When Peter Brock came up with the design for what would become the Daytona Coupe, every engineer in the Shelby shop at the time refused to work on it. They favored the current winning car, the AC Cobra. Brock, however, had been paying attention to a German engineer by the name of Kamm and his work on airfoils, particularly with respect to their efficiency. Shelby begrudgingly assigned an engineer to build Brock’s design, and when they tested that first prototype, it screamed past the Ferrari GTOs – and took home the class win first time out. Kind of like 3T and their new Revo aerobar.
Everyone is building bars right now that, frankly, look so similar when stripped of logos that it’s difficult to tell who made them. They’re approaching homologation. It is impossible to mistake the Revo for anything else. The dramatic sweep forward of the bar, reminiscent of the aero carbon track bars from 3T and Look. The ergonomic flaring of the pursuits at the rear in an era where “flat is fast.” Deep arm cups with pads so thick you feel like you’ve put in a couch cushion. It’s an altogether different way to build an aerobar, and for some, it will be the only way to ride.
For those who build their own bikes up, the Revo is a little different from what you’re used to. The extensions are the same as any other cockpit, but the pursuits take some finesse to get correct. 3T includes a metal flex 90 degree fitting to route your brake cable (and possibly your Di2 cable) up and almost forward of their exit position on the brake lever, which gets the job done, but isn’t the simplest wiring job we’ve ever done. Pay special care to the joins of the housing to the flex join and the flex join to the pursuit – they can loosen or separate when you secure the lever to the pursuit handle. We recommend installing the brake levers and Di2 cluster or Blips with the bar off of the bike, and then mount when complete; it makes the process a lot less painful.
Speaking of the Di2 pods, the largest problem with a bar setup in this fashion is that, in a standard configuration, your Di2 buttons are impossible to reach. We reached out to 3T about this, and they had a solution that was so simple we were amazed that it had just never occurred to us: swap the Di2 levers so that the shifting buttons are pointing outwards. When you do this, you go from shifting with your thumb to your index finger, and it actually feels pretty natural. Buttons are simple enough to press like this, and all it takes is a little programming to your junction box to support. All in all, we kind of like it this way. It’s different, but like the rest of the bar, it’s different in a good way.
Once on the bike, the Revo has a distinctly track cycling feel to it. With the forward sweep of the basebar and the nacelle-style design of the pursuits, it pulls your upright position further out than you might be used to. This is especially true if you started out a road rider, where the join from the pursuit to the bar feels a lot like the curve of drop bars, and you may have a tendency to rest the web of your thumb and index finger around the carbon upright instead of behind it. This feels much more like a road resting position than it does a tri setup, but again, we think it’s in a good way. Because you aren’t sliding off the front of your pursuits, the amount of control you have in tight confines or sharp corners is improved – all of a sudden your tri bike feels a lot closer to something that isn’t out of place in a crit race. But of course you still have the extensions for when you really want to pour on the watts…
Included with the extension mounts (which are not angle adjustable, sadly) is a bridge for stability between them. If you’ve never ridden with a bar that has a bridge, we can’t say it’s revelatory, but it is noticeable in lateral stiffness of the front end. The pads themselves are plenty cushy neoprene, and while not dramatically cupped, are still plenty secure on course. The extensions are a carbon s-bend affair, which is about as personal a choice as your saddle is.
Where the Revo shines is, of course, descending. Having a forward stop to your hands as you carve down a descent on a tri bike is worth every penny of the $900 price tag. Death wobbles are more controllable, dodging slower moving traffic is less scary, and your hands don’t move from their pursuits. If you’ve slid off the front—or had that tense moment where you feel like you’re about to—this cockpit is the solution you’ve been looking for. We’ve tried everything under the sun to make bar tape stickier to combat the “forward slide,” and nothing helps. But the Revo aerobar stopped it cold. If ever a bar had a defining feature, this is it. Sometimes you have to step out of the box to solve a problem; 3T has done it here.
It isn’t possible to not acknowledge that the 3T Revo is a polarizing design. There will be some who will never warm up to it, no matter what it solves for them. That’s fine; this isn’t their bar. For the increasingly large set of triathletes, however, who are willing to discard convention in order to overcome the limitations that it puts on them… Well, this could be exactly what they’ve been waiting for. At $900 (for high modulus carbon), it certainly isn’t an inexpensive set of hardware. But if you’ve got to have the best of the best, it’s the top dog. For the rest of us, there are other options. If you’re OK with adding some red accents, you can go with the Revo Team at $650. Or go all black with the Revo Team Stealth for $675. If you’re having trouble with descending, and have the cash, we can’t think of a better bar to help you overcome your fears on the way to a PR at your next race.