With the OPEN MIN.D., the Swiss brand present their interpretation of a modern road bike. We were able to get our hands on the brand new bike for an exclusive first ride review. After revolutionising the gravel sector, will Andy Kessler and Gerard Vroomen do the same to the road bike segment and what does the new bike have to do with BMW? Questions to which we found the answers.
The OPEN MIN.D. brings the two brains behind the OPEN brand back to the tarmac and thus to their roots. After both of them gave up leading positions at companies such as Cervélo and BMC in favour of starting their own company, it was primarily their gravel bikes such as the OPEN U.P. or the OPEN WI.DE. released in 2019 that grabbed all the attention. As the duo already proved with the U.P.P.E.R. Road Edition in our 2020 road bike group test, the brand’s existing models aren’t limited to gravel either. Even though we consider weight to play a minor role, we were still impressed to see that their road-optimised gravel bike was the lightest in the test (6.41 kg in size L). However, in a direct comparison with the best road bikes from the leading brands, its weaknesses were obvious. This is exactly where OPEN come in with their brand new MIN.D., presenting a modern road bike featuring a minimalistic design. The design is sure to please fans of classic lines and could hardly be more of an understatement, but the devil is in the details!
Who is the MIN.D. for?
The brand new OPEN joins the ranks of bikes like the Specialized Roubaix and the Trek Domane SLR 09, which you can’t simply put into one specific box. In future, OPEN believe that bikes will be categorised based on the dimensions of their tires. In this case, all wheels up to 700 x 32C would be reserved predominantly for the road, models with up to 700 x 47C for the road and gravel and everything above that would mostly be aimed at off-road use. It certainly is an exciting concept! Andy and Gerard see people like themselves as the target group for the MIN.D., so they designed a road bike that they would like to ride themselves. An all-round road bike that, with its classic aesthetics, its comfort, as well as its agility and liveliness, should appeal to all those looking for a bike for everything from casual rides, to mass-participation events and the Tour Transalp. You can even make the occasional dirt-road detour a part of your route.
The OPEN MIN.D. in detail
While the rest of the bike industry has been vying for the attention of new buyers with what feels like 274 new gravel bike models, it’s the gravel experts, OPEN, of all brands that release a new road bike. While you may initially scratch your head, it has turned out to be a straightforward and elegant carbon road bike with tire clearance for up to 700 x 32C. The MIN.D. (short for Minimal Design) lives up to its name. As we already predicted in our top 5 road bike trends of 2020, the new OPEN defies traditional road bike categories and, on top of that, completely dispenses with aerodynamic features. Instead of saving energy by minimising aerodynamic drag, it is the increased comfort of the MIN.D. that should allow the rider to arrive at their desired destination as quickly and energised as possible. The geometry, the integrated seat post and the wide tire clearance play a central role in this.
It’s the ordinariness of it that makes this bike so exciting!
Integrated seat post? As with the recently introduced 2021 GIANT TCR Advanced SL 0 Disc with its ISP (Integrated Seat Post) design, OPEN have also integrated the seat post on the MIN.D.. Though the Swiss brand haven’t invented a fancy name for it, they aim to provide added flexibility with a diameter of just 25 mm. The assumption behind this method is that while the classic tube-in-tube construction that connects the seat post and seat tube allows quick and easy height adjustments, it also adds unnecessary stiffness where the tubes overlap. By integrating the seat post, the compliance of the seat tube/post should now span across its entire length unhindered. A specially designed saddle clamp allows you to increase the height from 0 to 15 mm. Its slim design makes it unobtrusive and all you need to adjust the height are the included spacers. Another version of the clamp gives you an adjustment range of 15 to 35 mm, which should help calm your nerves when cutting down the seat tube. Nevertheless, we strongly recommend going for a bike fitting before you buy the bike and measuring three times before you cut! Both saddle clamps have a 0 mm offset.
The OPEN MIN.D. will never be mass-produced. And that’s a good thing.
It’s not only the seat post that has been integrated but also the brake mounts. Like the U-Turn forks on OPEN’s gravel bikes, the R-Turn fork of the MIN.D. features their proprietary Smartmount technology. No flat mount adapter needed, allowing you to bolt the calliper directly to the fork. While this limits your choice to 160 mm rotors, the connection looks a lot tidier and also promises to be lighter and stiffer overall. With the new tube shape and a revised carbon layup, the brand new R-Turn fork is touted to be the lightest disc brake specific thru-axle fork on the market – weighing in at just 335 g. Regardless of weight, we are big fans of this design and are happy to find the same mounting system on the rear of the MIN.D..
