Checking the 3T Exploro at Bienvelo bakeshop in Malmö
Gear

Gravel racers

All cyclist 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 rig. So you can imagine how thrilled we were when DHL had a very special delivery for us. Coming 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 wishlist for a long time, so we teamed up with 3T to find our new dream bicycle.

Pioneers

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 lightest drop bars available on the market. 

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

Exploro

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 different 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 & 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 backcountry. 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.

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