ARGENBÜHL, Germany (BRAIN) — The news from Open Cycle — the mountain bike brand formed by Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen and former BMC chief executive Andy Kessler — is a new color for the company's one product, a carbon hardtail 29er called the Open O-1.0.
The new color is white.
Previously, the frame was available only in black.
Why is this news? Because the white frame is $400 cheaper than the black ($2,500 rather than $2,900), and 100 grams heavier (just under 1,000 grams, instead of under 900). But — it's the same frame.
This reporter did not, when Vroomen told him about the new frame color early on Tuesday's Demo Day at Eurobike. Blame it on jet lag.
Vroomen eventually realized that he was speaking to a lagging journalist and offered up the critical piece of information that explained the weight difference: white paint weighs more than black paint.
"White paint weighs more than 100 grams per frame. The black is really just a clear coat with some tint in it; it weighs about 30 grams," Vroomen politely explained. "Now I see: I should have said that earlier."
No worries. And so why is the white frame cheaper? Because it is, in a way, a defect. Vroomen explained that when the frames are being finished, sometimes a cosmetic defect in the surface makes it impossible to use the almost-clear black finish. These kinds of blemishes, though structurally inconsequential, would be visible and make the frame unsaleable. In the past, they would be destroyed.
But white paint covers up any blemishes, saving the frame from the trash bin. It's good for the environment, Vroomen noted. And it lets a consumer hungry for an Open save a few hundred.
(If Vroomen's weight figures don't quite add up for you, don't blame the lagging journalist. It's actually because frame weights and paint weights vary by frame size. So the 100 gram weight difference Vroomen cited was a rough estimate. But Open stands by saying that any size black frame will come in under 900 grams and any size white will be under 1,000.)
At the indoor Eurobike expo, which opens Wednesday at the Messe Friedrichshafen, Open will show a few other new items, in the form of limited edition bikes built up with the hardtail frame, in both colors.
The ORA Ltd bike has a Whisky rigid carbon fork and various superlight AX Lightness parts. It will weigh 6.4 kilograms (14.1 pounds) without pedals and sell for 5,900 euros ($7,900).
If you prefer suspension, the Open LOLA Proto bike features the Lauf Trail Racer 29-inch fork. The carbon leaf spring fork provides 60 millimeters of travel. The LOLA also has AX Lightness parts with a SRAM XX1 drivetrain. It weighs a hefty 6.6 kilograms (14.6 pounds). The price hasn't been set.
Vroomen said Open will introduce four new frame models in 2014, including "a couple" full-suspension frames. He wouldn't say if the new bikes would be built on 29-inch wheels or another size, but said he was agnostic about wheel size.
"We're not for or against any wheel size; we don't own a wheel company," he said.