Just this morning 3T Cycling announced that they are in the process of buying out THM Carbones, bringing the boutique carbon maker under the 3T umbrella. The partnership is meant to bolster 3T’s high-end carbon capabilities, and at the same time give more sales and distribution support to THM.
While 3T has been innovating for more than 50 years from the first set of aero bars to modern wheels, their product focus has often been on aerodynamics and all-around rideability. That has meant at times not getting too caught up in weights, but also in making products that riders could afford. THM on the other hand seemed to lean toward a no-holds-barred approach to trimming weight and boosting stiffness where money was almost no object. Together they both have expertise to share, and the partnership has interesting implications…
The deal has Italian 3T buying all shares out of the smaller German company this summer, while carrying on both THM and 3T brands. By bringing THM’s engineers on board, 3T will have access to the know-how of their tightly integrated design and production teams based in the northern German THM facility in Alt Duvenstedt. For 3T who designs products in Italy but produces them around the globe in Taiwan, a better understanding of this close design:production relationship has the potential to optimize both ends of the product development process.
The deal is expected to give THM added financial stability and sales support to allow them to keep pushing the envelope with ultralight carbon fiber component designs, while 3T will help ensure that the products can more easily and reliably make their way to discerning cyclists worldwide. While devoting more resources to R&D is certainly welcome news for anyone looking to get ahold of a 285g road disc fork or 287g road crankset, we’re maybe more curious about what 3T gets out of the deal.
The partnership seems to have been mostly sought out by 3T themselves who are bent on improving their current lineup of road and MTB wheels and cockpits, while also rumored to be working on a few new projects. A big part of the buyout will be THM’s technical engineering team getting in on 3T’s development of new product. Our first thought of course would say that could mean lighter weights for 3T components. We’ve had pretty solid experiences with 3T’s recent Discus disc brake road wheels and cockpits for both cyclocross racing and mixed surface riding, but in each case it seemed there was excess weight that could have been trimmed off.
We look forward to seeing what will come of a partnership that will let THM focus even more on their light and stiff designs, and will maybe trickle some weight weenie tech into the more affordable components of 3T’s line up.