The Open MIN.D. Anti-Launch and Shaggy Dog Story - Phil Journal

Posted by Philip Cavell


Open MIN.D. Influenced by art-house steel from Pegoretti and Richard Sachs

June Journal – Shaggy Dog Tale and Open MIN.D.’s Anti-Launch

Keen-eyed Cyclefit News readers may have observed that the Trek Domane LT+ Test in our May News was a little light on riding pictures – well actually non-existent. Well here is the full shaggy-dog story – literally.
We had started running a little as a family – a few 5k sessions per week – mainly to supplement my daughter’s missing PE lessons. And it has been going pretty well and keeping us all active. Except the last Friday in April when I stupidly set out to do a bit extra after the family 5k, just me and Raff the Retriever. Up over the golf course and we meet a border terrier / husky cross called Archie. They play for a minute, until I call Raff to heel and we jog off up the hill – you are probably way ahead of me at this point? I note Raff is no longer running beside me, and at the very moment I look back to see where he is, I am slammed broadside by both dogs, low and at full speed. My legs are flung up high and I land on the right side of my back. It is a big hit – too big to get away with. I know this as I lay on the grass panting and feel my right lung crackle with the effort. I can’t move and I can’t catch my breath. Raff comes over and lays down beside me and Archie to the front of me. Both start to lick my face – not especially helpful. I anthropomorphise for a second that this is an act of joint contrition. Archie’s dad calls an ambulance, that quickly rumbles over the golf course. Raff insists on muscling his way into the ambulance with me – there is no discussion. The wry wit of the paramedics and some good quality pain-killers diffuse the situation.

IMG 2019

It all went wrong soon after this

IMG 2072

Just back from hospital - sorry dad

"the consultant imparts his diagnosis over the phone, via a man in a butcher’s apron and Freddie mask"

Go Home and suck up the pain

The hospital is strangely deserted and bizarre. I am the only one there – I am in and out of x-ray in minutes - the consultant conveys his diagnosis over the phone via a man in a butcher’s apron and Freddie mask– strange times. Multiple fractured ribs (4) but the lung is fine and inflated. Treatment is to go home, breathe deeply as much as I can, and suck up the pain. Anyone that has broken, or fractured ribs will know what those last words mean. I casually suggested to my wife that it was going to be like three weeks of permanent child-birth pain levels - which went down well. Funnily enough the hospital did not x-ray all of the way down to my surgery T12-L2 – so I had no way of knowing whether I had damaged all the titanium rods and plates in my spine.

Two weeks of sleeping sitting up and attempting to become physically invisible and I am over the worst. Broken ribs are a lot like colds – you can predict their progress almost to the day. Two weeks to stop crying, three weeks to start sleeping, four weeks to start laughing and sneezing without invoking panic – six weeks to start living somewhat normally. I am at five weeks and well on the way to recovery. But it was a big hit beyond the ribs – there is deep bruising all the way down my back into my hips. I don’t think I have damaged the surgery – which is a relief - I am not remotely ready for Back Club Part III
We were due to take the pictures for the Domane LT+ review the afternoon of the collision - my daughter buoyed by her output on the No22 Review.

Open MIN.D. The Anti-Launch.

We love Open. They march entirely to the beat of their own drum. They don’t set out to break rules - it comes quite naturally to them. When you meet Andy and Gerard it all becomes crystal clear – they have done the big corporation thing and will never go down that path again. Big corporations spend lots of money saying how much they love their customers, but they generally don’t. Open spend no money at all saying how much they love their customers, but they genuinely do. They are Swiss, so don’t expect Pegoretti-level warmth and hugs, but it is their code, and in how they communicate everyday with the world, and how truthful they are. Ask a straight question to Andy or Gerard and the answer is always unvarnished.

The Cult of Open

Open riders love Open and they equally love Andy and Gerard. The best cults never set to be a cult. There is never any polish or spin - they push all the fireworks into their ground-breaking bicycles. So, about a week ago, with no warning and no pre-amble Open’s long-awaited road bike called MIN.D. is launched. I say launched – I mean there is a polite ‘ahem’ from Andy and Gerard and then the information starts to trickle through. It was almost an anti-launch. It was the total opposite of what everyone does these days – overwrought, over-coordinated, social media-led neurotic, marketing bollocks. Death by inbound-data. Andy and Gerard simply coughed politely and then started an old fashioned conversation with those closest to them - their retailers and their fans (we are both). I, along with many of my clients was immediately gripped and engaged by what unfolded. I appreciated Gerard’s beguiling honesty from the outset -

"To be fair, there is not really a "need" for [MIN.D.], an UP, UPPER or WIDE does everything a road bike does. But if you are going to have separate bikes for your road and your gravel outings, you may as well make the road bike a pure road bike"

Imagine Apple or BMW launching a new product with that kind of fundamental truth and humility?

Open MIND2

Open co-founder, Andy Kessler, rides prototype Open MIN.D.

"When was the last time you heard a frame designer forsake tales to the wind-tunnel in favour of poeticising Pegoretti and Richard Sachs for chrissakes?"

State of MIN.D.
Gerard goes onto talk about his design inspiration and influences for MIN.D. and it is like he has read my min.d. or at least some of my older Cyclefit Journals. I remember writing about Serotta’s Meivici around 2007 and remarking that it rode like a hand-crafted steel frame, only significantly lighter. And then up Gerard pops and cites the classic artisan steel bikes from the likes of Pegoretti and Richard Sachs as his architectural set-in point. When was the last time you heard a frame designer forsake tales to the wind-tunnel in favour of poeticising Pegoretti and Richard Sachs for chrissakes? I could not believe what I was reading. Every new carbon bike ratchets up the talk, or torque, around fantasy levels lightness and stiffness, and yet here was someone putting ride and aesthetics front and centre.
Once again, the industry moves right and Open slides off to the left. Andy and Gerard didn’t set out to out-carbon carbon; their intention was to craft a bike that has the stillness and class of steel, but with the performance of carbon. Moreover, Open are transparent about the fact that they do not want to appeal to everyone:

“The look is really understated - maybe too understated for some - it doesn't shout "come look at me" - but I like that. Will it change the bike world the way the U.P. did? Probably not, you can only do that once a decade if you're lucky"

We were the first people in the UK to work with Open and will have the first MIN.D. into the UK. We will be running a full test and review as soon as we can. We have been nagging Andy for a pure road Open for years, and then all of a sudden he just pops it into a routine conversation. But Open whispering quietly has a way of getting heard by those that need to know.

Open MIN.D. Design Features:

  • Open minimal carbon design frame - 870 grams
  • The OPEN U-Turn fork - optimised for flat-mount brakes
  • Continuous seattube design for comfort without gimmicks
  • Classic, understated tube-design and colour – inspired by Pegoretti and Richard Sachs
  • 32mm tyre clearance
  • Pre-order now for delivery 20th July 2020 - £3250

Gerard's Open MIN.D. Journal

Open MIN.D.

"Big corporations spend lots of money saying how much they love their customers, but they generally don’t. Open spend no money at all saying how much they love their customers, but they genuinely do."

About the author

Philip Cavell, Co-founder

Co-founder, bike fitter and bike designer. Phil rides a Seven titanium disc bike. He likes dogs and fine wine.

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