An ad­ven­ture on the 3T Ex­ploro

3T’s aero ad­ven­ture bike is a sur­prise hit with Sy­mon Lewis

Cycling Weekly - - WELCOME -

“The Ex­ploro does it all, and does it all very well”

Iwas one of the first to sneer at 3T’s big claims for the new Ex­ploro aero ad­ven­ture bike. I was scep­ti­cal that it could also be an aero bike and doubted a ma­chine this ex­pen­sive could of­fer any more than a cheaper, more ac­ces­si­ble one. How wrong was I?

Test­ing for me was in two parts, the first be­ing the big Welsh epic ad­ven­ture dur­ing the sum­mer and then test­ing back home on nor­mal day-to-day rides. What sur­prised me was the Ex­ploro’s abil­ity to do it all, and to do it all very well.

3T uses a uni­di­rec­tional car­bon for the frame and fork and has finely tuned it along with the ge­om­e­try to of­fer great han­dling off and on road. While its light­weight con­struc­tion — around 1,500g for the frame and fork — helps the Ex­ploro feel lively and fast, it’s not frag­ile.

3T tested the Ex­ploro in the wind tun­nel at re­al­is­tic speeds to make it faster while go­ing slower, drop­ping the usual 30mph bench­mark down to 20mph.

And in­stead of mak­ing the tube pro­file teardrop-shaped and deep to min­imise drag, 3T’s en­gi­neers have squared off the down tube — what it calls Sqaero — and used the same pro­file on the head tube, seat tube, seat stays and seat­post to boost both stiff­ness and strength.

But no mat­ter how aero the bike was be­fore, it cer­tainly wasn’t af­ter I had added all my bike bags and kit. Where else was I go­ing to put my Coco Pops? The bike’s speed isn’t all down to its aero­dy­nam­ics, then.

Out of all the bikes I’ve rid­den in this set­ting, I en­joyed this one the most. It was ham­mered while be­ing fully laden with bikepack­ing kit. It smashed down mtb chutes and glided along flat gravel roads with ease and not once did the bike or any of the com­po­nents let me down.

The fully stacked Ex­ploro weighed over 12kg but it took it all in its stride. Thank­fully I got some time with­out the lug­gage and it nips around beau­ti­fully. The wide off-road tyres just want you to be silly and had me rid­ing up things on the side of the road just for the heck of it.

The off-road abil­ity of the bike was only lim­ited to what my wrists could take, since it doesn’t have sus­pen­sion. I was sur­prised I made it down some of the ter­rain (I couldn’t re­ally see any­thing thanks to the rat­tling) but even af­ter hit­ting big rocks and get­ting some air, it just kept on truck­ing.

But the beauty of the Ex­ploro is that even if it never touched the rough stuff, it would make an ex­cel­lent road bike once you whipped off the knob­bly tyres.

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