Advertisement

Sign up for our newsletter

Advertisement

Open Min.D review

30 Sep 2020
Verdict:

The Open Min.D is an exceptionally well designed take on the endurance bike genre. Photos: Mike Massaro

Cyclist Rating: 
For 
Comfortable • Well-conceived geometry • Light weight
Against 
Seat clamp grub screws are fiddly and easily lost

This might not be the place to say it, but road riding and I have been going through something of a rocky patch. In fact, that’s a literal explanation, as I genuinely have been spending more of my time riding through patches of rock.

I’ve been doing far more gravel riding than road riding, which is something Open would appreciate, having built its reputation developing gravel bikes such as the UP, the Upper and the Wi.De.

So it really piqued my interest when I learned that Open’s co-founders Andy Kessler (former CEO of BMC) and Gerard Vroomen (co-founder of Cervélo) had chosen to create a road bike: the Min.D.

‘We basically wanted to design Andy’s perfect road bike,’ says Vroomen. ‘Andy lives in Basel, Switzerland, where if he turns left out of his door there’s tarmac, but right there are technical trails in the mountains.

‘He could of course use two of our UP gravel bikes set up differently, but we also reasoned in those circumstances riders are better off with two different bikes – a Wi.De [Open’s gravel bike with extreme tyre clearance] and this new Min.D.’

He says they approached the design in the opposite way to their gravel bikes. Rather than seeking to squeeze the maximum tyre clearance into the frame, they saved on clearance and ‘spent’ it elsewhere in the frame with a focus on efficient stiffness-to-weight and comfort.

Buy the Open Min.D from Open here

As a result, the Min.D is designed to be used with 32mm tyres, which Vroomen suggests – and I agree – could be considered as the ‘sweet spot’ for road when outright speed isn’t top priority. It offers lots of volume for comfort and grip without going so wide that a road bike basically becomes a gravel bike in all but name.

 

Make yourself comfortable

Elsewhere, though, gravel influences are very much in evidence. The Min.D’s geometry is aimed at stable handling and offers a ‘realistic saddle-to-handlebar drop and reach’.

It’s a direct result of Open’s experience of gravel geometry, which Vroomen believes is better suited to the average road cyclist anyway. To arrive at that geometry, Open developed a steel-framed test mule with adjustable tube angles.

‘The adjustability is so big that when we were playing around with the Min.D’s development we got the toe overlap so big we almost created crank overlap. The pedal could touch the front wheel,’ Vroomen says.

‘That configuration actually rode quite nicely but we thought we might get sued so stopped pretty quickly.’

The name comes from an amalgamation of the words ‘minimal design’. Vroomen says that by keeping things simple he could create the performance characteristics Open desired, with a case in point being the bike’s continuous seat tube, which for much of its length is a svelte 25mm in diameter.

A conventional seatpost-into-seat tube design creates a rigid, bulky structure, with limited scope for alteration. ‘This way we could create any flex characteristics we wanted and take them all the way through to the saddle, while also shaving weight off the seat tube cluster,’ he says.

 

Theory in practice

The more I’ve learned about the bike, the more I’ve come to understand how all these details add up to an incredibly well-executed endurance road bike.

In terms of geometry, the Min.D combines a fairly slack 72.5° head tube with a fork offset of 50mm (43-44mm is more typical on road bikes), which makes for a stable ride at high speed. Yet the steering never felt ponderous, as tight 405mm chainstays keep the wheelbase to 998m on a size large, quite short for an endurance bike. 

The stack and reach are equally sensible. My size large’s 585mm stack meant I could have all the ego-soothing benefits of slamming the stem without back pain caused from an unsustainable position.

Added to the wide tyres and narrow seat tube, it meant the Min.D’s ride was as smooth as buttered silk over any condition of tarmac.

There will be some prospective customers who will balk at the continuous seat tube, thinking it makes reselling the bike more difficult once cut, but Open has thought about that too and makes a topper with up to 35mm of adjustment.

Buy the Open Min.D from Open here

I’m not really sure why someone would want to sell this bike on anyway. I’ve reached the end of my test period and I really don’t want to lose my Min.D. It looks like my relationship with road riding is back on track.

 

Pick of the kit

100% Speedcraft sunglasses, from £139.99, freewheel.co.uk

The Speedcrafts are one of 100%’s oldest designs but still look contemporary, and despite their size they are competitively lightweight at 33g because they’re made from hollow sections that have been neatly fixed together.

The raised brow bar offers an unrestricted view while in an aggressive riding position, and the frameless lower portion ensures good peripheral vision. Optical clarity is excellent and even after two years of regular use the lenses are virtually scratch-free.

Alternatively…

 

Try a different track For anyone looking to Open for versatility, the Upper (£3,900 frameset) is just as comfortable sporting aero road wheels and slick tyres as it is with 650b wheels and knobbly gravel tyres.

Buy the Open Upper from Open here

 

Yin and yang For the most adventurous gravel riders, the Wi.De is the antithesis of the Min.D. It features a double-dropped chainstay design so it can accommodate up to 61mm tyres on 650b wheels.

Buy the Open Wi.De from Open here

Spec

Frame Open Min.D
Groupset Sram Force eTap AXS
Brakes Sram Force eTap AXS
Chainset Sram Force eTap AXS
Cassette Sram Force eTap AXS
Bars Enve Road
Stem Enve Road
Saddle Fizik Antares Versus Evo Adaptive 00
Wheels DT Swiss CRC 1400 Spline, Schwalbe Pro One 32mm tyres
Weight 7.11kg (56cm)
Contact opencycle.com

All reviews are fully independent and no payments have been made by companies featured in reviews

Price: 
£3,199 frameset, approx £8,450 as tested

Read more about: