Feature: Custom T-Lab X3 Titanium All-Terrain Bike with absoluteBLACK Chainrings and More – Sea Otter 2018

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

The T-Lab Bicycles All-Terrain X3 Titanium gravel bike is hand-made in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Constructed from Grade 9 titanium (3Al-2.5V), this unique and beautiful bike utilizes a proprietary forming technology that not only creates frame tubes unlike anything else on the market, but also optimizes stiffness-to-weight ratios, sans extra weight. Be sure to check out Gravel Cyclist’s comprehensive video review of the T-Lab X3.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

This beautiful example of the T-Lab X3 belongs to Tony Brandotti, absoluteBLACK’s Sponsorship Manager, and go to guy for Dealer Support.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

This particular X3 happens to be the first of the company’s bikes that caters to 650b and 700c wheels.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

Above, this X3’s drive side chainstay features the unique drop-down style, made popular again in recent times.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

Custom geometry is available on all of T-Lab’s bikes, and Tony chose that, opting for cyclocross geometry on his gravel frame.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

Custom paintwork, along with additional fender mounts and support for electronic and mechanical shifting, were among the options as part of Tony’s bespoke T-Lab X3.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

Tony spared absolutely no expense on this top-flight build, opting for Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 electronic shifting system with hydraulic disc brakes.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

The Easton EC90SL crankset with four bolt / 110mm spider, is fitted with absoluteBLACK’s 48/32 sub-compact chainrings. These chainrings are compatible with Shimano’s latest four bolt cranksets, meaning you don’t need to purchase a special crankset to enjoy the merits of sub-compact gearing!

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

We have these chainrings under review in 48/32 and 46/30 as part of a collaboration with our friends at BikeRumor.com – watch this space.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

There are plenty of gravel cyclist hold-outs for double chainrings / 2x drivetrains. Shimano’s Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur slams shifts between the rings with power, authority and accuracy. The same can be said for the lower tier, Ultegra Di2 system, albeit at a very small weight penalty and a lot less money.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

Above, more tweaking happens at the Shimano Dura-Ace 9150 rear derailleur. The chain and 11-30 cassette are both from the Dura-Ace 9100 series product line.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

Prototype oversized Shimano pulleys by Kogel Bearings, roll smooth but without the need for a custom derailleur cage.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

Above, a Kogel ceramic bottom bracket keeps the heart of Tony’s drivetrain running smoothly in the elements. Watch this space for a review of a Kogel bottom bracket soon on Gravel Cyclist.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

The cockpit of Tony’s X3 is another high zoot affair, with 3T providing LTD series carbon handlebars, stem and carbon seatpost.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

Color matched reflective handlebar tape by Prologo.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

Tony’s X3 serves double duty as a road bike, and thus is fitted with Schwalbe’s G-One Pro road tyre in 700c x 28mm, filled with Orange Seal Endurance formula.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

The 700c wheelset is by Princeton Carbonworks, notably their Wake [D] 6560 model. This unique rim design was released at least one year before SRAM released a similar design.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.
t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

For 650b, Tony entrusts Woven Precision Handbuilts D25 gravel wheelset. 650b tyres are the Schwalbe G-One Allroad in 650b x 40mm.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

Shimano Dura-Ace flat-mount disc brake calipers and matching rotors (160mm front, 140mm rear), bring Tony’s bike to a halt.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
Photo by Tony Brandotti.

Topping all of this goodness off is a customized Prologo saddle.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review

Component Supporters:

Many thanks to Tony Brandotti of absoluteBLACK for his time.

t-lab x3 gravel bike review
JOM of Gravel Cyclist. Over 1,500 photos were taken at Sea Otter!

Thanks for reading, still a lot more to come from Sea Otter 2018!

JOM

11 comments on “Feature: Custom T-Lab X3 Titanium All-Terrain Bike with absoluteBLACK Chainrings and More – Sea Otter 2018

  1. The Woven wheelsets look appealing in terms of weight and price but on the other hand, they have skipped providing important details about the products. The rims are carbon – probably? The hubs, what are they all about?

    1. Hey Ron,

      These are actually unreleased prototype wheels 😉 had to get the green light before being able to spread the word. I sent Jayson some details about them, hope to see something more soon!

      The rims are carbon, 22mm internal, 29mm external, 24 spoke. 1390gr. Better rim design (stronger/stiffer in the right directions and much more aero).

      Tony from absoluteBLACK

  2. the form and fit of this bike is pristine! Thanks for the spotlight! I can’t wait to follow more of Tony’s Builds

  3. Because you mention all the photos you took at Sea Otter, I’ll say thanks here — they are great especially the resolution, I love being able to zoom in on the details.

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