from OPEN as a complete bike, we at Contender Bicycles have a range of OPEN MIND builds to get the ball rolling on your next dream bike.
The MIND looks little like the competition, but it’s promises of comfort, agility, and speed are every bit as valid as the top road bikes out there. And if it’s promises ring true, we bet this bike will among our favorite road bikes produced. In short, it looks to be a minimalist’s machine, a treat without all the excess of other road bikes.
Have any questions about the OPEN MIND? Contact us by phone during business hours or send us an email any time to email@example.com.