Rene Herse Cycles is probably best known for their many offerings of high-performance tires (originally Compass Tires), handlebars, and components for all-road, road, and gravel bikes. The company is run by a gentleman by the name of Jan Heine.
Jan, the Editor in Chief for, what might be considered the OG Alt-Cycling publication Bicycle Quarterly, is also a published author of two books, 2008’s The Competition Bicycle: The Craftmanship of Speed, and 2005’s The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles: Craftmanship, Elegance, and Function.
Straight from the Rene Herse Website: “When we proposed the “all-road bike” as a new type of bike, way back in 2006, we envisioned modern carbon racing bikes with ultra-wide tires. In fact, bikes like the OPEN U.P.P.E.R. Of all the bikes WWE tested for Bicycle Quarterly, the one I really wanted to keep was the U.P.P.E.R. It had just the right amount of flex to climb like a mountain goat. It felt Stiff (in a good way) when I was pushing the pedals on the flats. Its acceleration could be described as ferocious. The fork was one of the most compliant carbon forks I’ve ridden. This was a bike that was equally at home on gravel and on pavement – the epitome of the al-road bike we’d been looking for.”
After musing with OPEN Cycles Founders, Andy Kessler and Gerard Vroomen, they decided to collaborate on a limited edition of framesets. OPEN has been known to do these once in a while, and Rene Herse says that they had some strict rules on where logos from the outside collaborating company can go.
But, one of Bicycle Quarterly’s authors, Natsuko, wanted to create a modern interpretation of the classic mid-century Rene Herses, which they claim to be one of the “original all-road” bikes. They worked with the award-winning design studio from Tokyo, There There. And under the “OK” of OPEN Founders, while granting Rene Herse complete freedom to fully realize their vision for this project, There There got busy.
There There asked a lot of questions. From, “what does a mid-century Rene Herse look like”? And, “what is OPEN’s philosophy”? To, “how will this bike get ridden”? and “how big are the water bottles that might obscure the logos”?
Jan says it was a “wonderful process of distilling the essence of what we wanted this bike to be” And this is the result. The prototype is said to be Jan’s personal bike. He says the color is inspired by the classic “Bleu Herse” now in a matte finish to reflect the different properties of the carbon frame.
The insides of the rear triangle and fork are painted midnight blue… giving it a “slim and fast” look. It still carries OPEN’s signature multi-colored rings on the headtube. The OPEN logo on the seat tube matches the classic Rene Herse logo on the down tube.
This special edition U.P.P.E.R. has room for 650bx50mm or 700cx40mm tires. Jan has built his prototype with SRAM Force XPLR.
The U.P.P.E.R. is the ultra-light version of OPEN’s U.P. The U.P.P.E.R. weighs in at a claimed 880g for a frame in the medium size. The fork comes in at 370g.
Jan says that it’s “been a fun project, and we’re excited to share it with our customers.” The OPEN X Rene Herse U.P.P.E.R. will be offered as a limited-edition frame set.
The retail price will be the same as the regular OPEN U.P.P.E.R. at $4500. They are taking orders until November 14th, 2022. The expected delivery date is January 2023 directly from OPEN.