Next Level Gravel Grinding: 3T Exploro
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What can one expect from a niche buster? We believe a bike that literally can replace an entire stable gathering dust in a garage. A gravel bike that exhibits the ride and reactive feel of a road frame to keep you competitive on the fastest group attack, yet can handle a black diamond extreme downhill at your local summer mountain – all with 40mm knobby treads. The wait is over because the 3T Exploro is here.
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The first ever frame offering from the Italian brand 3T (known more for stems, bars and seat posts) has landed and is available for the rider to order, shipping at the end of June. Originally founded by Mario Dedioniggi in 1961 near Milan, 3T’s reputation for lightweight componentry design and construction is well established within the industry. Taking the knowledge from over five decades in the business and leveraging its engineering prowess, the Exploro offers the stiffness of a bike commonly seen on the pavement with aerodynamic capabilities, while offering 54mm tire clearance – unprecedented in the exploding gravel scene over the past few years. The influence of new 3T investor, Gerrard Vroomen is clearly seen as well. Vroomen founded Cervelo with Phil White and currently owns Open, which recently launched the genre bending Open U.P.
Combining square and aero tube shapes in what 3T calls sqaero, high strength and stiffness are achieved while still effectively reducing wind resistance. This truncated airfoil shape tricks the airflow into behaving as if it’s a full aero shape, while staying close to square in overall dimensions and creating a unique look – most noticeable in the down tube.
The Exploro fits road, cyclocross and mountain bike tires so each rider can individually tune the bike for a multitude of cycling conditions; 40mm 700c and 54mm (2.1 inch) 650b tire/wheel combinations fit with plenty of room for added trail mud.
Super compact geometry of the bike, including 415mm chain stays create an agile, race bred steering platform that ensures phenomenal acceleration and grip on the loosest of gravel fire roads as well as ripping fast road descents.
Internally routed cables directly behind the headset and into the top tube including a hidden seat post clamp bolt create a clean overall look for an already elegant looking frame.
Four frame sizes will be available: small, medium, large and extra-large. Larges are ready now, with the other three sizes shipping in August. There are two different layups to choose from: the Limited frameset (950 grams) for $4,200 and the Team frameset with a slightly lower modulus carbon for $3,000.
The #PelotonServiceCourse expects an Exploro in for a complete test in the very near future, so stay tuned for more details on our thoughts once we’ve logged (and raced) some serious miles on this unique offering from 3T.
- Fork: Limited – 3T Luteus II LTD, Team – 3T Luteus II TEAM both with 15mm thru axle
- Bottom bracket: BB386EVO
- Chainring fit: Max inner ring – 36T, Max outer ring – 50T, Max offset single ring: 46T, Max flat single ring: 50T
- Headset: Integrated tapered IS42/28.6 | IS52/40
- Seat post: 3T Charlie Sqaero
- Rear axle: 142x12mm thru axle
- Rear brake: 160mm post mount disc
- Cable routing: Internal via interchangeable FlipTop covers for 1×10/11, 2×10/11, Di2 and eTap
- Included in box: Frame, fork, seat post, seat post internal clamp, front thru axle, 1 front and 2 rear derailleur hangers, front derailleur cable liner, noise cancelling foam sleeve for the rear derailleur housing and brake hose.
Words: Jeffrey Stern