The componentry of our OPEN MIN.D. test bike
The OPEN MIN.D. gives you a lot of freedom in your build choice. From mid-July, the frame set will be available in a painted as well as a ready-to-paint version. This allows you to choose the colour shown here or go the custom painted route. Our test bike came equipped with the complete 2×12 SRAM Force eTap AXS groupset, DT Swiss CRC 1400 SPLINE DB 24 wheels and Schwalbe Pro One TLE tires in 700 x 32C. The spec is rounded off by a high-end ENVE cockpit and the new Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 adaptive saddle.
Groupset SRAM Force eTap AXS, 2 × 12, 46–33T
Cassette SRAM Force 10-28 t
Brakes SRAM Force eTap AXS HRD 160/160 mm
Wheels CRC 1400 SPLINE DB 24
Tires Schwalbe Pro One TLE, 700 x 32C
Seat post Integrated, 0 mm offset
Handlebar ENVE Compact, 440 mm
Stem ENVE stem, 100 mm
Weight 6.87 kg in size L
Price € 3,600 (frame set)
Availability Pre-orders now, shipping within 60 days
The geometry of OPEN’s new carbon road bike
In developing the MIN.D. emphasis was placed on comfortable yet sporty geometry. True to the motto of BMW’s well-known ad campaign “sheer driving pleasure”, the rider should feel right at home on the bike, offering plenty of comfort without sacrificing its road bike feel. Unlike their other bikes, this bike wasn’t designed for riding gravel, but rather 90% road and 10% off-road. While OPEN did draw on the knowledge they gained from their existing gravel bikes, the geometry of the MIN.D. is strictly road bike oriented with 405 mm chainstays, a 72.5° head angle and a wheelbase of 998 mm. The 73.5° seat tube angle is designed in such a way that it puts you in a sportive and moderately stretched riding position without having to offset the integrated seat post. With the 184 mm head tube, the drop from the saddle to the handlebar should be comfortable for non-pro riders, keeping the drops within easy reach of us mere mortals. All geometry details mentioned refer to frame size L.
|Size||S (160-171 cm)||M (169-180 cm)||L (178-191 cm)||XL (188-205 cm)|
OPEN MIN.D. first ride review
Stepping on the pedals, the OPEN MIN.D. shows how much road bike DNA is hidden under its minimalist design as it immediately propels you forward. It’s easy to bring up to speed and maintains it with efficiency. It carries its momentum well on flat terrain, but it almost feels bored with long straight sections. It is efficient enough on the climbs to conquer even the longest uphills. We were particularly impressed by the sprinting qualities of the OPEN. Whether you’re exiting a corner or passing the town sign: the MIN.D. is happy to accelerate whenever you feel like it.
Tight corners are this carbon bike’s speciality. While it does just fine riding straight ahead, it’s best at unleashing its full potential on winding terrain. The agile and lively handling proves that OPEN didn’t sacrifice performance in favour of comfort. It allows you to hold your line with precision even in hectic situations. Due to the high tire volume, the tires are more sensitive to pressure changes, which is why it’s important to experiment a little beforehand to find out what your preference is. Once you’ve figured that out, the Schwalbe tires offer plenty of damping and harmonise well with the comfort of the frame. The MIN.D. easily masters rough asphalt and compact gravel roads. And yes, we did test the bike’s limits for this review…
The bike’s sporty character combined with the moderately stretched riding position, efficient vibration damping and balanced overall comfort make it feels completely natural to hunt KOMs in your tight road bike kit at one moment only to fly over forest roads with your unbuttoned shirt fluttering behind you a little later. In short, everything you would expect from a modern all-round road bike. Compared to the Trek Domane SLR 09 or the Specialized Roubaix, which obviously differ from the OPEN in many points, we missed having a storage compartment integrated into the frame. You’ll need a saddlebag, hip bag or small handlebar bag for the essentials. Almost like a Porsche 356 Speedster.
The OPEN MIN.D. is a harmonious road bike concept that sensibly combines classic and minimalist aesthetics with modern technology. The bike isn’t as revolutionary as the UP, but it strikes a perfect balanced between sportiness and comfort, whether on asphalt or the occasional gravel road short-cut. If you appreciate extravagant yet understated design, prefer agile handling and don’t want to commit yourself to a single type of terrain or distance, the frame set of the OPEN MIN.D. will make a good basis for your dream bike. However, before clicking the order button, it is essential that you go for a bike fitting and you should also know that the integrated seat post could leave you with a bitter aftertaste regarding resale value. However, to end with the words of Gerard Vroomen: “[…] you probably never want to lose your MIN.D.”
- coherent overall concept
- good all-round characteristics
- balanced comfort
- good at sprints
- clean look
- moderate performance on straight roads
- integrated storage compartment would be the icing on the cake
For more information about the OPEN MIN.D. visit opencycle.com
Words: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl