3T’s Strada Delivers Aero Innovation
BREMBATE, Italy – At booth B4-308 3T Cyling is presenting its most recent innovation; the Strada which stands for “reinventing the aero road bike from scratch”. The key elements are tyre size optimisation, new aero shapes, and a new 1 X 11 drivetrain. “Wider tyres are better at reducing shock from cracks, curbs, cobbles and potholes,” 3T writes in a press release. “They also have lower rolling resistance, as their shorter contact patch requires less bending by the casing.”
On long and multi-day rides these attributes reduce the steady drain on a rider’s energy. But aerodynamics is also important on such rides and wide tyres test poorly in the wind tunnel. The new Strada aero road frame, 3T claims, is the first to be optimised for wider tyres, while maintaining performance and increasing comfort.
Air flow around the bottom bracket
On any aero ride bike, the worst area for air flow is around the bottom bracket, with frame, crank, chainrings, derailleur, water bottles, and the rider’s legs all leaving little room for air to pass through. 3T has taken advantage of the new 1 X 11 drivetrain options to eliminate the front derailleur and a chainring, reducing frontal area, creating space for unobstructed air flow, and freeing up the design of the seat tube to improve shielding of the rear wheel.
Aero tubes are generally designed on a series of flat 2D cross sections that connect together into a tube shape.
But in the real world, the air flowing over a tube doesn’t follow a flat path, it follows an arc. In response, 3T has built its Arcfoil tubes as a series of curved cross sections, mimicking actual airflow at several points along the tubes and lowering drag substantially. The Sqaero airfoil sections of the seat tube arc for a different reason, to cover the rear wheel and reduce turbulence. The seatpost, headtube, and even seatpost clamp and dropouts are all optimized aerodynamically according to real-world analysis, resulting in some unusual, but effective design choices, such as an unfaired lower headset, where a horizontal fairing shape would be counterproductive, blocking upward airflow coming off the front wheel.
Disc brake only
Also new is the Fundi aero fork. With disc brake only design, the fork is highly optimised for streamlining, with a minimalist crown improving stiffness while moving the front wheel closer to the downtube for better air flow. The crown smoothly transitions into the Sqaero profile of the legs, combining aerodynamics and stiffness. The Fundi supports flat mount disc brakes with the 140/160mm disc adaptor integrated into the fork leg shape.
Other features include the gaps between front wheel and downtube and seat tube to rear wheel. These crucial areas for minimizing drag have been reduced as much as possible while still adhering to UCI regulations. As noted, the Strada is offered as a disc-brake only frame, eliminating the aerodynamic compromises that would be required to have rim and disc brake versions in one frame platform. The Strada downtube is shaped to hide water bottles from airflow with the option of single and double bottle cage set-up.
The Strada is already available worldwide and offered as a frameset (frame, fork, seatpost).