In case you missed it, the 3T Exploro is in on demo, and I took it with me to Bend, where some of the best biking in the Pacific Northwest is. Yesterday we rode 50 miles and with 700c, 30s on the Exploro. The chipseal in Bend will test any bike’s comfort carbon claims, it’s not the bumps, as the roads are well worn, but the vibration frequency. Bend considers cyclists when repaving their roads, using smaller rocks for lanes. The Forest Services does not, and the conditions degrade the farther you ride into the Deschutes National Forest.
I’ve had intolerable chipseal rides in the Bend area; including on carbon and metal bikes. Eager to learn how the Exploro performed, I was not disappointed. That’s because of the Challenge Bianca Strada tires at 80 PSI and the polymer dampening ring inside the seat post head. The tires muted the chipseal frequency just enough, and the seat post took the edge off the bumps. It’s a similar approach to tuning the ride, but more subtle than the Trek Boone that “suspends” the rider at the seat tube cluster with elastomers.
Before the next ride, I’ll switch out the Challenge tire wheelset for 650bs with slicks at even lower pressure and expect to maintain the same pace. That’s because of the Vroomen-engineered aero tubing. As 3T puts it a “40mm knobby cross/gravel tires and 2 water bottles it is faster than the equivalent clean round tube bike is with 28mm slick road tires and without bottles.”
That’s a bold statement and 3T has the wind tunnel numbers to back it up. What I felt so far was the bike slicing through strong headwinds and lift from tailwinds. It’s remarkable to roll a fast tempo on a bike with such big tires, and not have to work so hard….I did not expect to look down and see 18-22 mph on a gravel bike with two bottles, a tool barrel, and camera bag. I wasn’t putting that much pressure into the pedals.
I was going easy, but fast.
Learn more about the Exploro on their site, in issue 37 of our magazine, and on Medium Bicycles.