REINVENTING AERO ROAD BIKES
When you feel the stiffness of the STRADA frame combine with the comfort of its wider tires, it’s a totally unique experience. In addition, you sense the speed that comes from a no-compromise focus on aerodynamics: airfoil shapes designed specifically around these wider tires, a 1x drivetrain and the tight clearances reminiscent of the fastest time trial bikes. If you like to lead from the front, the STRADA is your ticket to get there first.
The biggest factor in road bike comfort are the tires; they provide more compliance than any other part of the bike. Wider tires are better at reducing shocks from cracks, curbs, cobbles and potholes, which is why they are the norm at Paris- Roubaix. Wider tires also have lower rolling resistance, because their shorter contact patch requires less bending by the casing.
In addition, wider tires offer an advantage on long and multi-day rides, reducing the steady drain on a rider’s energy level caused by high-frequency road buzz. But aerodynamics are also important on such rides, and wide tires tend to test poorly in the wind tunnel. However, that is to be expected if you test them with frames and parts optimised for narrow tires. The STRADA is the first aero road frame optimised for wider tires, so finally you can be fast and comfortable all the time, from the cobbles to the climbs. All day, every day, with one and the same bike.
With all aero road bike developments of the past 20 years, the drivetrain was never really tackled. So we did. The worst area aerodynamically is around the BB, with the frame, crank, chainrings, front derailleur, water bottles and rider’s legs leaving little room for the air to pass through. A single ring drivetrain eliminates the front derailleur and one chainring, reducing frontal area, creating space for unobstructed airflow and freeing up the design of the seattube to shield the rear wheel even better (no front derailleur mount needed). And with modern cassettes (in particular the special 3T cassette coming soon), you still have all the gears you need.
Think about it, 30 years ago we had 12 gears (2x6) of which only 8 were unique (the rest overlapped). Now we’re at 2x11, always assuming that more is better. But did the “improvement” from 2x10 to 2x11 really make that much of a difference? Sometimes more is not better, it’s just more; more weight, more drag, more gear overlap and more complexity. So instead of 2x11 with 14 effective gears, a front derailleur, a second ring and a second shift lever, 1x11 gives you the gears you need, the range you need, fewer components, less weight, less drag and less hassle.
At 3T we design for real world aerodynamics at realistic speeds. Sometimes that clashes with conventional wisdom, even on something as fundamental as aero tube design. Aero tubes are designed based on a series of flat 2D cross sections that connect together into a tube shape. But in the real world, the air flowing over a tube doesn’t follow a flat path, it follows an arc. So we built our Arcfoil tubes as a series of curved instead of flat Sqaero cross sections. These exactly mimic the arc of the actual airflow at several points along the tubes and substantially lower the drag (the arc of the downtube logo pays hommage to exactly the airflow and cross section arc there).
The Sqaero airfoil sections of the seatube arc for a different reason, to perfectly cover the rear tire and reduce the turbulence. Seatpost, headtube, even the seatpost clamp and dropouts are optimized aerodynamically in sometimes unexpected ways based on our real world analysis (for example you may wonder why the area behind the lower headset isn’t faired; the answer is simple, because the air doesn’t flow horizontally there but spins off the front wheel almost vertically, so a horizontal fairing shape is counterproductive as it blocks the upward airflow).