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First Look: T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike Gets a Special BikeRumor Finish

A few months ago, we got our first glimpse of the new bike from T-Lab. The Montreal-based purveyors of custom titanium bicycles had just shown the world its new X3-S at the Philly Bike Expo, and our Review bike was also on its way.

What is the X3-S? In this case, the “S” stands for suspension. T-Lab took its flagship X3 gravel race bike and modified it to run a gravel suspension fork based around the RockShox Rudy Ultimate with 40 mm of travel. More than just dropping in a suspension fork to the front end with some geometry changes, the new frame has been redesigned with a stiffer front triangle to cope with the added stress that’s bound to come from having a suspension-equipped gravel bike.

titanium head tube T-Lab

X3-S logo on top tube

wishbone seatstay

bottom bracket cable routing T-Lab X3-S

rear brake caliper T-Lab X3-S

Like all of the T-Lab builds, the X3-S starts with a frame made in Canada from Grade 9 titanium tubing. Where T-Lab claims to set itself apart from other titanium builders is in its cold working procedure it calls “Ti-Morph Technology.” This tube-shaping process claims to produce frame profiles that are up to 30% stiffer without a weight penalty.

When used in strategic locations of the frame, T-Lab is able to tune the performance of its titanium frames more so than just using round tubes. It goes as far as claiming to produce a “titanium bike that performs like high-end carbon models, all while delivering superior comfort and durability.”

Those are big claims for sure, but the process also yields a stunning profile that is undeniable. The ovalized tube sections flare out to meet their junctions at the head tube and bottom bracket in a way that’s meant to increase stiffness where you want it, but improve compliance where you don’t.

top tube paint line on T-Lab X3-SPaint to the left, titanium to the right.

Optional Custom Paint

Overall, the X3-S is striking — but even more so with a custom finish. Painting a titanium bike is a tricky thing. Titanium is so naturally beautiful and hard-wearing, it’s almost a shame to cover it up. Yet, so many riders want their bike to be an expression of themselves, so if you want a custom paint job on the X3-S, it’s an option. Every X3-S includes the Lux finish, which is fully brushed by hand. Semi-custom paint options start with the Hue design for $375, up to $750 for its Versa finish picked here. Riders can also choose to have their bike personalized on the top tube with 24 characters for an additional $125 fee.

broad side of T-Lab X3-S

When it comes to paint, I am one of those people who has a lot of opinions on the finish, but has trouble articulating those thoughts. When it came time to pick a finish for this Review bike, I gave T-Lab’s Co-Founder and Creative Director John Anagnostopoulos a rough idea about what I was thinking with some color choices, and T-Lab nailed the final design. It was even able to color-match the orange from the BikeRumor logo for the accents.

While the paint is gorgeous, I like that it’s mostly on the front half of the bike. The back end is still raw titanium which will keep it looking sharp in the long run as rocks and debris bounce off the frame from the rear tire.

internal cable routing near bottom bracketA BB386 bottom bracket is stock; add a T47 shell for $200.

Along with the custom paint option, T-Lab offers a number of other custom touches as well. The stock bikes all include a BB386 press fit bottom bracket to maximize the welding area for the tube junctions to make the stiffest frame possible. Don’t want press fit? For $200, T-Lab will weld your frame up with a T47 threaded shell.

accessory mounts on T-Lab X3-SFender mounts, extra bottle mounts, bento mounts — take your pick. Wolf Tooth Morse Cages in Ti for a Ti bike.

Other Custom Touches

Additional custom options include rack mounts, fender mounts, bento box mounts, and a third water bottle mount under the downtube. (T-Lab mentions that some customers don’t want them, so they made it optional.)

T-Lab X3-S with SRAM XPLR etap shifters

T-Lab X3-S with SRAM Force AXS XPLR crank

SRAM Force AXS XPLR rear derailleur

FSA carbon stem T-Lab X3-S

FSA agx carbon bar on T-Lab X3-S

Selle Italia saddle on T-Lab X3-S

T-Lab X3-S with RockShox reverb AXS dropper

Reynolds black label wheels on T-Lab X3-S

Industry Nine hubs on Reynolds Black Label gravel wheels

Component Options

Component sizing and specification can also be customized, as it has been here. T-Lab put together this total dream build with a full SRAM Force AXS XPLR group, the Reverb AXS dropper post, an FSA AGX/KFX carbon cockpit, Selle Italia saddle, Reynolds Black Label G700 Pro wheels, and Maxxis Rambler tires. For reference, a T-Lab X3-S (with base Lux finish), a SRAM Force AXS (1x) drivetrain, Rudy Ultimate XPLR fork, and BOYD GVL wheels (its base level wheelset) would sell for $6,975. Depending on the custom options you choose, the pricing will go up from there.

T-Lab also offers complete stock builds with Shimano GRX 1x, Shimano GRX Di2 1x, SRAM Force AXS eTap 1x, and Campagnolo Ekar 1x (SRAM and Campy available soon).

