As a followup to my love affair with the Open UPPER, I’m doubling-down, in a single-chainring sort of way with the Open WI.DE. On the surface, the WI.DE. shares a lot with the UPPER, but upon further examination, the angles, geometry and tire clearance differs enough on paper that I knew I could still find a home for it — even with an UPPER alongside it. With a journeyman SRAM Rival AXS build mixed with an ENVE cockpit, the WI.DE. was built for adventure.
Open WI.DE. Features:
- Optimized carbon layup for responsiveness and comfort (TRCinTRS™)
- Taller stack and shorter reach than the U.P. for more aggressive riding
- Optimized, thin chain and seatstays
- Double-dropped chainstays for maximum tire clearance (700x46c or 650bx2.4″)
- Uses same U-Turn GravelPlus fork as the U.P.
- Engineered to be agile across a wide variety of tire/wheel combos
- Internal cable routing
- Smart-Mount system for natural 160mm rotors without spacers
- Room for three bottles with a toolbox mount under the BB
- Press fit BB386EVO bottom bracket
- 3 year warranty, upgraded to 5 years if activated with 10 year pro-rated warranty
- Weight: 18-18.5 lbs (depending on configuration)
- MSRP: $3500 (frameset)
Mullet or XPLR? Let’s do both.
With parts shortages galore, I was glad to have the SRAM Rival/GX AXS mullet build from the Ventum GS1 available for the Open WI.DE. build. A new bottom bracket and a couple of other small parts and I was in business. Heading into the review, I had all sorts of tires and wheels at my disposal. I would test gravel race, gravel max and road modes — with both a mullet and XPLR drivetrain. Wide-range mullet gearing is perfect for the WI.DE. and the Rival XPLR option gave me tighter spacing with a little less low-end.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely aware of Open Cycle’s bike lineup. Their three road/gravel bikes consist of the MIN.D, UP/UPPER and WI.DE.. Each one has some overlap in capability, but still carves out a niche of its own. Since 2019 I have put thousands of miles on the Open UPPER, and loved every minute of it. I rode the UPPER everywhere (Minnesota, South Dakota, Colorado and Utah) and with all varieties of tire/wheel combos imaginable. Then, after riding the 3T Exploro RaceMax, I was hooked on even wider 650b gravel setups and the Open WI.DE. seemed like a natural choice to continue pulling on that thread.
Compared to the UPPER, the Open WI.DE. has a little taller stack and shorter reach and features double-dropped chainstays to provide monster tire clearance. When set up in 650b mode, the WIDE can swallow up to 2.4″ tires (for real?!?). I didn’t go quite that wide, but did put the most miles on a set of Schwalbe G-One Allround 650×2.25″ tires mounted to Zipp Firecrest 650b wheels.
My primary drivetrain was the Rival/GX AXS mullet (10-50t cassette and 40T chainring) with about a hundred more on the full Rival XPLR eTap AXS groupset. Since the WI.DE. can only accept 1x drivetrains, either the mullet, XPLR or Campagnolo Ekar are all great options.
Ready to go far and WI.DE.
When Open released the WI.DE., some wondered if they were splitting their gravel lineup too finely. I mean, the UPPER is very capable, but how much different/better would the WI.DE. be for gravel? Honestly, it doesn’t take much digging to notice the differences. Larger tires and a 1x-only drivetrain make the WI.DE. a “gravel bike” and not a do-it-all bike, like the UPPER. That clear differentiation in my mind allowed me to place it in the proper box and max out the fun-level. If a bike quiver is possible with your personal N+1, I think the WI.DE. and an aero or climbing road bike that can clear 32mm tires would be the ultimate drop-bar duo to own.
I got the ball rolling with a set of Zipp Tangente Course G40’s on the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 51 wheelset. Those tires are capable, fast and offer a great combination of gravel and road performance. They measure out to 42mm and offer plenty of clearance in a lightweight and fast design. I had no problems climbing up anything and confidently dropping into smooth singletrack. My cockpit is a little more road-oriented with a 110mm ENVE Road Carbon Stem and a 44cm ENVE SES AR Road Handlebar. And, the fit is spot-on with a single 10mm spacer under the stem for a nice, clean look. If your bike fit requires more stack, the WI.DE. is one of the best options on the market.
With a normal supply chain, I would have tried a 100mm stem to shorten up the reach on wild terrain, but I ultimately had zero complaints. That said, the WI.DE.’s geometry remains more road-oriented than other gravel bikes when compared to the long reach of the BMC URS 01 One or the Fezzari Shafer 2.0. With that, you can rock a typical road cockpit for instant comfort and versatility across all terrain, or shorten it up for an aggressive gravel setup — it’s rider’s choice.
