Keywords: bike industry,bike of the month,limited edition open

BOTM: U.P. ELECTRIFIED with new SRAM AXS - part 1

Andy Kessler - 05-Feb-2019
I have to admit I like simplicity not only in life but also when I am riding a bike. That’s also why I am a big fan of 1x group sets for gravel bikes. On the other hand, I was not a big fan of electric shifting (especially if you have no front derailleur because that’s where electric really makes a difference). I always said that somebody can convince me to change when electronic shifting becomes wireless.

Then a while ago SRAM came out with their SRAM RED eTAP. But unfortunately the design of the front derailleur battery was done in a way that limited tires sizes. All the good and wide 29/27.5 gravel tires were touching the battery because of lack of side clearance.

Early June 2018,  Gerard and myself were invited to see SRAM in San Luis Obispo in sunny California to see something secret. They were working on a new groupset and wanted to get our feedback. We weren't allowed to take any photos of the drivetrain, so this is all the proof we have (notice we snuck a shifter in there). We're always lucky to have the jobs we do, but some days we're extra-lucky!

After the event, SRAM asked us to become part of a select group of launch partner for something that started to make real sense on a gravel bike and gives you everything you want, especially if you use your U.P. or U.P.P.E.R. as a one bike for all, so you need ultimate performance on-road and off. Tire clearance - check, gear range - check, shifting speed - check and simplicity - check.

So were we selected as official launch partner as one of the very few small brands (it's funny when they say "so we'll have Specialized, Trek, Giant, OPEN, ...". To celebrate that, we wanted to create something special. Well actually, WE didn't want to create something special (we’re working hard to stay small by NOT doing things), we wanted SRAM to create something special because this launch is about their product.

So we asked if the same graphic designers who did the design for this new SRAM Red AXS eTAP groupset could make a graphics design for our NEW U.P. frame. It was a long shot, as big companies usually have many layers of decision making to agree to something like this. It was a bit like asking Coca-Cola to design our water bottle. But to our surprise and delight, SRAM cut through the red tape quickly and said yes. 

Next problem was they said they needed a month. We said we needed to start the painting process in 2 weeks. They sent some initial designs, and luckily one of them was perfect, so we said "We'll take that one, no changes, let's roll" and two days later the production of the framesets was put in motion.

So here we are today, after 8 months of not being allowed to tell anybody anything. Almost 7 years ago we offered a complete build with our first product the 1.0 hardtail frame. Now we are back with a complete build that is limited to 40 units.

But this time as we had to keep everything secret the limitations are even bigger. We have selected only  4 partners worldwide that have these bikes in stock and ready for demo today, the day that SRAM launches the groupset. That’s pretty unique I think, I don't know if it has ever happened before that actually you can buy/demo a drivetrain the day it is launched. And we feel proud to be part of that as it makes 100% sense that customers don't have to wait 6 months after seeing the new stuff.

For more details check out our intro video here, and part 2 with all the photos will appear tomorrow!

And these are the 4 happy partners that have the limited edition in stock now while you are reading this:

Contender Bicycles exclusive for USA

The 11 Inc exclusive for Canada exclusive for Europe

Pushys exclusive for Australia

"This just in", after finishing to write this blog, we remembered that the guys from SRAM did take some photos. And after keeping them in the vault for the past 8 months, they just sent them. So here's proof we were both there, sort of. (This photo is deceiving, this is the only moment on the climb where we were together. Usually one of us was behind, I won't say who :-). And yes, we are lucky.






