New 3T Strada Italia – iconic aero bike is redesigned for even wider tyres and is now made in Italy

In-house carbon manufacturing process claimed to improve sustainability as well as performance as the Strada Italia becomes the third Italian-made 3T bike

The 3T Strada – the groundbreaking aero bike that was designed specifically for 1x when it launched in 2017 – has been through a couple of revisions (including putting front derailleur capability back on the Strada Due) but the latest version is perhaps the most radical so far: it’s made at 3T’s factory in Bergamo using the brand's own carbon-fibre construction methods that it says improves not only its performance but also its sustainability credentials. Additionally, it has been optimised for 30-35mm tyres, huge for an aero bike even by today's standards, and boasts a range of new drag-reducing features.

Why is 3T making such a big deal out of the bike being made in house? The vast majority of carbon-fibre bicycle frames – probably 99% – are made in Asia using the standard construction method: manual layup of pre-preg carbon into a mould requiring a great deal of manual labour to finish the frame by hand once cured. 3T identifies two problems with this – inconsistent results and an impractical model for Italy, where wages are higher. So 3T’s solution was to use a process called filament winding instead of manual layup and dry fibre/resin injection instead of pre-impregnated carbon sheets. 3T built its own filament-winding machine and developed resin transfer molding (RTM), which injects resin directly into the mould after the dry fibre is loaded onto it without requiring a bladder. 

3T Strada Italia complete bike

3T claims not only better efficiency and more consistent results but also highlights less waste because filament winding applies the fibres directly into the mould and uses exactly what’s needed, whereas pre-preg has to be cut and what’s not used is discarded. Dry fibre doesn’t need to be kept in an energy-consuming freezer and curing happens at a lower temperature. And finally, there’s no manual sanding required, so no toxic particles released into the air. And of course, being made in Italy lowers CO2 emissions since trans-global shipping to Europe isn’t necessary.

3T Strada Italia in red from the front

The first carbon equipment to be manufactured by 3T in Italy was the Torno carbon crankset in 2018. In 2021 it produced the first batch of Founder’s Edition frames, 60 limited-edition models to mark its 60th anniversary, and then the Exploro Racemax Italia and Extrema Italia. The Strada Italia completes the made-in-Italy range – though the Strada 2.0 is Asian made.

3T Strada Italia down tube detail

3T claims improved comfort is one of the benefits of the new construction: “The layup in the lower seat tube area has been refined, most significantly in the curved aero cut-out – this section gives the Strada Italia significant engineered vertical compliance without compromising energy transfer.” Reactivity and handling are also better thanks to the in-house manufacturing, says the brand. “The balance of torsional stiffness-to-compliance at the head tube has allowed 3T’s technicians to maximize the Strada’s precision as it dives into corners, giving the rider the confidence needed to get the best out of themselves and the bike, especially on fast and challenging descents.

3T Strada Italia seat tube and rear triangle

It’s optimised for tyres with a WAM (width as measured) 30-35mm, which is wide for an aero bike even by modern standards. The new Factor Ostro VAM, for example, only has clearance for tyres up to 32mm wide. In 3T’s words, “it all starts with the tyres” – the size of your tyres determines how you shape the frame to redirect the airflow, says the brand, which is why it emphasises ‘WAM’ rather than the nominal measurement. Even at 35mm, 3T says 4mm is still maintained between the tyre and any part of the frame.

There are new aero features such as a more pronounced ‘nose’ in front of the head tube and more aggressive truncation at the rear. The geometry is also new, with stack and reach measurements tweaked in order to balance comfort with aerodynamics, according to 3T. This means a slightly taller stack for the smallest size 51 (there’s no longer an XXS) with a similar story in the 54 and 56, but the largest size gets the same stack as before with a shorter reach for a similar outcome. It comes with the Fundi Integrale II fork in different offsets according to frame size.

The Strada Italia is compatible with 2x groupsets – though 3T highlights that the front derailleur mount is removable (as are most in reality). It’s designed for electronic groupsets only and uses common standards for other components: a UDH rear hanger, Ritchey rail clamp, complete bikes come with a threaded BB though there are no alloy rings bonded into the carbon, which 3T says adds weight, complexity and debonding risk.

As you’d expect, there are three colourways: Verde, Bianco and Rosso, plus the nude carbon Project X clear lacquer version which shows off filament winding's repeating ‘X’ patterns in the carbon-fibre.

The frameset is priced at £5,487.60 while the range-topping Project X version with Sram Force (including power Quarq power meter) and 3T Discus wheels has a price of £9,604.80. Go to 3T's website for all the details and prices.

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