You’ll want to take a bite out of it: the pistachio green OPEN WI.DE. just looks delicious. Has the exotic looking gravel bike with 180 mm brake rotors front and rear got what it takes to beat the competition? We had our doubts.
A quick overview of this group test: The best gravel bike 2021
For this gravel bike group test, OPEN sent us the limited Pistacchio Edition of the WI.DE., created in cooperation with the tire manufacturer Ultradynamico. A style icon of the modern gravel era? Probably. While the design of the WI.DE. is as clean and understated as all of OPEN’s bikes, it offers generous clearances for tires up to 700 x 46C or 650 x 60B. Last year, we tested the bike with 27.5″ wheels and 650 x 54B Schwalbe G-One Bite TLE tires and the build couldn’t entirely convince us of its all-round capabilities. Andy Kessler, founder of OPEN, has put together another unconventional build for 2021. It consists of a 1×12 groupset with SRAM Force eTap AXS cranks and shifters, an Eagle AXS XX1 rear derailleur and Hope RX4 brakes with 180 mm rotors front and rear. We haven’t had the chance to test the HED EMPORIA GC3 PRO carbon wheelset before but with an inner rim width of 26 mm and weighing 1,395 g, they sounded very promising. Spoiler alert: they deliver on that promise! The 700 x 42C Ultradynamico CAVA race tires set a visual accent with their grey treads and are fitted with CushCore tire inserts, allowing you to ride them at lower pressures without having to worry about damaging them or the rims. Dresden-based company Beast Components (the headquarters of which we’ve previously paid a visit) rounds off the unusual but coherent overall package with the finest carbon components for the seat post, stem and handlebars.
Seatpost Beast Components Seatpost Straight 0 mm
Brakes Hope RX4 180/180 mm
Drivetrain SRAM Force eTap AXS mit Eagle AXS XX1-Schaltwerk 42 (10–50)
Stem Beast Components Road Stem 90 mm
Handlebar Beast Components Gravel Bar 440 mm
Wheelset HED Emporia GC3 PRO
Tires Ultradynamico CAVA Race 42C
Size XS S M L XL
Weight 8,28 kg
OPEN De-fender in-house fender solution
Unpainted framesets available and allways limited special editions
Bolting points on top of the top tube, bottom of the down tube and bottom bracket
Direct line from customer to company founder Andy Kessler
|Seat tube||464 mm||495 mm||530 mm||550 mm||564 mm|
|Top tube||510 mm||530 mm||550 mm||570 mm||590 mm|
|Head tube||99 mm||125 mm||150 mm||170 mm||196 mm|
|Chainstays||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm||420 mm|
|BB Drop||80 mm||77 mm||75 mm||75 mm||75 mm|
|Wheelbase||990 mm||1,004 mm||1,009 mm||1,022 mm||1,042 mm|
|Reach||346 mm||358 mm||370 mm||382 mm||394 mm|
|Stack||520 mm||545 mm||570 mm||595 mm||620 mm|
The OPEN definitely belongs to the class of bikes that you park in your apartment, no matter how dirty it is.
In size L, the WI.DE. comes in at a weight of 8.28 kg and is priced at € 7,600. By the time this article is published, this strictly limited edition of the frameset will already be sold out. However, with the unpainted OPEN RTP (Ready To Paint) frameset, you can go full custom on your very own dream design.
Ultradynamico, literally. The OPEN reacts instantly to the slightest pressure on the pedals and accelerates extremely quickly out of any situation. Although the S-Works Diverge will beat it by a hair’s breadth during a finish line sprint, it was the most efficient bike on test on flat terrain and in the mountains. In contrast to bikes like the 3T or the ARC8, the OPEN isn’t dogmatic about wanting to go fast, being equally as comfortable just cruising along if you prefer. The handling of the WI.DE is composed no matter what you throw at it, offering excellent straight-line stability, which is not that special on its own. However, it is the way it combines agility and stability that no other bike in the test field was able to match. You can enjoy the bike’s balanced handling with the confidence that it will always respond in a good-natured manner – you don’t have to adapt your steering technique to different speeds, allowing you to just ride and enjoy the experience instead.
