Two years ago, 3T purchased German carbon component company THM and with it, the drool-worthy Clavicula, full carbon crank. This year, 3T built a crank under its own name (still through its THM factory). The result is the 3T Torno crankset, billed as “the world’s ‘thinnest’” and most aerodynamic crankset. We took it for a gravel spin in the highlands of Nicaragua this spring. Here are the full specs and a quick look at how it performed.

2018 3T Torno LTD carbon fiber aero crankset for single chainring setups

The Torno is designed specifically for single chainring drivetrains, which should come as little surprise since they debuted the Strada aero road bike last summer as a 1x only frameset. And their recently revamped Exploro gravel bike has always been designed around a 1x drivetrain.

2018 3T Torno LTD carbon fiber aero crankset for single chainring setups

Beyond losing the front derailleur, a single chainring presents a slimmer, more aero profile and allows the frame and remaining components to be further optimized for improved aerodynamics. For the cranks, they made the arms long and slender, with widely sloping curves on all edges. Sure, there’s a lot of turbulence from your feet flailing about the area, but incremental gains.

2018 3T Torno LTD carbon fiber aero crankset for single chainring setups

The arms and spindle are full carbon fiber save for alloy threaded pedal inserts, mounting bolt inserts and races for the bearings to roll on.

2018 3T Torno LTD carbon fiber aero crankset for single chainring setups

The chainring is a custom-made one-piece unit from Wolftooth Components and comes in several sizes. Full specifications are:

  • Crank arms: 170, 172.5 (tested), 175
  • Mounting: Road BSA, BB30, Pressfit 30, Italian threading, BB386 EVO, BBright-pressfit
  • Spindle material: Carbon
  • Chainline: 47mm
  • Chainrings: Proprietary CNC machined Wolftooth in 36, 40 (tested) and 44T rings
  • Color: black carbon
  • Weight: 330g (445g with 40t ring).

first ride review for 2018 3T Torno LTD carbon fiber crankset with 1x wolftooth components chainring

3T Torno first ride impressions

The crank transitions power from body to machine. Ideally, it should go unnoticed. But to pull it off, it needs to be stiff and keep the chain true with little fanfare.

We tested the cranks on 3T’s New Exploro Flatmount gravel bike, geared with 40T on the crank and paired with an 11-42t cassette. A gravel bike yes, but gravel with some racey geometry. We mounted the cranks with Crank Brothers Eggbeater 3’s and rode Giro’s recently released VR70 knits. At 142mm, the Q-factor was narrow, and had plenty of clearance for my shoes with float to spare as I rattled up and down the broken back roads of Nicaragua.

The narrow crank has a flat profile which fits cleanly inside the custom CNC’d Wolftooth chainring. The chainring mounts flush with four T30 torx screws, leaving a clean, tidy look on the crank’s face. Looking down from the cockpit, the narrow crank had a chasm of space between the arms and shoes. From the side, the cranks and chainring become one solid unit which gives it a more conspicuous (if not blocky) profile.

The aerodynamic Torno is clearly intended to be matched with 3T’s recently released Strada road bike. But having tossed more than one stick in my crank spider on trails, I can see the flat-faced Torno a welcome addition to my offroad riding with any gravel bike.

The roads in Nicaragua varied from flat and paved, to steep and chunky rock, often requiring rapid shifting on steep inclines. The crank felt stiff, with no creaks or squeaks. And the chain shifted smoothly across the SRAM Force 1 cassette without any awkward grinding or skips at the extremes.

Are there any downsides?

The profile is clean, but visually blocky from the side. It’s a dedicated 1x crankset, and you’re out of luck if you want to pair it with another chainring other than Wolftooth or outside the three machined ring sizes. We’re hoping they’ll add 38 and 42 tooth counts because, even when paired with their two wide range 12-speed cassette options, it’s nice to fine tune your cadence for long distance events.

Price. Designed by 3T and produced by THM, you know that no punches were withheld. Of course this comes at a price, and for those with the wallet, that price will set you back over $1000.

Considering you have almost-as-light double-chainring options from THM, though, it’s hard to call any of these downsides since this is clearly meant to be a specialized weapon for those seeking speed. If that requires shaving absolute grams and reducing maximum resistance, then perhaps the Torno is just what you’re looking for. For the rest of us, we can continue to drool.

3t.bike

19 COMMENTS

  1. Strange bolt pattern (weaker on left leg power cycle), custom rings (expensive) and generally crude looking. And that pricetag! This story should have come out on 4 days earlier because it looks like some kind of joke

    • Crude? That’s certainly an opinion, but their craftsmanship isn’t lacking. The bolt pattern is nonsensical. They could have easily used the ubiquitous 110mm bcd, and just made a solid disc spider. Better yet, a direct mount option and a perfectly smooth ring/disc.

      If you think these are cool, just save yourself the hassle and buy Claviculas instead. They even have interchangeable spiders AND power capability.

  2. really have to love a $10K+ bike that you intend to beat on with rocks, debris and all manner of abuse. But hey, at least it’s aero, right?

  3. “For the cranks, they made the arms long and slender”

    You may be better served with a different descriptor since length is dictated by the consumer’s choice, assuming you’re talking about the width and depth of the arms.

  4. Crank is 100% straight ahead aero, yet only super small rings. I would love this on my currently 1x TT bike, especially with the q-factor improvement. But not a chance till they get at least a 54t ring minimum.

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