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3T Exploro Italia Gravel Bikes Upgraded to Internal Routing, a Made-in-Italy Sneak Peek

2023 3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes get fully internal cable routing, made-in-Italy, detail
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I knew it was coming the moment I saw the silhouette of the new road Strada, but now it is here – the top-tier made-in-Italy carbon 3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes all get upgraded to fully internal cable routing. That means the Exploro RaceMax Italia gravel race bike, Exploro RaceMax Boost Italia gravel ebike, and Exploro Extrema Italia (née Ultra) adventure bikepacking bike all go wireless electronic shift only and get rid of the cable port just behind the stem.

3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes get fully internal cable routing

2023 3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes get fully internal cable routing, made-in-Italy, top tube and new stem detail
all photos by Cory Benson, c. Bikerumor.com

OK, here’s the detail we’ve all been waiting for!

The new generation of 3T Exploro gravel bikes ditch the old cable routing port that sat just behind the headset, resulting in an unfortunate cable loop that made it tough to have a tidy toptube bag setup, and was frankly ugly. It has been one of the few truly annoying nits that I have picked while riding every generation of 3T gravel bike since the beginning. It had reasoning behind it – keeping the headtube narrow, cable bends smoothly for mechanical shifting, and ensuring easy servicing of your bike. But oh wow, how glad I am to see it go.

Eurobike 2023, the largest cycling industry trade show, a new 3T Exploro Ultra Italia

I got this sneak peek earlier today while creeping around the halls of Eurobike as brands unpacked their boxes, built up bikes, and put the finishing touches on their stands. 3T has an interesting booth that highlights the cool fiber-wound tech that they use to automate some of their in-house carbon bike manufacturing in northern Italy. And while they were winding carbon around the booth, I was serendipitously taking photos of their newest bikes leaning here and there.

It’s also interesting to see the new Italia edition bikes fitted with a new 3T stem cleanly routing both front & rear brake lines into the frame & fork. The smooth shaping and finish suggest it is carbon, backed up by the Italian tricolore flag on top indicating that it is also made-in-Italy by 3T.

2023 3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes get fully internal cable routing, made-in-Italy, new vs old
new 3T Exploro Extrema Italia (gray) vs. original Exploro RaceMax (blue)

This new gray Exploro Ultra caught my eye for its lack of external cables. A closer look revealed a new name – Exploro Extrema, which may suggest a rebranding of the more comfortable adventure bikepacking version of 3T’s gravel bike family. But it’s the Italia naming that confirms that the fully internal routing will come to those top-tier carbon gravel bikes that 3T manufactures in-house in Italy.

The new bike is leaned up against a standard 3T Exploro RaceMax gravel bike, all but confirming that the imported carbon frames will stick with the same cable routing port behind the stem. That ensures these more affordable frames will still be compatible with lower-cost mechanical shift groupsets, while the Italia bikes will be wireless electronic shift only.

Of note, all levels of the latest Strada road bikes since last December went fully-internal with their routing, so Stradas are now wireless shifting-only.

2023 3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes get fully internal cable routing, made-in-Italy, Boost ebike

Not only the pedal-powered gravel bikes get the upgrade. The top-tier Exploro RaceMax Boost Italia gravel ebike with an internal battery in the downtube and a motor in the rear hub, also gets fully internal routing. The Boost edition still gets its ebike control button in the toptube, so direct mount bags still have to slide pretty far back.

But at least you don’t have to deal with a cable loop, as well.

2023 3T Exploro Italia gravel bikes get fully internal cable routing, made-in-Italy, new lightweight RaceMax

Lastly, the standard Exploro RaceMax Italia gravel bike also gets the internal routing treatment. Here is the latest bare version of the made-in-Italy bike that 3T calls Raw Carbon Weave to reveal their intricate wound fibers.

We’ll have to wait for official information to confirm pricing and availability. But expect it to cost the same as their other top-tier Italia edition bikes, and we’d imagine it will be a rolling production update that should be available to customers by the time their Italia pre-orders ship out early in the fall at the latest.

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15 Comments
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Brian
Brian
1 year ago

Why oh why are manufactures going full internal routing on gravel bikes? I know it looks clean but servicing the headsets is a total pain in the you know what and gravel bikes need that more often than road bikes.

Brian
Brian
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

That’s actually based af.

Richard
Richard
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

You cant use ‘based’ and then complain about modern trends no one asked for LOL.

Dave
Dave
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

The consumer at this level wants a clean look. As long as when buying a bike like this it is explained to them about servicing then it should not be an issue. And if you are going to drop nearly $10K or more on a bike then the cost of servicing is an after thought.

Richard
Richard
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave

Not so sure about the ‘if you can afford the bike you can afford the service”. I prioritised my Aspero over two new front teeth.

myke
myke
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave

i was just at REI the other day buying last-minute supplies. Father and son at the service counter tried everything possible to reduce service costs. I imagine that is what is in store for these consumers you are referring to. No one wants a $200 bill to service drop-in bearing sets.

Jaap
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

What’s wrong with paying your mechanic a little extra to take care of your bike? He deserves it.

Ves
Ves
1 year ago
Reply to  Jaap

exactly. If monkey bought it, than human must maintain it. Long live stupidity.

Zach
Zach
1 year ago
Reply to  Brian

I can think of a few minor benefits for gravel:

1. Cleaner mounting for handlebar bags. And if people aren’t running a handlebar bag, they might believe the marginal aero benefit of internal routing is worth it.

2. Protects cables and housing from being damaged. If running hydraulic and electronic drivetrain, the cables and housing should rarely need to be replaced.

Of course the real reason is that marketing has made people think they need it. I wish manufacturers would at least make headsets that are sealed better if they want to offer internal routing.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
11 months ago
Reply to  Zach

Headset wear isn’t really proving to be any worse than normal internal headsets.

Veganpotter
Veganpotter
11 months ago
Reply to  Brian

I wish my Grizl had full interval routing. Day to day cleaning is easier. It’s just that the big maintenance days are tougher

Chi
Chi
1 year ago

what is up with the downtube? looks like an e-bike

Oliver
Oliver
1 year ago

All the Exploros suffer from endurance road bike geo – STA / HTA parity in all but the smallest sizes, making them very poor for either steep climbs or hairy descents. Also, the front centre and wheelbase are really, really short by modern gravel bike standards, making them very twitchy descending, and causing a lot of toe overlap for riders with larger feet, or people who don’t but are running a fat front tire – which is dangerous offroad. Since 3T / OPEN do endless respins of the same molds, this is unlikely to ever be fixed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Oliver
Veganpotter
Veganpotter
11 months ago
Reply to  Oliver

These aren’t mountain bikes where you’re taking 150 degree turns on switchbacks.

John Grotland
John Grotland
10 months ago

I think we need to talk about that stem. Will it be available for sale separately?

Last edited 10 months ago by John Grotland

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