Comments & Questions

Incredibly exciting times.
Post #1 of 14. Posted by veloriderkm on 06-Feb-2019 10:25:43 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18218]
Been waiting....So just to be clear now there is enough clearance in front for 27.5 x 47 tire?
Post #2 of 14. Posted by joel Prichard on 06-Feb-2019 11:21:20 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18221]
Hi Joel, yes 47 will work. Max but really max will be 50 outside
Post #6 of 14. Posted by Andy Kessler on 07-Feb-2019 04:00:55 GMT in reply to post #2 [18221<--18235]
Last week I rode La Vuelta Puerto Rico on my brown U.P. This is a road bike event that covers nearly 600 kilometers in three days circumnavigating the entire island. I did not expect many people to know what an Open was at a road bike event, to my surprise the event organizer and dozens of riders were constantly asking me how I liked my OPEN. They also questioned my choice of bike. I live in Puerto Rico and our roads are not the autobahn if you know what I mean. I rode the last Vuelta on a Pinarello F8 and the stress and constant need to find a smooth line while riding in a huge peloton drained much more energy that last week's Vuelta on my U.P. where I am able to just soak up the bumps and hold my line. It was the easiest and fastest Vuelta I have completed by a long shot. I was able to ride in the front group of B group easily. I felt guilty every night when my fellow riders were talking about how much more work I was producing to ride with them on their super light / fragile race bikes. It felt easier on the UP than on my F8. IT IS TO ME SIMPLY AMAZING !
I will be in Basel this March if its possible to maybe visit ? Gracias Ya'll !!!!!!
Bill Smith
Humacao, Puerto Rico
Post #3 of 14. Posted by BILL SMITH on 06-Feb-2019 12:22:28 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18225]
Dear Bill, thanks fro sharing this story and yes would be great to see you in Basel. Just send me a mail (contact on button on the left)
Post #7 of 14. Posted by Andy Kessler on 07-Feb-2019 04:04:35 GMT in reply to post #3 [18225<--18236]
Hello Andy - I am leaving Gredelwald this morning traveling back into Germany thru Basel. Will you guys be around the shop today ? I’d love to see what is happening in the Open world !
Call or email if possible !

Bill Smith 256-708-4473
Humacao, Puerto Rico
Email -
Post #13 of 14. Posted by Bill Smith on 23-Mar-2019 03:48:51 GMT in reply to post #7 [18236<--18321]
Please just tell me I can run 2X and keep my favorite 650B x 2.1” ??
I have really struggled to have 2X shift quality AND huge gear range. With Shimano it has been either or :(
Post #4 of 14. Posted by Daniel P on 06-Feb-2019 13:57:10 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18226]
Yes Same here. I hope the answer is yes. It sure seems that way.
Post #5 of 14. Posted by Joel on 06-Feb-2019 15:48:47 GMT in reply to post #4 [18226<--18227]
So here comes the bad news. Road plus tires will fit but for sure not all MTB 2.1 tires. I have measured the max tire width and thats 50mm. So 2.0 some tires will fit but it always depends on rim size...
Post #8 of 14. Posted by Andy Kessler on 07-Feb-2019 04:06:07 GMT in reply to post #4 [18226<--18237]

So will the Open Up accomodate a SRAM X-Range front chainring combo of 50/37? Currently max size is 50/36. It would be amazing if you could make this tweak to the frameset.
Post #9 of 14. Posted by Matt Krivosudsky on 07-Feb-2019 09:56:20 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18246]
It might fit but why on earth would anybody want to spec that crank? That was designed for Katusha and even they don't really need it. Does any UP customer need to have a 4% bigger top gear than Chris Froome and Peter Sagan? I think it's more useful to have a decent smallest gear. But to each their own of course. Not sure if the 37t fits, that wasn't really an existing size obviously back when the frame was made. Unfortunately we don't have any 50/37 cranks to check it right now, so it may be a while before that is verified (and I very much doubt too many stores have it to check either, just like nobody will likely spec the 10-26 cassette.
Post #10 of 14. Posted by Gerard Vroomen on 08-Feb-2019 06:32:05 GMT in reply to post #9 [18246<--18260]
I agree 100%.
I believe 50-10 is closed to 54-11, and that gear is usually reserved for elite time trialists and triathletes. For me even the 46-10 (about 52-11.5) is way more than what I will ever need.
I would personally like to see a more useable gear combo of 11-35 cassette, so I can pair it with 48/35 chainrings.
Post #12 of 14. Posted by CP on 26-Feb-2019 09:28:17 GMT in reply to post #10 [18260<--18287]
Awesome looking bike. Any reason you didn't opt for the Enve G Series Gravel Handlebar?
Post #11 of 14. Posted by Serge Bobbera on 08-Feb-2019 21:03:07 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18262]
Hello, we have a problem when assembling a sram ax group in the new up frame, we can not mount a 50/34 cranks since it is the derailleur's turn, is it possible to install a plate in the frame so that the derailleur goes higher? Thank you!
Post #14 of 14. Posted by Jose on 29-Mar-2019 07:26:29 GMT in reply to blog [0<--18329]