More Details about OPEN × Rene Herse U.P.P.E.R.Jan Heine
The reaction to our collab with OPEN has been tremendous. Most readers seem to love the design—Natsuko and There There (the design studio) have done an outstanding job. As always with a new project, there are a few questions…
Shipping, duties and taxes
World-wide shipping is just $ 80. North American customers will have their frames shipped from the U.S. Bikes ordered in Europe will be shipped from the EU. That eliminates or at least reduces import duties and taxes for most customers. (Customers outside the U.S. and EU will have to pay the applicable duties and taxes.)
Why the U.P.P.E.R.?
There are many potential candidates for a collaboration like this, including other models from OPEN. There are other bikes that may look better on paper, with more tire clearance, more mounts for bikepacking, and sometimes also a lower price. Why am I so taken by the U.P.P.E.R.? For me, it’s the perfect all-road bike—a road bike that can go on any road. Compared to bikes with clearance for huge 700C wheels, the U.P.P.E.R. is much more nimble. Compared to bikes designed for bikepacking adventures and built to withstand the abuse of mountain biking, it feels much more ‘lively.’ It really rides like a road bike—whether you’re on smooth pavement or rough gravel.
That ‘road bike’ feel is also why I don’t mind that the U.P.P.E.R. is not designed for fenders or racks. For me, a superlight carbon frame makes the most sense on a bike that’s ‘naked,’ where you can actually feel the light weight: when you rock the bike from side to side as you climb or sprint out of the saddle, when you lift a wheel over a bump, or when you carve into a corner. (You may also notice the light weight when you time yourself on long climbs, but those few seconds are less important to me than the feel of a superlight bike.) Once you add fenders, lights and luggage, I’m not sure a carbon frame offers much advantage over other materials.
There is another aspect why I love the bikes from OPEN: quality. You notice this the first time you insert the thru-axle skewer. On many bikes, it takes a few tries until the skewer engages in the ‘dropout’ threads. On the OPEN, it just goes in, every time. I’ve ridden five OPENs by now (four BQ test bikes and this one), and they are all like that, so it’s not a matter of being lucky and getting a ‘good one.’ And where many carbon bikes suffer from creaking bottom brackets, none of the OPENs I’ve ridden did. You notice this with everything on these bike: There’s precision in the manufacture. With a superlight frame, that’s especially important.
Above is the U.P.P.E.R. that we tested a while ago. As part of OPEN’s test fleet, it had already been ridden a lot of miles. You could tell from the components, but the frame itself performed as well as new. There are many great bikes in this world, and I’ve had fun and memorable rides on bikes costing far less (and some that were quite a bit more). And yet the U.P.P.E.R. remains my favorite carbon bike, by far.