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Photo: Open

Open Cycle is a boutique bike brand, small in size, and they like it that way. Founders Andy Kessler and Gerard Vroomen started Open with a lot of experience from big cycling brands like Cannondale, Cervelo, and BMC.

In 2012, both of them decided to go all-in on Open. The company and bikes reflect what Kessler and Vroomen were chasing after when they left their corporate gigs behind. Open’s small operation currently includes three models. The U.P.(P.E.R) is a gravel bike that can accommodate road, cross, and mountain bike tires up to 2.1-inches wide.

The ONE+ is a light, XC hardtail that can be outfitted with plus-tires, up to 3-inches wide.

I recently rode the WI.DE., a bike that can handle anything from road, to gravel, to singletrack and can fit 650B tires up to a whopping 2.4-inches wide. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I took the WI.DE. out. It was my first time riding a drop bar bike on singletrack, and the wide tires meant it would be something unique. I was in for a real treat.

Specs

Photo: Open

  • Carbon frame
  • Compatible with 700c tires up to 46mm width / 650B wheels up to 2.4″ width
  • Multiple accessory mounting points
  • Internally-routed cables
  • Front and rear direct mount brakes made for 160mm rotors
  • BB: BB386EVO pressfit 86x46mm BB shell
  • 27.2mm seat tube internal diameter
  • Frameset price: $3,200

Ride impressions

Photo: Matt Miller.

The WI.DE. is a pleasure to look at and Open has some of the cleanest, most simple, and aesthetically pleasing lines and subtle colors that I’ve seen around.

A glossy grey coats the frame and fork with just a few bits of color popping out of the bottom of the head tube. The model that I rode around Sun Valley, Idaho was a blingy one to say the least, as it was specced with ENVE wheels and the new SRAM Force eTap AXS 1×12 drivetrain. This, of course, piqued my interest, but the most visually grabbing component on the rigid, drop bar bike are the massive 2.4-inch Schwalbe Rock Razors.

Photo: Matt Miller.

With the Rock Razors, or similar tires on the WI.DE., it turns the bike into a versatile, all-road, and limited trail weapon. On my first WI.DE. ride, a group of us pedaled from the Outerbike venue over to the White Cloud trails via bike path and road. The semi-slick tires give the bike a decent rolling speed on tarmac.

Turning the bike onto the buff, Sun Valley singletrack, the WI.DE rolls right through hardpack with ease and confidence. The geometry on the WI.DE feels relaxed and puts the rider in an upright position and avoids a very forward, or racy feeling. If you want to get a bit more aero, just lower down into the drops for an aggressive position.

Photo: Matt Miller.

Riding on singletrack, I kept my hands high up on the hoods for a more centered and controlled feel, which I needed since it was my first drop bar bike experience on trail. I’m glad I rode the Open with the 650B x 2.4″ option, because they upped my confidence quite a bit. The side knobs on the Schwalbe tires grabbed the ground through corners and switchbacks, and it was a completely different experience than riding a flat bar mountain bike on singletrack.

I did feel that at a certain point I would be limited, or would just opt for a different bike, depending on the trail. For fast, mostly flat or rolling and buff trail, the Open made me feel like I could stack miles on miles, but I don’t think it would be my preference for when things get really bumpy. I’m sure there are riders who wouldn’t think twice about sending it down a few rocks, but that’s obviously not the bike’s intent. 

Photo: Matt Miller.

The next day, I had a few hours before I needed to get to the airport, so I took the WI.DE. out into the Sawtooth National Forest for a 25-mile gravel spin. I tried to go full bore into rutty, washboard sections of the gravel road, and the WI.DE. tracked right through it and stayed on its line.

Part of this is likely due to the 2.4″ tires, but even with 700c, WI.DE. riders can still fit 47mm tires that will soak up bumps and maintain traction. Serious gravel grinders will gravitate toward the 700c wheels, while those who want to play on a few different surfaces should hook it up with 27.5-inch tires.

Final word

Photo: Open Cycles

I only had a short time to get acquainted with the Open WI.DE., but I really enjoyed that time. In an N+1 world, I could see this bike taking up some space in my hypothetical garage, though I wouldn’t replace any of my mountain bikes with it. (I think the WI.DE. would understand.) The 2.4-inch wide tires should make this a great tool for bikepacking trips or long distance days when “accomplishing the mission” involves linking stretches of dirt road and trail.

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