Aero road bikes are nothing new. Neither is the accompanying harshness that is nearly guaranteed when riding an aero road bike. That’s usually the compromise in the pursuit of ultimate speed and efficiency on a road bike. As tubing shapes change and grow to accommodate stiffness and aerodynamics, the rider themselves can be forgotten in the shuffle, leaving a rider more fatigued than they would’ve been had they ridden a more comfortable bicycle. 3T teamed up with Gerard Vroomen, who helped establish the Cervélo brand and some of the first road bikes with aerodynamic efficiency in mind, to tackle the conundrum with forward-thinking. The result of that forward thinking and loads of testing is the new 3T Strada Team Ekar 1x13, an aero bike that has a 1x drivetrain, disc brakes and capability for a wide tire.
The 3T Strada Team Ekar 1x13 is a new bike that has all of the benefits of an aero road bike with promises of not only redefining what an aero road bike is capable of, but what the future of road bike technology can do for everyone. One of the most obvious differences in the Strada is the 1x drivetrain. Not only is weight saved by doing away with the front derailleur and a chainring, but clutter around the bottom bracket is lowered, leading to a much more aerodynamic profile. Further, a 1x drivetrain eliminates gearing redundancy in a standard drivetrain (3T quote that nearly ⅓ of a 2 x 11 drivetrain is redundant), not to mention the obvious weight reduction that comes with a drivetrain diet. The other most obvious difference in the Strada is the disc brakes. Disc brakes, while less aerodynamic than a nicely-integrated caliper brake, provide more consistent and reliable stopping power under all conditions. To combat this, 3T have designed the frame and fork specifically to optimize airflow around the disc brake calipers and rotors.
3T use their already-familiar ‘Sqaero’ tube shaping introduced on the adventurous Exploro frameset for the seatpost and seattube, as well as the razor-thin seatstays dropped low for improved ride comfort and aerodynamics. The new addition is their ‘Arcfoil’ downtube, which is designed to lower wind resistance that naturally comes from a wider tire. The downtube is shaped according to airflow off of the front wheel, which according to 3T flows upward before flowing horizontally as wind passes over the top of the downtube. The downtube is wider around the bottle cage to account for water bottles. It includes two different mounting points to mount the bottle as low as possible for aerodynamics. The seattube, emancipated from the confines of a front derailleur, is free to be tapered specifically around the rear wheel for dynamics really only seen on the best time trial bikes. The rear wheel can then be tucked closer, while liberating space to swallow a 28 mm tire with ease. Finally, the Strada fork again saved from the confines of a caliper brake, is minimalistic as can be. It is a short as possible to bring the wheel closer to the downtube, while still freeing space for that fantastically wide tire.
And that wide-tire capability does a lot for a rider. It’s been proven that a good 28 mm tire can have the same rolling resistance as it’s narrower brethren while allowing a lower tire pressure. This means cyclists can have a smoother ride, along with greater wheel traction that comes from a 28 mm tire’s contact patch. However, there haven’t been many race-ready framesets on the market to take advantage of the wider tire. The 3T Strada Team Ekar 1x13 changes this, with a baked-in capacity of up to a 28 mm wide road tire. By taking advantage of the inherent smoothness and improved grip of a 28 mm tire, a rider can focus more on riding as fast as possible without being up by conventionally poor aero road bike quality. The Strada is designed to be efficient – 12 mm thru axles, a stiff downtube and bottom bracket area personify it’s mission here. But the wide tire means the bike is compliant enough for all-day ride comfort. There isn’t much the frameset can’t do.
The 3T Strada Team Ekar 1x13 isn’t about the lack of a front derailleur, nor is it about how it can fit up to a 30 mm wide road tire. It’s about how it combines these technologies together for a new take on aerodynamics and tube shaping to form a new-age road bike that puts the rider first. The Strada is an unique road bike that can be ridden all day, in the mountains, or on the flattest rides. It has a tight wheelbase for exceptional agility, but it still corners confidently through turns. It is as stiff out of the saddle as the best road bikes out there, while still being smooth and impressively compliant over rutted roads. Ride it where you want, and the Strada excels in a way no other frameset on the market can.
If you have any questions about the 3T Strada Team Ekar 1x13 please give us a call at 801-364-0344 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss building a custom 3T Strada for yourself.