The 3T Exploro gravel bike is a peerless example of research, engineering, and cycling passion in a single package. Gravel riding remains a niche category, and the goal of being the fastest in that category really puts the Exploro in a league of its own.
The Exploro has been on the market for enough time, and with enough fanfare, that it has garnered a number of reviews- and very positive reviews as well. Rider praise the bikes quick handling, it’s lightning fast acceleration, and the ability to fit a number of wheel and tire configurations. Last month Cyclist.com writer Alex Malone and the Echelon Sports team put the Exploro through its paces on the backroads around Brisbane, Australia. They were very thorough in their review, testing a pair of Exploro’s on a variety of surfaces, with two different wheel sizes for each bike.
Starting on 700c wheels and Challenge Strada 33c tyres, Alex and Co followed the paved roads out of town toward the trails of Mt. Glorious, before swapping to 650b 3T Discus plus wheels for the offroad descent.
“Having spent considerable hours aboard gravel machines, the larger volume rubber felt relatively natural while the more aggressive – compared to a conventional CX frameset – geometry exposed the Exploro’s versatility.”
Alex’s preference for wheel size setup favours the 700c configuration, the smaller diameter rims and large volume tires of the road-plus setup feeling foreign to him. The 650b road-plus setup is specifically designed to cater to riders who spend the majority of their time in rougher terrain, where the extra air volume helps the bike to track more predictably over rocks and roots, and is understandably slower than more traditional road setups.
“There is little doubt 650b soaks up the biggest hits but for a package designed specifically to go fast, my preference would be to run 700c wheels almost exclusively.”
Alex concludes, however that the Exploro is a versatile enough bike that it opens up terrain to riders who would previously not had a bike designed for their preferred riding style. The adaptability of the frame to multiple wheel sizes isn’t a necessity for all riders, but it allows the Exploro to do more, and keeps it from being pigeon-holed for a narrowly-specific category of rider.
“Spare wheels of differing sizes and tyre widths is a lovely idea but it’s not essential to have them sitting around in order to get the most of out the Exploro… the rider determines it’s purpose.”
The 3T Exploro frameset is available through your local LTP Sports dealer, who can also help you with sizing, setup and ride suggestions, to ensure that you can ‘go slow faster’.