Earlier this month, Geoff Kabush returned to Traverse City to defend his Iceman Cometh title that he won in 2018 using an OPEN U.P.P.E.R. gravel bike equipped with 650b x 2.1″ Maxxis Aspen tires. Kabush’s victory showcased the versatility of modern gravel bikes and inspired riders to follow suit in the 2019 edition.
Kabush did not quite win this year—he finished third—but he did show that gravel bikes are quite adept at handling the challenges of the annual mountain bike race in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula.
We took a closer look at Kabush’s bike following his 30-mile ramble through the Michigan woods, snow, sand and ice.
Geoff Kabush’s 2019 Iceman Cometh OPEN WI.DE.
Kabush brought an OPEN WI.DE. in the same Yeti blue colorway as his U.P.P.E.R. for his Iceman encore. The WI.DE. (Winding Detours) frame is an evolution of OPEN’s gravel family designed to allow the use of both large tires and a road Q-Factor crankset. Although he stuck with 2.1″ tires, the WI.DE. frame will accept up to a 650b x 2.4″ tires thanks to a bottom bracket design that drops both chainstays.
The WI.DE. is designed as a 1x only bike. In an effort to increase tire capacity, OPEN moved the drive side chainstay outboard to occupy space generally reserved for an inner chainring. As a result, Kabush had to modify his gearing from the 46/34t crank he used in 2018.
Kabush ran a Shimano GRX 1x groupset on his 2019 OPEN WI.DE. For the rolling course of the Iceman Cometh Challenge, Kabush used a 42t chain ring mounted on an RX810-1 crankset paired with an 11-40t cassette, which provided a lower gear than his previous setup, although the course didn’t require it.
“My bike last year had my cyclocross gearing on it, 46/34t and an 11-30t and that gearing was no problem. I actually just kept it in my 46t as all the hills are quite short and punchy,” he told Cyclocross Magazine.
The GRX 11-speed mechanical group has two rear derailleur options. While both have a clutch and use Shimano’s Shadow geometry, they differ in total cog capacity. With his 11-40t cassette exceeding the capacity of the RX810, Kabush used the RX812 derailleur, which is compatible with cassette cogs as large as 42t. It is also noteworthy that Kabush opted for mechanical GRX components and not the electronic ones we have seen in many of our cyclocross bike profiles.
Kabush also commented on the GRX RX810 shift-brake levers, “The new GRX hoods give a ton more confidence and control riding in the hoods,” Kabush explained. The hoods on the mechanical GRX groupset got a grippier surface to help on rough rides like the Iceman Cometh Challenge.
Kabush stopped with GRX RX810 calipers paired with RX810 levers. Interestingly, he had the shifting version of the RX810 left-hand brake lever despite a 1x-specific, brake only lever existing. The calipers clamped XTR-level MT900 rotors in 160mm.
Kabush rolled on 650b Stan’s Crest CB7 rims, the brand’s cross-country oriented carbon wheel. It features a 23mm internal width designed for 2.00″-2.25″ tires. Built with Sapim Force spokes and alloy nipples with Stan’s Neo hubs, the 28-hole wheels have a 1,409g claimed weight.
Kabush set up his wheels with the same Maxxis Aspen tires he used last year. The Aspen features a low profile center tread with larger shoulder lugs for cornering. “I ran 2.1″ Maxxis Aspen tires which gave all the grip I needed,” Kabush said of his tire choice.
As a Shimano sponsored rider, Kabush used components from sub-brand PRO. He mounted his Turnix Carbon saddle on a Vibe zero-setback seatpost.
On the front end, a Vibe stem held his handlebar, which he wrapped with orange Lizard Skins bar tape.
Kabush applied power with the newish Shimano XTR M9100 SPD mountain bike pedals we are seeing many Shimano-sponsored riders using this year.
Kabush used a Stages Dash head unit to track his race, and had a map as well as the following data fields: Lap Time, Heart Rate, Distance (in KM), and Time of Day. Other accessories included two titanium King Cage bottle cages and a seat wedge.
For a closer look at Kabush’s OPEN WI.DE., see the specs below.
Geoff Kabush’s OPEN WI.DE. Specs
Frame: OPEN WI.DE., carbon, 12mm thru-axle, flat mount disc
Fork: OPEN U-Turn fork, carbon, 12mm thru-axle, flat mount disc
Shift/Brake Levers: Shimano ST-RX810 hydraulic disc brake dual-control
Calipers: Shimano BR-RX810 hydraulic disc, flat mount
Rotors: Shimano SM-RT900, CenterLock, 160mm
Crankset: Shimano GRX FC-RX810-1, 42t chain ring
Cassette: Shimano 11-40t
Rear Derailleur: Shimano GRX RD-RX812
Chain: Shimano XTR
Wheels: Stan’s NoTubes Crest CB7, 650b
Tires: Maxxis Aspen, 650b x 2.1″
Saddle: PRO Turnix, carbon rail
Seatpost: PRO Vibe Alloy, zero-setback
Stem: PRO Vibe Alloy
Pedals: Shimano XTR M9100 SPD
More info: opencycle.com