Product Review: 3T ARX-Team stem & Doric-Team seatpostComments
by Mark V on Mar 13, 2008 at 3:04 PM
Tecnologia del Tubo Torinese (vaguely translated as “Turin (Italy) technical tubing”) , otherwise known as 3T, was the number two stem and bar maker back in the day, behind Cinelli. Strangely both were owned by the Colombo Group along with Columbus tubing. But the rising value of the Euro, changes in global manufacturing, serious challenges from Deda Elementi and others, and lack of innovative products saw 3T fall off the radar for a few years.
Now they’re back with all new designs. Presumedly, all 3T production has been moved to Asia, because the prices are actually pretty attractive. I’m trying out the new ARX-Team stem, which I like a lot, and the Doric-Team seatpost, which I don’t.
The new ARX stem is a threadless 31.8mm forged stem with a clean and svelte design. The 100mm -17degree version sample weighs a very respectable 117gr, nearly 50gr less than an FSA OS-115 in the same dimensions. Plus the oversize cross-section (34-36mm) of the extension yields a remarkably stiff piece. The low weight is due to the internal machining. My only reservation is that the internal transition from the thin wall of the extension to the steerer clamp section is a little abrupt. I would have liked it to be a bit smoother to guard against stress risers leading to fatigue, but the interior contours aren’t as crucial compared to the exterior. The bar clamp area is particularly well-shaped and smooth for matching the stem to carbon handlebars. Overall, I really like this stem.
The ARX stem is available in two versions. The more expensive Team version has titanium bolts and red accents and is available in -6 and -17 degree angles. Cost is about $90. The Pro version has white accents, steel bolts, and is only available in -6 degree. Cost is about $60. The 3T stems are available in lengths from 70 to 130mm to fit a wide range of riders and bikes.
The Doric-Team seatpost was a disappointment. The carbon tube with bonded alloy two-bolt head looks competent if rather unsophisticated, but the post does weigh 169gr for a 31.6mm by 280mm length. The clamp pieces are cleverly formed to reduce weight and stress on saddle rails. However, the seat post cradle lacks adequate adjustment for angle. With my 74.5degree seat angle and Fizik Arione saddle, I couldn’t level the saddle without leaving half the spindly threads of the front upper cross piece unengaged on the bolt. Not good. Unless you have a slack seat tube angle, I wouldn’t recommend this post. Cost is about $140. There is a more expensive LTD version that has titanium bolts and causes your wallet to bleed.
Recently, 3T has announced a new seat post design. It looks like it could be really strong but ridiculously tedious to install or make angle adjustments.
3T also offers an all new line of dropbars. Since the older varients of 3T bars were and are my favourites, I’m intrigued by the new designs. I always liked the angle of the anatomic grip as it was not as steep as ITM or Deda, and the 3T version had a more subtle compound curve than Ritchey and the other 3T imitators. I’ll try to get an example of the Ergosum Pro aluminium bar to test out.