'Aero gravel bikes' are now a thing thanks to the new 3T Exploro

3T's first ever bike claims to save you seven watts at 20mph

3t exploro gravel bike

Aero bikes are now a well-established part of the market, but companies have so far stuck to keeping their aerodynamic innovations on their road bikes. Until now...

The new 3T Exploro is not only the first bike that 3T has ever produced, but is also the first ever "aero gravel bike", being designed with testing in the San Diego Low Speed Wind Tunnel, and apparently saving you 7 watts over a standard round tube bike when ridden at 20mph.

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The main design innovation are the "Sqaero" tubes, which are effectively squared off aero tubes that are designed to reduce aerodynamic drag while still maintaining the strength and stiffness needed from a gravel bike. That means a whopping 50mm wide down tube which apparently helps to take the airflow off the wider front tyre and direct it around the water bottles.

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3T's own wind tunnel testing showed this design makes a muddy Exploro with water bottles and 40mm wide WTB Nano tyres 7 watts faster at 20mph and 24 watts faster at 30mph compared to a clean round tubed bike with slick tyres and no water bottles.

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On the component front, the 3T Exploro is designed to work best with 650b tyres, which give the same wheel diameter as standard 700c tyres, but with a greater volume of air in a wider tyre to give a more comfortable ride with greater grip. Meanwhile all the cables and hoses are routed internally, and the seatpost clamp is hidden away to make for a more aero and good-looking frame.

3t exploro bridleway

The 3T Exploro is designed to save you seconds on terrain like this

The 3T Exploro comes with "performance gravel geometry" which basically means short 415mm chainstays for improved power transfer, while the lack of trail at the front end claims to give more agile steering.

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As you can probably guess, there is no caliper brake option for the 3T Exploro, although you can run it with either one or two chainrings, with the only front derailleur that won't fit being the SRAM Red eTap model as the battery casing could overlap with the rear wheel.

The 3T Exploro will only be available as frameset only, with two different models: the white Team model for £2,400 and the black LTD version for £3,300, with the latter being lighter by 200g.

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Henry Robertshaw began his time at Cycling Weekly working with the tech team, writing reviews, buying guides and appearing in videos advising on how to dress for the seasons. He later moved over to the news team, where his work focused on the professional peloton as well as legislation and provision for cycling. He's since moved his career in a new direction, with a role at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.