Gravel bike, crosser, road plus, allroad – it’s really hard to define the Open U.P.P.E.R. to a category. Here you will find out how this carbon masterpiece rides, and what it can do better than its predecessor, the Open U.P.

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best road bike for any weather and any season – 10 Endurance Bikes in Review

Open U.P.P.E.R.
OPEN U.P.P.E.R. | 7.34 kg | € 4,500 (frameset)

The frame of the Open U.P.P.E.R. is a statement and an understatement at the same time. It’s a bold machine that doesn’t want to reveal its full potential at first sight. Luckily, all of the Enve components make it clear straight away that this is not just another bike, but one of the best carbon frames we’ve ever tested.
Once we put the Open on the scale, we could hardly believe that at 7.35 kg, it was only 300 g heavier than the pro-peloton proven Trek Domane SLR 10 RSL despite the heavier disc brakes. But its weight is not the only extraordinary thing. The concept of the U.P.P.E.R. allows the rider to choose between 27.5″ and 700 C wheels – the frame can accommodate knobbly tires up to a 56 mm width. In our opinion, the bike runs best with wide-profile tires, after all a 25 mm slick tire would look a bit lost on the U.P.P.E.R..

Open U.P.P.E.R.

We can definitely see the bike’s allroad DNA reflected in its riding position: The U.P.P.E.R. offers a relaxed and relatively upright ride. This enhances its touring qualities, but a high bottom bracket makes for an equally high centre of gravity. The 40 mm Schwalbe G One tires are fitted on a lush pair of Enve M 50-rims. With the Chris King hubs, the wheels are the perfect bike porn material.

Open U.P.P.E.R.

During the course of our test it became clear that the right tire pressure is crucial to unlock the bike’s performance. Not enough pressure and you lose time, too much air and the cobbles really make themselves noticed. Not even the ergonomic and dampening Enve-cockpit can mask this blemish.

Open U.P.P.E.R. Open U.P.P.E.R.
Open U.P.P.E.R.
Tuning Tip: Quicker tires for tarmac.

It is possible to fit the Open U.P.P.E.R. with a front derailleur. However, our test bike was equipped with a SRAM Force 1×11 drivetrain. Especially on the road, we noticed the big gear steps, often leaving us with the choice of either pedalling at uncomfortably high cadence or being left with creaking kneecaps. The bike maintains a certain Jeep feeling in high-speed corners on tarmac but accurately follows all steering impulses. It’s not as nimble as the 3T, but still demonstrates very maneuverable control qualities. There are three bottle mounting options, a non-integrated seat clamp and the option to fit a derailleur – all features clearly pointing towards adventure. Pack light and travel far!

Open U.P.P.E.R.
Helmet POC Octal Raceday | Cap Café du Cycliste Octopus | Glasses Oakley Jawbraker | Jersey Isadore Echelon | Bibshort Isadore Climbers Bib Short | Socks TheWonderfulSocks Ghisallo | Shoes Specialized Audax

Compared to its predecessor, the U.P, the U.P.P.E.R. features a sportier and more streamlined look, its shape and design are unarguably better looking. The frame is weight-optimised and the brand’s own Open U-Turn-carbon fork doesn’t only look incredibly good, but also offers more comfort and side-stiffness. In addition, the U.P.P.E.R. features the latest flat mount technology.

The Open U.P.P.E.R. in detail

Drivetrain SRAM Force 1
Rims ENVE M50
Hubs Chris King
Brakes SRAM Force
Tires Schwalbe G-One
Weight 7.34 kg
Price € 4,500 (frameset)

Open U.P.P.E.R.
Comfort and street credibility – the Enve cockpit is among the best in our test.
Open U.P.P.E.R.
A classic seat clamp: it almost makes for a refreshing change.
Open U.P.P.E.R.
On the bottom side of the down tube, there’s room for either a third water bottle or a camping cooker gas-canister.
Open U.P.P.E.R.
Thanks to asymmetrical chainstays it is possible to choose between 27,5″ or 700 C wheels.
Open U.P.P.E.R.
Geometry Open U.P.P.E.R.

Conclusion

If you want to sell your road bike, your mountain bike, your randonneur and cross bike and only own one bike, go get an U.P.P.E.R! You have found exactly what you need. The Open U.P.P.E.R. is a cleverly conceived two-wheeled carbon masterpiece. Can it keep up with full-blooded bikes like the Trek Domane Racer? Not really, but if you like the slightly slower approach and are more concerned about having fun and taking your bike off the road, the Swiss stealth bomber should just be the right bike for you!

Strengths

+ Super light do-it-all weapon
+ Top ergonomics
+ Fine looks thanks to top specs

Weaknesses

– High centre of gravity inhibits high-speed cornering on tarmac
– Slow tires


For more info head to: opencycle.com

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: The best road bike for any weather and any season – 10 Endurance Bikes in Review

All bikes in test: 3T Exploro Team | BMC Roadmachine 01 | Canyon Endurace CF SLX Disc 8.0Focus Paralane Factory | Ridley X-Trail | ROSE Backroad-4400 | Specialized Roubaix Expert Di2 | Trek Domane SLR 10 RSL | WHITE Wessex


This article belongs to the GRAN FONDO Issue #005. For the full interactive experience we recommend reading it in our magazine app for iPhone & iPad – it’s awesome – and free!

Words: Benjamin Topf, Manuel Buck, Robin Schmitt Photos: Julian Mittelstädt