Italian firm 3T claims to have changed the way it looks at real-world aerodynamics and comfort — the Strada comes with 28c tyres, turning on its head the old notion that skinny tyres are more aero — not to mention its absolute confidence that the Aqua Blue pro team will still be competitive on a single-ring set-up.
3T, with its “paradigm shift”, has gone 1x (aka one-by) and removed a chainring and the front mech to clean up what the brand calls the “worst area aerodynamically”. 3T says this system also saves weight, and is less complicated thanks to fewer components. The Fundi aero fork has a short-stack crown that is lower than normal without compromising the tyre width, allowing the wheel to be closer to the down tube.
That, along with the ‘Sqaero’ shaped fork legs, is said to be aerodynamically advantageous and leads into the next phase of the drag where it meets the ARCfoil down tube. Cables are routed through the top tube for aero reasons but I constantly caught my knee on them where they pass by the stem. However, I’ve seen Aqua Blue’s Adam Blythe tie the cables to one side of the stem.
Compared to the likes of the well-handling Specialized Venge Vias disc, the geometry is shorter and lower in terms of stack and reach. Specification 3T provides the set-up throughout, of course, apart from the Fizik Antares Versus saddle, Continental Grand Prix 4000 S II tyres (28c) and SRAM Force 1 groupset.
SRAM’s 1x set-up is great technology; the clutched rear mech is a thing of beauty and functionally it all works very, very well. Shifting is precise and robust but boy does a 50t chainring up front and a 11-36t cassette at the back look strange on a road bike. I never felt I needed a bigger or smaller gear but jumps between gears are big and there is no getting away from the fact you’ll often be slightly over or under geared at some stage in your ride.
Despite weighing 8.3kg, the 3T Strada feels light on its feet at slower speeds and dances nicely during out-of-the- saddle efforts, showing that the gearing specified wasn’t an issue at all for the roads around Kent and Surrey. Laterally, stiffness seems good. Those 12mm thru axles limit brake rub and the BB386Evo bottom bracket showed no signs of weakness under load.
The low crown height and shorter wheelbase play havoc with toe overlap but allow for fast-paced handling and really make you feel every input has a positive effect. Racing this bike will make bunch racing fun and I’m sure will give you the confidence to move into tight gaps. Comfort is top-notch too, and although 3T claims that that is mostly down to the tyres, I bet the square seatpost helps reduce rear-end road-buzz.
The 28mm tyres, great job of cushioning you from the imperfections of the road without taking away that lively feeling. However, I spent much of my time with the 3T wondering where I was in terms of grip when pressing on in the corners. Of course, you’ll have a massive amount of grip with those Contis, but running lower pressures on wider tyres changes things.
During the time testing this bike (for around a month in winter), through cold conditions, rain and sun, the one thing I never got to grips with was the buffeting from the wind. Consider the deep-section 3T Discus C60 Team wheels, discs, big cassette and aero properties of the frame: none of it helped in the crosswinds. That, topped off with the quick nature of the handling, made for a very nervy and unpredictable ride. I also had an issue with a slipping seatpost, which I eventually solved with a lot of carbon paste.
In terms of pricing the Strada sits above the Canyon and below the Specialized (complete bike £7,550) but in terms of everyday use, I don’t see it sitting above those other bikes. The one or two frustrating niggles make me question it as a high-end purchase, though if you’re after something a bit different then the Strada is definitely worth looking at.
- Weight: 8.3kg
- Frame: 3T Strada
- Groupset: SRAM Force 1
- Fork: 3T Fundi Team 12mm thru-axle
- Bars: Arx Team
- Stem: 3T Aeronova Team
- Saddle: Fizik Antares Versus
- Seatpost: 3T Charlie Sqaero
- Wheels: 3T Discus C60
- Tires: Continental GP4000 S II 28mm
The futuristic-looking 3T Strada handles very well and feels seriously fast. Designed around big 28mm tyres, the Strada offers excellent comfort too. This particular build with the deep 3T wheels did cause concern in crosswinds, though, which added to the twitchy handling, leaving me feeling a little vulnerable in exposed sections.
Not so good
Gearing needs to be thought about
Not crosswind friendly