Exploro: Going Slow Fast

That’s a mountain bike tire on a road bike, and it’s as faster or faster than most.

That big, plush tire punches a proportionally big hole in the wind. But the shape of the wide, aero downtube that follows behind is designed to calm the turbulence, lowering the drag. It’s aerodynamic design fine-tuned around a different performance envelope than the aero road bikes of the Pro Tour.

The Exploro breaks hard and fast rules of performance bicycles. In doing so, it presents new opportunities for the road cyclists that have taken a turn toward adventure. Those who get stoked on fire roads instead of a downtown crit. And, for me, seeking the perfect weekend ride.

Explaining how a bike just rolls down the road isn’t as easy as soft pedaling it, so here, see this.

Iron Horse Tunnels between Hyak and Easton.

We shot that edit on a splendid Sunday and we’re actually climbing a slight grade towards Easton from Hyak, Washington. At 0:15, notice how I pass the camera, without a high cadence, or pressing the pedals too hard. That’s what going slow fast looks like.

While in Bend, I noticed the same effect, but figured I’d hit the rare double tailwind conditions, in both directions (it happens occasionally, like clean surf for surfers). 3T’s marketing introduced the term Go Slow Faster when they launched, I was humored by it, and thought the tone was tongue in cheek.

Wasn’t 3T just poking fun at the bike industry’s aero arms race? Nope…I was wrong, their story is legit, and that’s why I’ve been riding the Exploro so much this summer; rolling around, soft pedaling at 15–18 MPH on the flats and rollers.

Dropbar MTB.

Consider what happens when a cyclists puts some effort into the pedals, even when loaded up for a bike camping weekend. There’s much more you can do at the destination, if you get there quicker.

Here’s the crazy part, 3T tossed out convention, took the knowledge acquired from aero road bikes, and applied it to dirt and gravel. The results are what a rouleur like me does best, rolling tempo—all day long. And, doing so on a road bike with mountain bike tires. That’s quite a leap in the timeline of bicycle design.

The tire slips in, followed by the down tube.

If you’re considering a new whip, I’d suggest you test ride an Exploro. As Mark V said, when it launched

The 3T is a dirty version of the Cervelo S5, like if Lamborghini made an SUV.

Or what happens when roadies focus on riding off road. If you’re not yet convinced, here’s another visual aid.

An enormous square down tube calms the turbulence behind a 47” tire, lowering drag and going fast.

Read more about the Exploro later this month in the 39th issue of our magazine.