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Bike of the Week: A Sparkling Adventure Machine

by Derek Yarra |  | 

Dear world,

Today we'd like to make an introduction. Meet Sparkles, a glittery, go-anywhere gravel bike, ready to romp its way through the wilderness, one trail at a time. 

open up sparkles header

Sparkles began life as a ready to paint Open UP, a venerable off road platform, and a blank canvas for our rider to make her dream bike a reality. Our client has a penchant for exploration and a passion for purple, so we looked to our friends at Vélocolour to assist in making the magic on this bike happen. The result came back as a stunningly deep sparkle purple, accented by teal racing stripes and classic Open downtube logo.

open UP sparkles paint velocolour

One of our favorite aspects of what we do is sorting out a build kit that meets the needs of the individual. To meet the fit and handling desired for this bike, we ended up going with an Enve M6 mountain stem at 70mm long. The stem supports a 38c compact Enve road handlebar, wrapped up in grippy Fizik 3mm tape. Mixing things up from what you might usually see on our builds, the seatpost is from MCFK. Made in Germany and weighing in at under 100g, this featherweight post is a trick, unique touch.

open sparkles cockpit

A bike meant to go anywhere requires a gear range to get you there. For this Open UP, we went with a Shimano GRX kit in a Di2 2x configuration. The GRX levers provide incredible grip and superior braking, and being Di2, the light action butons make shifting a breeze The rings up front are the 48/31 pairing. For extra smoothness, the 170mm cranks spin on a Ceramicspeed bottom bracket. Out back is a 11-36t cassette. This gearing combination really amounts to an incredible range. 48x11 is plenty of top end, especially for a bike with big tires, and the sub 1:1 31x36 low end will crawl up anything. For braking, the GRX calipers clamp on Formula 160mm rotors.

open sparkles drivetrain shimano GRX

The wheels also come from MCFK. The 27.5 gravel rims are handmade in Germany, and while their 25mm inner width isn't the widest, it's still plenty for a high volume tire. They're laced up to Italian Carbon-Ti straight pull hubs. For rubber, we went with Schwalbe 2.1 Thunder Burts. A favorite for us with a great blend of centerline speed and cornering grip.

open Up Sparkles wheels MCFK

We couldn't finish this one up with out a few special details. At the front end, the satellite Di2 shifters make it a breeze to change gears from the tops. Incredibly useful while reaching for a bottle or snack from your pocket. Because trail etiquette is  important, we mounted up a Spurcycle bell, appropriately adorned with a violet button. Last but not least, the oil slick bottle cages bring an extra pop of life to the table.

open Up sparkles velocolour details

That wraps up this spectacular build. We've already gotten a few updates from our rider and can assure you she's wasted no time getting it dirty  and pushing her riding to new limits! Needless to say, we had a lot of fun building this one up. If a new adventure bike is on your list, get in touch, we'd love to help bring it to life. Reach us at info@abovecategorycycling.com with any questions at all. 

open up sparkles velocolour bike anglesOpen Up Sparkles velocolour bike profile