U.P. (Unbeaten Path) and U.P.P.E.R. combine a performance-oriented cross/road geometry & parts with clearance for mountain bike tires. So you can ride anywhere, and ride fast.
Get out of town on asphalt, hit the gravel roads or switch to singletrack. The geometry gets you there fast; the big tires make you unstoppable.
The frame is available in two versions:
|-||The standard U.P. with 3T Luteus II fork for post-mount disc brakes|
|-||The superlight U.P.P.E.R. with OPEN U-turn fork for flat-mount disc brakes|
Overall, the U.P. and U.P.P.E.R. share the same principles of tire clearance, intended use and design, but they differ in weight, fork, disc brake mounts, thru-axles and color.
We’re honored that so many people believe in the direction the U.P. is taking. Most importantly of course our customers, but also the people behind the following awards and publications:
“Apart from the frame’s attractive, eye-catching design, this cross bike’s open concept is value for money because it allows the attachment of different wheel sizes and types of tyre. Therefore, the U.P. is especially good at handling different sorts of terrain.”
“In these exciting times, bikes are blurring the lines between the traditional definitions […] One perfect example is the new Open U.P., the ‘Unbeaten Path’– a bike defined as “GravelPlus,” but which offers so much more.
The design is beautifully crafted: a dropped chainstay allows for a super-compact 420 mm rear end, resulting in stiff and responsive power transfer, while ultra-thin seatstays add a degree of vertical compliance.
With relaxed and versatile geometry, the Open U.P. is more than a blending of genres, it’s a study in versatility offering endless possibilities, carving out a unique identity all its own. Never have the polar-opposite worlds of mountain biking and road biking been so connected.”
“With a frame design unlike any other that maximizes its versatility for both on- and off-road use, Gerard Vroomen engineered the best gravel bike to date.”
“I’ve ridden other gravel bikes before and have often felt they compromise too much in the search for versatility – being sometimes sluggish on tarmac yet not quite capable of handling more technical trails. With 2.1-inch tyres and a light and stiff build, the UP is very different.
A lot of brands so far have seen the possibilities for widening the scope of road riding, with slacker geometries, and the increased tyre clearance made possible by disc brakes. Yet Open has seemingly sprung light years ahead, fully realising the potential of modern tyre, wheel and frame technology. This is truly a rare and exceptional bike, and one that has literally broken new ground.”
“The Open U.P. will change where you ride. A long-term review of this gravel/’cross/road bike proves that it really is as versatile as it promises.
It feels natural on pavement and somehow still takes to the dirt like it was designed for it—a blend I’ve yet to experience with other bikes.”
“… adventure road and gravel bikes, a segment that continues to expand. We have half a dozen in the test this year, and they continue to become lighter and more refined over previous year’s iterations. The most promising of the fleet is the Open Unbeaten Path with geometry that makes it plenty comfortable on the pavement but optimized for very large tires. That makes this possibly the most versatile road bike out there as it can move seamlessly from group rides in a peloton to proper singletrack. There’s no consensus from testers yet about which wheel size they prefer.
The UP finally fulfills the promise of mixed-surface bikes, and we hope that other manufacturers will take note.”
“What is truly amazing is the attention Open paid to making it work exceptionally well is making [the U.P.] work exceptionally well in every one of these configurations. The U.P. doesn’t just accept these different [wheel/tire] standards - each feel native.
Of course, their stated motto is ‘Working hard to stay small’. The quality and versatility of the Open U.P. might make that very difficult.”
“The compact build and the weight of barely 8kg give the bike an agility you don’t expect with these big tires.
This bike exceeded my already high expectations.
An incredible bike. Despite the mountain bike tires, you feel like you’re riding a road bike.
Innovative frame concept, smart details, light. With this versatility, the U.P. will likely offer an important push to the development of all gravel bikes.”
“I immediately noticed how fast the bike was off the line. As expected, the carbon was stiff and responsive, applying force directly from pedal to pavement. The bike rocketed around town and to the trailhead much more aggressively than a mountain bike.
Once on the gravel, the bike flowed into its comfort zone. With less aggressive geometry than a true cyclocross bike, it churned through the miles in comfort and inspired 'one more detour before we go home' type riding.”
For all other U.P. reviews and tests, please refer to the Reviews section at the bottom of this page.
The U.P. fits mountain bike tires up to 2.1” wide. But you can also fit a 40mm cross tire, or a 28mm road tire, or anything else in-between (exact tire sizes depend on manufacturing tolerances and rim width, so this is a guideline. Always make sure you have 6mm clearance between tire and frame).
