3T has grown its Exploro family with the addition of the Race Max. The brand has sought to provide both greater tyre clearance for more techy trails, as well as tidying up the frame to improve aerodynamics.
With the gravel genre rapidly growing, more riders are taking to their local off-road segments. However, the nature of the terrain varies dramatically depending upon where consumers live and ride – and with it the demands, hence we see gravel bike design shooting off in many different directions as manufacturers attempt to hook the greatest market share.
The Exploro Race Max carries the undeniable hallmarks of Cervélo co-founder turned 3T (and Open) designer, Gerard Vroomen.
The tubes have been supersized, apparently creating a smoother transition across the large front tyre and the rest of the frame, and the new model has a dual dropped chainstay – a claimed improvement on the previous iteration with the drop on the driveside only.
The down tube in particular tapers, measuring 46mm at the top and graduating to 75mm towards the bottom, in order to account for the addition of water bottles.
The new model also has a more pronounced cut out at the rear wheel, and the fork has been tweaked to follow a more traditionally low profile road going design. This in turn reduces the gap between the front wheel and down tube – a technique pretty widely used to reduce drag, especially on track and time trial bikes.
These updates all add up to what you’d expect to be a faster package, though 3T hasn’t given any wattage saving figures for this new silhouette, so we’ll have to take the brand’s word for it (for now!).
Whilst many riders aren’t focusing on aerodynamics when out on their gravel jaunts, it’s fair to say that those racing multi-day events, perhaps battling strong headwinds at times, may disagree.
That takes care of the ‘faster’ side of the conversation, and considered alone it sees 3T take quite a different direction to other brands – such as Specialized with its flat bar Diverge and Cannondale with the lefty fork enabled Topstone. However, there’s more.
The new Exploro Race Max can now accommodate 42mm tyres on a standard 700 wheel, with more space for those using a 650b wheel. The bikes come specced with 35mm and 57mm tyres, respectively.
3T is also attempting to help clean up cycling’s ongoing issue with tyre width – where a 25mm tyre may actually turn out to be something quite different depending upon the rim in question.
On its spec sheets, the Italian brand has instead listed the ‘labeled’ size, as well as ‘WAM’ (width as measured) and ‘RAM’ (radius as measured). For example, the Exploro Max is listed as coming with Fulcrum Racing 7DB, 650b wheels, dressed in Schwalbe G-One Allround TLE 650b tyres with “57mm labeled width, WAM23=58.3mm, RAM23=354mm”.
It will be interesting to see if other brands decide to piggyback on to this – though we’ll admit we won’t be holding our breath.
Specs and builds
- Exploro RACEMAX Red/White – £3,199.00
- Exploro RACE GRX 1X Orange/Grey – £4,199.00
- Exploro RACE GRX 2X Orange/Grey – £4,399.00
- Exploro MAX GRX 1X Orange/Grey – £4,199.00
- Exploro MAX GRX 2X Orange/Grey – £4,399.00
- Exploro RACE FORCE AXS 1X TORNO Olive/Sand – £6,399.00
- Exploro RACE FORCE AXS 2X Olive/Sand – £5,899.00
- Exploro MAX EAGLE AXS 1X Orange/Grey – £5,899.00
- Exploro RACE FORCE AXS 1X TORNO Orange/Grey – £6,399.00