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Component brand 3T launches its first bike — and creates a new category

Published June 14, 2016

ARTIMINO, Italy (BRAIN) — The historic Italian component brand 3T — which was bought last year by its president and CEO, René Wiertz, and Cervélo co-founder Gerard Vroomen — is introducing its first bike, which may be the industry's first aero gravel road bikes, called the Exploro.

The company said it spent a year developing the bike, including tests at the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel.

The comapny said the bike's "Sqaero" tube shapes offer real-world aerodynamic advantages, even with covered with mud. It said the frame's aerodynamics were developed for "realistic" speeds of 20 mph, with waterbottles, mud, and gravel or mountain bike-style tires.

The Exploro frame has a 50mm wide downtube that 3T said is optimal for picking up airflow coming off a the front tire and leading it on to the water bottles. The seattube is 25mm wide to make it aerodynamically disappear between the bottles and the rear tire. The headtube, seatstays and custom seatpost also use Sqaero shapes.

According to 3T, the Exploro saves 7 watts over the equivalent round tube frame (same tube widths, same frame details, same components) at 20 mph.

The Exploro 700c road and cyclocross tires or 650b mountain bike tires. The geometry features short, 415mm chainstays and the frame includes internal routing for cables, hydraulic hoses and an internal seat clamp. The FlipTop cable guide on the toptube comes in several versions to allow for mechanical and electronic shifting, with single or double chainrings. For mechanical shifting, the Exploro uses full housing for the rear derailleur to completely shield the cables from any dirt or debris.

The frame's Hang Loose Hanger for the rear derailleur detaches from the frame when the rear wheel is removed, which the company said makes it easier to re-install the rear wheel after a repair in the field.

The frameset, with seatpost and headset, is offered in two versions. The LTD version retails for $4,200; the Team version retails for $3,000.

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