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The Ultimate Quiver Killer: 3T Exploro + SRAM Red eTap

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3T Exploro + SRAM Red eTap. This a dream build. From the first few pedal strokes on the 3T Exploro, we fell in love with the frame, an incredibly versatile, performance oriented, go anywhere bike. It was, we hoped, a bike that could actually deliver on the ‘quiver-killer’ promise. After our long term test, we became real believers. The Exploro really could do it all, but it needed the right build We felt that build was SRAM eTap.

PELOTON

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When SRAM offered to come by the Peloton Service Course and build a bike with new Red eTap HRD, its electronic hydraulic disc group, we immediately thought of the 3T Exploro. To SRAM’s credit they didn’t hang up the phone. eTap is a road group and SRAM makes plenty of very capable 1X groups designed for adventure, but we envisioned a bike as at home in the dirt as it would be on the club ride; a bike capable of riding both Dirty Kanza and an industrial park crit. We wanted Red eTap and SRAM was up for the challenge, especially the new mid-cage WiLFi derailleur capable of an 11-32 cassette.

RELATED: Read our complete review of the 3T Exploro in issue 62 of PELOTON or take a look at our first impressions from the launch here.

We heard eTap wasn’t compatible with wide, gravel tires due to the front derailleur’s battery, but the 3T is 650b compatible. We checked clearance with 1.5″ Panaracer Gravelking tires in 650b mode. No problem. Up next, gearing. We had to have the 11-32 cassette so we needed the mid-cage derailleur. What about up front? We wanted power, so looked to Quarq DZero. We had a Quarq with 53/39 rings on a 130BCD, but thanks to the new eight-bolt set up, could easily swap it for a 50/34 chainrings on a 110BCD spider. 34×32 is a low gear – 28inches – but with the 650b wheels it drops even further – 27inches. That’s more than small enough for steep dirt climbing. Even with the small wheels, the 50×11 delivers 118gear inches, plenty for all but the fastest sprints.

*The Exploro has dual 160mm rotors, not 140mm and 160mm as stated in the video.

SRAM was quick to remind us Red eTap HRD is not a gravel group, so we shouldn’t expect the same kind of performance its 1X groups provide in mud or truly nasty conditions, but we’re confident it’s more than up to the challenge. We know the gearing will me more than adequate. Our main concern comes from the lower bottom bracket. We’ve ridden the Exploro with 650b wheels and 47mm tires. The 70mm drop was fine with that set up. With 40mm Gravelkings the BB will be a bit lower. We don’t see anything but positives out of this over gravel or fire road, but in rocky or rooty terrain it may be a bit too low. Time will tell and we’ll let you know soon in the pages of Peloton Magazine.

Pricing for the eTap HRD kit is $2,314 for short cage and $2,335 for WiFLi the kit used in this build. This aftermarket kit does not include chain, cassette, BB or crank, but includes 2x 160 Centerline X rotors.

Look for SRAM Red eTap to show up on bikes this May and to be available in the aftermarket early summer 2017. 

Here are images from the 3T Exploro + SRAM Red eTap build at the Peloton Service Course by SRAM’s Technical Rep, Nate Newton, as well as complete specs from this very special build.

It's all about the tools and Nate has a stacked travel kit.
It’s all about the tools and Nate has a stacked travel kit.
This is as far as we got before the professionals arrived.
This is as far as we got before the professionals arrived.

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Swapping the 130BCD Quarq Red DZERO for a 110BCD and the 50/34 rings was easy with Quarq's new 8 bolt set up.
Swapping the 130BCD Quarq Red DZERO for a 110BCD and the 50/34 rings was easy with Quarq’s new 8 bolt set up.
It's all about the details. Nate gets the levers just right.
It’s all about the details. Nate gets the levers just right.
SRAM's paddle style shifting was a big reason we wanted eTap on this bike.
SRAM’s paddle style shifting was a big reason we wanted eTap on this bike.
Cable housing threaded through the frame and 3T Aeronova bars made routing the hydro cables a breeze.
Cable housing threaded through the frame and 3T Aeronova bars made routing the hydro cables a breeze.
The new SRAM Red Hydro HC calipers wear their heat management on the inside. An internal heat sink and plenty of airflow make fins on the rotors superfluous.
The new SRAM Red Hydro HC calipers wear their heat management on the inside. An internal heat sink and plenty of airflow make fins on the rotors superfluous.
The doctor is in.
The doctor is in.
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‘Bleeding Edge’ technology makes bleeding a no-drip affair. The lever’s fixture is even on a piece of hydro line so it can be moved slightly for ease of attachment.
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Nate bleeds hydraulic brakes with the confidence of a man that has done it many, many times. The new reservoir is incredibly flexible, making it easy to get any air out of the system.
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The 11-32 kit, made possible by the WiFLi mid-cage Red eTap rear derailleur is really what makes this do-it-all build possible.
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Nate dials in the rear brake. With the new adjustable contact point he was able to get the exact feel we were after.
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The pad’s contact point can be easily tweaked at the top of the lever.
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With the rear wheel in we could easily verify the 650b size with 1.5″ Gravelking tires gave us plenty of clearance with the eTap front derailleur battery.
With brakes dialed pairing and adjusting the eTap front and rear derailleur's took about five minutes. Then it was onto setting up the Blips - another big reason we wanted eTap on this build.
With brakes dialed pairing and adjusting the eTap front and rear derailleurs took about five minutes. Then it was onto setting up the Blips – another big reason we wanted eTap on this build.
Zevlin set us up with some PELOTON custom bar tape. At 2.5mm thick and 40mm wide it goes on quickly and provides plenty of cushion.
Zevlin set us up with some PELOTON custom bar tape. At 2.5mm thick and 40mm wide it goes on quickly and provides plenty of cushion. The 3T Aeronova bars were selected not for their aero properties but the long reach and fairly shallow drop, which helped dial in the fit.
And it's done... The Ultimate Quiver Killer.
And it’s done… The Ultimate Quiver Killer.

Bike Details
3T Exploro LTD Frame size LG with 3T Luteus II LTD Fork
SRAM Red eTap HRD group with 175mm Quarq Red DZero Power Meter
50/34 Chainrings with 11-32 Cassette
3T Discus Plus C25 Pro 650b wheels
1.5″ Panaracer Gravelking tires
ISM PN 1.0 Saddle
3T ARX 120mm stem with Aeronova 42cm bars
Zevlin Big 40 2.5 Custom Peloton Bar Tape
Zipp Alumina Bottle Cages
Weight: 8.1kg/17.8lbs w/o pedals

For more info on these products and brands: 3tcycling.com,sram.com, quarq.com , panaracer.com, ismseat.com, zevlin.com, zipp.com