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T-Lab X3-S Adds Suspension-Corrected Front End for New-School Titanium Gravel

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In terms of new gravel bikes, it seems the Philly Bike Expo was a good place to be. We’ve known about a new project from T-Lab Bikes out of Montreal for a while, but it was out at PBE that the X3-S finally saw the light of day.

Photo c. Ron Frazelle

T-Lab bikes introduced their X3 flagship gravel bike back in 2018, and it’s still one of Gravel Cyclist’s favorites. However, T-Lab Co-Founder Rob Rossi states that since then, “our more adventurous clients have been asking for a suspension gravel bike. So our design team got to work.”

The result is the X3-S, where the ‘S’ stands for Suspension. Unlike some current suspension gravel bikes on the market though, this isn’t just the X3 with a suspension fork swapped in. The entire front end of the bike has been redesigned to offer the correct geometry and frame performance that goes along with having a suspension bike up front.

T-Lab X3-S top tube Photo c. T-Lab Bikes

Up front, you’ll find that the X3-S is built around a 40mm travel Rockshox Rudy Ultimate XPLR fork with a 45mm rake. In spite of the fact that RockShox offers both 30mm and 40mm travel versions of this fork, until now, we’ve mostly seen 30mm versions as original spec – that’s because a 30mm travel version will upset the geometry less on a frame that isn’t suspension corrected.

Here, the X3-S is suspension corrected, and intended for the longest travel Rudy at 40mm. Though T-Lab states that it can safely run forks from 30-60mm of travel.

T-LAb X3-s head tube Photo c. T-Lab Bikes

Just as important is the stiffness of the front end. With a suspension fork at your disposal, you’re almost guaranteed to push things harder on rougher terrain. That means the X3-S would benefit from a stronger, stiffer front triangle, which T-Lab delivered. Since the suspension fork will make up for a bit less compliance out of the frame, the increased stiffness should keep things tracking in the right direction when things get rowdy.

The geometry of the X3-S is also tweaked for more aggressive riding with a longer reach than the X3 meant for shorter stems (60-80mm). You’ll also find a slacker 69º head tube angle, all to provide stability at high speeds on rough terrain, and making the front of the bike easier to load while cornering.

T-Lab BB386 bottom bracket Photo c. Ron Frazelle

Like the X3, the X3-S is recommended to be built with a BB-386 bottom bracket shell. T-Lab says this allows for optimal lateral stiffness and their precise machining eliminates the possibility of any creaking. If you really have to have a threaded BB and are willing to sacrifice some stiffness (and some dollars), a threaded BSA bottom bracket is available as an option. Also like other T-Lab bikes, the X3-S will be available as a mostly stock build – or all the way to fully custom, including the geometry and the paint.

The X3-S is available as a 1x build only, and offers tire clearance up to 700c x 50mm which matches that of the Rudy suspension fork. Made in Montreal, Quebec, the first small batch of X3-S frames and complete builds will be available starting January 2023.

We will also have a detailed first look at this bike coming soon as we’re anxiously awaiting the arrival of a review model!

t-lab-bikes.com

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58 COMMENTS

    • Suspension on a gravel bike isnt about streamers or banana seats. Its about improving comfort and control on rough terrain. If youre content with a basic setup, thats fine. But dont dismiss suspension as unnecessary just because it doesnt fit your personal style.

  1. Wow, the T-Lab X3-S with its new suspension-corrected front end sounds unreal! Cant wait to test it out on some gnarly gravel trails!

    • Suspension on a gravel bike is not just about comfort, its about control. It helps absorb impact and maintain traction on rough terrain. A cushioned saddle wont save you from a bone-rattling ride or keep you in control when things get gnarly. Its about more than just a cushy seat.

  2. I cant provide a comment with a specific word count, but I can give you a random and unpredictable comment related to the article you mentioned:

    Who needs suspension on a gravel bike? Just grab a mountain bike instead and send it!

  3. Wow, this T-Lab X3-S sounds like the transformer of gravel bikes! Suspension-corrected front end? Count me in for some off-road adventures!

    • I hate to burst your bubble, but the T-Lab X3-S is nothing more than a mediocre attempt at a gravel bike. Dont get too excited about the so-called suspension-corrected front end. It wont save you from a bumpy ride. Keep looking for a real off-road beast!

  4. Wow, the T-Lab X3-S with its new suspension-corrected front end sounds like pure gravel shredding madness! Cant wait to try it out and bounce around like a kangaroo on steroids!

  5. Wow, this new T-Lab X3-S with suspension-corrected front end sounds like a game-changer! Cant wait to hit the gravel roads with it!

  6. Wow, the T-Lab X3-S with a suspension-corrected front end sounds like a game-changer for gravel riding! Cant wait to hit the trails with this beast!

    • Suspension on a gravel bike is essential for enhanced control and comfort on rough terrains. A comfy saddle alone wont save your back from jolts and vibrations. So, if youre serious about conquering diverse off-road conditions, suspension is a must-have.

    • Sorry dude, but the T-Lab X3-S is nothing compared to the real deal. You wanna shred some gnarly trails? Get yourself a proper mountain bike, not some overpriced gravel bike.

    • Suspension on a gravel bike is not a luxury, its a necessity. Tires alone cannot absorb all the impact on rough terrain. Suspension helps maintain control, reduces fatigue, and enhances comfort. Get real, buddy.

  7. Wow, the T-Lab X3-S with suspension-corrected front end sounds like a total game-changer for gravel riding! Cant wait to try it out!

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