With a string of awards and titles under its top tube, the Open U.P. is facing increasingly stiff competition as the gravel trend spreads. Now the already iconic U.P. has seen some major updates – but are they enough to keep it ahead of the curve?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: Which is the best gravel bike of 2018? We put 12 of the most exciting to test

Open U.P.
Open U.P. | 7.68 kg | € 3,200 (frameset)

In our previous issue we ran a group test of endurance bikes, pitting the Open U.P.P.E.R., with a frameset retailing at € 4,500, against bikes in the current top echelons of the market. It came out shining. At the most recent Eurobike, there was bated breath as Open launched the revised Open U.P., which relies on the same geometry, the same features, and the same tire clearance as the U.P.P.E.R that first came out in spring. The main difference lies in the U.P.’s slightly more price-conscious carbon layup that results in a heavier frame; we’re talking 1,040 g for the new U.P. frame while the U.P.P.E.R. has a lithe 880 g frame weight (manufacturer’s stats). Boasting upgrades to the inaugural generation of the U.P., this latest iteration features flat mount disc brakes along with the super sleek and more precise Open U-Turn fork, which had previously been reserved for the top-shelf U.P.P.E.R.

Open U.P.

Additionally, this version makes use of a more sophisticated and practical thru-axle design. The frameset retails at € 3,200 and comes in green, blue, or a ready-to-paint option. The black carbon stealth vibe is still the preserve of the U.P.P.E.R. Our test bike came kitted with premium carbon components from Easton, 40 mm wide Schwalbe G-One tires, and a SRAM Force groupset. At the cash register you’re looking at around € 6,000 and a total weight of 7.68 kg for the large size frame.

Open U.P.
Tuning-Tip: Purely for aesthetics we’d suggest switching the bar tape for a neutral colour.

Fuck, that’s fast! The Open U.P. is like a mountain goat on the climbs and it’s unstoppable in full flight. The Easton bars are 440 mm wide, serving up a relaxed position on the hoods and a racier position on the drops. There’s a gentle flair to the bars which adds stability and a sense of confidence on singletrack trails. In addition the flare works amazingly well with the SRAM Force brake levers, adding more confidence. The Open steers with precision and predictability, forgiving poor line choices with the sort of good-natured shrug that you’d expect from bigger tires. Of course, this bike’s tire clearance means you can always mount 650b wheels with mountain bike tires when occasion demands. Despite coming up slightly narrow on the rims the specced 40 mm tires provided ample comfort, so going up to 650bs would certainly elevate this.

Open U.P. Open U.P.
Open U.P.
There are no question marks about this bike’s ability to have fun – That’s a guarantee whether you’re entry-level or elite

Details like the tidy cable routing, well-considered spec, and bottle cage mount options are worth applauding, and the U.P. demolished the rest of the group test in terms of design and cables. Take a glance down at the ground while riding this year’s U.P. and you might wonder if the bike even has any cables, they’re so innocuous. However, what’s certainly unmissable is its green paintjob and blue bar tape, which the most design-conscious among you might not dig. The same applies to the Easton carbon seatpost that looks more akin to a Stone Age club. The SRAM Force 1×11 drivetrain with a 10-42 cassette gives you a great gear range, although the steps between the gears are fairly substantial.

Open U.P.
Helmet HJC Furion | Glasses Oakley Jawbreaker | Jersey La Passione Lightweight | Gilet Café du Cycliste Jacqueline | Bibshorts La Passione LX Socks La Passione Square | Shoes Bont Vaypor Plus

The Open U.P. in detail

Drivetrain SRAM Force 1
Wheelset Easton EA70 SL Disc
Brakes SRAM Force HRD
Tires Schwalbe G-One Allround
Weight 7.68 kg
Price€ 3,200 (frameset)

Open U.P.
Beautiful cable routing: From above you barely see the cables and you won’t hear a peep from them on the trails either.
Open U.P.
Classic Open: The dropped chainstay on the right leaves space for the 1x drivetrain and adds stiffness. The Easton cranks are ultra lightweight and easy on the eye!
Open U.P.
Easton, what were you thinking? Do we need a firearm license for this carbon post?

Geometry of the Open U.P.

Open U.P.

Conclusion

Spearheaded by Gerard Vroomen and Andy Kessler, the team at Open have wielded their expertise to rework this year’s Open U.P. with some achingly contemporary updates that retain its highly covetable status. There are no question marks about this bike’s ability to have fun – that’s a guarantee whether you’re entry-level or elite. Its handling, weight, and design are phenomenal, lending this bike the skills to roam on tarmac, gravel or singletrack with aplomb. The Open U.P. gets the well-earned best in test award!

Tops

– Perfect handling
– Really balanced
– Very light
– Fairly priced
– Excellent cable routing

Flops

– Design: blue and green
– Seatpost looks like a Stone Age club


More info at: opencycle.com

For an overview of the test fleet head to the main article: Which is the best gravel bike of 2018? We put 12 of the most exciting to test

All bikes in test: Festka One Gravel | Legor Cicli LWTUA | Merida Silex 9000 | Moots Routt RSL | Rondo Ruut CF2Salsa Cutthroat Force 1 | Specialized Diverge Comp | Specialized Sequoia Elite | Trek Crockett 7 Disc | Trek Procaliber 9.9 SL RSL | Votec VRX Elite

Text: Robin Schmitt, Manuel Buck, Benjamin Topf, Hannah Troop Fotos: Valentin Rühl