There are certain standout products that redefine our thinking and carve out their own niche. So what’s an iPad got to do with the all-new OPEN U.P.? It might sound like a far-out question, but take a closer look at both.

To a mountain biker, the OPEN might seem just as foreign as a pro-tour-clad roadie – it blends mountain bike tyres, disc brakes, and a 1×11 drivetrain with geometry reminiscent of a road bike. As such a mongrel, it could lead you to wonder exactly what sort of a bastard of a bike it is.

OPEN U.P. | 2900€ (Rahmenset) | 8,26kg | 700x28c - 700x40c, 650Bx2.1"
OPEN U.P. | Price: € 2,900 (Frameset) | Weight: 8.26 kg |
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But take another look, and think back to 2011 when iPads first hit the shelves. Met with derision, they’ve since created a whole new market. This is where open-minded, forward-thinking cyclists are going to see masses of opportunity and potential in the U.P. Just like Apple did with the iPad, OPEN have utilized current technologies, but converted them into a whole new context to generate an entirely new product. No one knew they wanted it, or even considered it necessary, but iPads (and this OPEN too) have made us look up and open our eyes.

Das OPEN U.P. ist ein echter Alleskönner und fühlt sich sowohl auf Asphalt als auch auf der Gravel Road wohl
The OPEN U.P. is a true allrounder and likes both tarmac and gravel roads.

On the prowl

Gravel roads, the wilderness, or tarmac? The natural habitat of the OPEN is partly betrayed in its name: the acronym U.P., standing for ‘Unbeaten Path,’ although this is somewhat vague, not entirely revealing the bike’s prowling ground. And rightly so; it depends on the build of the bike.
Compatible with 700c road, gravel, and cyclocross wheels (up to 40 mm), the OPEN can also house 27.5″ mountain bike wheels with tyres up to 2.1″ in width. The short and rigid 420 mm chainstays result in ultra-direct power transfer, while the super-thin seatstays offer significant gains in comfort and the X12 thru-axle guarantees rigidity and stability at the rear end. A wonderfully clean-looking bike, the carbon frame’s profile is narrow and stylish with internally routed cables and a pretty, distinctive paint job. Our test bike tipped the scales at 8.26 kg.


With picture-perfect mountain passes, water-carved alpine trails, flowing singletrack, and patchy, pothole-littered asphalt roads in virtual solitude, the region around Fanes served as our testing ground. From the south side of the Kronplatz, a partly-cobbled and partly-tarmac road led out from the mountain village of San Vigilio towards Pederü. On the road the bike didn’t just look at home, but also felt as though it belonged, bringing its roadie genes to the fore: the typical drop handlebars, stretched-out riding position with a 120mm stem, and minimalistic spec. And even despite the somewhat tractor-esque tyres, this bright orange whippet glided nimbly over the asphalt – with way more ease and panache than any equally-lightweight hardtail. With no sign of wispiness or flex, the U.P. is satisfyingly rigid, holding its lines and handling high speeds and cornering with flawless precision.


But does it urge you to attack? Nah, not really. For a mountain biker it’s surprising to find road bars comfortable, but the position of the U.P. achieves this with aplomb. It’s neither a hardcore trail bike nor a race-focused road whippet, but it takes gravel tracks to unforeseen levels of fun. Prior to riding the OPEN, we’d never have predicted just how satisfying it can be to cruise along on gravel tracks as the do-all bike allows you to experience the thrill of nature – and that’s without the adrenaline of the trails we’re usually all fixated on finding. Just think of that cliché: the journey is the destination. We just discovered the truth in it.

A bike for all matters

It’s down to the geometry and riding position for sure, and ticking off kilometres is pretty much mandatory on the OPEN U.P. – whether tarmac or trails. It might feel a touch stretched out, but that’s just going to drive you forwards. Bad road surfaces are putty in its hands, and the 1.9″ Schwalbe Racing Ralph tyres aren’t just puncture-resistant, they also give you bags of confidence, even on wet tarmac. The worse the road condition, the better choice it is to head out on the OPEN.

Kilometer fressen mit Spaßgarantie!
Endless riding – guaranteed delight!

But if there’s one thing the OPEN lacks, then it’s the drive for pure speed; it’s not a race bike (nor does it claim to be one), but it would hold its own in amateur road racing and definitely cyclocross. The race-ready nature rises as soon as you’re on the drops, and no mountain bike is going to rival that sense or speed. However, don’t expect the explosive power of a 6kg purebred road-racing machine. With basically bombproof 650B wheels and up to 2.1″ tyres, the OPEN U.P. has set its own physical limits with its wealth of rotating mass. Go with the flow rather than step on the gas, as uncompromising acceleration will have to be sought elsewhere. However, we’ll bet that you’ll be willing to compromise in return for its off-road competence.

Back to the roots

The U.P. feels like a jump back to the origins of mountain biking, reawakening memories of early hardtails. Back then aluminium frames were still a rarity, so comfort at the start of the 1990s came in part from the flex of steel, knobby tyres, and pretty basic forks. Direct, pure, and pretty damn genuine – this is how the OPEN feels. There’s constant feedback from every lump and bump on the ground, so small rocks and roots keep you on your toes. Your arms and legs become the suspension, so be prepared. It takes a certain level of bike-handling skills and clean line choices, but once you’ve nailed those then it’s damn fun. Cliché alert: less can be more!


