Whether riding road or gravel, we love speed and everything on the new RaceMax frame is engineered for that. The end result is the first gravel bike that:
- Looks like a road bike
- Rides like a road bike
- Rips through gravel
Best of all, the very same RaceMax frame can be built up with a focus on pure speed (the "RACE" configuration with 700C wheels & tires) or as an unstoppable machine with very wide tires (the "MAX" configuration with 650B wheels & tires). You choose. And with two wheelsets, you can switch between RACE & MAX easily.
To make the fastest possible gravel bike, you need to start with the tire. Tire choice determines comfort & grip. But it also determines how you can shape the frame to redirect the airflow.
To aerodynamically engineer the frame around the tires, you need to know what their REAL measurements are. Not what's on the label, but how they really fit. That's REALFAST aerodynamics. But it's not easy, as the tire dimension depends on the rim you use, the pressure and of course how accurate the manufacturer's claimed size is.
So 3T took hundreds of measurements to know the real tire widths (which they call WAM - Width As Measured) and tire radii (RAM - Radius As Measured) and use that to engineer the frame around.
The most important dimension is the WAM as that directly correlates to traction, puncture resistance, aerodynamics and rolling resistance. The WAM you need depends on three factors:
In general the smoother the terrain, the higher the speed, the narrower the WAM. Conversely, the rougher the terrain, the lower the speed, the wider the RAM.
Starting from the range of tires from RACE to MAX, 3T then engineered a perfectly fitting rear wheel cutout (with mud clearance of course) and a closely trailing downtube to catch the airflow coming off the front tire. They added a super-narrow headtube (yet with a big steerer inside it), a multi-shape fork and aero details from seatstay to seatpost and from the shielded water bottle to the direct-attachment brake mounts.
Most importantly, 3T engineered this for realistic riding speeds, wind speeds, tire widths, bottle positions and even for mud. Because we don't care if it is theoretically fast in the windtunnel with a fantasy spec. We care if it is fast the way you ride it in real world conditions.
The RaceMax frameset is is fastest with 35-42mm WAM tires. That's when its top speed rivals the best road bikes out there. 3T calls this the RACE set-up. But depending on where you ride and how fast you ride, you may want an even bigger tire for ultimate traction and control. Good news: 90% of the aerodynamic advantage of the RaceMax frameset still works with tires up to 61mm WAM. That's the MAX set-up.
So maybe you're an all-roader mixing road & gravel or a gravel racer getting the most out of their RACE set-up. Maybe you're looking for an unstoppable MAX set-up. Either way, the RaceMax gets you there, and gets you there fast. Maybe you want it all, in which case a dual wheel set-up - one for fast rides and one with the biggest tires - is the right choice for you.
PERFECT AERO CUTOUT: Close-fitting cutout to shield the rear wheel and achieve the most speed.
MIND THE GAP: No oversized gaps between front tire & downtube for better airflow transition and less turbulence.
HUGE CLEARANCE: The original Exploro set today's standard for 54mm tire clearance. The RaceMax has 61mm!
75MM DOWNTUBE BASE: Lower downtube aero profile is 75mm wide to fully shield water bottle.
46MM DOWNTUBE NECK: Upper downtube necks down to 46mm to pick up the airflow coming off the front tire.
SIZE-SPECIFIC DOWNTUBE: Reduced depth on smaller sizes to keep frame compliant and keep space for bottles.
NARROW HEADTUBE: Headtube is sized like a road bike for a small 1 1/4" steerer for optimal aerodynamics.
BIG STEERER: Inside that narrow headtube is a big 1 1/2" steerer for best strength and stiffness.
MINMAX HEADSET: To fit this big steerer inside the narrow headtube, we use the custom MinMax headset.
MINIMALIST CROWN: Fork crown shapes haven\'t changed much since brakes were attached there. Now that we have disc brakes, we don't need that bulk of material and can reshape the crown for better strength, stiffness and weight. Plus better aerodynamics.
PURE-ROAD FORK LENGTH: With the shorter crown, we can make our forks 25mm (1 inch) shorter than other gravel bikes. Exactly the same as a road fork. This offers better stiffness, lower weight, an easier steering geometry and better aerodynamics.
DOUBLE-DROP CHAINSTAYS: Dropping the drive-side chainstay improves tire & crank clearance. Dropping the other side as well creates a much more efficient structure behind the BB for higher stiffness & strength as well as lower weight.
THREADED BB: Our bikes come with threaded BBs for the best alignment and to avoid any issues. yet we do so without threads in the frame as they cause other issues.
DIRECT-MOUNT REAR BRAKE: Standard frames require an adaptor to use a 160mm brake rotor. We have integrated that into the frame, meaning you don't need any extra pieces to attach the brake.
DIRECT-MOUNT FRONT BRAKE: Standard forks require a flip-flop adaptor to set the correct brake rotor size. Our direct-mount pre-sets the caliper for 160mm rotors without any extra pieces.
INTEGRATED FENDER MOUNTS: Invisible until you need them. Custom fenders coming soon.
SELF-ALIGNING WEDGE CLAMP: Self-adjusting bolt angle for higher clamping forces with lower torque.
RITCHEY RAIL CLAMP: The new standard for gravel bikes, available for round and oval rails.