Interbike 2016, Outdoor Demo. I wanted to try some bikes that I knew would be good for carrying bike bags, or perhaps mount some racks to carry the kitchen sink if you felt like it. OPEN Cycles UP. It’s difficult to put this bike in a specific category. It’s a road bike because of the geometry, but it’s a cyclocross bike because that’s what it looks like and you’d expect that sort of bike to run some small knobby tires. That all being said, it’s also a drop bar mountain bike. With enough tire clearance for a 2.1″ 650b (27.5″) tire. This bike has a very open front triangle, perfect for a full size frame bag, as well as having an extra bottle cage mount on the top tube. A little disclaimer, I am a giant and I normally ride a Trek Boone 9. Testing bikes that fit can often be a limiting factor in bikes that I get to test. I have also crashed enough times by now that I have no shame in walking technical sections on new trails so I know I didn’t push these bikes to their limits. I rode these bikes like I had to continue riding for the foreseeable future. open-cycling-up-4 The ride. I rode an OPEN UP set up with WTB Nano 40c tires, very similar to my personal setup. Right off the bat I noticed the stiffness of the frame and wheels. It was incredibly rigid with the only suspension being the deformation of the tires. As you do on CX bikes, I found the cross country trails that had plenty of flow, some rock features, a few G-outs, and some pretty sweet photo opportunities. At the trailhead the first aid responders, waiting with sunscreen, spare tubes, food, and beverages, gave me some funny looks for showing up on a drop bar bike with relatively small tires. The bike was fun, which is ultimately what’s most important about a bike, but it was unforgiving. I had to pick my lines carefully, but had no problem diving into swoopy sections and dodging rock outcroppings at a moment’s notice. The UP was incredibly, fantastically responsive to input. Any “OH SHOOT THERE’S A SHARP ROCK!” body language I gave was received well and then none of my wheels made contact with said sharp rock. No doubt if not for anything more than comfort, I had to pick my lines out at Bootleg Canyon, but the bike made it that much easier. I rode this bike up a kitty litter dirt road to the saddle of Bootleg Canyon and down one of the more tame “all mountain” trails and I had tons of fun. Sure, I was slow, I let a bunch of riders pass on full squish bikes, and I had a couple CX dismounts to run over some rocks (not that someone with better bike skills couldn’t ride those sections), but I had plenty of fun. Maybe I’m just a masochist like that. open-cycling-up-9 open-cycling-up-13 What I didn’t like. It might just be because I am a giant, have big feet, or have my cleats fairly far back on my shoes, but there was some tire, toe overlap. On some of the more technical climbs I had dab because I caught my toe against the front tire and I couldn’t recover. Also while descending, I found on a couple occasions my toe would overlap with the front tire, messing up my line, but the bike was so responsive I could fix it quickly. Bottom line. The OPEN UP is a pretty great bike. There’s tons of room for your gear and the bike will track exactly where you think it should. You have tons of wheel and tire options and the bike really lends itself to some good adventure riding. I was pretty stoked on this bike. You should really consider OPEN for their versatility, quick handling, and that grin that’ll cover your face when you’re riding it.open-cycling-up-7

Frameset: 2,900USD For geometry and specs head to their website – opencycle.com/up/

8 Comments

  1. laurence davidson

    How much of a “giant are you?” Height, shoe size?

  2. Some companies sizing recommendations are a little crazy – Open says that a an XL with a 591 mm effective top tube and 398 mm of reach will fit someone 6’7″ (and they do not use a setback seatpost). I am 6′ 6″ and ride a 614 mm ETT bike with 430 mm of reach – run a 130mm stem and a setback seatpost – sounds like I would need a 170mm stem to make it work.

  3. Pingback: 3T Exploro First Impressions - Bikepacker

  4. midnight grizzly

    …and this whole adventure bike category has come full circle, back to the hardtail MTB- Tomac style.

  5. Jeffrey Taylor

    Thanks for the writeup William, Would be curious to hear opinions on the merits of the Open Up, 3T Exploro and the Salsa Cutthroat for their advantages and disadvantages for a bike that can fill the niche of a gravel bike, but yet is a great race whip for bikepacking races.

    I thought the Cuthroat was at the top of my list, but the corrected rigid fork gives me pause…

  6. Could you tell me your bike size, please?

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