Keen to secure their place amongst the manufacturers, 55 years and 4 generations later, 3T launch their first road bike, the STRADA.
3T, translates to Techno Tube Torino, since 1961 they have fitted champions with their namesake, tubed componentry, such as stems, seatposts, and handlebars. Since 2007 they started making significant commitments to carbon, welcoming a new era to the company and advances, including wheel and frame designs.
With the rise in gravel bikes, their first frame the EXPLORO arrived at a perfect time, but keen to show they’re frames a more than a trend 3T are releasing their first road model, an ‘aero bike’ the STRADA. A bike they believe has reinvented the aero category by unlocking elements often overlooked.
Comfort, the struggle of the aero bike, tyre size is a major factor and wider is becoming the norm, increased comfort and lower rolling resistance outweigh the aerodyanmic costs. The STRADA overcomes this with a frame specifically designed to accommodate wide rubber improving airflow around the rim.
Next is the drivetrain, the BB is an aerodynamic mess, 3T want to simplify the problem, embracing the 1X, removing a front derailleur and chainring, allowing smooth airflow through and around the rear wheel arch. Their approach is simplistic genius, a 2X11 drivetrain will often have an overlap of gearing, as few as 14 effective ratios, those 3 extra gears come at the cost of a second shift lever, a second chainring, a front derailleur plus mounting and extra cabling. A 1X11 equals less components, less weight, and less hassles.
A novel approach was taken to the most obvious factor, tube shapes. Arcfoil tubing replaces the Sqaero in many sections to better mimic and assist laminar airflow. Air disruption is further lowered through the position and shaping of tubing, including the Fundi fork, surrounding wheels both front and rear, aiming to create smooth transitions wherever possible. Real world analysis showed some unexpected results too, for example, around the fork crown air was shown to deflect almost vertically off the wheel rather than around the head-tube as thought, and the fastest riding set-up actually includes one bottle, the second fastest, two.
Succumbing to current trends has seen the STRADA launch as a disc-only option, 3T justifying the decision as it simplified the goal, like the drivetrain, the process didn’t require catering to different braking systems and aero tweaks to suit each. The most contentious issue and apprehension 3T may face in the market are the disc and drivetrain limitations, but it seems these are fairly justified and are they actually a legitimate concern on an ‘aero’ frame, literally designed to be ridden fast on the flats?
Stay tuned for full specs, details, and prices closer to the release, in the meantime follow 2004 Paris-Roubaix winner, Magnust Backstedt and his daughter Elynor as they ride through Roubaix, Flanders, the Alps, and Dolomites. The cobbles and Magnus’ 105kg frame are sure to put the comfort claims to the test.