There have been a lot of Open U.P's pass through our workstands this past year or so; they have quickly become one of our most popular builds. We’ve talked endlessly about the overwhelming positives that surround this gravel platform but this particular frame arrives with a colorway that is quite different.
Some details of the paint before we move onto the build. Is there a better combo than Black, White, and Clinique Blue? One of the beautiful aspects to the Open U.P, is that there is an option to start off with the blankest of blank canvases. The U.P. comes as a frameset, giving you the ability to spec and build it out how you see fit. Electing for the "Paint Ready" frameset however, provides the luxury of having the frame look exactly the way you want it. Whatever your personality, whatever your eye sees, whatever your favorite colors are: it'll be awesome for you.
This paint: Jet Black, Signal White, and Clinique as we call it. We worked tirelessly with the rider coming up with this design. Tirelessly, because he pretty much came up with the general design. There was a good deal of time spent nailing the correct measurements: widths of color bands, scale of the logo, and spacing. We've worked a good deal of other bicycles through the paint shop at Spectrum Paint & Powder Works in Boulder, Colorado; and they've been more than patient with all of the minute and detailed adjustments throughout the process. Trading renderings & mockups back and forth in order to get the look just right. We were more than thrilled, and honored, this client insisted on our shop logo being on the frame indelibly. (Our Baums & Mosaics commonly come this way as well, there's really no better way to indicate where your bicycle came from—a lot better than a mere shop sticker, right?)
Now back to the build spec. These selections didn't take as long as the paint to decide on, but even still, given the ability to choose, this rider rode the razor sharp line between luxury-lightweight, blistering performance, and durability.
The Zipp SL line is the theme for the cockpit—they're definitely becoming one of our favorite brands for touch points. The SL-70 Ergo Carbon bar has risen to the top of our list; just the right amount of drop and reach, while featuring a gentle rear curve on the tops. Building is a cinch with these bars, the sufficiently deep recess on the underside of the tops gives stiff housing and hydraulic hose a great place to reside without delivering the P.I.A. challenge of running them internally through a bar. The Zipp Service Course SL stem in Beyond Black is adequately stiff, but aesthetically trim—we find the Zipp SL Speed stem provides a ton more stiffness, but sometimes it's girth proves a little unsightly for certain builds. On the backside, we went with the Zipp SL-Speed seatpost with the zero setback as recommended by Open. Fizik Endurance tape and black matched Arione R1 saddle only add to that aesthetic synchronicity and personal comfort.
The drivetrain is controlled by the supremely tactile SRAM Red shifter/brake levers. The mechanical lever feel of running through the gears on these shifters are worth the upgrade from Force. This rider opted out of the XX1 conversion, but instead upgraded the jockey wheels on the SRAM Force rear derailleur to CeramicSpeed—if only to match the CeramicSpeed bottom bracket. Riding with power is fast becoming a commonly suggested feature of our builds: the Red Quarq, we've found works flawlessly and pretty damned hassle-free with the reliable X-Sync chainring for the 1x drivetrain.
Rounding out the SRAM Zipp family on this bicycle are a set of Zipp 303's wrapped in Schwalbe Thunder Burts. For the 650b crowd, this has become one of our favorite tire & wheel combinations for the Marin terrain where he's riding. The tremendous amount of grip these tires provide in the dirt plus their versatility makes this bike almost double as a full-rigid mountain bike.
We had a blast putting together this one-off Open and we can’t wait for the next one (more in store—keep an eye out...), but until then we’re looking forward to seeing this one get dirty. For any questions on a custom U.P. of your own, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.