Bespoke's Features Editor, David Arthur, caught up with the Strada's designer - the legendary Gerard Vroomen - for an insight into the thinking behind this innovative bike:
DA: What's the real key benefit of a 1x drivetrain?
GV: The aerodynamics, the ease of setting up the bike, the cost of componentry, but okay that's no so evident in our first attempt at it, but I think really at the lower end that's where the real advantage comes in. Your bike just gets 10% cheaper, so that's a big advantage. Also, the biggest fear for people getting into cycling is the shifting, and the industry has done a terrible job of it. It's ridiculous right. The left is different from the right, they work in opposite ways. And so this takes that fear out of it. And if it looks better. That's where the real advantage comes.
DA: What would you say to traditional roadies that are reluctant to embrace 1x? Is 1x really the future?
GV: Traditional road cyclists get cut by disc brakes that weren't even the road, you know. I guess in a way that's how it's always been. Name me one innovation that traditional roadies complained about and that then didn't become mainstream? Deep section wheels. When we (3T) started sponsoring CSC in 2003 Zipp were the first ones to really have a deep section wheel, and in 2013 there were still pros riding box section alloy wheels, but after 10 years finally everyone got it. The same with aero frames, that took even longer. But now every brand expect Cannondale has them. And Cannondale is not exactly a traditional brand either.
It's not like I think rim brakes don't have a place in this world and that everything has to have disc brakes, I just think if you're a bike designer you should make a decision on what you think your customer needs and stick with that, not me. "Oh this frame comes with rim and disc brake versions and therefore everything's a compromise!" So I think for disc brakes and for 1x, in five years, even the traditionalists will laugh at how anti they were, this year.
DA: The bike is designed around wider 28mm tyres?
GV: The most important part of the bike is the tyre, the bike is designed around 28mm tyres. Tyres are getting wider and wider, wider tyres are a good thing for comfort so they are here to stay. So everything is designed around the tyre. The gaps are tight but they are designed around this tyre. You see these tight clearances on a time trial bike, and it helps to keep the airflow attached from the front wheel to the frame to the rear wheel.
FRAME SIZES: S - M - L - XL
FORK: 3T FUNDI with 12mm thru axle
BOTTOM BRACKET: BB386EVO
HEADSET: 1 1/4 - 1 1/8
SEATPOST: 3T Charlie Sqaero Strada (note: Charlie Exploro post is NOT compatible with the Strada frame)
AXLES: 3T custom - 142x12 rear (Syntace X-12), 100x12 front
BRAKES: Flatmount 140/160mm
CABLE ROUTING: Internal via interchangeable FlipTop covers for 1x11 mechanical, Di2 and eTap
FRAME WEIGHT: 970g +/- 3% (M size)
TYRE CLEARANCE: Effective width: 28mm, Wheel radius: 344mm
Aero road doesn't do it justice, as it's not just extremely aero but also very comfortable. How can one bike be both? The key elements are tyre size optimisation and a paradigm shift for the drivetrain, combined with a lightbulb moment designing new aero shapes.