Open U.P. mainly as road bike?

I’m contemplating a purchase. For various reasons, a custom lightweight steel frame I ordered has run into problems (I’m not going to post them until/unless the situation is concluded, as I don’t think it’s fair) and in short the order may be cancelled.

Anyway, when I was having the pre-order fit (at an independent fitter), one of the bikes that actually worked quite well for my body type was the Open U.P. Initially I dismissed it (I was ordering the steel frame and I don’t ride gravel) but I’ve subsequently been reconsidering it, especially given a) the problems mentioned above and b) a seller has hinted there may be a deal to be done.

I’d be using it as primarily a (fast) road bike with the possibility of using it to get back into cross next year. I’d be planning to run it as a 1x (Sram AXS), with a 44 x 10-36 for road use, but I thought by switching up wheelsets, putting on a slightly shorter stem, and shifting to a 38 chainring I’d be able to use it for cross.

Is this a dim idea? Does anyone have any experience with using the U.P. mainly as a road bike?

Hambini has a video on the OPEN bikes that kind of changed my perspective on them. Maybe worth a watch, I thought they were quality bikes, but you’ll see


That sounds like a great idea to me. This sounds like a great endurance road bike to me that by the way can accept 2.1” mountain bike tires if you want. The concept and the geometry was about 5 years ahead of its time. AFAIK there is still no major manufacturer who offers something similar, although a few smaller ones do (e. g. Mason or the quasi-internal competition in the form of 3T’s Exploro).

The only thing is that it might have suboptimal geometry for a cyclocross bike. CX bikes have a geometry that makes them very agile at slow speed, which isn’t what you would use for an endurance road bike. But it sounds like a quiver killer with drop bars to me.

If you go further into Hambini’s back catalog, I think he pretty much rakes every manufacturer over the coals with the exception of Look, I think. He also seems to have gotten under the skin of Gerard Vroomen. The one time I had contact with Vroomen directly, he was very personable and nice.


Maybe, but just because he is nice doesn’t mean the bikes are too. Some of the things he points out in the video in X-rays of that bike seem pretty unacceptable for the price point. I’m fine with a roasting if the product is deserving, and while his attitude is a bit…outlandish, the things he points out are objectively faulty


I understand that, and I think you can say the same about most of the bikes Hambini chooses to make videos about. After a while, it seems no bike maker is significantly better than the others, though, with the possible exception of Look. Hambini said that apparently many brands are using him to get around a frame replacement, i. e. company X is willing to spring for a Hambini BB to make up for manufacturing tolerances.

I don’t know what transpired between them specifically, but honestly, I can easily see how someone in a professional capacity is immediately put off by Hambini’s grating style. (Honestly, I am even though I find myself agreeing with Hambini on the substance.) In a professional context, I wouldn’t put up with that.

That’s all valid, but doesn’t change those OPEN frames from a structure standpoint. Impression I got watching the video is they are just another mass produced Chinese frame with some slight tweaks in their shape and geo, and are successful because their versatility just happened to stick in the marketplace with the new trends going on (my opinion here I suppose). The drive side chainstay was said to be poorly designed and bound to fail.

That being said, no matter how nice Vroomen is, or how annoying and unprofessional Hambini can be, I would still never touch one based on the facts presented.


That video is a little concerning if I’m honest. I’d love to know Open’s take on it.

I think their response is in there somewhere. 11:35 is where he starts to get into the actual issues if you want to fast forward. Also around 21:00 you can see that the two openings for the BB aren’t parallel or even the same size

Hmm… watched it.

I’ve emailed Open to ask for their side of the story. I’ll be interested to see if they reply.

This may have been a short-lived idea!

I looked at OPEN a few months ago when I was considering a new gravel bike…The OPEN bikes have a bit higher BB than a standard road bike…so you’ll sit a bit higher and have a higher center of gravity. OK for cross, but not ideal IMO if the primary purpose is for a road bike. Functional, though.

Since my gravel bike right now is a CX bike, I wanted something with a lower BB…I am a fan of lower BB / CG. It makes for a more stable bike, IME.

As for the video, (and I’ll admit to not having sat through it yet) I’d take it with a grain of salt…as noted Hambini always has an issue with nearly everyone.


I can’t speak to the manufacturing quality, but the Open Up is definitely not an off-the-shelf design with a few tweaks because it can’t be. This was the first road bike I am aware of that could take mountain bike tires, and the dropped chain stays are the reason it has so much tire clearance. When it came out in 2015 it was about 5 years ahead of its competition. Many other manufacturers followed and copied those and the other design features.