The difference in the build compared to the setup with 650 x 54B tires from the previous review is clearly noticeable. Thanks to the 73.5° seat tube angle and the zero offset seat post, the riding position is pleasantly compact and perfectly centred on the bike. We were particularly impressed with the ergonomics and comfort of the Beast Components Gravel Bar handlebar. They contribute to the excellent job the bike does absorbing small vibrations. That said, the overall comfort stems from multiple sources including the carbon frameset, the damping of the tires and the Beast Components parts, creating a very balanced picture. Bigger hits do get passed on to the rider but they never unsettle the OPEN or surprise the rider. As such, the bike stays securely planted on the ground even in rough terrain and instils you with the confidence to charge on. The 180 mm rotors of the Hope stoppers also help to underline this feeling thanks to their generous and easily modulated braking power. Only in muddy conditions do you reach the limit of the Ultradynamico tires relatively quickly. Otherwise, the tires performed convincingly despite their shallow tread. Whether it’s loose gravel, hardpacked ground or asphalt: as long as the surface is dry, they offer a lot of grip!
Tuning-tip: Nothing – it just won’t get any better
The OPEN WI.DE. excelled in our group test with its balanced and good-natured handling. With its excellent efficiency, it’s capable of going fast in every situation without being aggressively sporty. No matter if you’re a beginner, professional, racer or bikepacker, the frameset of the WI.DE. is the most versatile on the market and, with 700 x 42C wheels, the OPEN is the best gravel all-rounder currently available. Straight A, Best in Test.
- balanced, good-natured handling
- maximum efficiencyalways fun to ride
- beste Allround-Eigenschaften
- balanced comfort
- Tires quickly reach their limit in muddy conditions
Not sure which gravel bike you should buy? This guide will help you for sure: gravel bike buyers guide. You wonder what tires to put on your gravel machine? We recently tested the best gravel tires against each other in our gravel tire group test.
More information here: opencycle.com
Get an overview of this group test: The best gravel-bike 2021 – 13 models on review
All bikes on review: 3T Exploro Race EKAR 1X13 (Click for review) | ARC8 Eero (Click for review) | BMC URS 01 ONE (Click for review) | Cannondale Topstone Carbon Lefty 3 (Click for review) | Canyon Grail CF SLX 8 eTap (Click for review) | Fustle Causeway GRX600 (Click for review) | OPEN WI.DE. | Ridley Kanzo Fast (Click for review) | Ritte Satyr (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD FORCE ETAP AXS LIMITED (Click for review) | ROSE BACKROAD AL GRX RX600 1X11 (Click for review) | Specialized S-Works Diverge (Click for review) | Trek Checkpoint (Click for review)
No, it’s not about perfect race tracks, it’s about efficiency. Fast, fleet-footed and efficient – those who want to speed along high-speed passages need a defined and spritely bike that accelerates with ease and efficiency. Nevertheless, reliable components are important too. We interpret “Smooth tarmac” bikes as follows: Hard efforts at high speeds with a maximum efficient bike on a consistently well-paved road. Effort-joy ratio: 80:30 (not everything has to be 100%!)↩
… also known as bike riding. Broken-up roads in the hinterland, deadlocked gravel roads, loose surfaces – sometimes muddy, sometimes bone-dry. For this, it takes bikes with super all-round, handling and wearing qualities uphill and downhill. Effort-joy ratio: 50:50↩
If you want to use your bike almost every day, you usually do not need an extremely tuned racing machine. Solid components, which are able to cope with the rigours of continuous usage in any kind of weather, are part of the basic equipment. At the same time, the bike should have practicable details: integrated fenders/assembly options, luggage racks/attachment points and a light system or at least the option of installing bike lights. The position on the bike should be rather relaxed, the overall comfort high, so that the Afterwork Ride becomes a cure and not a curse. Effort-joy ratio: 30:70↩
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: Benjamin Topf Photos: Valentin Rühl