How do we fit such a wide range of tires without affecting the handling? Let's start with the numbers; below is the outside radius for various wheel+tire combos:
As you can see, the top-4 wheel+tire combos (700c cross/road tires and 650b mountain bike tire) are very close in radius, the bottom one (the 29er mountain bike tire) is way off.
So you’ll hardly notice a difference in geometry swapping 700c cross/road and 650b mountain bike tires on the U.P., while 29er tires would make a total mess of the handling.
There is a second reason we designed for 650b and not 29er tires. They would require very long chainstays, while the U.P. now sports a very short 420mm rear end. Most gravel and cross bikes have longer chainstays than that yet they can't fit anywhere near the same size of tire.
Behind the bottom bracket, the chainrings, frame and tire all fight for space. And with the need to fit big mountain bike tires and narrow Q-factor cross/road cranks & chainrings, the U.P. presents the toughest possible packaging problem.
Dropping the right chainstay moves it out of this crowded area, allowing it to be wider and therefore stiffer (a huge effect; with the same amount of material, twice the width will give you eight times the stiffness!).
“100% hi-modulus carbon”, “aero-space grade”, etc. Useless – and hopefully false (we’ll get to that) – claims meant to impress you.
It’s not about high- or low-modulus, it’s about the right carbon in the right spot. And because the bike industry loves techie-sounding abbreviations, we’ll humor them and call it TRCinTRS™.
Fact: stiffer carbon is more brittle. Strategically placed ultra-high-modulus carbon is a good idea. Making the whole headtube out of it when you have big impact loads is not!
The best lay-up is not 100% of one modulus; it’s a blend. We use the highest modulus (stiffest) carbon of any bike manufacturer where we can, and tougher grades of carbon where we must. That’s how our frames are both light and durable.
For the U.P. and the U.P.P.E.R., we use different lay-ups, meaning the shapes of the plies and the ratio between the different materials is different for the two models, with the U.P.P.E.R. using an extremely complex lay-up.
The rear triangle has to provide lateral stiffness for an efficient drive train, but vertical compliance for better comfort. The U.P. features chainstays and seatstays that are extremely thin vertically to provide that compliance, while their lateral width and layup ensure rock-solid propulsion. Truly the best of both worlds.
The downtube is the key for stiffness, connecting the steering center of your frame with the drivetrain. The flat-out downtube’s characteristically flat outside faces allow us to strategically place strips of ultra-high modulus carbon far away from the center plane. The stiffest carbon exactly where it matters, guaranteed!
With a minimalist 27.2mm diameter we maximize the flex in our seatpost & seattube. This is especially a big plus on rough terrain. The seattube angle is designed around the use of a straight, zero-setback seatpost rather than a regular seatpost with setback (we’ve never understood those). Zero-setback posts are lighter, saving you another 10-30 grams (every little bit helps and you can then put that saved weight into a 500g saddle like the Brooks!).
External cables & hoses collect dirt, risk getting stuck behind objects (particularly expensive with electronic shifting) and frankly, they are ugly. So the U.P. runs them internally.
With our proven MultiStop design, you can customize the frame for 2x10/11, 1x10/11 and Di2 shifting. Just pick the right insert. In case you run a single chainring, you can also remove the front derailleur hanger to further clean up the frame.
Most thru-axle frames are heavier than quick-release frames. Extra carbon for the dropouts, heavy hangers, and the axle itself. But they are stiffer, So what do you want most? The answer for most people is “both”, and so we introduce the first frames that combine a thru-axle with a lower weight. How?
The ThruThread design uses the same threads that hold the thru-axle to lock the derailleur hanger into the frame. Simple, light, effective.
We didn’t just redesign the dropout, the entire seatstay and chainstay design is optimized with the added stiffness of the thru-axle in mind. For the thru-axle itself, we recommend the stiffest design available, the Syntace X-12, but you are free to use a different 12mm thru-axle if you want.
One of the key differences between the U.P. and U.P.P.E.R. is the disc mount standard. The U.P. uses post-mount, whereas the U.P.P.E.R. is designed for flat-mount. We don't like how the bike industry keeps “inventing” new standards, so we always investigate if they are an improvement before we use them.
Post-mount brake calipers work very well, and the main argument for flat-mount is that it looks better (sigh) while a significant drawback is that the front brake always requires an adapter for mounting, adding weight and reducing braking efficiency.
So why did we decide to offer the U.P.P.E.R. with flatmounts? Three reasons:
|1.||Shimano has decided to make the new DuraAce group only available for flat-mount. So to use their top group, you need a flat-mount frame or an adapter to fit post-mount brakes on a flat-mount frame.|
|2.||SRAM does offer all its brakes in flat-mount and post-mount versions, but the flat-mount calipers are lighter.|
|3.||We designed the U-turn, a new fork that accepts flat-mount calipers without the need for that silly adapter. So that disadvantage is eliminated for OPEN.|
In conclusion, to use the lightest possible brakes from both Shimano and SRAM, you need their flat-mount brakes. And thanks to the U-turn fork, you can make those set-ups even lighter by removing the normally required adapter. A win-win.
