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Bike of the Week: A Superbly Custom UPPER

by Above Category Collaborator |  | 

Today we're excited to unveil our latest Open UPPER, and it's truly one of a kind. These custom projects are a culmination of weeks, sometimes months, of collaboration between the client, and our painters at Velocolour, and ourselves. More than just the paint job, we needed to ensure the all aspects of the build specifically met the riders needs. The result is this stunning lightweight gravel bike, ready to ascend the grueling dirt climbs of Marin at full speed.

open velocolour kenyan profile

Our rider wanted something clean and simple, but to pay tribute to his Kenyan roots. The team at Velocolour executed flawlessly, delivering this two tone grey design, with elements of the Kenyan flag throughout. 

open velocolour kenya frame wheelsopen kenya velocolour frame details

Of course it's not a bike until the pieces are all put together. Every project to enter our workshop is approached with the utmost care, and this bike was no exception, everything cut, torqued, and greased with precision. 

open upper kenya build process

The cockpit is comprised of a paint-matched kit from Enve. The stem and compact road bar are hit with the metallic graphite carried on from the top tube, while the seat post is coated in the bike's base grey. Small touches, but really make a huge difference in completing a unique, custom package.  

open UPPER velocolour drivetrain sram red axs ceramicspeed

Earlier this year our rider made the switch to Sram AXS on his road bike, so it was fitting to bring that choice here. Red levers, brakes, and crankset matched up with an XX1 derailleur, chain and cassette. Our local climbs can get steep, so the 10-50 cassette matched to the 40t chainring provide necessary gearing to keep the cadence high and pace fast.

Pedaling efficiency is boosted with the help of Ceramicspeed coated derailleur pulleys and bottom bracket bearings. To make sure the right gear is never out of reach, we added a pair of Sram blips for easy shift access while holding onto the tops.

open upper kenyan drivetrain

It's not everyday you see a set of Lightweight Meilensteins on a gravel bike. While an unusual choice, it goes back to our rider's intended goal of the bike—climbing up fire roads as fast as possible. Few other wheels can match the responsiveness and acceleration of the Meilenstein, and now the the tubeless Evo edition they were a fitting choice for this build. Again, keeping things light and fast, we wrapped the Evos in a set of Panaracer 32c Gravel King SK tires. 

lightweight meilenstein evo gravel wheels

Finally, some of the finishing touches to top off the build. We dropped in a Chris King ceramic headset for durability and smooth steering, and topped it off with an EE compression plug/top cap for a little bit of weight savings. Pedals are the tried and true Shimano XTR. Velocolour continued their talents on the two-toned Enve bottle cages. 

open upper velocolour kenyan details

While this exact build may not be the most capable for all around shredding,  it is an incredibly personalized bike, with every last piece considered to meet the needs of our rider's vision. With the addition of a set of G23’s and some fatter rubber this bike will be ready for a much heavier load and further take advantage of the UPPERs versatility. Working with our clients to bring these unique project bikes to life is what we're all about. 

upper velocolour kenyan diptych

If a project like this is something you've been itching to do, we're here to help. The process can be daunting, but we're happy to use our expertise to guide you though every step of the way. For any questions at all, don't be afraid to reach out.