OPEN × Rene Herse MIN.D. Road Bike

For years, I used to think that road bikes were relics from the past, when we thought that pencil-thin, rock-hard tires were a prerequisite for speed. Then Gerard Vroomen and Andy Kessler sent us the appropriately named OPEN MIN.D.—their road bike for tires up to 32 mm wide. And we really, really liked it. For most road rides, 32 mm tires are just about perfect. They keep the road-bike feel, but remove the harshness that used to be associated with this type of bike.

When we tested the MIN.D. for Bicycle Quarterly, we noticed that it felt subtly different from our wide-tired all-road bikes. There are probably many reasons for this. For example, narrow tires pivot differently as the bike leans into a turn. A wide tire requires the bike to move sideways as the tire rolls into a lean—sort of like a dog rolling onto its back. (It moves sideways, too, and doesn’t just flip over.) A narrow tire can just lean, almost on a knife’s edge… That means a road bike leans more easily, as you’re not moving the rider’s mass as far.

‘Knife’s edge’ isn’t how I’d describe the MIN.D., though. Despite its (relatively) narrow tires, the MIN.D. is amazingly comfortable, thanks to its slender seatmast and slightly curved, pencil-thin seatstays. Its handling is totally intuitive: a perfect balance between stable and nimble. And it’s blazingly fast. That ticks pretty much all the boxes for a great bike, at least for me.

I liked the MIN.D. so much that I rode it for an entire season as my main bike—and I’ve missed it ever since. So I asked Gerard and Andy to buy a MIN.D. of my own. They suggested to paint my new MIN.D. like our OPEN × Rene Herse U.P.P.E.R. collaboration. For that project, we worked with Tokyo’s award-winning design studio There There to create a modern interpretation of the classic mid-century René Herse bikes. Today, René Herse is most famous for his rando and all-road bikes. But let’s not forget that his road bikes were coveted by pro racers and amateurs, who rode them to many national championships and even two worlds.

My new road bike would be in Rene Herse colors—now I was looking forward even more!

Imagine my surprise when I opened my inbox and found photos of ‘my’ new MIN.D., all built up, with Andy himself riding it. Was this my new bike? Couldn’t be, because Andy rides a Medium frame, and mine is a Large. Turns out Andy liked my frame so much, he got one for himself. OPEN recently featured it as their BOTM (Bike of the Month).

In fact, Andy is so excited about his new bike, he and the OPEN team made a little video about it.

Andy being Andy, he built it up with some cutting-edge parts to get the weight down to 6.8 kg—right at the UCI weight limit for pro bikes. Andy chose the brand-new SRAM Red AXS group and a Beast carbon bar/stem combo that is so new, it wasn’t even released yet when the bike dropped last week.

For tires, Andy is running Rene Herse 700×31 Orondo Grade Extralights with our new TPU tubes. Funny thing, because I tested the first prototypes for these tires on our MIN.D. test bike some ways back…

In the meantime, my own frame has arrived. I’m excited to build it up soon—with a slightly different focus for the components, that goes back to my road cycling roots.

This project started with the idea of a single frame for me. Now there are two. And since both Andy and I like our new frames so much, we’ve decided to make this one available to our customers, too, as a Limited Edition. The price is the same as the standard MIN.D. We’ll take orders until July 20, 2024. Then the frames will be painted in Italy and delivered directly from OPEN in September.

And since several customers, who missed the original collaboration, have asked about the all-road U.P.P.E.R. in Rene Herse colors, we’re making those available again, too. Because why not?

More Information:

  • OPEN × Rene Herse frames
  • Background story of the OPEN × Rene Herse