The disadvantage is that you cannot spec the U.P.P.E.R. with post-mount brakes, so for example the exotic combination of using XTR mountain bike brakes on the U.P. is not possible on the U.P.P.E.R.
One more way we have squeezed some weight out of the U.P.P.E.R.: while the new U-turn fork is set up for 160mm rotors up-front, the frame will accept 140mm rotors in the rear. Since it’s the front disc that is the limiting factor in braking, this combination of bigger up-front and smaller in the rear makes a lot of sense and saves 10-20 grams depending on the brand of rotor. If you really want to use 160mm discs in the rear of your U.P.P.E.R., then Shimano and SRAM flat-mount brakes also offers that option with their dedicated adapter (but as you know by now, we’re not big fans of adapters).
For the U.P.P.E.R., we designed a new fork that accepts flat-mount calipers without the need for an adapter. So you can get your Shimano or SRAM flat-mount caliper, remove the standard adapter it comes with, and bolt it directly onto our fork.
This saves weight and increases the stiffness of the braking system.
We do this by making the fork dedicated for 160 mm brake rotors (140 mm is a bad idea anyway on this type of bike) and using the same through-bolt design that is normally reserved for the rear.
Some may not like the exposed bolt heads on the front of the fork leg instead of them being hidden, but we actually like it. It’s a technically superior design, so this engineering choice should be clearly visible.
But the U-turn fork doesn't just save you weight on the flat-mount brake, it is also extremely light itself. At 375 grams, it is by far the lightest fork that fits GravelPlus tires. And to save even more weight, it is comes with an extremely light 12mm Carbon-Ti custom axle
So the U.P.P.E.R. ships standard with the U-turn. Since the U.P. is a post-mount frame, it ships with a post-mount fork, the 3T Luteus II.
For handy storage of your phone, camera, some tools or food, you can use the toptube bag mounts. It fits the standard toptube bags from for example Dark Speed Works and XLab as well as dedicated ruggedized bags from for example Revelate Designs.
Seatposts usually indicate a minimum insertion dimension. That keeps the seatPOST safe, but it’s also important that the seatTUBE is supported properly. The minimum insertion for that is indicated by the SafePost Pilot hole.
The U.P. uses the 386 EVO bottom bracket standard. The wide (86mm) BB shell is perfect to attach the dropped drive-side chainstay to. Furthermore, it fits most of the cranks on the market, from Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM but also smaller brands like THM, Rotor and RaceFace. 386 EVO even allows for the installation of many mountain bike cranks.
Clearance for cross, road and mountain bike tires, a cross/road position and compatibility with cross/road & mountain bike drivetrains make the U.P. geometry the most complicated we’ve ever worked on. But we’re ecstatic about the result.
Keep in mind that the seattube is designed to be offset, so that your seatpost doesn't have to be. This saves a bit of weight. It also means that the toptube length appears a bit longer than the frame really is, yet another reason why toptube length is a bad measurement to rely on. Best to use stack and reach.
As you can see, the chainstays are quite short for a cross/gravel bike, despite the ability to fit the massive 54mm tires in. That's one of the benefits of the dropped drive-side chainstay.
If you have any questions about the geometry or would like us to give you advice on which size would best fit you, just go ahead and send us an email.
|Frame sizes:||S, M, L, XL|
|Frame-only weight (±3%):|
|Chainring fit:||NOTE: For single chainring set-ups, we recommend flat rings, not offset rings, for the best chainline. For "regular" oval rings, deduct 2 teeth from the below spec. For extreme oval rings, who knows.Max inner ring: 36t|
Max outer ring: 50t (more is overkill with the bigger tires)
Max single ring: 46t (offset rings like SRAM 1x)
Max single ring: 50t (flat rings, better cassette alignment)
|Headset std:||Integrated Tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40|
|Rear axle std:||142x12mm (X-12) thru axle (Syntace for U.P., Carbon-Ti for U.P.P.E.R.)|
|Cable routing:||Internal via exchangeable MultiStops for 1x10/11, 2x10/11, Di2|
|Bag mount:||100mm front-post-to-bearing-bore-edge|
|Incl. in box:||Frame, fork, headset, seattube collar, front & rear thru-axle, 2 rear derailleur hangers, 1 removable front derailleur mount, cover bolts for front derailleur mount posts, 3 MultiStops (2x, 1x, Di2), chainstay cable exit stop, BB guide, cable sleeves, noise-reduction foam sleeves, bottle cage bolts, manual|
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