Desired by many a gravel fan, in this special road incarnation, the OPEN U.P.P.E.R. has snuck its way into our group test. At 6.41 kg in size L, it’s by far the lightest bike in our test. Is that low weight alone enough to secure it a top spot amongst the competition?

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best road bike of 2020 – 13 high-carat road bikes in review

OPEN U.P.P.E.R. | 6.41 kg (size L) | € 12,000  | Manufacturer’s website

The coveted OPEN bikes are the brainchild of Andy Kessler, former CEO of BMC, and Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervélo. We’ve already determined that the U.P.P.E.R. is a first-class all-rounder for gravel riding but now we’ve been sent a frameset in a very special configuration for our road bike group test. The Open U.P.P.E.R. also cuts a good figure for bikepacking. You want to know everything about bikepacking and bikes, gear, route planning and accommodation? Click here for our detailed Bikepacking 101.

The OPEN U.P.P.E.R. Road Edition in detail

At the heart of the bike is the third-generation U.P.P.E.R. frameset with its distinctive dropped chainstays, flat mount brakes, BB386EVO press fit bottom bracket, 12 mm thru-axles and clearances for tires up to 650 x 54B or 700 x 47C. The 2×12 SRAM RED eTap AXS groupset is combined with THM Clavicula SE cranks and 46/33 t Carbon-Ti chainrings. The cockpit consists of a THM Ulna bar with a THM Tibia Road stem. The Mcfk saddle together with the 25 mm offset THM Mandibula seatpost provide a comfortable perch. This flyweight is fitted with a wheelset that is just as premium and lightweight: the Mcfk 700c Gravel wheelset has a 24 mm internal width and is shod with 700 x 35C René Herse Bon Jon Pass TC Extralight tires. This exclusive OPEN build will set you back € 12,000.

The clamps on the THM components are rarely beaten in terms of aesthetics.
The 25 mm offset of the THM Mandibula seatpost pushes your centre of gravity too far back on the bike.
Cloud 9
We assume the René Herse Bon Jon Pass tires are filled with fluffy pink candy floss. They are unbeatable in terms of comfort.


€ 12,000


Seatpost THM Mandibula 25 mm
Brakes SRAM RED HRD 160/140 mm
Drivetrain SRAM RED eTap AXS
Stem THM Tibia Road 110 mm
Handlebar THM Ulna 420 mm
Wheelset Mcfk Gravel 28"
Tires René Herse Bon Jon Pass TC Extralight 700 x 35C
Gearing 46/33 T und 10–33 T 2x12

Technical Data

Size S M L XL
Weight 6.41 kg

Specific Features

THM Clavicula SE-Kurbel und Carbon-TI-Kettenblättern

Standard is better
Shifting is noticeably worse with the Carbon-Ti chainrings. We’d much prefer the standard chainrings.

The geometry of the OPEN

Size S M L XL
Seat tube 520 mm 540 mm 560 mm 580 mm
Top tube 528 mm 549 mm 570 mm 591 mm
Head tube 105 mm 130 mm 155 mm 180 mm
Head angle 69.5° 71.0° 72.5° 72.5°
Seat angle 74.0° 73.5° 73.5° 73.5°
Chainstays 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm 420 mm
BB Drop 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm 70 mm
Wheelbase 1,002 mm 1,008 mm 1,014 mm 1,032 mm
Reach 365 mm 376 mm 387 mm 401 mm
Stack 522 mm 551 mm 580 mm 604 mm

This U.P.P.E.R completely blurs the boundaries between road bike, gravel bike and art. Sinfully pretty, uncompromisingly light and extravagantly elegant

Helmet POC Omne Air SPIN | Glasses Oakley Latch | Jersey Isadore Long Sleeve Shield Jersey | Shorts Isadore Medio Bib Shorts | Socks POC Essential Strong | Shoes Rapha Classic Shoes

The OPEN U.P.P.E.R. Road Edition in review

Oops – already at 35 km/h? That’s about how the acceleration of the U.P.P.E.R. feels. It shines setting off and climbing thanks to its low weight, without lacking any stiffness when putting down power. The OPEN gets quickly up to speed in any situation, but conversely, has more difficulty maintaining momentum on flats and downhills. Bikes with more inertia are at a slight advantage here. Speaking of advantages: during our test we found the shifting of the Carbon-Ti chainrings leaves a lot to be desired. They might save a few precious grams for weight weenies but in terms of shifting, can’t even keep up with the mechanical Shimano ULTEGRA rings found on the VOTEC. The pleasantly playful and balanced handling makes for a fun ride and strikes a good balance between stability and agility. As the seat tube angle on the U.P.P.E.R. is designed for a zero-offset seatpost, the centre of gravity shifts a bit too far back with the THM post fitted. At the limit and when things get a little more hectic, the bike is a little lacking in precision and directness due to reduced pressure on the front wheel. With a wheelbase of 1,014 mm the OPEN is one of the longest bikes in our test, but as a result doesn’t suffer any toe overlap. This together with the balanced handling creates a lot of trust in the bike whatever the terrain. The OPEN is unperturbed by broken up roads or tracks and invites you to leave perfect asphalt behind. While doing so, it also generates a lot of comfort. The combination of frameset compliance, vibration damping cockpit and seatpost, as well as the inherent suspension of the René Herse tires leaves no wishes unfulfilled. It was just the riding position that we found a little too stretched for our liking.

Tuning tips: Shorter stem for a more compact position together with a zero-offset seatpost for more weight on the front wheel.

Riding Characteristics



  1. cumbersome
  2. playful


  1. nervous
  2. confident


  1. demanding
  2. balanced

Fun factor

  1. boring
  2. lively


  1. firm
  2. comfortable

Value for money

  1. terrible
  2. very good

Technical Data


Size: S M L XL
Weight: 6.41 kg
Price: € 12,000

Indended Use

Smooth tarmac 1
Allroad/Gravel 2
Everyday/Commuting 3


With the U.P.P.E.R. Road Edition, OPEN show just how versatile a gravel bike can be and just how much road bike pedigree is in this frameset. The bike is best suited to luggage-free rides on hilly terrain, especially if you anticipate encountering gravel sections. Everyone can feel at home on this one-of-a-kind bike, from beginners to pros. However, you’ll have to decide yourself how practical this bike actually is for everyday use – of course, sometimes the heart has to rule the mind.


  • sprightly acceleration
  • high level of comfort
  • balanced handling


  • shifting with the Carbon-Ti chainrings
  • limited efficiency on flats and downhil

For more info head to

The test field

For an overview of the test fleet head to the group test: The best road bike of 2020 – 13 high-carat road bikes in review

All bikes in test: Argon 18 Krypton Pro (Click for review) | Bianchi Infinito CV Disc (Click for review) | BMC Roadmachine 01 ONE (Click for review) | Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-MOD Disc Dura Ace (Click for review) | Cicli Bonanno Futomaki Disc (Click for review) | FOCUS IZALCO MAX DISC 9.9 (Click for review) | LOOK 795 BLADE RS DISC (Click for review) | OPEN U.P.P.E.R. | Pinarello Dogma F12 Team INEOS Edition (Click for review) | ROSE REVEAL SIX Dura Ace Di2 Custom (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Roubaix (Click for review) | Trek Domane SLR 9 eTap (Click for review) | VOTEC VRC PRO (Click for review)

Did you enjoy this article? If so, we would be stoked if you decide to support us with a monthly contribution. By becoming a supporter of GRAN FONDO, you will help secure a sustainable future for high-quality cycling journalism. Click here to learn more.

Words: Photos: Valentin Rühl