3T keeps adding more build options to their ever-popular aero gravel Exploro. A new Ready To Paint frame option lets you work with their Artists in Residence to create a truly custom, one-of-a-kind gravel bike. If you are looking for an off the shelf bike, new affordable Pro-level builds add new Shimano GRX or SRAM Rival groupsets. And if you want more premium, the Team frame gets a new option pairing SRAM Force & Eagle eTap AXS together for a killer off-road build.
3T Artist in Residence program, custom gravel bike paint
At Eurobike, 3T highlighted a new Ready-To-Paint (RTP) frameset option for the Exploro gravel bike with a series of five frames, handpainted at the show to match a series of canvases they commissioned in advance.
Each of the five RTP Exploros started as a blank white canvas, and then were painted by artists from 3T’s new Artist in Residence program to demonstrate the possibilities for a truly one-of-a-kind look to the aero gravel bike.
Buyers of the RTP framesets can paint them themselves (think: Spray.bike), work with a local artist or paint shop, or 3T can recommend suitable artists. Their Artist In Residence program now includes a handful of acclaimed painters who can work with you to develop your own masterpiece, then paint it & send it to you. No word on what such a service will actually cost, but 3T says that any interested cyclists should just reach out to them to get more info or start the ball (brush?) rolling: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Ready To Paint Exploro is available now only as the Team spec frameset for 3000€, and RTP Strada Team for 3800€, although neither is currently in stock. The frame & fork will a come with a thin, matte black finish to protect the carbon underneath from UV – ready for you to add your custom paint job on top. Likely, this will be the lightest frameset option as it is with the Open RTP bikes, so many people will probably leave it unpainted, but adding any of these art paint jobs will surely add back at least a few hundred grams of paint.
New Exploro options: Pro GRX or Rival & Team Force/Eagle AXS
Onto the new 3T Exploro builds, two new lower cost complete builds use a lower spec “Pro” carbon layup than the standard Team & premium LTD carbon versions. 3T doesn’t tell us exactly what Pro means, but we expect a more budget carbon fiber material that will likely add at least
an extra 100-200g to the lower spec frame & fork. Update: 3T confirms the more affordable Pro-level carbon layup adds ~300g over the Team frame to maintain the same stiffness & overall performance.
Shimano GRX is the latest buzz-worthy gravel groupset, so splitting the price difference between Rival & Force, a GRX 1×11 build sells for $3800 / 4000€ in gray & blue. It gets a mechanical shift, hydraulic braking setup on par with Ultegra featuring the great new GRX brake lever shape and an 11-42 cassette paired to a 42T ring on a Praxis Alba alloy crankset. Alloy Fulcrum 7 DB wheels, 700x37mm WTB Riddlers, and a 3T alloy cockpit round out the build.
For a shade less at $3600 / 3600€, the gray on gray Exploro Pro Rival gets the same entry carbon frame & fork with the aero gravel performance, gravel race geometry, and clearance for up to 650×2.1″ tires. The Pro Rival is of course a Rival 1×11 mechanical groupset with 42T x 11-42 gearing, plus the same Fulcrum 7 DB wheels, 700x38mm Schwalbe G-One tires, and an alloy 3T cockpit.
At the other end of the spectrum, 3T adds a third, more affordable AXS eTap wireless build. Sure, $5800 / 5800€ for the Team Force/Eagle AXS setup doesn’t sound that affordable, but it is a good bit less than the special edition Torno build that debuted this summer, and much cheaper than the full Red AXS eTap bike.
The new option combines a SRAM Force AXS set of controls, brakes & cranks to an Eagle AXS mountain bike derailleur to turn the mega 11-50 MTB cassette. The build is finished off with a Fulcrum Racing 700 DB 650b wheelset & 2″ WTB Venture tires.