There are many who insist that the best gravel bike is in fact a hardtail mountain bike. Sure, gravel bikes are getting more and more capable and we do love them so. However, when a fully functioning mountain bike dips below the 20lb mark, it's a tough call as to what makes the faster, more efficient bike in the dirt. This we week share a featherweight Open One+, built with no shortage of exotic components, while still being sensible for a daily driven shredder.
A Rockshox Sid World Cup fork dampens the terrain at the front end. The Sid line has always been at the forefront of ultra light, race day performance, so it was an easy choice for the build at hand. For extra control and efficiency, the 100mm of travel are controlled by a remote lockout. A small weight penalty, but worth it for the efficiency of being able to make changes at will.
We don't often got that crazy for weight weenie components, but for this build, it just seemed to make sense. The 95mm Tune Geiles stem is about as machined out as a piece of aluminum can get, and weighs about 10g less than comparable carbon stems. The flat Tune Turnstange handlebar further aides in keeping the weight down (60g lighter than most alternatives) and keeps the rider position low aggressive. Not stopping there, a EE compression plug drops into the steer tube for even further heft shavings. Yes, there are lighter headset options than Chris King but, let's be honest. Every mountain bike deserves to be outfitted with a King headset.
At the back end of the cockpit, even more Tune components make an appearance. While it might not be carbon, the alloy Leichtes post is heavily machined, inside and out, and weighs a scant 172g. It's looks are... interesting, but the strength to weight is hard to beat. The Komm-Vor saddle on the other hand is carbon, with merely a thin wrapping of faux leather at the back end for padding. No wonder it's only 95g. The SchraubwüRger seat clamp ties it all together.
For the drivetrain, an XX Eagle AXS kit keeps the power moving forward. Not to settle for stock, the rear derailleur was gutted and retrofitted with a Ceramicspeed OSPW cage. The cranks spin on a matching coated Ceramicspeed bottom bracket. Gold Crank Brother's pedals keep things light and nicely accent the rainbow cassette.
While the bike is predominantly Sram, it's hard to break (no pun intended) away from the legendary feel and performance of XTR brake. The XC weight dual piston calipers, with 160mm rotors, supply more than enough stopping power for a bike this light.
For any bike that spends it's time in the dirt, wheels are what take the most abuse. While there are certainly lighter weight options out there, the strength and reliability of the Enve M525 wheels simply cant be beat. The One+ can be set up as 29 or 27.5+, but for sheer XC speed, 29 was the way to go. For rubber, a pair of Schwalbe Racing Ralph Evo 2.25" tires were called to action.
Even with a suspension fork and full sized MTB tires, this bike weighs in at just over 18.5lbs, well in neighborhood of gravel bikes. We had a blast on this project and can't wait to get started on the next one. The questions remains—would you pick a hardtail like this or a drop-bar gravel bike for your routine dirt excursions?
As alway, we here to bring your next project to life. If a new custom built rig with a thoughtful build spec has been on your list, don't hesitate to give us a shout.
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