Open UP v Cervelo Aspero

I’m considering a Groadie as my new winter bike & to open up options of some gentle off roading. 95% of riding will be on the road so I’m looking for a GRX 2x set up and as racy a gravel bike as possible.

I have narrowed down the choice to a Cervelo Aspero or an Open Up. Both of which are about the same price with equivalent spec here in the UK (or close enough to make no difference).

Does anyone have experience riding both and any preferences?

I’m leaning towards the UP with Zip 303S and some road biased tyres but wondering if there’s likely to be a new model coming for 2022 and if I should wait it out?

I was considering both of these frames earlier this year and went with the Aspero for one primary reason…BB height. The OPEN has a much higher BB height and I wanted a low / roadie BB height.

Love the versatility of the OPEN frame design (which the Cervelo also has a lot of), but the BB killed it for me. I wanted the increased stability that comes with a lower BB after a few years on Crux frames adn really noticing the extra height.

Both are great frames, though…

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For the record, the UP’s BB drop is 70mm on all sizes, Aspero ranges from 78.5mm on the smallest two sizes, 76mm in the middle two and 73.5mm on the biggest two - so this may be less of a concern if you’re taller.

Personally I’d go with the UP. I was also looking at these two last year, but in the end I went with a much cheaper steel frame (Fairlight Secan) and splashed out on a better groupset (Force AXS instead of my old Red/Rival 10 speed mix). But frankly both are awesome bikes.

Can’t comment on the UP other than to say it looks like a great bike. I’ve an Aspero and love it, the decision point for me was the geo (matched my R5 pretty much though slightly longer and more BB drop, and I liked how my R5 handled), the ability to dial the trail down if needed and the clearance on 700c (42’s officially, I’m running 43’s which are coming up as 43.5 with plenty of space still). I knew I wasn’t going to be using this in a way that would need 650’s so the 700 clearance was important.

For me the Aspero is an R5 with more clearance and a smidge more stability. So it’s a good choice if you’re after a road orientated gravel bike.

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I’ve ridden the Aspero a LOT… the Open UP for about 2km (not enough to comment on honestly). Echoing others, I like the Aspero. It’s exactly what I wanted in a gravel bike. As a roadie I wanted it to feel like a road bike that I could point almost anywhere for 1-3hr rides (no all day packing). Wheels : 303FC with G40 as my standard gravel setup and I’ve just added a set of 650b to the mix with 1.9" tyres (these have plenty of clearance which is nice).

“Fast” wise I have used road wheels on the Aspero for a few rides. Scribe 50mm and 454NSW. As expected, it handled well… but that’s not what I got the bike for.

Mrs Lama liked how mine rode, so she has an Aspero now too.


Out of those two choices I’d go with a 3T exploro :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Love my aspero


I’ve done rides as long as 6-10 hours on it and it has been perfect.

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I’ve been riding an Open UPPER as my do it all bike for the last 1.5 years and have nothing but great praise for the frame. I wanted a bike that would be equally at home running aero wheels and skinny tires as it was ripping gravel and epic bikepacking trips, and my bike has done it all perfectly. It’s primary wheelset is 30mm deep carbon rims running 38mm slick tires, and I have a 650b set running 2.2in treaded tires for bikepacking but I can also throw in my 50mm deep aero wheels from my race bike whenever I want. Swapping between wheelsets takes 2min as I have used shims to line up all the rotors and they all have the same cassette spacing.

I went with the Open after looking at a handful of other frames to build up primarily due to the fact that it had the most “road” like geometry between the bikes I was looking at. I wanted as short of wheelbase and chainstays as possible with low stack so that it wouldn’t feel sluggish on the road. Looks like the Cervelo geometry is pretty damn similar, so I’m sure you can’t go wrong either way. Weight wise, looks like the Open UP will likely be very slightly lighter whereas the UPPER will save a bit more weight but we all know it really will have zero effect on your rides whatsoever! My experience with Open support has been top notch, they are ridiculously fast to answer questions, send spare parts, etc but I have no idea how that compares to Cervelo support.

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with either bike! If I was choosing now I would likely still go with the Open as in my own personal opinion I think it looks better (skinnier tubes & the cable routing on the Aspero has always sorta bugged me) but from a ride quality perspective I feel like both bikes will be super similar.

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Great replies thanks everyone. Sounds like both will be great options.

I am tall so looking at a 58cm frame for the aspero so not much difference in BB drop.

3T have paused UK shipments from what I can see so I don’t think an Exploro is an easily available option.

I went into a fancy LBS today and checked out the Aspero 5 in the flesh. They didn’t have a standard model. Purple sunset colour which is cool and is the colour I would go for but I worry it will date quickly. Given that both bikes are pretty close, things like aesthetics matter!

Does anyone have any idea if OPEN might be refreshing the UP any time soon? Would be kinda annoying to buy now and a new frame come out soon.

Is that true? There is a new bike shop that has just opened up near me that only stocks 3T bikes… they might struggle.

Of course aesthetics matter! Joking aside if your spending that much money then you should love it :+1:

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I’m also thinking about an Open vs Aspero.

My concern with the Aspero is there are report of the Trail Mix thing bending … doesn’t inspire confidence. Also report of some of the frame protections falling off.

According to Open the Exploro is a tad faster but a tad less comfortable.

So, I guess that would make the Aspero closer to the Exploro than the UP.

I had my aspero for 2 years, no issues at all. I never used the flip chip.


First I have heard of it….anecdotally, I have never had an issue with mine, but I also have never tried to swap out positions.

I think that is pretty accurate….for me, the decision came down to BB height. I wanted a lower BB for better stability and cornering, so went with the Aspero (the Exploro also would have fit that need).

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I think of a gravel bike as somewhere between a road and hardtail mountain bike. I have a hardtail and live across the street from a huge network of single track trail, so if I want to ride single track I don’t even consider a gravel bike. This makes the choice of gravel bike easy. Pick the one with features and geometry closest to the road bike. The other decision point would be if you planned on doing a couple of cyclecross races.

Honestly, if your first choice of tires and wheels is 303s road-biased tires I would be looking at an Exploro. You seem to be leaning towards a road bike with tire and wheel capacity to handle reasonably clean dirt roads. Heck, I would almost look at something like a SuperSix, Madone or Domanie for that application. It isn’t unusual to see some of the smoother gravel races being won on road bikes with a 33-36mm file tread tire, like Steam Boat gravel and some of the BWR races.

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Interesting …

My off road riding is much more mixed - which is why I like it.

So a different conclusion of me.