Versatile 3T Exploro RaceMax
In human years not so long ago, but "in gravel years" very long ago in 2016, 3T, then still primarily a manufacturer of premium bicycle components, launched the cycling Frankenstein - Exploro 3T model. Back then, gravel was just a back thought in cycling "hipster world" that, in the beginnings, found more fans within the fixie/singlespeed community than in keen road purists or MTB dirt lovers.
This Frankenstein bicycle was the first-born child in a newly formed marriage between the 3T and the design-mechanical cycling guru - Gerard Vroomen. Destined for the revolutionary ideas of Vroomen’s understanding of the future of recreationaly serious cycling, that bike could do it all. Ride fast on asphalt, bad roads, unpaved forest tracks, goat trails and terrains that were normally visited only by the MTB crews...... Not very well welcomed (to be polite) by cycling purists, Exploro still conquered the world relatively quickly and changed the "undisputed" dogmas of classical times. Exploro allowed everything ... 650b rims with thick MTB tires, aero 700c rims for road racing, a construction that withstood very very difficult terrain and surfaces, but also what annoyed most purists: 1. One-by front transmission and 2 .Aero characteristics in a bike that does not want to be the fastest or slickest out there.
Almost five years after the first Exploro model, the 3T has released an additional (not new) version of the Exploro model that can do all the things even better. And faster. So, Vroomen (now a co-owner of 3T) chose this ''Frankenstein-er'' for a transition of the company into a full-blooded bicycle manufacturer, adding Exploro RaceMax to the already existing Exploro model and 3T Strada (which, to be honest, deserve its own special blog).
The concept of the Exploro RaceMax frame is efficient in two basic set-ups:
1. Exploro Race - A set-up with 700c rims that allows racing both on and off the asphalt. In this set-up, the maximum dimensions of the tires that will fit are up to 700x43c.
2. Exploro Max - Composition with 650b rims that allows you to ride across difficult terrain faster. In this set-up, the maximum tire dimensions that will fit are up to 650bx61c.
Understandably, those who want just one bike for all their cycling adventures, can easily combine these two set-ups by keeping in their arsenal both types of rims for quick switching between the Race and Max set-up.
And finally, let's get this big blue elephant out of the room. So, Exploro RaceMax is aero optimized. Understandably, to the extent that it allows a slightly more serious recreational ride without the obligation for the owner to think too much about the quality of the surface, the size of the group he rides with or the exposure to the wind on the route he chooses. The aero characteristics of this model are not measured (and designed) in an air tunnel but outside, on the road/surface with a real rider, at real speeds for one average cycling enthusiast.
We will conclude this blog with the words of the master himself (and the man who introduced aero to cycling) Garard Vroomen: ''This latest bike is designed around a road riding position, and any need for cushioning is taken care of by wider tires. Not everyone can agree with that thinking, but the Exploro RaceMax (and the old Exploro) isn’t a bike for everyone. But for those who could enjoy this bike, it could be considered a gift from God."