Contender Ten Best of 2021: A Ferrari Red 3T Strada RTP

Written by Alvin Holbrook, on December 24, 2021

Day five of the Contender Ten Best Bikes of 2021 goes to this Ferrari Red 3T Strada Ready to Paint. Featuring a 1x SRAM Force AXS drivetrain, Reynolds carbon wheels, and a smattering of parts from Zipp and 3T, this custom road bike doubles down on the Strada’s groundbreaking formula.

3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - side profile

Let’s start with the elephant in the room with the 3T Strada: it's 1x drivetrain. Modern road bike drivetrains use two chainrings up front with a front derailleur to push the chain in either direction. That’s how it has always been outside of two periods: pre-1940, when riders had to remove their rear wheel to shift gears for uphill and downhill rides, and a ten-year period of the late 90s to the early 00s, when three gears up front gained popularity. The Strada, however, was a blip in technology, ahead of even the 1x drivetrains we have today. While the Strada Due allows for a front derailleur if you wish, the original Strada gained much of its notoriety for being the only 1x-equipped road bike to be raced at the pro level. Despite some success at the pro level, pro riders disliked the limited gearing, which simply wasn’t wide enough to compete with 2x drivetrain range.

3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - downtube detail

Less obvious is the concept of the ‘aero road bike with wide tires.’ The concept wasn’t entirely foreign before, but the Strada was the only bike at the time to be aero-optimized for wider road bike tires. You see it in the curved seattube, the ultra-slim fork crown, and scalloped downtube that made way for the bigger tires. These wide tire clearances were foreign to aero bikes, but doubly so for bikes with race geometry. The Strada has both.

3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - side detail

There are a few choice picks with this bike, however. While a SRAM Eagle 12-speed cassette wouldn’t be everyone’s ideal pick, it affords supreme range on the long, steep climbs here in Utah. The Reynolds AR41 wheels are similarly well-chosen, with a 41mm depth that offers good aerodynamics, good stability against crosswinds, and is still plenty light for climbing. 

But the choicest pick here has to be the custom paint. The world could use more paint fades, and if we were to start the petition, this Strada (or our day three Klein Attitude) should be put on a pedestal. Fortunately, our in-house paint program can make just about any scheme a reality, such as this one here. 

3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - downtube detail

Why does this 3T Strada RTP make the Contender Ten Best of 2021? Aerodynamics and wide tires are the two road-centric buzzwords du jour, but emphasizing the ability to have both was foreign until the Strada. It solidified the idea that you could have the best of both worlds: aero efficiency and the comfort and grip that only a wider tire affords. This bike is an excellent example of what that means for the everyday rider looking to go fast. While some bikes today match this formula, none have the curves of this Strada.

See the rest of the build sheet and more photos below.

Frameset 3T Strada RTP (Ready to Paint) - Size L
Headset Cane Creek 110
Groupset SRAM Force eTap AXS shifters/SRAM XX1 Eagle AXS derailleur
Crankset SRAM Force AXS 172.5mm/Wheels Manufacturing Thread-Together - BB386 EVO/DUB spindle
Gearing SRAM Force AXS/SRAM Centerline X 160mm rotors
Wheelset Reynolds AR41 X - XDR freehub
Tires Schwalbe Pro One TLE - 700c x 28mm
Handlebar 3T Superergo LTD - Carbon Black - 42cm
Stem Zipp SL Speed - Matte Black - 100mm, 6 degree
Seatpost 3T Strada Carbon
Saddle Fizik Antares Versus Evo R1 - 139mm
Accessories SRAM eTap Multiclick for each shifter, Contender Carbon Glossy Cages, Lizard Skins DSP - 3.2mm - Jet Black Handlebar Tape

See the Contender Ten Best Bikes of 2021

3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - ready to paint detail3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - drivetrain detail

3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - lower detail3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - sram blips3T Exploro Force AXS 1x RTP bike - Fizik saddle profile


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