He is one the world’s most respected bicycle designers, his name adorning tens of thousands of frames around the planet.
The name Gerard Vroomen is synonymous with cycling. He co-founded Cervélo, a company voted the public’s most popular road and pro bike brand of the past decade, and went on to create OPEN with Andy Kessler, the ex-CEO of BMC.
3T – From Past & Present Into The Future
Vroomen is also a co-owner and Head of Design at 3T Cycling. A company steeped in tradition, 3T are also acknowledged as the world leaders in cutting-edge bike design and technology.
As Vroomen himself said, “3T is one of the true original bike component manufacturers in the world. Together with René Wiertz, our job is to sheppard this beautiful brand through the fast-changing cycling world before we pass it on to the next generation.”
Bicycling Australia were fortunate to spend time with Vroomen at the bustling 3T exhibit at EuroBike 2017. Proudly displaying and discussing the stunning 3T aero road bike, the Strada, Gerard Vroomen enthusiastically showed us over this unique machine and offered a fascinating insight into frame design as well as his thoughts on the past, present and future of cycling technology.
It All Starts With The Tyres
Starting at the front, Vroomen said tyres are one of the most important but also most overlooked aspects of bicycle design. Many companies, he said, think ‘which tyre?’ as one of the final steps in the design process. With the 3T Strada, he chose the tyre, a Continental 28mm, and then started on the design.
“Tyres provide more compliance than any other part of the bike,” he told Bicycling Australia. “The Strada is the first aero road frame optimised for wider tyres. 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.”
Is 1x Drive The Way Of The Future?
“All new bikes in 5-year’s time will be delivered standard with 1x,” Vroomen confidently predicted. “That single ring drivetrain eliminates the front derailleur, a chainring, and overall frontal area,” he said.
“This creates unobstructed airflow and frees up the design of the seat tube to shield the rear wheel even better. And with modern cassettes – in particular the 3T 9t – 32t cassette we have here at EuroBike – you still have all the gears you need.”
According to Vroomen, instead of 2×1, which effectively offers just 14 gears, a front derailleur, a second ring and a second shift lever, 1×11 gives the rider all the gears they need with less components, a lower end price, less drag, less hassle and a more simpified operation.
Disc Only – The Future Of Braking
Vroomen says with the Strada’s disc-brake-only designed fork, the front wheel is positioned closer to the downtube which helps create a better transition of airflow, less turbulance and more efficiency. The Strada fork supports flat mount disc brakes with a 140/160 mm disc adaptor integrated into the fork leg shape.
Bicycling Australia would like to thank Gerard Vroomen for his time at EuroBike.
The 3T Strada is available in Australia as a frameset (frame, fork, seat post & headset) for an estimated price of $4,800.