Casey’s Review of His 3T Strada Due

The 2018 release of the 3T Strada pushed the envelope on aero bike design norms. At a time where rim brakes were still the stopper of choice on the Pro Tour and 25c tires were considered a “comfort tire,” the Strada rode onto the scene designed specifically for disc brakes and 28c tires. To see a company best known for handlebars and stems suddenly release a high-performance road bike caught many off-guard, but it didn’t take long for people to catch on to how great a machine this is.

3T Strada Due - Contender Bicycles

One look at the Strada and it is clear that aerodynamics are the main design focus. It is less surprising when one considers that Gerard Vroomen was the lead designer. Vroomen is perhaps best-known as the co-founder of Cervelo, the first company to introduce aero road bikes to the pro peloton. After leaving Cervelo, Vroomen teamed up with 3T to design the Strada, a demonstration of where the cycling industry would be in five years’ time with race road bikes.

The Strada is a Vroomen-designed bike (says so on the chainstays!) so aerodynamic features are a given. What’s unique about the Strada is that it is aerodynamically optimized with 30 mm wide tires in mind. Even just a few years back, most felt that 23 mm wide tires were the race option; anything more than 25 mm-wide would be sluggish and heavy. Vroomen and 3T disagreed and disagreed strongly. They saw more and more riders transitioning to wider tires for comfort and the ability to ride dirt roads while lowering rolling resistance with wider tires at lower pressures.

3T Strada Due Aerodynamic Vroomen Designed - Contender Bicycles

This bike here is the Strada Due, which differs from the Strada in one way: 2x drivetrains. The 1x theory is great for aerodynamics, but I preferred the close gear spacing of a 2x drivetrain.

RIDE

Space for a 30 mm-wide tire does not make this bike worthy of Crusher in the Tushar or light singletrack ripper; that is squarely Exploro territory. The Strada is made for flying over asphalt and fly it does. Once you get rolling on the Strada, the bike comes alive and responds to every pedal stroke. The Strada constantly bites at the bit to go faster, beat the light, and catch that next cyclist. It is ready to explode forward at any moment and dive into whichever corner you even remotely glance at, so long as you’re moving with some speed.

The Strada is at it’s best going fast. The wonderfully steep 73.5-degree headtube angle (size MD) and short chainstays make for a very short front center measurement. There are some tradeoffs to this; there is noticeable toe overlap which you will feel while at stoplights, rolling in a parking lot, and even sometimes on tight hairpins. The front center measurement is so short that I once burnt the inner sides of my knees on the tire at times descending on the top tube (not that we condone such sort of riding.)

3T Strada Due Downtube - Contender Bicycles

Even with those small quirks, the Strada is amazing at speed. The Strada rides as if it’s on rails, locked into every corner and ready to explode towards the next one. Flying into a long canyon curve or a tight S-curve combo in a crit at speed, the bike never hesitates and even gives a feeling of excitement while rocketing through tight bends.

Now all of this speed and agility is wonderful, but none of that will do you any good if your bones are rattling for hours after a ride. This is where the Strada’s hyper thin seat stays and those wide tires mentioned earlier come in, as it makes for an extremely compliant for a race bike. The thin seat stays work in conjunction with the 30 mm tires to absorb and deflect road vibration better than any older narrow tire could. The Strada has a wonderfully supple ride as you motor along at new PR levels of speed.

3T Strada Due Tire Clearance - Contender Bicycles

Most aero bikes tend to be designated to flat land and rolling hills territories. The Strada, however, is more than happy to explore long canyon climbs and travel farther vertically than horizontally. The stiff bottom bracket wastes none of the energy you push into it, giving you the sensation of jumping up the climbs with every push from your legs. It’s not the lightest race machine out there, but it’s aero properties make up for any excess weight even on steep inclines.

The lower drag coefficient of this bike makes it an amazing option for rides such as Emigration Canyon where aerodynamics will play a bigger role than weight. As for longer and steeper climbs like a Cottonwood Canyon? I doubt that the low excess weight in the Strada’s frame is enough to be the sole thing holding you back from getting that K/QOM.

NITPICKS

A few things to note with the Strada Due after six months of ownership:

  • The seat post clamp can be a pain to get free to adjust the saddle height, and you will have to tighten it periodically.
  • The saddle rail clamp is could be better designed. It may be ok once set up, but even a slight adjustment might mean you need to fully disassemble it. (The Exploro seat rail clamp was similar but recently got overhauled. Fingers crossed that 3T will do the same for the Strada as the new Exploro one is much improved.)
  • The minimal space between the tires and the frame may lead to rubbing. I’ve seen other reviewers have this problem but haven’t encountered it yet. Plan on adding some frame protectors in key areas.

3T Strada Due Seatpost Assembly - Contender Bicycles

BUILDS

The Strada was originally designed as a 1x-only platform, but the bike in photos is the more conventional 2x-drivetrain Due. Strada Due comes in three stock builds and two framesets. It is an electronic-only groupset frame which may disappoint some. There is a Force AXS build, an Ultegra Di2 build, and a Red AXS build option; the latter two coming with Discus 45|32 LTD carbon wheels and the Force build with alloy wheels. Personally, I feel that some deeper section wheels fit this frame better not only visually but performance-wise as well.

You may have noticed that the build in the photos is not a stock build. It is a custom build built by yours truly, though it stays fairly close to the stock Force AXS build.

