Since BMW needs no introduction, let me hop right into 3T, a crew that can trace its roots all the way back to the Italian cycling scene of the 1960s. Over the years, they've attracted the attention of several automotive makers that feel some memorabilia is in order. Even Lamborghini frequently collaborated with this crew. Clearly, there's something they're doing right. Well, there is, and that's what we'll be exploring today.
Now, I mentioned that these two teams have been holding hands for some time now, and that's true. However, the six new machines are the freshest ones yet, even going as far as targeting three distinctive terrains, roads, gravel trails, and the urban jungle. They're called the BMW Exploro bikes, and three are mechanical, while the remaining three are electric, with differences being found in nothing more than the type of secondary components used to define each bike's final destination in terms of riding surface.
Overall, the new machines are based upon 3T's Exploro platform, a hand-built carbon fiber frame built with some rather first-rate carbon layup and resin integration tech, and honestly, that alone may be enough to justify these babies' starting price tag of €5,000 ($5,400). That price accompanies the Gravel and Urban versions, while the Road cruises in with a solid asking price of €6,000 ($6,500). But these are the prices for the mechanical versions. The electric ones add an extra €2,000 ($2,200), which, in my opinion, is a bit much considering the Mahle X20 drivetrain is used.
As for some of the differences, Let's start with the Gravel. Here, 3T and BMW settled upon aluminum wheels rocking a 27.5 in diameter and wrapped with a pair of good old Italian Pirelli rubbers. Because gravel riding is often a bumpy and vibration-inducing experience, attention has been given to the seat post and handlebars. They're carbon fiber, too, to help remove some of the discomfort often associated with bumpy roads.
The Urban is similar to the Gravel in that aluminum rims are once again used, but the presence of flat bars is sure to help you maneuver around town with greater control. A final touch to tell the world that this is an urban bike is the Brooks Cambium saddle.
The Road, on the other hand, is all about being lightweight and suitable for catching those smile-inducing speeds. Here, carbon fiber wheels hug a pair of tubeless Panaracer GravelKing Slick tires, and an aero seatpost not only reduces vibrations but aims to help you save kW of your energy consumption. Carbon fiber handlebars are present here too.
There's just one problem I have with all this, aside from the rather high price tag, the fact that the X20 setup is based around a rear-hub-mounted motor. From the discussions I've had with just about every bicycle shop owner I've encountered, they all tell the same tale; a hub-mounted motor isn't what you want in terms of a drivetrain that's exposed to constant vibration.
At the end of the day, it's BMW's job to ensure their name reaches yet another growing industry, but it's your duty to consider if these babies are for you. There's really only one way to find out; Head down to a local BMW dealership or bicycle shop, and start talking. Just make sure to have your checkbook ready because you may be leaving with a new bike. I wonder if BMW throws in an e-bike with a purchase of their all-electric X1, a car I've had the pleasure of flooring. Considering that puppy cost over $110K, with options, they should.