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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
A 27.2 seatpost and thin, slightly flattened seatstays provide some additional comfort over rough roads.
12×142 and 15mm thru axles let you just throw your mountain bike wheels in there.
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.