I think we can all agree that the world is a little surreal at the moment, and while social distancing may be in full effect, that has not stopped BMW from bridging the gap and digitally debuting their latest lifestyle invention, the BMW 3T gravel bicycle.
The 3T for BMW performance bicycle concept was first conceived of through a collaboration with Italian cycling company 3T, best known for their successes in the professional cycling realm. Founded in 1961, the Bergamo, Italy-based company is also considered a leader and pioneer in the research and development of lightweight cycling componentry, catering to top-tier athletes throughout the cycling community for nearly six decades.
During this time, 3T has made its impression in the competitive racing industry through their continued quest to engineer the world’s lightest and most aerodynamically efficient handlebars, among other components. Although they used aerospace-grade aluminum alloys in their earlier blueprints and designs, the late ’90s saw them switch to almost exclusively carbon-composites. While the company’s road-racing roots continue to permeate their designs, 3T has now broadened their lineup to now include off-road and electric-powered variants, including the likes of their Exploro and Strada-series aero bikes.
BMW’s own adeptness with carbon-composites and aerodynamics made the collaboration a no-brainer, according to BMW’s Lifestyle Division Head, Gaston Streiger. Streiger recalls how the “3T was a natural choice for us, as 3T’s Exploro model is the best gravel bike available combining performance, luxury, and cycling pleasure to our customers.”
Yes, the new limited-edition 3T for BMW will cost you a cool $5,499—but you can rest easy knowing that your new eco-friendly commuter has been constructed from only the best of the best. Because it’s based on 3T’s Exploro gravel bike, the all-road enthusiast can ride a variety of terrains, including pavement, gravel, singletrack, and more.
The entire frame, as you would expect, has an incredibly low drag index, thanks to its carbon-fiber composition, and will bear either a gray/gray or blue/gray paint scheme, depending on the buyer’s preference. Following in true 3T fashion, the cranks are also carbon-fiber, made in 3T’s very own carbon-fiber factory in Italy; they weigh just 300 grams and measure only twelve millimeters thick, making them the world’s lightest and thinnest cranks. The bike itself is available in four different sizes from small through extra-large, each with their own part numbers.
The exclusive leather saddle and complementary leather grips come courtesy of English cycling company Brooks, completed with Fulcrum alloy wheels and multi-terrain-capable Schwalbe One Speed tires. An eleven-speed set of Shimano GMX gears cements the durability of the finished product, flaunting impeccable craftsmanship that is keen on keeping dynamic racing performance in mind.
With its minimalistic design, premium materials, and performance-oriented image, Streiger believes the 3T for BMW is right at home in the Lifestyle lineup, uniting the two companies through their shared love of design and engineering. Though not the high-performance, four-wheeled invention that we are accustomed to seeing leave Munich, the creation of a BMW Lifestyle product like this continues to show the dynamism of the German automaker. You are, in essence, getting a BMW-version of a standard road racing bike—and the blue and white roundels adorning it will remind you so.—Malia Murphy
[Photos courtesy BMW AG.]