Roaming the roads and trails of Adelaide is an extraordinary bike. It’s an Open U.P., the revolutionary bike that can take mountain bike and road/cyclocross wheels.
This particular bike has been built to an impossibly high standard. I met the owner, the bike, and the builder so I could tell the story of this sublime machine. To protect the owner’s privacy, I refer to him as Mr LMA (Luckiest Man Alive) for reasons that will be very obvious.
Words - James Raison Images - Lana Adams
“A once in a career opportunity.”
That’s how Pete from Adelaide’s Bio-Mechanics Cycles & Repairs (BMCR) described the Open build. He was asked by Mr LMA to build it as if it were for himself. The only constraints were: Shimano DI2 and hydraulic disc brakes. From there, Pete spent hours planning, researching, and ordering parts. His plans changed when a woman came into the shop. It was Mr LMA’s wife with a very specific request:
“I’m LMA’s wife, and I believe you are trying to sell my husband a bicycle. Tell him he can’t have it. Just make something up. I want to give it to him as a present.”
Suddenly this became a clandestine project. The bike had to be built outside store hours. Mr LMA is a regular customer of BMCR and they couldn’t risk him dropping in. Those late hours allowed Pete to work his dark mechanic magic on the bike. He crafted headset spacers, machined the headset top cap and dust cover to reduce unnecessary grams, converted the press-fit bottom bracket to a threaded system, and built two wheelsets for road and CX bike setups. The entire bike was assembled and disassembled 4 times until Pete was happy. The time commitment is staggering, as Pete explained:
“If you add up every hour thinking about it, researching components, organising with suppliers, assembling and disassembling… I’d say close to 35-40 hours. Actual build time including 2 sets of wheels was 10-12 hours of that.“
The build quality is matched by an aesthetic attention to detail. XTR trail brakes were chosen specifically because their fins could be colour-matched perfectly with the frame. A set of Cinelli Neos handlebars was re-painted because Pete couldn’t allow clashing:
“The red stripes looked horrible against the orange and that would have pissed me off!”
The final product is a bike blends aesthetics, function and sublime quality. It weighs in at a feathery 7.3kg in road specification, and a few hundred grams more with the CX wheels and tyres.
I caught up with the owner, and asked how he reacted when surprised with his present:
“I just lost it!”
Mr LMA had spent months getting rebuffed by his wife. He bargained hard, sold one of his other bikes, promised to go without birthday and Christmas presents, but met stony opposition at every turn. Little did he know, she was already having it built without his knowledge. He’s now a very happy man, who appreciates his beautiful new rig and the person who made it all happen:
“I’m not worried about people pinching the bike, I’m more worried about people pinching the wife! You can get a new bike, but someone who understands bikes and is prepared to go to those lengths doesn’t come along every day.”
I was lucky enough to take the Open for a spin up the Pioneer Women’s trail. It was a bizarre experience. The geometry, lightness, and agility was pure road bike. The staggering grip from the massive tyres was pure mountainbike, and well beyond the capability of a CX bike. This could be that one bike to rule them all.
If you are lucky enough to see this Open U.P. flying around Adelaide, say hi to the owner and try and get a good look at it. It’s a very special machine. Just don’t ask for his wife’s phone number. I tried that already.
Are you interested in an Open U.P? Or are you planning a build requiring a gifted mechanic? Have a chat to BMCR, they'll take good care of you.
Full build specs:
Frame: Open U.P.
Groupset: Shimano DI2, with 785 shifters
Road wheelset: Curve 23 x 24mm carbon clinchers, Tune King & Kong hubs, DT Revolution spokes
CX wheelset: Curve 30 x 30mm XC carbon clinchers, Tune King & Kong hubs with DT Revolution spokes
Bottom bracket: Tripeak screw-together
Brakes: TXR trail
Saddle: Tune Komm Vor Plus saddle
Seat post: Tune Schwartzes Stück
Handlebars: Cinelli Neos
Stem: Tune Geiles
Bottle cages: Tune Wasserträger bottle