Tecno Tubo Torino, or 3T to the rest of us, is an Italian company known for creating beautiful bike components, particularly handlebars, stems and seatposts. When the brains behind Cervelo and Open Cycle, Gerard Vroomen, teamed up with the brand, it wasn’t a surprise to hear about their entry into frame design and manufacturing. And the result is as ground-breaking as any of Gerard’s former creations. The 3T Exploro LTD Frameset is designed to combine the extreme versatility of Gravel Plus technology found in the Open Cycle U.P., with intelligent aerodynamics and road geometry. Where the Open U.P. is a mountain bike for the road, the new 3T Exploro is a road bike for the dirt, and the Exploro LTD is the lightest, most advanced frameset that 3T offers.
The 3T Exploro breaks away from traditional frame design in order to achieve versatility never before seen in the road bike world. Gravel Plus technology allows the Exploro to accept a range in tire and wheel sizes, from a 700c x 32mm cyclocross tire, to a 650b (27.5″) x 2.1″ knobby. Because the overall tire diameter is nearly the same, the 3T Exploro maintains its optimal handling characteristics regardless of tire selection. Achieving this level of versatility,without compromising the handling, was not easy. 3T went through an extensive manipulation of the tube shaping, with the most notable being the dropped drive side chainstay. The end result allows 3T to pull the rear wheel further forward than normal, maintaining the chainstay length of a traditional road bike. Because the Exploro is, at heart, a road bike, 3T chose road-inspired geometry, to ensure crisp high-speed cornering and a stable platform for out of saddle efforts. With a road tire, the Exploro feels like any great road bike, but slap on a 650b mountain tire, and even mountain bike trails are rideable. And while the Exploro may not be a go-to mountain bike, there’s something very gratifying about riding to a trail head, ripping some singletrack, then cruising back home.
Gerard Vroomen put Cervelo on the map with his integration of aerodynamics in bike frame design, so it’s fitting that the 3T Exploro would launch with its own wind-tunnel data. The hunt for free speed required a trip back to the drawing board, as a wide tire all but negates the benefits of a normal aero bike’s frame shaping. Specifically for the Exploro, 3T developed SQaero technology, which employs a massively wide downtube to help direct the air flow off a wide front tire/wheel. Conversely, the Exploro’s seattube and seatstays are razor-thin, to disappear from the wind and increase vertical compliance. This is straight out of the Cervelo playbook, and is something a lot of manufacturers have tried to copy in their own frame designs. Vroomen, not willing to settle for traditional aero testing, opted to test the Exploro with tires that will be used in the real world. The results are impressive – the Exploro with a 40mm wide tire measures faster than a traditional road bike with a 28mm tire, ensuring those trips to and from the trailhead are a fast as possible.
Trying to spec a stock bike for a design this versatile would prove futile, so 3T is offering the Exploro as a frameset only, in two version: LTD and Team. The LTD Frameset comes with a full-carbon 3T Luteus II LTD fork, a 3T carbon seatpost, headset, front thru-axle, and all proprietary small-parts needed to complete a build. The Exploro comes ready to accept a wide range in components, including mechanical shifting, Di2, and eTap. The Exploro is disk brake only, and accepts now-standard 15×100 front/12×142 rear thru axle wheels. Because of the frame shaping, the Exploro can be setup with either a single front chainring (46t max or 50t with an offset ring) or with a double chainring setup (36t max inner, 50t max outer). The Exploro LTD saves nearly a half pound over the Team version, through the use of higher-modulus carbon and a more refined layup schedule. The LTD frameset is offered in a gloss Black with Grey logos. Call or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org