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3T Strada to race in Tour?
 

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3158
Location: NorCal

10/28/17 1:02 PM

3T Strada to race in Tour?

I believe it will be running a 12s cassette, for what that's worth.

The single ring system is said to offer an aero advantage.

I'm thinking that single-ring bikes could help the entry of beginners (and less-techy types) to cycling, though with extremes of chain angle they need to be made to prevent chain derailment from pedaling backwards in low gear.

http://www.bicycleretailer.com/product-tech/2017/09/20/top-pro-road-team-race-3ts-strada-single-chainring-disc-brakes-and-wide#.WfTSu-Re45s

EDIT: Corrected having mistakenly called this Strada model the Exploro. Both use a single chainring and are penned by the same designer.


Last edited by dddd on 10/29/17 1:13 PM; edited 1 time in total

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Craig
Joined: 12 Jan 2004
Posts: 512

10/28/17 11:57 PM

When did Gerard Vrooman start working with 3T? The first time I saw that bike from 3T I thought it looked gimmicky, and a bit overdesigned with a sales pitch in mind, exactly how I felt about most of Cervelo's bikes, and now I find out Vrooman had a hand in it.

Any argument about "aero" when the top tube is sloped is bunk. A single chainring for aero reasons is, arguably, an excuse to not have to figure out front derailleur cable routing and mounting. And every argument for "one more gear" is undermined by a 12X1 drive train. Yes, gear overlap, yes, more gears with 12, but no matter what math, smoke, mirrors, ad copy you apply, 12x1 is no match for 11x2 for tight ratios AND range. Plus, as mentioned, small ring easy gear is a straighter chain line = more efficient, same for big ring hard gear, even if it's only 3 watts different (which is about what it's been measured at in the lab, not sure how many watts loosing an inner chain ring and front derailleur gets you).

And there's something wonky with their same rear end geometry throughout that must really mess up seat position from a small to an extra large. Even in their drawing, the "seat angle" doesn't match the angle where the seat post sets in. Basic trig would suggest 3cm of saddle height would affect the virtual seat angle by a significant amount, and a 3cm saddle height range for riders of a given size is normal. I know there are other bikes like this, but BMC, for example, gives a range of effective seat angles for their design and makes adjusting the set back relatively easy.

I shouldn't care this much.

But 3TTT now offers 26 different drop handlebars, more if you include colorway options. Doesn't feel like a company that knows what it's doing anymore.

Anyway, don't like the bike, don't care who rides it, this is my opinion, I'm not a role model for cycling or anything else for that matter. /rant

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Sparky
Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 15870
Location: Portland, OR

10/29/17 8:45 AM

I am thinking the combination of that tucked under rear wheel/short chain stay and one front ring a step in the wrong direction. As far as chainline and performance of same.

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3158
Location: NorCal

10/29/17 11:59 AM

Thanks for the opinions, which is about how I perceived this new approach that obviously brings contemporary mountain bike flavor to road bikes.

But I recently read an interview with Gerard Vroomens in a magazine that I subscribe to. I wanted to know "what excuse" there was for this bike's odd design, what the PR spin was in other words.

It comes around to being an attempt to re-define the road biking experience as we know it, which is apparently one of the ways that the industry is trying to save a declining market for road bikes. I at first was heading toward writing this off as mere marketing bs, but then I suddenly recalled my own years of riding bikes with such widely-spaced (even friction-shifted) gear ratios. And I recalled doing more than a few hilly rides using something like a 13-30t 7s cassette, where I didn't quite need the small ring at all. And I kept up with what seemed like a pretty sporting pace, short of a racer's training ride. A good fun ride in other words.

Vroomens seems to have observed that among riders with a decent amount of spending clout, many of us don't road race any more or never did. We like getting in our couple of weekly rides on pretty excellent bikes though, and this bike could tap that market, especially with it's decently-wide rims and tires (which is a part of the disc-braked package-deal) and with a design philosophy that will catch the eye of the decent numbers of mountain bikers who perhaps haven't yet jumped onto the road-bike bandwagon.

Depending on where we live and where we might move to, riding on roads or trails is the choice that can have a different answer for the same rider, so a bike that allows a slightly more seamless transition between riding their road or mountainbike might be a road bike that gets purchased and that gets used. I should mention that our club's road rides regularly include short adventure jaunts that cross between neighborhoods or descend into the American River Canyon, where having 28mm tires at lower pressure and not having to ever downshift chainrings makes a difference.

