Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Open Cycles, the lightweight bike brand co-owned by former Cervelo co-founder Gerard Vroomen, has expanded beyond their ultralight 29er hardtail to the growing gravel bike category.

The new bike is calle the U.P., for Unbeaten Path. It’s made for gravel and adventure road riding wherever you feel like going, on road or off. And while it’s not built with race-oriented cyclocross geometry, it is meant for fast gravel riding, not lollingagging. It puts the rider in a ‘cross/road bike body position, not a mountain bike position, yet Vroomen says it’s still comfortable enough for longer rides.

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Like the hardtail, it’s fairly light. Frame weight is 1,150g (large, claimed) and uses the new thru axle 3T cross fork. Built with a SRAM CX1 group with hydraulic brakes the complete bike came in at 17.41lb.

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

There are a lot of similar design cues, including the slight bend of the downtube into the tapered headtube. But the frame bag mounts on the top tube are new.

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Seat tube has ridges to keep it laterally stiff, and asymmetric chainstays with a massive cross section just behind the bottom bracket. That shaping provides a very distinct benefit:

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

The dropped driveside stay let’s it fit a true road bike chainring combo while still having enough clearance for a 27.5 x 2.1 mountain bike tire. Or some really big 700c tires. On some bikes, like our Van Dessel project bike, opening up the stays too much limits the size of the chainrings that can be used, which is why I went with the ‘cross rings rather than a full road set up.

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

A 27.2 seatpost and thin, slightly flattened seatstays provide some additional comfort over rough roads.

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

12×142 and 15mm thru axles let you just throw your mountain bike wheels in there.

Open Cycles Unbeaten Path gravel road bike

Two colors are being considered, brown and orange. Vote online for the color you like best, only one will make the cut.

Vroomen said he built it because he wanted it, just happy that there’s demand enough to justify production and it’ll ship in July. Frame and fork is $2,900 in S, M, L and XL sizes.


  1. Where ist this Bike (or at least the frame) produced? by Ax-Lightness in Germany or in Asia, I guess in Asia regarding the price.

  2. Its a cheaper frame than plenty of Cervelo’s have been in the past.

    I still don’t think its THAT light. I’ve seen carbon rigid mountain bikes(1×11) this light before come through bike shops. That’s with 2″ tires and chunkier carbon forks. If light was one of the main goals, they got light but I wouldn’t call this groundbreaking. I’m sure the ride is great, and yes, I would love one of these bikes!!!

  3. This is Gerard Vroomen, so almost certainly Taiwan or China production, which makes $2900 look awfully spendy for the frame set.

  4. I like the looks, the tire clearance and the features. I do not like the price. Hopefully more brands come out with road/gravel bikes with huge (2.0) tire clearance and not this pricy.

  5. Looks pretty nice but could use a taller head tube and more seat tube clearance. Do gravel grinders really want that much bar drop (and those bars)? Are road racing chain stay lengths really needed on a gravel bike?

    Moots Route 45 supports similar tire widths and has longer stays and custom fit options. Also does through-axle. Similar price range, not as light of course. How important is light when you’re using 650B x 2.1 tires?

    Are they seriously considering that brown?

  6. The proto shows a frame with 29 x 2.1 tire stuffed in there but handling and clearance is better with 650b wheels: Vrooman explains on his blog.

  7. Neat.
    This may just be because of my body proportion (leggy), but on traditional frames, I quickly run out of crotch clearance when running fat tires. Not a huge issue, but sometimes a slight sloping top tube is nice, especially if the target is not specifically cross.

    Also, can the industry please put rack mounts on gravel focused carbon bikes. This segment is almost invariably going to be used for commuting/light touring right? Lay some Kevlar on the seat stays for abrasion and put those bosses in already!

  8. That bar is on because it’s probably his bike – and he just bought into 3T. It’s a frame set – put on what you want, don’t complain because one guy wants what you don’t.

    The orange is HOT! Gotta get my $$ together….

  9. I think most people understand that you can put whatever bar you want on a bike.

    What this bar on this bike shows is the priorities of the designers and manufacturers, and those priorities aren’t particularly aligned with the targeted market. It’s pure cognitive dissonance on a bike being promoted in the press.

    You can’t just overcome the 4+ inch bar drop by swapping bars either.

    As for being able to take both 29×2.1 and 650Bx2.1 that’s great but there will be about a 20mm difference in BB height which is major. Really need to design for one or the other. 650Bx2.1 is nice because it allows 650Bx42mm for the road or 700Cx23 if you want without upsetting BB heights. Problem is there aren’t many narrower 650M trail tire options. Spec Fast Trak 650B x 2.0 is an option.

  10. Am I the only one that finds ironic that the very definition of a gravel road is a beaten path? It would seem to make more sense to call a mountain bike the Unbeaten Path.

  11. @craigsj At the end of the article it states, “Vroomen said he built it because he wanted it, just happy that there’s demand enough to justify production” so I don’t really think he cared about target markets.

  12. Hi Craigsj, I think you misunderstood the decription of the wheelsize options. The bike is designed to take either cross tires in 700c or mtb tires in 650b, exactly because that creates pretty much the same outer size of wheel. So rather than having a bike that runs. So regardless of what you run, BB height, geometry and steering behavior remains pretty similar.

    @Andy, doesn’t it depend on how busy a gravel road is on whether it is beaten or not?

    @anonymous, the FD hanger is on and off on that bike just because we’re showing the options to people here. I guess when Tyler came by it was on.

    As for the bars and why they are aero, first off in general regarding the spec: We sell mostly framesets and people finish the bike whatever way they want. And the % frameset sales will likely be even higher on this model since the options are even numerous than on the hardtail. So the two bikes just show two different specs. One ENVE, one 3T, one 1×11, one 2×11, one mechanical, one electric, etc. And as for the 3T bar being aero, I love all the deeper meaning explanations but the simple reason is that 3T has two bars that have similar names. So I asked them to ship over an ergonova, they sent an aeronova, and there was no more time to get the other one the day before the show. So it doesn’t show the “priority of the designer” but rather what happens when a Dutch guys asks an Italian to ship a Latin-named bar to the United States. Strangely enough, having ridden that bar on this bike now I think I’ll leave it on. It’s extremely comfotable, both on the hoods and on the mid-section, probably the most comfy I’ve ever used.

    The frame is made in China. As for the weight, I too have seen lighter hardtails come through, in fact I make a living that way. But these builds were not really about light weight (the Brooks saddle wouldn’t be my first choice nor would mid-level drivetrains) and for the frame, it’s also not really designed to be incredibly light. I don’t really see the point of that for this style of frame.

  13. Mr Vroomen………..I like and admire a direct response straight from the source. Thank you. Now that I have you all buttered up……I anxiously await your disc brake ROAD version as well. : )
    VERY nice…….and two killer color options.

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