Every now and again we get the chance to take on a project that really takes things to the next level. While we believe that every bike to leave this shop is something special, some are undeniably elevated. This week we feature one of those bikes. An Open U.P.P.E.R. unlike any one you've seen before. Thanks to both its mesmerizing custom paint work and unconventional build spec, this gravel bike is one that turns everything up to eleven... or twelve in this case.
We'd be kidding ourselves to think the paint job wasn't the start of the show here. The design was a team effort between our client, ourselves, and our partners at Velocolour. The initial concept from our client started as a simple Swiss theme, based on the fact that he was born in Switzerland and Open Cycles is a Swiss-based manufacturer. The colors were inspired by a combination on a previous bike we had built. Throughout the process, the design ultimately evolved to what you see here. The classic Swiss cross, repeating in fading gradients of blue and orange, over an alpine white base. It looks fantastic in photos, but the quality of the detail work is truly something to behold in person.
Once we received the frame from the paint shop, all hands were on deck to get it built up. Below you'll see Michael taking on the wheel build as Robert upgrades the already ceramic Campagnolo bearings to coated CeramicSpeed.
Though they're well disguised, the cockpit contact points are some of our tried and true favorites. A custom painted suite of Zipp SL Speed comprises the hardware, while the soft bits come from Fizik. The custom treatment makes it to the saddle in the form of a Busyman kangaroo leather recovering.
The drive train is something quite different for a grave bike and is one we've yet to build with so far. While we've built a number of bikes with twelve speed Campagnolo Super Record groups, this is the first time we've done so with disc brakes. It's proven to be one of the best-performing groups and is a shop favorite. We're excited that the disc option has opened the range of bikes we can build with it.
The core of the wheels are a pair of White Industries CLD hubs. Sapim CX Rays tie down a pair of 27.5" Zipp 303s. From there, a beefy set of Compass Switchback Hill tires manage traction to the dirt.
Finishing off the build are the blue Chris King dropset and Arundel Mandible cages, fitted with blue cage bolts of course.
And that concludes this week's feature. A gravel speed machine unlike any other. We're thrilled with how this came out but we'd love to hear what you think. Does this bike take it to next level? Let us know in the comment. If you want to get the ball rolling on a bike of your own just give us a shout.