As for racing in the Tour, this could be a revealing experiment in terms of just how important that having two chainrings and "tight" gear ratios really is.
With their 12s cassette and with a choice of cassettes for different stages, who knows? Might they possibly prove their point?
And if the team has even modest success, it would validate my own frequent application of a 6s, 13-28t freewheel to so many of my older vintage builds, where I've managed to (am forced to) adapt my output, speed and position in the peloton in real time so as to not have such wider ratios cause me to be left in the dust. And I certainly have fun doing it, it seems like a more dynamic experience to me. AND I can ride such old bikes (with their generous tire widths) on the trails, and often do.

So I don't really think that they are specifically targeting racers with this bike.
What might possibly result though would be for roadrace course routes to become more technical and to possibly include unpaved sections, which would be like a step back in time. Maybe that's just what is needed to revive the participation in a sport that could be seen as (under-stating this) a little too monotonous for today's shorter attention spans(?). Witness the numbers of former road riders today who partake of cyclocross racing and/or Dirty Kaanza type events, not that this road bike has near the versatility of TTT's innovative single-ringed and wider-tired Exploro model from the desk of the same designer.
A subsequent model might split the difference between this bike and the Exploro model though, which might be readily marketable under the light cast by any racing success of this Strada model. Racing success sells bikes to a lot of affluent non-racers!

TTT ain't what it used to be, but weren't they just a subsidiary of another company even back in the day? Clearly they are looking in a new direction than just holding their place in a declining industry. Selling bikes with only incremental (perceived as possibly imaginary) annual update improvements could mean losing more sales to generic products online if buyers walking into dealerships don't see something sufficiently new and different, no? More so for affluent non-racer's I would think, who aren't in any way tied to any team's brand and who may be more familiar with contemporary mountainbikes.

Witness BMW today, whose exec's contemplated closing their unprofitable and shrinking motorcycle division back in the 80's, only to save themselves with the daring GS adventure models which spawned possibly the entire industry's biggest category today. That break with tradition had (and definitely still has) legs, even as many of these "ADV" bikes are intended to be ridden on-road only.

Gotta be bold and open-minded. Bringing innovative and obviously racing quality hardware to the heretofore lackluster greater "sportive" market is an interesting approach that could gain traction on several levels or venues. Many people use their mountainbkes as hybrids and find them good for that, so this TTT is an expensive, less race-oriented road bike that similarly can be used as a hybrid, albeit one limited to a 28mm tire size and with no clearance for mud.
Here is a cheap one, marketed as such ("road hybrid") back in 1991. I did win a CX race on it despite it's cheapness and great mass. It makes a very slow road bike however, and apparently did not sell well enough for Performance to keep in their product line. Back to the drawing board!

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 3781
Location: Nashua, NH

10/30/17 7:07 AM

One thing is certain...

...I would never buy it. I've tried 1x on and off-road and the gearing range is either too limited or the gaps are too huge for my needs and preferences, respectively. Perhaps if i lived in Florida or the flat mid-west, something like this (with a tighter cassette) could work, but it won't work for me in New England.

I have really serious doubts that this bike is going to work well in the pro ranks, either. With the rear wheel so far under the rider, it's going to be too stiff and harsh for the flatter cobbled races and the gearing range/gaps will be problematic in the mountains. Perhaps there are some rolling races where it could work well, but I just don't see this as being a practical solution. This is doubly true when you consider that there are several road bikes on the market that are at least as aero but far more versatile.

That said, it may well be a success in the consumer marketplace. Who knows, weirder things have happened...

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dddd
Joined: 11 Jan 2004
Posts: 3158
Location: NorCal

10/31/17 9:27 AM

As I mentioned, I was dismissive myself at first, mainly because of the push that the press has been giving disc-braked bikes, which would appear to put the industry's priorities ahead of the consumer's.

What makes me interested in TTT's new bikes though is that they are sponsoring a team to ride these Strada 1x bikes. So we can sit back and see how this experiment plays out.
As far as limited gear ratios, I expect that they will be able to chose from a few different cassettes that make the bikes better suited to particular race days in spite of not quite having the versatility offered by a greater number of gears.
And I do see some benefit in never having to downshift to a smaller ring, so not suffering such a loss of momentum or even perhaps a dropped chain. There's less weight and some aero benefit also offsetting the greater chainline angle.
If they have success with this then it would be huge boost to the marketing of 1x road gearing setups at all price points. The Press calls this sort of thing the future, and their proclamations do seem to be self-fulfilling prophesies, no?

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Brian Nystrom
Joined: 26 Jan 2004
Posts: 3781
Location: Nashua, NH

11/1/17 5:20 AM

No. ;-)

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