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Opus Horizon 1 review

The bike for riding on any surface, in any weather for fun or fully loaded for a bike packing trip

The air was damp and crisp as I rolled out on the Opus Horizon 1 for my first ride on it. Autumn feels like the perfect time of year to move onto an adventure bike for a casual mid-week ride with a couple of kilometres of trails on the menu. A little comfier than my road bike and more versatile if I decide I want to head off the beaten track. But, make no mistake the Horizon frame is made from carbon and is certainly perfectly capable on the road and the quiet recreational trails I like to rip around on during the fall when foot traffic is lighter and the evening light is spectacular.

The Horizon is billed as Opus’ all-road machine. With ample clearance for tires as wide as 42 mm, it’s a bike you can take nearly wherever you fancy if you’ve set it up right. Extra bottle cage bolts on the downtube and rack mounts make it equipped for bike packing trips while fender mounts mean it can easily be set up as a winter or foul weather bike. All that is balanced by the robust carbon layup that makes the bike relatively light and pleasingly responsive when I put in a dig to gain speed.

The first thing I noticed about the Horizon is it’s absolutely massive 173 mm head tube and 590 mm of stack (on the medium frame I tested) that put me in a pretty relaxed riding position. There was no mistaking the sensations that this would be an easy bike to ride for hours. If you struggle to hold aggressive positions on road bikes or are just looking for something really comfortable to cruise on the Horizon delivers.

The pavement was still damp, as it’s been on so many days this autumn, as I rolled out but these are the conditions this bike thrives on. The slack geometry on the Horizon makes it feel incredibly stable, and over bumpy terrain like gravel, dirt or pothole-riddled streets, the bike keeps a sure line inspiring confidence when other bikes can feel a little nervous.

That doesn’t detract from the fun of the bike, I still took the Horizon on some pretty rough single track. While a tighter geometry would handle these trails better, especially in turns where the long wheelbase and relaxed geometry makes it feel a little sluggish, it was still a blast to get into a rhythm on. Additionally, the frame is set-up to accept an internally routed dropper seat-post if you want to amp up the fun factor.

The Shimano 105 hydraulic disc brake groupset is right on for this bike. It was my first time on the new 105 groupset and it left me very impressed. It feels more dialled than the previous 105 generations. There’s a bit more feedback on shifts but everything happens very smoothly. There’s nothing fancy about 105 but it gets the job done reliably without breaking the bank which suits what Opus was trying to do with this bike. Hydraulic disc brakes are a no-brainer providing powerful braking where and when it’s needed.

The Alexrims Boondocks 3 are an affordable offering that can be set up tubeless. I rode mostly on the Vittoria Terreno Dry 33 that came stock on the bike and found they worked pretty well on the mixed-surfaces this bike is intended for. For sloppier riding on trails or rougher roads, you can go knobbier and wider thanks to the generous clearance.

While I didn’t have a chance to take the Horizon bike packing, I would have loved to load it up with frame bags for a trip. All its characteristics would lend themselves perfectly to a multi-day riding adventure. The handling and geometry would also lend themselves well to pedalling all day loaded up with a huge saddle bag, a fully loaded frame bag and a bar bag. Swap out some wider rubber and you could be happily cruising for days on the Horizon. Packed up, you’d also be appreciative of the bikes 48/32-tooth crankset and extremely wide-ranging 11-34 cassette.

The Opus Horizon 1 suited my fall riding well. While during the summer, I want a dedicated road whip for my speedy group rides there’s always place in the stable for a versatile bike for all season adventures and backpacking. At $3,500, the Horizon checks a lot of different boxes without breaking the bank.