Maximum speed and fun with 650b’s
After extensive 700c time, I swapped the traditional wheel size for maximum fun with 650b’s. While the WI.DE. can swallow larger tires, the 2.25″ Schwalbe G-One Allround tires offer the perfect combination of traction, comfort and speed on all terrain. Without hesitation, this is my favorite configuration. The Zipp 303’s roll fast and show just how capable the WI.DE. really is. I found myself charging singletrack with the utmost confidence and buzzing worry-free through trail chatter. To me, the handling feels a touch snappier with the smaller wheel size too.
One of my regular tests for any gravel bike is an almost 2-mile stretch of singletrack and gravel that features a slight incline all the way. My previous best times were on the 3T Exploro RaceMax set up with the same wheels and tires. Initially, I thought the aero advantages of the RaceMax would win out, but the WI.DE. said “hold my root beer” and smashed my best time.
It doesn’t require an advanced degree to understand how wider, fuller tires can be faster in rough terrain. This particular Strava segment does consist of twisty, rocky singletrack and a mixture of smooth and rugged gravel, so it’s no wonder the 2.25″ tires won the day. With tire pressures in the low 30’s, I can roll through everything much more comfortably than with 40-42c tires.
With either size tires, you’ll find that the WI.DE. climbs really well when the trail tips upward. Technical, rocky climbs can be spanked with confidence and the front-end remains planted and rolling straight ahead. The stiff chassis propels you forward with all the momentum you can muster. I can sit and spin or stand up and power through, depending on the terrain.
I appreciate just how responsive and forgiving the WI.DE. is. No, you can’t plow through that rock garden without dire consequences to you and the bike, but I’m always surprised at the kind of terrain I can get this bike into and back out of without batting an eye. Gerard Vroomen (Open Cycle co-founder) knows a thing or two about making road and gravel bikes and that knowledge is on full-display here. You can push it with everything you have and the WI.DE. responds.
Playfulness is an important characteristic of any bike, but particularly when riding gravel. You need to be able to hop over and around obstacles that come your way. With that, the WI.DE. is about as playful as they come for any maneuvers. I can pop off little rocks and ledges with a smile on my face. 420mm chain stays are the perfect length to remain agile while neither feeling twitchy nor lounge-like.
Livability is great too. I’m 47 yrs old, so I appreciate the comfort and compliance on offer. But, I also love to sprint and push hard. On gravel, this bike is really fast. In spite of the rough terrain, there’s no cable rattle or other distracting noises to consider. A standard seatpost collar is refreshing to see and the non-internal cockpit routing makes for easy fit adjustments too. Hurrah!
Mandatory road time
Open says the WI.DE. rolls best with a 35c road tire. I spent some time on the WI.DE. with a set of the American Classic Torchbearer 32’s (which measure out to 31mm on the Zipp 303 S) and while it’s no Specialized Tarmac, it’s not a bad road partner. Handling was predictable and smooth and it feels like a solid road bike for winter training miles, but is a touch less zippy than the UPPER. You won’t want to keep it in road mode long (because this is a gravel bike after all), but don’t shy away from slapping some 30-35c slicks on the WI.DE. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by just how well it behaves on the pavement. Long, windswept descents remain comfortable and stable and the middle-of-the-road handling is great for a pure gravel bike.
Fit: I’m 5’11” and opted for the size large and it’s the perfect fit for me.
- Huge tire clearance
- Rides confidently across all sizes of tires and wheels
- Can get into and out of rough terrain
- Clean lines and rider-friendly for any cockpit adjustments
- Bottle mounts galore (plus a top-tube bag)
- Great geometry for a comfortable fit and nimble ride
- Compliant and yet responsive to rider input
- Several color options and even custom colors with bare frames
- Great warranty (register it ASAP)
- Wished for larger 700c tire clearance (50c’s would be great)
- Matte grey finish is hard to clean
The Bottom Line: Open WI.DE.
Without question, Gerard has taught the gravel world a master class in how to build great bikes. While the WI.DE. does seem to be splitting hairs, it’s squarely a dedicated gravel bike that’s built for pure enjoyment on all terrain. With monster tire clearance and a responsive chassis, it’s hard to think of a better overall gravel bike on the market — particularly if you want something a little more special.
Buy Now: Available from OpenCycle.com
From the start, the Open WI.DE. impressed me with its comfort, confidence and responsiveness in the gravel. But, it's also versatile enough to rip up the local singletrack or spin out some road miles. A 1x terrain simplifies things and that monster tire clearance allows the WI.DE. to swallow 2.4" tires, if you so choose.