The U.P. is going to tempt you to venture onto new terrain, to play around and push both your limits and those of the bike. With a high-quality carbon fiber frame, this Swiss company have created a bike that’s primed for virtually anything – but the rider needs to step up and take control. There’s nothing new to trail riding for us mountain bikers, but minor adjustments might be called for – just think of the drops and unfamiliar positioning of the brake levers and learn to ride with them, not against them. The position is an eye-opener at first too, but this is all part of the fun that comes from novelties.

Details of the OPEN U.P.

Weniger ist mehr | der 1x11 Drivetrain der SRAM Force CX1 ist leicht, einfach zu bedienen und robust
Less can be more: the 1×11 drivetrain of SRAM´s Force CX1 lightwight, easy to use and sturdy
Optimal | Der aus dem Cyclocross-Sport bekannte SRAM Force 1x11-Antrieb passt mit seiner Übersetzungsbandbreite und der simplen Funktion perfekt ins Gesamtbild des OPEN U.P.
Optimal: The cyclocross proven SRAM Force 1×11 shifting suits perfectly to the appearance of the OPEN U.P.
New Ways | Das OPEN öffnet Rennrad-Fahrern neue Wege und lässt bekannte Trails für Mountainbiker in einem völlig neuen Licht erscheinen. Möglich macht das der vielseitige und hochwertige Rahmen, der Platz für bis zu 2,1" breite Mountainbike-Reifen bietet.
New Ways: The OPEN literally opens new routes for road riders, and grants mountain bikers the opportunity to discover familiar trails in a new light. This is all down to the versatile, do-it-all, high-quality frame, which has room for mountain bike tyres up to 2.1″ wide.
Drop it like it’s hot | Der Dropbar ist eines der elementaren Bauteile, die das OPEN so vielseitig machen. In der oberen Griffposition ist das Rad super komfortabel, im Unterlenker hingegen verdammt schnell.
Drop it like it’s hot: Drop bars are a fundamental piece of kit that gives the OPEN its versatility. On the tops of the bars the bike has the comfort element, but get down on those drops for some speed.
Glotzen statt Kleckern | Auch bei den Anbeuteilen wird auf Premiumparts gesetzt
Glawping instead of makeing a mess: Also the mounted parts are premium.
Wasserträger | Das OPEN bietet Platz und Befestigungsmöglichkeiten für drei Flaschenhalter. Das schont den Rücken und macht lange Tage im Sattel noch angenehmer.
Hydration: The OPEN has space and hardware for three bottle cages, erasing the need for a hydration pack and simplifying a long day in the saddle.

Wanting to be much more than just a stable road bike, the OPEN U.P. deliberately blurs the lines between road and mountain biking, opening new horizons for its owner. By diving into this melting pot of rival concepts, OPEN have created something entirely new – it might look like an old friend, but don’t be fooled: it’s going to mark a new era, and herald a new category for bikes.

The OPEN U.P. is the embodiment of the evolution of cyclocross bikes, and testament to the benefits of unsettling the status quo by daring to create something unorthodox. You have the impression of just how much thought went into the R&D of the U.P., of how much consideration the Swiss team put into creating a bike that can cross boundaries and gain admiration from both roadies and mountain bikers. It’s a move that’s being reflected in events and races too: just look at the host of new road – or rather gravel – races that are springing up, like California’s Grinduro, and Italy’s Superenduro B-Road, which has enduro-style timed and transfer stages, leaving the asphalt for dusty gravel, and putting discovery and adventure firmly in the foreground.



If you’re ambitious and a proclaimed all-rounder, an advocate of minimalism and purism, content on and off the road, but mainly just want to expand your playground and push previous limits, then this is the perfect bike for you. The OPEN U.P. is for those who pave their own paths, not content with confining themselves to one discipline. And this brings us back to the iPad – neither smartphone nor laptop, it’s in that hazy middle ground, not crammed with gimmicks but offering everything necessary. Consequently, it’s easy to use, and capable of virtually everything. Like a Swiss penknife you could say, a civilized tool capable of surviving in our daily lives or the wilderness – whatever the situation.


Price: € 2,900 (frameset only)
Weight: 8.26 kg
More information on the OPEN Website


Words: Robin Schmitt/Steffen Gronegger Bilder: Christoph Bayer

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About the author

Robin Schmitt

Robin is one of the two founders of 41 Publishing, a visionary and go-getter. While he now enjoys every second on the bike – whenever his busy schedule allows – he used to race against the clock at enduro events and a few Downhill World Cups. Besides that, Robin practises kung fu and Zen meditation, plays the cello or with his dog (which actually belongs to his girlfriend), travels abroad and still reviews numerous bikes himself. Progressive ideas, new projects and major challenges – Robin loves exploring undiscovered potential and getting to the bottom of new trends.