Black is the new black. Actually, scratch that. There was never a new black. Black always has been and always will be the black. While we love colors and custom paint jobs with matching anodized components, there will never be a substitute for a murdered out, black on black bike. So when we started getting this blacked out Open U.P.P.E.R built up, we repeatedly had to stop and say, "damn, this bike is gonna look good." The simplicity of eschewing paint allows the frame to showcase it's beauty. Curves and contours meticulously designed to pair form and function in equal abundance. Extending from the frame, the cockpit shares the same colorless approach. A complete Zipp package, bare carbon with just a matte clear coat, perfectly fits the bill. It doesn't hurt that it's some of the nicest stuff around. Aesthetically perfect on a build like the and one of the most comfortable bar shapes we've ridden. The set up is completed by a Throne RS saddle and Fizik bar tape. This was actually our first gravel build with the new Sram AXS group. The bike was built for going the distance, no matter the terrain, so we opted for gearing with an emphasis on the low end. Now that the AXS derailleur has a clutch mechanism we can run a Sram 2x system, taking advantage of a full range of gears with tight ration jumps, without worries of excessive chain slap. 46/33 chainrings and a 10-33 cassette to take advantage of that 1-1 ratio. Being for a smaller rider, 165mm arms were chosen. A Quarq power meter was selected for tracking data. For wheels we wanted to go with something light and fast. Obviously, had to fit the black on black motif as well. Zipp 202s were the obvious choice. The lighter, shallower depth are a perfect match for a bike of this stature. Again, keeping things light and fast, we set our client up on the Vittoria Terreno Dry tires, 33c in this case. They roll fast and offer a surprising level of grip, much more than their sleek file tread appearance would let on. On top of that, they've proven to be incredibly durable. The final bits and pieces are the bearings. Every time a new standard comes out, it can take a little while for all the component manufactures to catch up. In this case, the DUB bottom bracket system used on new Sram cranks. Luckily Enduro Bearings are close by and had a the right piece to get the Sram AXS crank to fit into the BB386evo shell of the U.P.P.E.R. Up front, the stock headset was subbed for a nice Chris King drop-set, in black of course. Good bearings are critical on gravel bikes as they see so much dirt and abuse. That rounds out the build of this all-terrain rocket ship. What's the only thing sweeter than a fresh, all black bike? |An all black bike with a fresh coat of dirt. We can't wait to get the first ride reports back from our client after she gets it out on some proper groads. If you've had the itch to get a all-roader built up of your own. Don't hesitate to reach out. There's still time to get a on a new ride before the season of gravel events hits full swing.