We are NOT 138
But this bike is pretty damned close. Let us present a unique monster bred from the iron lungs of the recent gravel boon meant for casual commuting and errand-running—a simple machine to take it’s rider from point A to B. However, it’ll take more than twenty eyes to determine this bike’s actual condition.
Return of the Fly
The initial ask for this rig was a roughed up looking bike built for theft-deterrence, "who would go through the trouble of ripping off a busted looked rust bucket?" (Don’t answer that question). As sometimes occurs, design and intention parted ways and things got a little out of control. For what its worth, without trying too hard, we found it difficult to make a brand new carbon frame look rusted and clapped out. A distant memory of a Parlee bubbled up to the surface, one featured a few years ago with a distressed looking paint job. To recreate something similarly distressed on an OPEN U.P.P.E.R, there was only one house that we wanted to send this project to. VéloColour up in cool Canada.
Shipping the frame, fork, and cockpit components provided great mystery as to what was going to come back. We left a lot of the design up to them, provided them a rough concept of color, some militaristic impulse, and the request for something tough and skull-like for a head tube logo. When we finally received the box and unwrapped the frame and the individual components there was a palpable calm felt across the studio. We all felt the same thing: this bike’s got some fucking Attitude!
Where Eagles Dare
Well, I got something to say… I enjoyed building this bike today.
Specc’ing the build was fun and sort of experimental. Even for those that have never visited the Bay Area, the idea of commuting and running errands in San Francisco can probably evoke visions of trudging up ridiculously steep inclines, walking even. Given the initial ask was for a flat bar, running SRAM’s new Eagle 12speed 10-50t cassette seemed like the way to go. It’ll be perfect but for one frame limitation—the cable routing was going to prove too restrictive exiting the chainstay to the derailleur’s leading cable stop. An XX1, 10-42 cassette will need to be daring enough, there’ll be no derailleur mods today. Relegated to a Force rear derailleur (albeit with upgraded CeramicSpeed narrow-wide pulleys), we decided to accept a different dare: flat-mount flat-bar…. pairing a set of SRAM Level Ultimate levers to Red flat-mount hydraulic calipers became a bit of a Hybrid Moment of sorts.
One of the great features of the OPEN U.P.P.E.R. is it’s ability to fit a variety of wheel sizes as we’ve written about before; given this one’s purpose-built design and urban road habitat, we thought cush and wide. Tying a set of the tried-and-true White Industry CLD hubs to some debadged Alto CMX275 hoops wrapped up tight with the ever-cushioned Compass Switchback Hill 48c tires should allow plenty of float over even the roughest of terrain.
The Zipp SL Speed seatpost was chosen for it’s evident paintability and a full-length Thomson Carbon Trail handlebar provides all the leverage needed while trudging up those hills. Chunky silicone by ESI deliver the necessary comfort for hand contact points. And to reveal the last of the painted mystery components, one of our favorite stems, the fizik Cyrano R1; handily "distressed” as well by VeloColour
Theme for a Jackal
As far as a grocery getter, no one will look cooler lugging cat litter home, but degrading it to a gopher bike is not likely in its future. We’re certain this rig will be getting ample time in the Headlands floating past the lighthouse, go-going past the Nike missile sites, and through all the gravel options that abound in the region.
(What’s with all the Misfit’s references? That bit mentioned about the tough and skull-like head badge, of all the tough skull imagery out there, paying homage to one of our favorites from the eighties seemed befitting.)