The 3T Exploro RaceMax Boost is the stealthiest electric bike I’ve come across, which is all down to the original ‘acoustic’ RaceMax’s design.
That bike has a hugely oversized down tube that shields the bottles from the air, thus improving its aerodynamics. This increased volume allows room to house a 250Wh battery.
There have been modifications though, the electrically assisted RaceMax having a strengthened bottom bracket area to incorporate the charging port and to allow the battery to be removed.
The RaceMax Boost feels every inch the same as the standard RaceMax, with one difference – when the dirt road heads upwards, you can add extra boost for greater traction, this additional power keeping you pedalling up trails you’d otherwise have no right to be riding.
The 40×42 bottom gear enables you to tackle gradients steeper than 20 per cent over surfaces on which a 35c tyre normally wouldn’t be able to grip.
And it’s not just fast uphill, as this Exploro feels just as slick on the tarmac between sections of dirt.
On the road, I spent most of my time riding above the legal assisted limit of 15.5mph (25km/h), and at just 12.5kg the weight doesn’t compromise its performance.
3T Exploro RaceMax Boost kit and controls
Mahle’s ebikemotion system is built around a powerful 250W motor in the rear hub and a slimline 250W battery in the down tube. You can remove the battery for servicing – though that does involve removing the bottom bracket.
The 40Nm of assistance doesn’t sound much compared with Fazua’s claimed 60Nm or the 80Nm-plus on some Bosch and Shimano systems, but it never felt underpowered.
The assistance is subtle, like a gentle push in the back rather than a full-bodied shove, but it’s ample to keep you ascending at pace.
The controls are simple, with colour-coded lighting on the top tube-mounted iWoc button denoting power level and battery reserves.
Press to turn it on and the LED ring shines white, press and hold and it turns green for low assistance, orange for medium and red for full power.
The battery level indicator ranges from white, showing 75-100 per cent, down to a flashing red when there’s less than a 10 per cent charge.
The bike’s capability on the road means its assistance kicks in only when you really need it, on steep road climbs or on loose gravel ascents, maximising its range.
I achieved 79km/49.16miles and 824.4m/2705ft elevation on an off-road test ride and an impressive 101km/62.88 miles on a mixed ride, with 971m/3185ft of climbing.
The 1x Shimano GRX drivetrain works superbly and offers a more than ample gear range.
The tubeless-ready 3T Discus wheels come with an aero-optimised 45mm deep rims, their balance of lightness, stiffness, responsiveness and shock absorption adding a lot to the ride quality.
As with the standard Exploro RaceMax, it can run 700c or 650b wheels, but as the rear hub contains the motor, running two wheel sizes won’t come cheap!
3T Exploro RaceMax Boost bottom line
The only thing I’m not 100 per cent keen on is the charging port – which is on the underside of the bottom-bracket shell and forward-facing.
I’ve tested the bike in all weathers and the press-in rubber seal does its job, though I double-checked the cover was secure before every ride.
Overall, 3T’s RaceMax Boost is a premium-quality bike. It handles superbly, it’s rapid and light, and its geometry is well suited for road riding and off-road duties, so it always feels good.
It’s easy to hold a pace above 15.5mph on the road, maximising its range, while excellent contact points add control and comfort, and contribute to a bike that kept me contented every moment I was riding it, from smooth tarmac to challenging gravel.
When it comes to the very best electric gravel bikes, 3T’s Exploro RaceMax Boost is up there.
3T Exploro RaceMax Boost geometry
|Seat angle (degrees)||74.5||74,0||73.5||73||72.5||72.5|
|Head angle (degrees)||69||69.5||71||72||72||72|
|Front centre (mm)||596||606||606||611||621||641|
|Rear centre (mm)||415||415||415||415||415||415|
|Seat tube (mm)||436||463||490||518||545||572|
|Top tube (mm)||506||526||546||566||586||606|
|Head tube (mm)||125||147||161||180||201||232|
|Bottom bracket drop (mm)||79||79||77||77||75||75|
|Price||EUR €6999.00GBP £7299.00USD $6999.00|
|Available sizes||XXS, 51, 54. 56, 58, 61cm|
|Brakes||Shimano GRX RX400 hydraulic disc, 160mm rotors|
|Cranks||Shimano GRX 40t|
|Fork||Fango Racemax carbon|
|Handlebar||3T SuperErgo Pro|
|Motor||Mahle ebikemotion X35+ 250W, 40Nm, 250Wh battery, iWoc controller|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano GRX|
|Saddle||Selle Italia SLR Boost|
|Seatpost||3T Charlie Sqaero Team|
|Stem||3T Apto Stealth|
|Tyres||Pirelli Cinturato Gravel M 35c|
|Wheels||3T Discus 45/40 with ebikemotion X35 rear hub motor|