After causing a stir in 2018 with the presentation of its domestically manufactured carbon aero crank “Torno”, the Italian high-end niche supplier 3T Cycling is finally following suit and ready to offer carbon frames 100 percent “Made in Italy.”
In 2019, 3T had started developing the first production frame for a gravel bike frame called “Racemax Italia.” Now, the company will be producing the first 100 frames in its home carbon factory and sell them as a special “Founders Edition”. The frame comes complete with fork, seatpost and a few customizations like a limited edition engraved metal plaque with frame number, custom translucent paint options, two finish options under the clear coat (standard or industrial carbon finish) and the customer’s name on the frame. While the very first Italian-made carbon frame will go into 3T’s company museum, the remaining 99 will be available for sale. More details and pricing for the Founders Edition will follow in the coming weeks, but it is already possible to contact the company directly via its blog (https://blog.3t.bike) for more details.
The idea of bringing carbon production back home has been around since 2015, according to 3T, for a variety of reasons including technology, organization, and economics, as well as “romance.” The topic of technology is all about full process control. On the subject of organization, reference is made to shorter delivery times and greater flexibility. And on the commercial side, the 3T team naturally looks at protecting its own technology. The question remains how the domestically produced carbon frame is supposed to compete with frames from Asia. According to 3T, “99 percent of today’s carbon frame production including high-end” is located in Asia. It would be easy to copy their processes to Italy, “but they are not very sustainable.” That is why 3T relies on a different production process. Without going into detail, it is based on filament winding and dry fibers: “A production process that starts with the yarn, as 3T now has in its Italian plant, means you can make the exact layup with the exact characteristics you desire.”