First Look: Open’s New UPPER Gravel Bike

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Press Release

OPEN today officially launches its newest model; the U.P.P.E.R. It is heavily based on the multiple-award-winning OPEN U.P., sharing the same frame shape, tire clearance, compatibility with 700c and 650b tires and intended use.

This means it feels at home on asphalt, gravel and singletrack, gives the rider a fast, road-inspired position, is compatible with road cranks and components and fits road tires, cross/gravel tires up to 40mm wide (in 700c) and mountain bike tires up to 2.1” (in 650b). Where the U.P.P.E.R. differs from the U.P. is in its layup, weight, fork, brake mounts, thru-axles and paint.
By further optimizing the layup, OPEN reduced the U.P.P.E.R.’s frame weight to 870 gram for size M. This has been achieved while maintaining the frame strength its customers expect and even slightly increasing drivetrain and torsional stiffness.

The U.P.P.E.R. ships with a completely new fork; the OPEN U-turn. Its slender shape brings the weight down to a svelte 375 gram, while lateral stiffness and fore-aft compliance were boosted and tire clearance is sufficient for 2.5” tires (in 650b). Additional weight was saved through a novel way to use the flat-mount brake caliper standard.

Open Upper 2

Flat-mount brakes themselves are slightly lighter than post-mount brakes, but this advantage is negated by the bracket required to fit them to the front fork. The claimed advantage – flipping the bracket allows a switch from 140 mm and 160 mm discs – is irrelevant for gravel bikes, where a 140 mm disc would be insufficient for the vast majority of riders. The second claimed advantage – the bracket hides the bolts attaching the brake – only holds if bolts somehow offend you. The OPEN U-turn does away with the front brake bracket and attaches the flat-mount brake directly with bolts that are inserted through the fork leg from the front. If simplicity is the true measure of visual appeal, the exposed bolt heads are a thing of beauty.

Lightweight craftsmen Carbon-Ti supply the custom 12 mm front and rear thru-axles, reducing the weight of the frameset even more. Finally, the matte black paint is the lightest OPEN has in its arsenal.

The U.P.P.E.R. is available to order immediately, with the first batch shipping to customers this month. Price for the frameset, including frame, fork, thru-axles and small parts is US$ 4500. For more information, specs and photos, visit opencycle.com/up

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