Checking the 3T Exploro at Bienvelo bikeshop in Malmö

Our new gravel racer bikes: The 3T Exploro

    All cyclists know, that nothing beats #newbikeday. You could combine all the wonderful gifts on Christmas and your birthday, and it wouldn’t even come close to the feeling of cycling on a fresh new gravel racer. So you can imagine how thrilled we were when DHL had a very special delivery for us from 3T bikes, all the way from Bergamo, Italy.

    After dragging our heavy loaded steel touring bikes over the roughest roads and toughest single trails, we wanted something completely different. Gravel is the way we roll these days, and we absolutely enjoy picking up some speed. A quick and light ride had been on our wish list for a long time, so we teamed up with 3T to find our new dream bicycle.


    3T is a brand well known for their bicycle components. The real bike freaks know they produce top of the notch rides too. A short history lesson tells us that Turin Tube Technology (that’s what those 3 T’s actually stand for) originally focused on the manufacturing of steel tubing. The brand really made name for itself in 1981 with the release of the Superleggero drop bar. At that time one of the lightest drop bars available on the market. 

    3T has a track record of being first: first to introduce modern aluminium to cycling, first to produce an aero handlebar and first to design gravel specific wheels. Since 2008, 3T added the production of carbon-fibre composite materials to their production line. Another first-timer was the release of the first aero-carbon-gravel bike: the 3T Exploro.

    3T Exploro gravel racer

    The Exploro was exactly what we were looking for, a quick and lively feeling carbon bike. The design by Gerard Vroomen is extremely lightweight and made for fast off-road exploring. The bike is designed to fit road, gravel and even mountainbike wheels and tires. Sporting 700c wheels, it handles tires up to 40 mm. But if you want to ride really rough terrain, the setup with 650b wheels will accommodate 2.1 inch (52 mm) knobby mountainbike tires. 

    Choices, choices

    The Explore comes in many builds. We both have the same frame, but a completely different bike. Where Sabina (WTB Venture 650b x 2.0”) can ride any terrain with incredible comfort, Robin (Schwalbe G-one 700c x 35) is fast fast fast on hard packed and tarmac. We both really wanted to try SRAM’s Force group set. Sabina even went a bit overboard and opted for Force/Eagle AXS etap.

    Gravel cycling weekenders

    A big bonus is that we now have a way bigger radius for our overnighters and (long) weekenders. The bikes are perfectly capable of carrying a few bikepacking bags, as long as we keep the kit to a minimum. These bikes are definitely not made to go on bikepacking adventures for months in the back country. That’s neither the kind of riding we have in mind. We actually chose the bikes to go out on long day rides and maybe even participate in gravel events.

    Exploro Team Force/Eagle AXS ETAP

    Off-road monster with SRAM Force AXS, Eagle XX1 derailleur & 11-50 cassette

    Handlebar   3T Superergo TEAM Stealth
    Shift/brake levers   Sram Force1 Hydraulic DoubleTap
    Rear derailleur   Eagle XX1 AXS Long Cage
    Brakes   Sram Force1 HRD Hydraulic Disc w/ Sram 160mm Centerlock rotor
    Crankset   Sram Force1 44T
    Cassette   Sram Eagle 11-50T
    Wheelset   Fulcrum Racing 7 650b
    Tires   WTB Venture 650b x 2.0” Tubeless, Tan Sidewall
    Saddle   Fizik Antares R7
    Pedals   Shimano SPD

    Exploro Team Speed Force1

    Pure speed-focused spec for both road and gravel rides

    Handlebar   3T Superergo PRO
    Shift/brake levers   Sram Force1 Hydraulic DoubleTap
    Rear derailleur   Sram Force1 Medium Cage
    Brakes   Sram Force1 HRD Hydraulic Disc w/ Sram 160mm Centerlock rotor
    Crankset   Sram Quarq Prime Carbon Power Ready 40T
    Cassette   Sram 11-speed PowerGlide 11-36T
    Wheelset   Fulcrum Racing 7 700c
    Tires   Schwalbe G-ONE ALLROUND Performance 700x35c
    Saddle   Fizik Antares
    Pedals   Shimano SPD


    Post scriptum

    The attentive reader may have noticed that Robin’s bike is not equipped with 700c wheels, as mentioned in the specifications. Last week a young kid on an electric scooter drove head-on into us. This resulted in a lot of scratches, bruises and a broken front wheel. Luckily the amazing folks at BienVélo will patch them all up, so they are soon all pretty and shiny again.

    Follow all our adventures on Instagram.

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