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by Dave Rome
May 25, 2020
Open Cycle may not be the biggest brand out there, but for a company of its size it’s been disproportionately influential. Take, for example, the company’s U.P gravel bike, which is arguably responsible for so many modern gravel bikes now featuring dropped chainstays and dual-wheel-size compatibility.
The owners of the company, Cervelo’s co-founder Gerard Vroomen and former CEO of BMC, Andy Kessler, have plenty of experience with market-changing performance bikes. With these two owners coming from companies so deeply entrenched in the road market, it was somewhat odd that Open only produced bikes for off-road use, but that all changes with the release of the new MIN.D.
Open’s latest model, the MIN.D, or Minimal Design, is a strong example of a modern-day endurance road bike. It’s a bike that’s taken comfort and geometry cues from the gravel world, and merged them into something that’s still very clearly a performance road bike.
Not straying too far from what Open is known for, the MIN.D offers a carbon fibre construction with simple lines, impressively lightweight design and subtle, yet deeply detailed, paint.
The geometry is said to take inspiration from the company’s sporty gravel bikes that according to the company retains “a realistic saddle-to-handlebar drop and reach”. That reach figure is indeed shorter than many mass-market bikes currently on the market. Interestingly, there are just four frame sizes to choose from.
The new MIN.D is available in just four frame sizes.
Open claim the steering is nimble, yet stable. Open’s approach sees a fairly quick (and often used) 57 mm trail figure on a medium frame size with 32 mm rubber fitted, something that’s achieved by combining a slightly slack 72.5-degree head angle with long 50mm offset fork (common in gravel bikes, but not so much for road).
The most obvious – and polarising – frame feature is that of an integrated seatpost. Open has gone down this route for the same reasons that other brands have done so: it’s lighter and allows for greater control over the bike’s ride comfort without having to resort to more complicated ideas.
“So much is talked about comfort. But it’s not about gimmicks, elastomers, electronic suspension or sub-atomic vibration-damping graphene-infused nano-particles. Comfort is about finding ways to ride further, for longer, while enjoying it,” said Vroomen in relation to the new frame.
An integrated seat mast may save weight, but Open’s reasoning is to add comfort without complexity.
That seat tube is just 25 mm in diameter, quite similar to the skinny seatpost diameters Cannondale was using on its previous generation bikes in order to noticeably improve seated comfort. By contrast, most modern bikes feature a seatpost closer to 27.2 mm in diameter, and with a supporting seat tube that’s north of 30 mm.
That seat tube is topped with Open’s own clamp, something that offers up to (and only) 15mm of height adjustment and uses Ritchey’s single bolt saddle rail wedges. Open will also offer a clamp with 15-35 mm height adjustment, something they’ve jokingly dubbed the MOCT (Measure Once, Cut Twice).
Further comfort is offered via the impressively thin chainstays and seatstays, while the frame also offers room for actual-width 32 mm tyres front and rear.
Open employs a direct mount for the rear brake caliper. It’s for 160mm rotors only.
Front and rear, the flat-mount brake mounts are set up for 160 mm rotors without the use of an adapter. By comparison, the original flat-mount standard was intended for 140 mm rotors and makes use of a small adapter to go larger, whereas Open is of the opinion that 160 is the right size, and so why not just make the bike lighter and more elegant. I don’t disagree with the decision. Further minimalistic design elements include a derailleur hanger that’s combined with the thru-axle nut.
The frame offers internal cable routing that’s intended for electronic shifting, but can be used with Shimano mechanical, too (due to Shimano front derailleurs offering an integrated housing cable stop). It offers a BB386EVO bottom bracket shell – not our absolute favourite, but something that offers wide compatibility and no issues when made correctly.
The MIN.D fork is amazingly light.
All told, Open claim the new MIN.D tips the scales at just 870 g for a painted medium frame featuring an uncut seatmast. That’s an impressively low figure, and it’s made better by what’s possibly the lightest disc-brake road fork at 335 g (uncut).
Open is offering the MIN.D in a “Midnight blue” colour, or in a ready-to-paint condition that makes the process of custom paint (or clearcoat) both cheaper and easier. Framesets will be ready to ship late July, with pricing at US$3,600.