3T Ergonova Team handlebar, Ionic-25 LTD seatpost and ARX stem review
Each of these components doesn’t do anything dynamic – once they are set to the rider’s specific measurement they don’t click or move. However, 3T’s Italian sexiness comes out in the design of each of these three products. 3T classifies the “Team” as a product used for top-level competition, but at a lower price point. The only difference between the “Team” and the higher up the food chain “LTD” is slighter better materials and glossier finish.
The 3T Ionic-25 LTD seatpost is arguably the most elegant out of three components reviewed. Made from carbon fiber, the Ionic-25 LTD is beautiful in its combination of simplicity and intricacy. The “25” in the name of the post refers to the 25mm of setback. An Ionic 0 model is also available which, as you may guess, has 0 mm setback.
Typically a seat post has a clamp at the top of the post that grabs the rails of the saddle. From there adjustment is made fore and aft by solid taps by your hand on the saddle to adjust it into the required position. Simple, right?
Instead 3T designed a clamping mechanism that grabs the saddle rails with the strength of a bear trap. Called the DiffLock, the clamp is a splined clamping mechanism that allows micro-adjustments (as little as half a degree) in saddle tilt. The side-mounted bolts secure the DiffLock into the desired position. There are two clamping models depending on the type of saddle rails: round (which comes standard with the post) or oval.
To fasten the saddle to the seat post you need to remove the DiffLock clamp and using the notches find the desired saddle tilt. Once the angle is found the clamping caps are tightened to the DiffLock system to secure the saddle rails.
While this princess and the pea style of micro-adjusting is great, the downside is that you need to completely remove the notched DiffLock mechanism to adjust the saddle tilt. This process isn’t too much of a hassle, but requires a little more effort than the old method of firmly rapping the saddle’s nose repeatedly until you find that sweet tilt spot.
Fore and aft positioning is done by sliding the saddle rails along the DiffLock’s cradle - nothing tricky there.
Aesthetically the 3T Ionic LTD post is pleasing with the narrow clamping head and light-gray colored logos. But just to remind you 3T prints on the post, “Italian style and design.”
When installing a carbon post it’s important that you tighten the allen bolts no more than the recommended torque settings. Also, get your hands on some carbon assembly compound paste to smear on the post. This prevents it from seizing inside the seat tube and also helps prevent the post from sliding.
3T Ionic LTD Specifications
Diameters: 27.2, 31.6 mm
Weight: 195 grams (27.2 diameter)
The 3T ARX Team stem is solid stem with no noticeable flex.
The body of the ARX Team is constructed from 7075 T6 aluminum and the handlebar is clamped to the stem by a faceclamp with four titanium bolts. A stylistic touch is the “3T” logo etched into the faceclamp of the stem. The Team issue stem comes only in anodized black with a ghost image of “3T” ensuring it doesn’t clash with anything on your bike. That’s important. Don’t be that guy with mismatched colors.
My one complaint is that I wish there were measurement marks around the clamp of the stem to delineate slight handlebar rotation adjustments. This means that the handlebar must also have measurement marks as a point of reference. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a position tweaker and as my flexibility has improved I like to make slight adjustments that reflect my new range of motion. If you’re a set-it-and-forget-it type of rider then this isn’t much of an issue for you.
The 3T ARX Team stem comes in lengths starting at 70mm to 140mm in 10mm increments with an angle of either + or – 6 or 17 degrees.
3T ARX Team Specifications
Lengths: 70, 80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, 140mm
Angle: +- 6 or 17 degrees
Weight: 134 grams (120mm)
The handlebar is one of the critical contact points for a cyclist. The width and bend of a bar can be a very personal thing. The curvature of the drops for some riders can mean hours of comfort in an aerodynamic position or feel like torture on the rack. 3T’s Ergonova Team handlebar is a good combination of comfort and function.
The Ergonova Team bar is constructed from carbon fiber. The tops of the bars are egg-shaped for comfort and the overside has a shallow groove for routing the brake and shifter cables giving the cockpit area a cleaner, smoother look and feel. The large, annoying bump underneath the handlebar tape is history honey.
The curve of the bar is a consistent radius without a flat section that was the style not too long ago. This feature, along with the flat tops, is a personal preference. I happen to like round classic bends as I feel that it puts the levers in an ideal position for fingertip braking and shifting. The drop isn’t that deep, perfect for the endurance-style/gran fondo rider, or for those who don’t need or can’t get that low anymore.
Back in my “racer” days I would have preferred a deeper drop. Now the classic shallow drop style suits my needs and more realistically my limited back/hip flexibility.
The Ergonova bar is also designed to accommodate bolt-on aero bars. As always, be aware of how tight to cinch down the bolts and use a torque wrench.
For those smaller riders 3T has them covered with a 38cm width version of the Ergonova bar.
3T Ergonova Handlebar Specifications
Widths: 38, 40, 42, 44cm
Weight: 210 grams (44cm)
Price: Team Model $324.99 / Team Stealth “matte black” Model $349.99
Learn more about 3T Cycling online at www.3tcycling.com.
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