The Open Up is the go-to bike for all those who like gravel off-road and just as much on a road bike. The Open Up is the bike I currently prefer to ride. No matter if adventure rides like the Dirty Kanzelled or rides at racing speed. In 2020 I have accumulated over 10,000 kilometres and have more than enjoyed every single one.
About a year ago I was once again faced with the same decision. What kind of bike would I like to ride next. My Müsing Aviator Carbon was now already two years old. Even though I didn’t ride it very much, I wanted to at least get up to speed. It should have disc brakes and at least 28mm wide tires I also wanted to ride. It should be sporty enough for fast laps on the road and also convince me optically (that was probably the most difficult thing). At the same time I got more and more wind of the gravel trend. Especially in my training region with the Belgian Ardennes, the Dutch Mergelland and the German Eifel on the doorstep, this was very tempting. Even though I played with the idea for some time, in the end it should not be two wheels, but a versatile one.
I quickly became enthusiastic about the Swiss Open team around Andy Kessler and Gerard Vroomen. It was immediately clear to me that they were building exactly the bike I was looking for. A high quality carbon frame designed for use with disc brakes and plenty of tire clearance. The Open Up is available in two basic versions. The Standard-Up, available in green, blue or custom paint, which probably already outshines most bikes with its high-quality carbon frame, and the Open Upper. This is just under 180 grams lighter and offers no restrictions in comparison, but is also considerably more expensive. The Open Upper is available in matte black or custom painted.
With its classic design language and lines, I liked the design immediately. Looking for something individual I decided to go for the RTP (Ready-to-Paint) variant and a grey shade.
The structure of my Open Up
I was able to decide quickly on the components for my open up.
- Open Up Custom Paint Frame (L)
- SRAM Force 1 shift/brake group
- Easton EA90 Cinch crank
- Easton Cinch Direct Mount chainring (46T)
- Zipp 30 Course wheels with Conti GP5000 in 28mm for the road
- Hope Tech XC 27.5 wheels with WTB Byway 47mm for Gravel
- Zipp Service Course handlebar, stem and CX bar tape
- Thomson seat post
- Favero Assioma Duo Pedal Power Meter
As a head unit I use the Wahoo Elemnt Bolt bike computer in combination with the K-Edge Pro Combo Mount. In my opinion, this looks much higher quality than the plastic handlebar holders supplied by the manufacturer (whether Wahoo or Garmin) and is also quite practical. Below the bike computer there is also a GoPro mount. This allows you to mount not only a camera but also a lamp when it gets dark in an easy and tidy way. This gives the cockpit a clean and uncluttered look, nice and tidy.
Next to it I added a black Knog Oi bell. Many athletes have been known to forgo attaching a bell, but this model won me over. It is inconspicuously designed and thus does not destroy the overall look of my bike. But especially on gravel tours, when you are on the Belgian Ravel trails or the Vennbahntrasse, you often meet walkers who prefer ringing the bell to a loud “Make way!” or a friendly “Excuse me?”.
Knog Oi Classic Bike Bell
I was very satisfied with the SRAM Force 1 shifting group during the last year. The classic XX1 11-speed cassette from SRAM has 10-42 teeth, and offers me, even with the 46-tooth large chainring, enough translation variety for long gravel tours. I even get up steep climbs quite well and have more than enough traction to push a high speed on flat and downhill sections. Of course, it always depends on one’s own fitness level what one can do well with.
My road wheelset has sprockets with 11-36 teeth. For touring, winter training and relaxed group rides I think this is ideal as it is very low maintenance. Uphill you can reach your own limits with this. Especially in the Aachen area which includes the Ardennes from Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Mergelland with the climbs of the Amstel Gold Race, it is mostly uphill or downhill. So I would advise most to go with a smaller chainring with only 44, 42 or even 40 teeth. Alternatively, you can use the same cassette as for graveling.
For the upcoming season, I will probably convert the bike back to a 2-speed drivetrain. Here I am mainly interested in an even better use as a road bike even for fast rides. Feel free to leave recommendations in the comments.
Power measurement on my Open Up
For the powermeter I decided to go with the Favero Assioma. Definitely a compromise on this bike. Because the associated Look Keo pedal system is not my greatest friend, especially on gravel tours, where you have to get off sometimes. For the future, I will definitely think about upgrading to the SRM X-Power here.
Personal setup of the Open UP
I currently ride my Open Up with a 110mm stem and 170mm crank length. Under the stem currently sits a spacer. However, I am still optimizing the seating position from time to time.
I chose the handlebars with road miles in mind without much flair. If you’re mainly riding gravel trails, you’d certainly opt for a slightly wider and thus more controllable cockpit here. The Zipp Service Course CX handlebar tape is my favorite for grip, comfort and durability. It’s slightly perforated, not too thin, so it’s just right for my purposes.
The bottle cages are King Cage stainless steel. So far I haven’t lost a bottle on the roughest cobblestones and it doesn’t leave any unsightly marks on the bottles.
Depending on the wheelset, this gives me a weight of 8.0 kg in road setup or 8.75 kg in gravel setup (including pedals, bottle cage and handlebar mount).
What is the Open Up?
The Open Up is a versatile bike. Depending on the tire it is road, cross or gravel suitable. Tire compatibility ranges from narrow road tires (23mm) to all-road and gravel tires in 40mm, on 28 inch wheels. The Open is also designed so that you can use it with 650B wheels and corresponding tires. The compatibility there reaches up to a width of 55 mm.
The geometry offers an ideal compromise. It’s as comfortable as it needs to be for long road bike or gravel rides of 200 kilometers or more. The stiff carbon frame remains sporty and agile. Sprints and fast descents are equally fun and can be completed safely.