Some bikes stand out with incredible paintjobs, candy fades and glitter.

Staffan Widell’s improbable yet elegant OPEN U.P. is a one-of-a-kind minimalistic beauty.

So first, what made you get an OPEN U.P.?

Late 2016 I was looking for a lighter alternative for my Specialized Awol. I was looking for something more performance oriented but that could serve about the same all-road purpose as the Awol. OPEN came onto my radar and besides the specs of the bike, I also really like the idea behind the company.

That’s an original-looking bike. Why go all-grey?

All my bikes are custom painted in RAL 7000.
The real answer is that I just couldn’t make up my mind about color choice on my first custom painted bike many years ago. I was so frustrated so I decided to make an anti-choice of just neutral gray. If you mix all colors into one, that’s what you get.

The funny but untrue answer is that it’s because I don’t want my wife to notice when I buy a new bike.

Since then, I paint all my bikes in that color to avoid having to go through that process again. Besides, it’s a utilitarian color that doesn’t draw so much attention and I’ve grown very fond of it.

Are the bags custom? Why choose Gramm?
The bags are custom made my Gramm Tourpacking in Berlin. I really like what they do and I wanted to have matching bags for the bike.
Supporting a local brand feels really good too. Working with Kristin at Gramm, I could integrate a lot of my ideas as a designer into the bags as well. The saddle bag and frame bag are customized from their standard range but the top tube bag and the handle bar bag are prototypes, developed specifically for this bike.
Since I’ve bought them, I’ve been back at Gramm to make improvements and changes to the bags and their service has been extraordinary.


It is always disappointing to find energy food wrappers in the most remote places.

Not only does it remind us we are not the first to get there, but a natural reaction is to loose faith in humanity a little more, as it is incapable of disposing its garbage properly.


Hanlon’s Razor

Still, not everyone dumps them on purpose. Some may simply have been lost, slipped out from a pocket when taking one’s camera out…


A little organization can help !

Dedicate a food-pouch to trash only, it will be your trash-pouch!
Or arrange your jersey pockets: for example, mobile phone on the right, money on the left, trash in the middle. We will empty it in the first village while refilling water bottles.



Some brands offer biodegradable or compostable wrappers, which is a good thing. However, their decomposition would takes several months in the wild.


Let’s lead by example

Take our trash down to the bins in the valley, and collect those left behind !

Staffan's OPEN U.P.

  • Frame: OPEN U.P. frame, size L
  • Wheels: DT Swiss custom built 27,5″
  • Group: SRAM Force 1
  • Chainring: 42
  • Cassette: 10-42
  • Saddle: Brooks C13 carbon
  • Handlebars: Salsa Cowchipper
  • Bags: Custom Gramm Tourpacking
  • Tires: Compass Switchback Hill
  • Mudguards: Ass Savers mods and prototypes of course!

Rotors are custom, right? I see a W for Widell in their shape, am I right?
(Actually I read UWU-UWU-UWU)

I used to have issues with warping discs, excessive wear and glazing so I’ve been thinking a lot about how to improve the brake performance of gravel/touring/performance bikes.
Road disc rotors are good at one thing and MTB rotors another but none of them satisfied my needs completely.

So the rotors are my custom design.
They are developed to address the specific challenges of high speed bikepacking in the mountains.

The UWU text is purely accidental and just a result of my theory behind the design. My intention was to create rotors that handles heat better, that doesn’t wear so quickly, especially in wet and dirty conditions and that modulates more like a MTB rotor than a road rotor.

What is your best memory with this bike?

I’ve done over 5000 km on this bike now and the 2ndTNR where I met you, is surely one of the highlights but there are many moments that I’ll never forget.

Where will it take you to next?

Next challenge is Grinduro Scotland in July! Really looking forward to this one.