WIDE TIRE OPTIMIZATION
The biggest factor in road bike comfort are the tires; they provide more compliance than any other part of the bike. Wider tires are better at reducing shocks from cracks, curbs, cobbles and potholes, which is why they are the norm at Paris- Roubaix. Wider tires also have lower rolling resistance, because their shorter contact patch requires less bending by the casing.
In addition, wider tires offer an advantage on long and multi-day rides, reducing the steady drain on a rider’s energy level caused by high-frequency road buzz. But aerodynamics are also important on such rides, and wide tires tend to test poorly in the windtunnel. However, that is to be expected if you test them with frames and parts optimized for narrow tires. The STRADA is the first aero road frame optimized for wider tires, so finally you can be fast and comfortable all the time, from the cobbles to the climbs. All day, every day, with one and the same bike.
PARADIGM SHIFT: 1xAERO
With all aero road bike developments of the past 20 years, the drivetrain was never really tackled. So we did. The BB area – with frame, crank, chainrings, front derailleur, water bottles and rider legs – leaves little room for the air to pass through. A single ring drivetrain eliminates the front derailleur and inner ring. Thus it reduces frontal area and creates space for unobstructed air flow. And with modern cassettes (in particular the 3T Overdrive and Bailout), you still have all the gears you need.
Just think about it, 30 years ago we had 12 gears (2×6) of which only 8 were unique (the rest overlapped). Now we’re at 2×11 or even 2×12 but riders barely notice when they upgrade to an extra cog. Sometimes more is not better, it’s just more. 1x gives you the gears you need, the range you need, less complexity, less weight, less drag and less hassle.
For those who love the Strada’s speed and comfort but still prefer electronic or 2x drivetrains, we offer the Strada Due compatible with Shimano Di2, SRAM eTap and Campagnolo EPS. So the 1x Strada offers ultimate aerodynamics and comfort while the Strada Due let’s you use any of the major drivetrain brands’ electronic groups with a small aero penalty for the front derailleur and second ring.
At 3T we design for real world aerodynamics at realistic speeds. This means we test at 20mph (32kmh) and 30mph (48kmh), we test with bottles and other “difficult parts” for aero optimization, and sometimes we even test dirty and muddy bikes (see the Exploro for that).
But most importantly, we want to design frames that are fast with realistic tires. It’s no use that a bike tests fast with 21mm tires if the rider puts 25’s on. It’s even worse if the rider would have preferred 28mm tires that don’t even fit!
After 17 years of co-founder/owner of Cervélo, most people think our Head of Design Gerard Vroomen is all about aerodynamics. And they aren’t completely wrong; the Strada is full of aero details, including some like the front and rear wheel cutouts that are more commonly seen on time trial bikes.. But ask him what is is most proud of, and he’ll tell you it’s how those aero features have been optimized so people can run up to 30mm tires. Because the comfort of the wide tire in combination with unbeatable aerodynamics – the one bike for everything – is his real passion.