Yes, it’s true: the U.P.P.E.R. shares quite a bit with the standard OPEN U.P., including substantial wheel/tire tire choices, and more than enough versatility to apply this bike to a myriad of riding situations. It’s road bike-worthy geometry remains intact as well. Compared to other bikes in the gravel and gravel plus genre, the U.P.P.E.R.’s geometry (with relatively short stack numbers and stubby 420mm chainstays) is much closer to that of a road racer than the typical tall stack and short reach of other bikes. It really does provide what many roadie-turned-dirt riders are looking for: road bike positioning, with fat tires to soak up imperfect surface on the road less-travelled.
About the cut in weight: it doesn’t change how the bike rides, except for the noticeable difference in how the bike accelerates and maneuvers. It steers, accelerates, and handles singletrack with aplomb, and feels plenty stable on the road. Any other difference in ride quality is mostly unnoticeable because of a wide tire. However, 310g (220g from the frame, 90g from the fork) is nothing to sneeze at, and chopping off a two-thirds of a pound off of an already-light bike is a difference maker over a long ride, and in how tossable the bike feels. The U-Turn fork is the lightest fork of it’s kind to fit a tire as wide as this. Further small changes include a swap to 12mm thru axles front and rear, as well as a swap to flat mount brakes to save further weight.
OPEN really hit the nail on the head with the OPEN U.P.P.E.R. With the open being as small as it is, it is clear that Gerard Vroomen and Andy Kessler had a hand in making this bike so special. It is the embodiment of their “Relentless Simplicity” mantra, combining the highest level of road bike performance with the sheer fun of going out and exploring. Few bikes do it like the U.P.P.E.R.
To get some ideas for your own Open U.P.P.E.R., check out our write-up over at It’s Time To OPEN U.P.