At Contender Bicycles one of the things we most love about our jobs is setting customers up with the bike that fits their needs. For many this simply will be a stock bike from one of the great brands we carry. For others slight modifications may be in line, different gearing or crank arm length are common. As one of the premier bicycle retailers in the US we are also privileged to put together a number of custom builds for customers looking for something very specific. Last fall we joined the OPEN Cycles community as their newest dealer. We were really excited by what they have to offer, namely the lightest production 29-er frame on the market, the O-1.0. Based on the response we have gotten, clearly, are customers have been as excited as we were.
For those not in the know OPEN was founded by Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervelo, and Andy Kessler, former CEO of BMC, two men who clearly know bikes. Their goal with is to build simple bikes in a community driven manner. To this end they have done their best to involve their community in the bike design process as much as possible (from personally engaging in feedback with their community, to posting videos explaining the technology or having the community decided the color of their new frameset). The standards at OPEN are also incredibly high. to the inherent variability in manufacturing some O-1.0 end up outside of the tight weight tolerances OPEN is willing to accept. Instead of scraping this frames they have decided to give them an layer of paint and a new model name, the O-1.1, same great frame… just little heavier and little less expensive.
With the recent release of their Unbeaten Path (U.P.) Open has broken the model again. While many serious cyclist follow the mantra that the right number of bikes to own is “n+1” where n equals the number you currently own the OPEN U.P. may be the first bike that will truly be an “n-1” addition. The U.P is a bike that is best explained with one word: versatile. The most obvious example of this is the ability to run either 700c (29er) wheels with 23-40mm tire or 650b (27.5”) with 2.1” tires. Rolling on skinny road tires the U.P. is a capable road bike with confident snappy handling, while the geometry isn’t ideal mixing it up at a crit, few could find fault in its on pavement capabilities. Where the U.P. truly shines however is once the tires get larger than 32mm and the road becomes less than uniform. With such a large selection of tire options available the U.P. is poised to excel anywhere from your next cross race to an epic adventurneering ride. This tire size versatility is afforded by a unique dropped driveside chainstay. In addition to increasing clearance to allow such wide tires it also allowed Vroomen to keep the chainstays to a short 420mm length, giving the U.P. a fun, sporty ride compared to the longer stays common on cyclocross/gravel frames. And while many cross/gravel frames on the market are using one of the various “road” disc hub spacings that have been introduce OPEN went with the standard mountain 142x12mm rear and 15mm front thru axels, so you can choose from a ton of great wheel options.
It is more than just the broad tire selection the U.P. provides that will allow you to tailor this versatile frameset to become your “n-1” bike. A BB386EVO bottom bracket is compatible with any number of mountain or road cranks (with up to a 50t outer ring). While the MultiStop routing plugs allow you to cleanly run any (cable, electronic or hydraulic shifting) cables internally so you can choose the drive train the fits your needs and budget. Finally a set of bolts on the top tube make bring any extras you may need for a long ride along on your next adventure.
Few could claim to have the carbon fiber design, engineering or manufacturing experience of Vroomen, and the U.P. may be the pinnacle of his experience this far. An mesmerizing blend of carbon layup, geometry and logical design decisions make for an amazing ride quality. Light enough, at 1150g for a large frameset, and stiff enough to take the whole shot at your Saturday cross race and comfortable enough with Vroomen’s trademark wire-stays, offering incredible vertical compliance and lateral stiffness, comfortable enough for a full day gravel adventure on Sunday. With the right tire selection the U.P. handles confidently on every path from road to all but the most technical single track. With races like Crushar in the Tushar and a myriad of amazing gravel rides along the Wasatch it is no wonder our customers have been so taken by the U.P. since be began carrying Open this fall.
Truly illustrating the versatility of the Open U.P. is the recent build we did for a customer looking for the ultimate commuter, after work grinder and weekend Wasatch exploration bike. Ritchey Logic WCS flat bars give this U.P. a bit more comfort on the commute and more confidence on days with more, and more technical, gravel. A recent update to Shimano’s Di2 components allowed the mixing of XTR Di2 shifters and Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur and Ultegra Di2 long-cage rear derailleur so he’d always have the right gearing whether he’s riding the road or the dirt. Finally a set of ENVE 3.4 road wheels and 27.5″ M50 wheels allows for the proper wheel selection no matter the days planned adventure. While this is an example of a truly premium build, for those looking for the adaptability and versatility offered by the U.P. our team would be excited to help you design a build that best suits your needs and budget. Give us a call at 801-364-0344 or drop us an email at email@example.com.