T-Lab X3-S measurement chart

T-Lab X3-S Geometry

That includes the option for full custom geometry, which adds another $500 to the price. T-Lab offers a fairly comprehensive sizing profile where it will work with you to determine whether you really need custom geometry (if you’re on the fence). The X3-S is offered in three standard sizes if not. If you do decide to go the custom route, T-Lab will want to know results from a pro bike fit, existing bikes you love, and any other fit-related concerns, injuries, etc.

tire clearance of T-Lab X3-SGood mud clearance with 45mm tires

T-Lab X3-S Specifications

Back to the bike itself, the X3-S offers official tire clearance of 700c x 50mm, which equals the tire clearance of the RockShox Rudy Ultimate XPLR suspension fork at 50 mm. Combined with the suspension capabilities of the fork and the option to run big tires, the X3-S is clearly up for adventure. But it’s also built to be fast and efficient like the original X3.

  • Average frame weight: 1,280 g (S)
  • Headtube: IS41/28.6 – IS52/40 (integrated/tapered)
  • Seatpost: 27.2 mm (31.8mm seat clamp)
  • Bottom Bracket: BB386
  • Dropouts: 142 x 12mm axle flat mount with disc brake
  • Fork: RockShox FS-Rudy-UCI-A1
  • Wheel size: 700c or 650b
  • Maximum Tire Width: 700x50c, or 650Bx47c and 27.5″ x 2.1″ (tire width may vary depending on the manufacturer and tire pressure) 
  • Available in Gravel / Adventure geometry in the following standard sizes: S, M, L
  • Custom geometry/sizing also available ($500 USD upcharge)
  • Frame compatible with all Shimano, SRAM, and Campagnolo groupsets featuring disc brakes
  • Lifetime warranty on frame (against manufacturer’s defects)

cockpit of T-Lab X3-S

What does that mean for the ride? We’ll have that answer in the full review coming up!

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76 COMMENTS

    • I couldnt agree more! That custom paint job on the T-Lab X3-S is absolutely stunning. It definitely sets some serious bike goals. I cant help but imagine cruising around town on that beauty.

  1. Wow, that T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is a beauty! Loving the optional custom paint and other custom touches. Cant wait to see the component options and geometry!

    • I totally agree! The T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is an absolute stunner. The custom paint and unique touches make it even more tempting. Cant wait to see the component options and geometry as well. Its going to be a dream ride!

  2. Wow, this T-Lab X3-S gravel bike looks so sleek and stylish! Love the optional custom paint and other custom touches. Cant wait to see the component options and geometry!

  3. Wow, that T-Lab X3-S bike looks like a total beast! Im drooling over those custom paint options. Cant wait to see it in action!

  4. Are you serious? A bike that changes colors based on your mood? Sounds like a gimmick to me. Id rather stick with a classic custom paint job that showcases my style and personality, rather than relying on a mood ring for my bike.

  5. Wow, the T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike looks sleek! Loving the optional custom paint and component options. Cant wait to see it in action!

  6. Man, that T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is straight-up sexy! Loving those custom paint options, gonna make everyone jealous on the trails!

  7. Just when I thought I had seen it all, this T-Lab X3-S bike comes along and blows my mind! The custom paint options are beyond amazing, I cant wait to see what people come up with. And lets not forget about those component options, talk about a dream come true for gear junkies like me! Im already daydreaming about taking this beauty out on some epic gravel adventures. Whos with me?

  8. I respectfully disagree. While the custom paint job may be visually striking, I find it somewhat garish and overdone. It detracts from the sleek design of the T-Lab X3-S, in my opinion. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

  9. Are you serious? The T-Lab X3-S gravel bike is just another overpriced show-off machine. Who needs fancy custom paint options when you could spend that money on a bike that actually performs well? Give me a reliable and affordable bike any day.

    • Seriously? That paint job is overrated. Attention to detail? More like a desperate attempt to compensate for a lackluster design. Beauty is subjective, but lets not get carried away with exaggerated praises.

  10. Wow, that T-Lab X3-S custom gravel bike is an absolute stunner! Loving the optional custom paint and other unique touches. This bike has serious style!

  11. I have to disagree, mate. That paint job looks garish and tacky to me. Guess beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. But hey, to each their own, right?

  12. Wow, that T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is a real beauty! Love the optional custom paint and other custom touches. And that geometry? On point! #BikeEnvy

    • I have to disagree. The T-Lab X3-S looks like just another overpriced bike with unnecessary customizations. There are plenty of other gravel bikes out there that offer similar features at a fraction of the price. #NotImpressed

  13. Wow, that T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is one sexy beast! Loving the custom paint options, so many choices! #bikegoals

    • I couldnt agree more! The T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is an absolute stunner. The custom paint options are a dream come true for any bike enthusiast. Its definitely giving me some serious #bikegoals too!

  14. Wow, that custom paint job on the T-Lab X3-S is absolutely wild! Love the bold colors and patterns, definitely eye-catching.

    • I couldnt agree more! The T-Lab X3-S Custom Titanium Gravel Bike is an absolute stunner. The custom paint options are definitely a game-changer. Its refreshing to see such uniqueness in a sea of generic designs. Definitely a bike that demands attention.

  15. Eh, its just another overpriced bike for bike snobs who want to show off. Id rather spend my money on something practical and functional. But hey, to each their own. Enjoy your head-turner!

    • I couldnt disagree more. The paint job is way too flashy for my taste. I prefer a more understated and classic look. But hey, to each their own.

  16. Custom paint allows for personal expression and creativity, while color-changing bikes lack that unique touch. Dont settle for a gimmick when you can have a one-of-a-kind masterpiece on wheels.

  17. Wow, that T-Lab X3-S gravel bike looks like a beast! I wonder if it comes with a built-in coffee machine for those long rides? ☕️

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