Frame: 3T Strada Due Team
Fork: 3T Fundi Team
Handlebar: Zipp SL-70 Aero
Stem: Zipp Service Course
Rear Derailleur: SRAM Force AXS eTap
Front Derailleur: SRAM Force AXS eTap
Brakes: SRAM Force AXS Hydraulic
Crankset: SRAM Force AXS 48/35t, 172.5
Cassette: SRAM Force AXS 12-speed, 10-28t
Wheelset: HollowGram KNOT 64
Tires: Schwalbe Pro One, labeled 25mm, measure 28mm
Saddle: Syncros Belcarra V 2.0 (subject to change over time)
Pedals: TIME Xpresso 7

3T Strada Due - Contender Bicycles

SUMMARY

When it comes down to it, the Strada is an amazing bike. A beautiful blend of pure speed and supple comfort. A bike that will entice you to go faster and faster regardless of your surroundings. One with telepathic handling, already diving into the next corner as you exit the current. A bike with wonderful aerodynamics that is never flustered by the wind or incline.

Is it a bike for everyone? Definitely not. The Strada Due is a pure race bike and it won’t be tricked into doing anything else. The sharp handling demands the rider’s focus and will not let you get away with lazy cruising. If you want something that’s more relaxed, or if you’re not the type who worries over your average speed and K/QOMs, then perhaps the Strada is not the bike for you. But if you find delight in speed, fast rides, rubbing elbows with friends, cheating the wind, beating the clock, and getting to the cafe first. Then you would be very hard-pressed to find something that will beat the Strada Due, the Ultimate Sleeper.

Have any questions about the 3T Strada Due road bike, or 3T bikes in general? Give us a call during business hours, or send us an email any time to info@contenderbicycles.com.

Photos by Cody Wignall.

Comments

Image of Junior
Junior says
November 23rd, 2019

Very nice review! Could you share what frame size you are using and what is the final weight of your custom build? Cheers!

Reply to Junior

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Image of Casey M.
Casey M. says
November 24th, 2019

Hi Junior!

My frame size is a large and the final weight is around 18 lbs. Not the lightest for sure but also haven't ever felt like that hindered me in anyway. Going up in groupset would save some grams for sure, as would a lighter wheelset. However I adore this wheelset and the aero properties they have far out weight any weight savings I may gain from shallower wheels. Especially on a frame like the Strada's.

Thank you!

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Image of Junior
Junior says
November 26th, 2019

Thanks a lot, Casey! Very helpful as I am considering one for myself :)

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Image of Mike
Mike says
March 7th, 2020

Hi Casey - i am considering a 3T Strada Due and doing research online about it. There seem to be a lot of negative reviews suggesting it is a rough ride with poor turning. This wasn't your experience? Any issues with the close tire clearance? Also do you know if the frame has changed since first launch (2017-2018)?

Cheers,

Mike

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Image of Casey
Casey says
March 10th, 2020

Hi Mike,

From my experience and from other conversations I've had with people who have ridden the Strada, everyone seems to enjoy the handling of the bike. The steeper head tube and seat tube angles of the frame put the rider in a very nice forward and aggressive position. They also give the bike fast and stable handing at high speeds. At lower speeds, such as in the parking lot at near stationary speeds, there is noticeable toe overlap. That with the shorter wheelbase don't make it the most stable while slowly creeping in the parking lot or at a light. However once up to speed, anything above 5 mph, the bike is stable and handles with confidence. Also while at riding speed the amount you would need turn the wheel to clip your toe with the toe overlap would be enough to make you crash regardless of what bike you are on. I believe I know which review you are referring to in where they felt it handled poorly. I believe the reason for that review feeling that way was due to the handlebars on the bike. They had a pair of handlebars that are known to be fairly flexible under load. This is nice while riding over rough surfaces, but if you are putting a lot of power down and attacking the corners this would create a slightly uncomfortable turning feeling. I highly recommend going with a stiff handlebar such as the the Zipp SL-70.

As for comfort of the frame while riding that is slightly suggestive based off what you perceive to be comfortable. It won't be confused for something like a Cannondale Synapse or a Santa Cruz Stigmata with 40mm tires. The tires I currently have on it measure 28 mm and riding with those tubeless at 70 psi create a very smooth and comfortable ride for a high end race bike. The Strada also has wonderfully slim seat stays that provide a large amount of flex and vibration dampening adding the smoothness of the bike. Within the category of race bikes the Strada is up there for the smoothest I have ridden. I have never finished a ride on the Strada feeling that the bike beat me up.

With the tire clearance on the bike it is slim. I have put frame protecting tape on the seat stay and in the crown of the fork to help protect against any dirt getting in there. For my dry rides in the SLC there hasn't any issue with dirt getting caught in between the frame and tires. On wet days I have been very glad that I installed the frame protection as during post ride cleaning I can seen where some dirt would have rubbed with wider tires or large pebbles. As for changes in the frame there hasn't been any as far as I can tell. The only exception being the change in the carbon layup to handle the load of the front-derailleur.

Hope this helps!

Thank you,

Casey

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Image of Mike wells
Mike wells says
March 23rd, 2020

Thank you Casey!

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Image of Taz
Taz says
May 27th, 2020

Hi Casey, great review by the way, very helpful! I have one question as I’m building up one of these from scratch. I was considering buying the original bar and stem that came with the bike from the factory. Apto team stem and superergo team or Ltd bar.. was this the bar that got the bad review online for a little to much flex?
Thanks in advance!

Reply to Taz

Replies

Image of Alvin Holbrook
Alvin Holbrook says
May 27th, 2020

Casey's bike has a Zipp SL-70 Aero bar on it. We've found it to be a very stiff handlebar, with the only downside being that the aero bar setup limits what kinds of accessories you can use with it. The Superergo Team bar has also been a decently stiff option on our side as well, though I can see how it might flex more than something like an ENVE road bar or Deda 35. Both are great options all things considered.

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