2018 3T Exploro LTD
With the eternal dividing and subdividing of the cycling industry, it can sometimes be difficult to tell just what sort of bike you should be buying. The 3T Exploro LTD comes to explode any preconceived notions you may have had about road bikes versus mountain bikes. Now there only needs to be one category.
The company 3T has long been a respected purveyor of things like stems and handlebars, but the Exploro is their first foray into bicycle frames. In fact it is the brainchild of Gerard Vrooman, part owner of 3T, not to mention a dynamo behind several other ventures, including Cervelo and Open Cycles. If you’ve done a fair amount of lusting after the Open U.P., then you’ll probably notice a few cheeky similarities with this bike, but don’t let that make you think this is just a re-badged U.P. Far from it, actually. The Exploro tags itself as the first aerodynamic gravel bike. As much as an oxymoron as that may sound, they have actual wind tunnel data to back up their claim. What they’ve done is develop tubes with aero qualities that are maximized at the lower speeds that us normal riders will be doing, and even took into account the actual mud you’ll likely be layering your bike in after a couple hours in the woods. Presto Sqaero! Sqaero is what they’ve dubbed their aerodynamic downtube which takes the typical teardrop aero tube shape and hacks off the tail end, effectively squaring off the tube. But since it is 50mm wide, the 25mm wide seat tube can completely shelter behind the downtube’s slipstream and basically disappear in an aerodynamic sense. In fact, that downtube is so wide, your water bottles will practically disappear behind it. The head tube, seatstays and bespoke seatpost also use the Sqaero shape for an aero advantage.
If you are still unconvinced that this is a different animal compared to the Open U.P., you’ll want to stop and consider what sort of ride you’ll get from the geometry. The Exploro is made for sharp, snappy handling thanks to its Performance Geometry, which is intended to help you get through tight switchback corners on woodsy gravel tracks without having to dab or scrub your speed. This is a road racer’s bike for backcountry adventures. The fact that you can stick on a whole array of different wheel and tire sizes is what will make you crave the trails. This is a Gravel Plus bike after all. With the dropped chainstay giving that whole bottom bracket area more room to breathe, you can fit everything from 700x28mm or 700x40mm road and cross and tires all the way up to 650b mountain bike tires, up to 2.1 inches wide.
With cleverly designed ports to match the internal cable routing for Di2, e-Tap, as well as 1x10/11, 2x10/11, you’ll be able to suit up your rig with clean lines and an uncluttered look. The fork is their in-house 3T Luteus II LTD, which is a full carbon construction with a 15mm through axle that can accept up to 180mm disc brake rotors. However, the rear triangle accept up to a 160mm rotor and is a 12mm through axle.
Available in four sizes ranging from small to x-large, the 3T Exploro LTD will make you want to go back to having only one bike again.
Frame: Unidirectional carbon - ultralight layup
Fork: 3T Fango LTD carbon (400g)
Rear Stay: Carbon
Fork Axle: 12mm Thru x 100mm
Headset Included: Yes, integrated IS42/28.6 IS52/40
Steerer Tube: 1 1/8” - 1 1/2”
Bottom Bracket Type: BB386EVO
Cable Routing: Internal, electric or mechanical
Front Derailleur Mount: Braze-on
Front Derailleur Pull Type: Bottom pull
Front Derailleur Swing Type: Bottom swing
Wheel Size: 700c, 650b
Max Tire Clearance: 40mm on 700c, 2.1” on 650b
Brake Type: Disc, flat mount
Seatpost Diameter: Aero
Seatpost Included: Yes, 3T Charlie Sqaero
Seat Collar Included: Yes
Rear Axle: 12mm Thru x 142mm
Sizes: 46.3cm SM | 49cm MD | 51.8cm LG | 54.5cm XL |
Colors: Stealth Black
Weight: 990g | 2.18lbs