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3 Guys, 3 Bikes, 3T

Jonas , Sascha & Drew 28. November 2017

We gave three very different riders, 3 different 3T Exploro builds to see how well each one preformed. Read on for more about how versatile this bike is.

Here at bike-components, we put together a fleet of 3T Exploro test bikes. The idea behind the Exploro is versatility and the frame can fit Road, Cyclocross and MTB tyres without issues. Its short chainstays keep it agile and at its heart it is an aero bike for off-road use. The test bikes all have similar setups except for two different wheelsets and three different tyre types. Changing just these two factors, make each build ready for different kinds of riding. To be sure the Mixed Surface builds met our expectations, we decided to give them to three very different riders for two weeks. They spent time training for and riding in gruelling Gravel races, so they’ve had quite a few hours in the saddle. Now this isn’t your typical review, and if you are looking for one you can find it here. Below our three riders, Jonas, Sascha and Drew, describe what makes the individual bike builds special and what each one does best. The question is: is the 3T Mixed Surface bike really as versatile as it claims to be?

Jonas - A die-hard roadie

I am the classic road cyclist. I usually ride on asphalt and occasionally on cobbles, tracks and trainers. I am a road bike nerd through and through. I normally ride a Storck Scenaro Road bike so switching to the 3T Exploro with 27.5” (650B) wheels and 47 mm WTB Horizon tyres was a welcome change. If not just to see how the bike would handle.

Jonas after a 3-day bikepacking tour with the Exploro on 27.5" (650B) WTB Horizons.

Jonas after a 3-day bikepacking tour with the Exploro on 27.5" (650B) WTB Horizons.

Honestly, this is bike is the bomb! The only thing that bothered me was the slow steering when compared to a normal Road bike. Of course, this is due to the increased tyre size, but what they lack in steering they make up for in comfort. This bike would be pretty great for a classic road race like the Paris-Roubaix. Overall, it is super agile and very comfortable, despite its aero geometry.

A short note on the tyres: they offer never-ending grip when its dry, but as soon as wet gravel comes into play, things get a little slippery. In reality, they are the Mario Cipollinis amongst balloon pneus. After riding the Exploro for two weeks I switched back to 22 mm Continental Sprinter tubulars, and I was a little afraid of cutting through the asphalt on such thin tyres.

In the end, if I could only own one bike, I would definitely go with the 3T Exploro with 650B wheels!

Rocky double-track is no problem.

Rocky double-track is no problem.

Smooth singletrack is a dream.

Smooth singletrack is a dream.

Sascha - CX Rider

I’m the kind of cyclist who only really rides two different kinds of bikes. In the winter, when it’s cold and muddy, you’ll find me on my Cyclocross course. Usually, I hit the forest and fields for 40-60 min and push as hard as I can, so I can get back to the warmth of my couch quickly. Between spring and fall, I spend all of my time on my Storck Scenaro Road bike crushing kilometres. I was excited to see how well the Exploro performed, especially off-road.

Sascha with the Exploro on 700c WTB Nanos.

Sascha with the Exploro on 700c WTB Nanos.

Riding the Exploro on 700c wheels was much more relaxed then what I am used to on my Cross bike. I was really surprised at how agile it was. Any time I took a corner, it pushed itself through wanting to go faster. There is also plenty of space between the tyres and frame / fork, which kept mud from setting in. And let me tell you, 7 mm of rubber really makes the difference. When riding 33c tyres in a CX race, you are plenty limited. It’s a good thing that both the frame and the 3T Luteus Carbon Fork fit 40 mm WTB Nanos. The perfect compromise between grip and resistance. One could also ride tubeless, which would turn every gravel road into a race course.

Sandy decents are easy, thanks to the 40 mm tyres.

Sandy decents are easy, thanks to the 40 mm tyres.

The Exploro is just plain fun.

The Exploro is just plain fun.

Out of saddle riding and it still keeps its grip.

Out of saddle riding and it still keeps its grip.

Agility is the Exploro's game.

Agility is the Exploro's game.

Drew - the monster truck driver

I usually find myself straddling the saddle of a 27.5”+ Salsa Fargo and cruising around on as much dirt as I can find. With my trusty steel steed, I am not too worried about speed and agility, it’s more about rolling over everything and having a good time. When bc asked me to try out the carbon fibre 3T Exploro with 27.5” (650B) wheels and 2.1” Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres, I was a little sceptical. Would I be able to ride my favourite off-road routes without the security and comfort of my 3” rubber?

Drew and the Exploro with 27.5" wheels and 2.1" Rocket Ron tyres.

Drew and the Exploro with 27.5" wheels and 2.1" Rocket Ron tyres.

The simple answer to this is yes. The Exploro with the Rocket Ron tyres and 27.5” wheels is unbelievably fast without sacrificing the security of larger tyres. The road / gravel race position makes the bike even more fun when taking on huge climbs or descents no matter the terrain. I rode the Exploro through every type of gravel, on forest paths and through muddy puddles without it ever slipping out from under me or slowing down. The large tyres are definitely suited to anything that is not road and depending on your skill, they can take you through some singletrack as well. The nickname for my Fargo is the monster truck and honestly, the Exploro with 2.1” rubber is just as worthy of this name. It can do it all and is ready for truly anything!

Loose conditons are easy with such big tyres.

Loose conditons are easy with such big tyres.

Rolling over everything fast is especially fun.

Rolling over everything fast is especially fun.

Through the underbrush ain't no thing.

Through the underbrush ain't no thing.

The Exploro never stops.

The Exploro never stops.

Summary

Three different rider’s, three different builds, one bike. The Exploro is truly what it says it is. A mixed surface machine that can be set up to handle everything from the road to singletrack. Depending on the build, it adapts to its terrain. With a simple switch of the wheelset and tyres, all of a sudden it is a new bike. It remains agile and fast no matter how it’s built and it is one of the most versatile bikes on the market. But don’t just take our word for it. Head over to our test bike page and rent one of them for yourself from our store in Aachen.

What are your thoughts on the 3T Exploro?

Jonas

Jonas

Blog comments are published with first name and first letter of surname.
Blog comments are published with first name and first letter of surname.

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