1x for the road just got a lot more interesting

New 3T cassettes shake up your gearing

When 3T launched the quirky Strada fat-tyred aero road bike earlier this year, designer Gérard Vroomen promised us an all-new 11-speed road cassette that would solve the ‘problem’ of providing useful gearing for 1x road setups.

At this year’s Eurobike 3T unveiled not one, but two new cassettes called the Overdrive and the Bailout.

Both offer cogs from a tiny nine tooth up to a 32, but the spacing differs to meet the needs of a range of riders.

3T was showing off a production cassette at this year's Eurobike show
3T was showing off a production cassette at this year's Eurobike show

The Overdrive gives you 9-11-12-13-15-17-19-22-25-28-32 cogs, which means you get the big (hard) gear at one end followed by a moderately large jump, and then a series of tightly spaced middle gears.

The Bailout takes the opposite approach, with 9-10-11-12-13-15-17-19-22-26-32 cogs offering more tightly spaced hard gears, followed by a big jump to the low end, hence the name.

Obviously your final gearing will also depend on your choice of chainring, but the idea is to group your most used gears together with nice small jumps that don’t mess up your cadence when you shift.

3T thinks its Strada is the future of road bikes; could the new cassette make it so?
3T thinks its Strada is the future of road bikes; could the new cassette make it so?

3T recommends using 36t, 40t or 44t chainrings, and it gives some handy comparisons to demonstrate the sort of range on offer.

For example, a 36t ring with one of the new cassettes offers very similar range to a 48/32 crank and 12-30 cassette combo.

A 40t ring would give you a similar range to a 50/36 crank and an 11-29 cassette, while a 44t would be equivalent to a 54/39 and 11-28 setup, which would mean a massive 158in gear on 25mm tyres.

We’ve run these numbers through Sheldon Brown’s trusty gear calculator and it all stacks up, although that doesn’t of course tell you what the spacing feels like on the road.

Shown here mounted on one of 3T's own wheels, the new cassettes use SRAM's XD-R driver
Shown here mounted on one of 3T's own wheels, the new cassettes use SRAM's XD-R driver

It also remains to be seen how viable nine-tooth cogs are in the long run as we do wonder whether tight chain-wrap and low tooth count will mean a high wear rate. 

Because of that little nine-tooth, the Overdrive and Bailout cassettes wouldn’t work on a standard freehub, so they use SRAM’s XD-R driver instead — the ‘road’ version of the XD driver.

Claimed weight for either version of the 3T cassette is 240g, and it’s expected to be available around the end of the year.

It will retail at €275, with pricing in other territories to be confirmed. 

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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