I jumped on the Cervelo bandwagon rather early in the game, buying their “Dual” aluminum tri bike in 2004. It was by far the best value for the coin, with the best adjustability and the most confidence-inspiring geometry on the market. Nine years later, it still works flawlessly as a tri bike and even holds its own on gravel roads and mountain passes. Last year, Gerard Vroomen, co-founder of Cervelo, announced he was branching off to start a new company along with ex BMC CEO Andy Kessler. Together they founded OPEN, with a carbon hardtail 29er as their first offering. I knew it would be something special.
As luck would have it, my local bike shop Freshbikes is one of a select group of retailers in the country that teamed up with OPEN to offer their goods. I was even more fortunate to get a sweet deal from Freshbikes on the OPEN O-1.0.
After testing several carbon 29ers from large bike manufactures, I was immediately blown away by the OPEN. With the lightest production frame on the market, a “BBright” bottom bracket, super stiff Mavic wheels, and a fantastic Rotor crankset, the bike accelerates like a rocket. Full internal cable routing gives the bike a clean, stealthy look and protects the brake and shift cables from grime and debris. Perhaps the greatest aspect of the bike is its ability to absorb trail chatter. The rear brake mounting posts are positioned on the chainstay, which allows the pencil-thin seatstays to provide unbeatable vertical compliance. Combined with the extra flex afforded by the small-diameter seatpost and damping from my 2.25 in. Schwalbe tubeless tires, the ride is as smooth as it gets without rear suspension.
Just as is the case with Cervelo, OPEN gets bike geometry. After dialing in my coordinates and touch points with Freshbikes fit-guru Clovis Anderson, I feel more comfortable than ever on a mountain bike. The OPEN’s steering is very direct, which helps to quickly negotiate tricky terrain. Short 44 cm chainstays and a relatively steep 72 degree head tube angle help to speed through tight corners and switchbacks, giving the fast rolling 29er the playful feel of a 26 in rig.
Taken as a whole, the OPEN O-1.0 is a lean and mean racing machine, perfectly suited for XC MTB and XTERRA racing. This season, I’ve piloted my OPEN to overall amateur victories at the XTERRA East and Mountain championships, as well as top finishes at Mid-Atlantic XTERRA and XC events. Whether it’s flat and sandy singletrack in New Jersey, steep and rocky Pennsylvania trails, the mountains of Colorado, or fast and technical hard pack terrain, the OPEN simply rips!