In isolation the video looks really bad. But we don’t know how often these problems actually occur. I haven’t heard of systemic problems, but perhaps that is because in absolute numbers there are only few Open Ups out there. The most notable person riding (and loving) an Open Up is Rides of Japan (on Youtube) who is a very meticulous about his bikes. He has had to replace his frame once (he crashed into a car, not a manufacturing defect), and as far as I remember he was happy with Open’s service. Of course, service is a weak point if you opt for a bike from a smaller manufacturer, though. Nevertheless, on substance, I agree: if a customer was serious enough to have had their frame scanned by a pro (ultrasound to my knowledge), Open should be, pardon the pun, more open to replacing the frame.

Nevertheless, if you look at either Hambini’s other videos or at e. g. Luescher’s youtube channel, you’d think that you should stay away from big brands names like Specialized or so, too. Peak Torque rips Specialized and all other manufacturers who have adopted the new T.47 BB standard a new one, too, because that’s a clear indication they don’t think they can manufacture BBs to spec, too. (BBs are Hambini’s main topic for obvious reasons.) I’ve been chiming in to the choir, because I agree with them on substance. However, Hambini gets to see the worst of the worst, so we don’t know the actual statistics, i. e. we don’t know whether the frame he had was an outlier or whether it is a common problem.

Everything is a trade-off, and the more versatile a bike, the worse it gets at one specific task. I think if you are offroad a higher BB reduces the likelihood of pedal and rock strikes.

But I’m in your boat, I don’t like how my endurance road bike handles, which I why I’ll replace it with something sportier very soon. The higher BB IMHO plays a part in that. But as a concept, I think this is well worth it. A lot of people who ride casually on their road bikes torture themselves with super narrow tires and high tire pressures. And rather than having to turn around when the paved road gives way to a fire road, you can just continue. I really like that, and I hope that the majority of road bikes will go in that direction.


I think the reason he was so harsh on it was a combination of issues. BB issues are his thing, but combine that with the numerous voids, resin pooling, and questionable service, I think that’s where the cesspit thing came from. I could understand a bike having some problems but when there’s a combination and abundance of them it becomes harder to stomach.

But like you said, not every bike is the same. Lutscher cut apart an Emonda SL like I have and was very pleased with what he found, and my BB90 press fit is still on the original bearings from 5 years and 18,000 miles ago whereas others have had problems with theirs. That doesn’t mean that my Emonda is the same inside as the one he cut, but I do still trust the big brands more for consistency and quality because they generally have more resources to design and test to make a good product, and more resources for QC too.

Agreed…but since RR’s main purpose will be as a road bike, a high BB may not be the best fit.

IMO, the benefit of a high BB is exaggerated. As long as 22 years ago (strike that…23 years now! :wink:), I developed a cross bike with a lower BB than traditional CX bikes, a longer TT and a shorter stem. Rode wonderfully, even in CX races.

As for pedal strikes, unless you are riding extremely technical stuff, I don’t think it is really an issue.

I think that is pretty much the established trend now…with the exception of a full-on aero bike, versatility is a key attribute in many bikes right now. And that is definitely a good thing.

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I don’t have first-hand knowledge of OPEN bikes, but I’ve known several riders who have them, and they are more prevalent than any other single bike I’ve seen in the Michigan gravel race scene. Everyone I’ve ever spoken to about them loves theirs.

When I am in the market for a new gravel bike, they are right near the top of a very short list of what I’d consider buying.

If the geometry works for you, I wouldn’t hesitate at all to use it as a road bike.

My 2c. Good luck🤘


Yup, and the Open UP and the 3T Exploro IMHO were the first bikes (both designed by Vroomen). Road bikes slowly morph into accepting ever wider tires, but most frames are still limited to 32 mm officially, which is a far cry from 2.1 inches (> 50 mm). Ditto for drive train manufacturers. Campy with their Ekar groupset have pretty much nailed it, except for not offering smaller front chain rings. And pretending it is a gravel groupset rather than a generic group set for drop bar bikes.

Also Vroomen’s 3T Strada was several years ahead of its time: an aero bike designed for disc brakes that can take wide tires and is 1x only. (Ok, now you can get the Strada Due with a FD mount.) My buddy’s Venge ticks all the same boxes, save for being 1x-only. Arguably, with 12- and 13-speed drive trains, 1x becomes ready for the main stream. I have had a demo bike for two weeks and I can attest to how spectacular it is. I don’t know whether the frame had any voids or so, but both, the frameset and the wheelset (also 3T) were spectacular. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Open rode amazingly, too. I’ll be ordering one this weekend or next weekend :slightly_smiling_face:


Actually, if I did go ahead, Ekar might be a great shout. Are freehubs widely available for it yet?

40 x 9-36 might actually do for both road and cross tbh…

Considered an aspero?
Hambini lights them up also.
I have 3500 miles on mine and no bb squeak and no issues. Also not the cost of an open


I hadn’t, but will have a look. Thanks

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That bike checks all my boxes…except for the pressfit BB. Love the geo, design, versatility, etc.

Oh, and they need a red option (but i could make do with the black / red decal variant) :wink:

I haven’t had a bb issue. It threads together