Race Tech

Pro bike: Aqua Blue’s 3T Strada with SRAM Force 1 groupset

Is this the future of race bikes?

This is the 3T Strada that Aqua Blue Sport will ride in 2018, making the Irish-based squad the first pro cycling team to use a single-chainring drivetrain. With disc brakes in the mix, too, the Strada is unlike any other race bike out there. A glimpse of the future or a step too far?

The frame, painted in the team’s blue and gold colours, is equipped with a SRAM Force 1 groupset. The Strada itself caused a stir when it was launched back in June – purists were forced to cover their eyes while forward-thinking roadies were reaching for their wallets – and we had the chance to ride it ourselves in the summer.

Team Aqua Blue Sport, 3T Strada, SRAM Force 1, 1x drivetrain
Team Aqua Blue Sport, 3T Strada, SRAM Force 1, 1x drivetrain
Team Aqua Blue Sport, 3T Strada, SRAM Force 1, 1x drivetrain

The Strada is specifically designed for disc brakes and a 1x groupset, so the Aqua Blue Sport team won’t have the choice of riding a rim brake bike with double chainrings. Marcel Kittel has been winning regularly on disc brakes this season but we haven’t seen pros use a single ring in the bunch, though Tony Martin has been known to ditch his front derailleur for some time trials.

Martin will make use of a small range of gears to power through a flat TT but hilly road races will present more of a challenge to Aqua Blue Sport. Will the team’s riders, who include 2016 British national champion Adam Blythe, enjoy the simplicity of a streamlined 1x drivetrain or miss the tightly-stepped range of a conventional setup? Only time will tell but one thing is for sure, the Strada will make a splash when it debuts in the peloton at the start of next year.

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