3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike goes further with hidden, smooth extra power

Tips & Reviews

3T has taken their popular, premium Exploro RaceMax gravel bike and given it a stealthy e-bike Boost, driven by a hidden ebikemotion X35+ powertrain. Meant to offer more of a gentle assist rather than maximum e-bike power, the Exploro RaceMax Boost is pleasantly lightweight for a gravel bike and promises all-terrain, all-surface versatility maybe without a lot of that e-bike stigma…

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, ebikemotion X35 power

3T Exploro Race Max Boost gravel e-bike powered by ebikemotion, bikepacking still life

The Mahle ebikemotion X35+ secret of the new 3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike isn’t actually new. We’ve seen & ridden the same setup in bikes like the “world’s lightest e-road” Scott Addict RC eRide, as well as a number of other gravel & road e-bikes. But 3T’s integration of the system seamlessly into their already popular Exploro RaceMax gravel bike means that really you’ll be the only one who notices you’re riding an e-bike.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, commuter
photos c. 3T

And that’s probably not a bad thing. This isn’t sneaky enough that anyone’s going to cheat in races, it doesn’t go fast enough to pose real safety concerns, it isn’t powerful enough to damage any trail more than a regular bike, and you really still have to put in a lot of your own pedal power to go anywhere on this e-bike. What it does, is level the playing field a bit across your riding group, or just extend the range of how far your adventure rides can take you.

Is it for everybody? No. But a number of cyclists will be happy for that extra Boost.

Gravel e-bike – Tech details

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist system

With 250W of pedal-assist coming from an ebikemotion X35+ motor in the rear hub and a relatively small & light 250Wh battery that fits inside the already huge downtube of the Exploro RaceMax, this 3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike is as stealthy as they come, helping riders extend their ride.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, details

The internal system is charged through a forward-farcing waterproof port under the bottom bracket, where you can also connect an optional ~600€ 208Wh Xtra Power range-extending external battery in a special cage.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, Xtra Power external battery

The X35 system claims a light overall system weight of ~3.5kg (7.7lb) and a smooth power delivery that feels natural on road or gravel. Adding a key feature that it has very little system drag once you overcome the built-in pedal-assist speed limit. That limit does vary from the 25kph top-end of assistance in Europe to the 20mph (32kph) in the US.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, frameset

With a lot of gravel rides averaging around 22-25kph (based on my personal experience), that means a distinctly different experience on this type of e-bike in the two markets. EU riders are likely to see typically longer ranges but only support on the climbs. And US riders will probably see bigger boosts to their average ride speeds across the flats & climbs, but will need to use lower assist level modes to extend battery range.

This e-bike shares almost all of the same features of the standard Exploro RaceMax – it is the same geometry in 6 sizes (XXS-61cm), the same aero gravel frame shaping, same tire clearance and accessory mounting (minus the bolt-on top tube bag mount).

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist
e-bike (gray) vs. bike (orange)

In fact, it seems that 3T just took the same carbon Exploro RaceMax molds and added some new holes to bolt the new battery inside, the single button iWoc One controller on the toptube, and tweaked dropouts to secure the rear hub motor.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, iWoc ONE button controller

The single illuminated control button cycles through the 3 support levels. 3T calls them:

  • Eco with light but continuous support, for “keep up with the group ride”
  • Medio that more support at climbing speeds, whether on or off-road
  • Turbo with max Boost & smooth power ramp to get up “the most challenging terrain”

Who is the 3T Exploro Racemax Boost is designed for?

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, fitness leveler

3T says they see three main type of riders who will benefit from the Boosted e-bike over their standard Exploro RaceMaxes. The most obvious is the rider who struggles to keep up in the group. Especially a big help on the climbs, the Exploro RaceMax Boost will level the playing field, while still making the rider work for it. And once you get faster than the pedal-assist you are essentially pedaling a heavier bike, so the faster you ride this e-bike, the faster you’ll end up training yourself.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, biekpacker

Another type of rider likely to enjoy the Boost are those just looking to go further. Whether that means doing a 100km ride instead of a 60km ride, or fully packing up the 3T Exploro RaceMax Boost to go bikepacking, the motor & battery will extend how far your legs can carry you.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, commuter

Lastly, commuting. I don’t expect many riders will buy such an expensive commuter bike, but either of the two rider types above will surely also benefit from the possibility of riding more easily to the office without getting as sweaty. I just assume they will all bring the RaceMax Boost inside, because no lock will feel safe enough for leaving this thing on the street all day.

3T Exploro Racemax Boost e-bike – Pricing, options & availability

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, riding

All that integrated tech on top of 3T’s premium carbon gravel frameset comes at a price. Three complete e-bike builds are being offered, that all share the same frameset & powertrain.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, dropbar
2021 Exploro Racemax Boost Dropbar

The $7000 / 7000€ Exploro Racemax Boost Dropbar is the standard gravel build like you see that we’ve been riding, with a Shimano GRX 1×11 mechanical groupset, alloy cockpit and top-tier 3T Discus 45/40 ultra-wide carbon wheels with the motor laced in, and a weight of 12.4kg complete.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, flatbar
2021 3T Exploro Racemax Boost Flatbar

For the same price, the $7000 / 7000€ Exploro Racemax Boost Flatbar swaps in a carbon mountain bike handlebar for rider s looking for a bit more upright position on the e-bike and more control off-road, featuring the same drivetrain & wheels for a similar complete weight.

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, Ultralight
2021 3T Exploro Racemax Boost Ultralight

Lastly, an ultra-premium $10,000 / 10,000€ Exploro Racemax Boost Ultralight ups the ante with a switch to 3T’s Italian-made carbon Torno LTD crankset, a carbon 3T cockpit, and SRAM Red AXS wide 1×12 drivetrain with the same Discus 45/40 carbon wheels. 3T has shown us photos of a build at 10.9kg, but says the Ultralight can be built up as light as 9.8kg( 21.6lb) which would make it a kilo lighter than that “world’s lightest” e-road Scott!

3T Exploro RaceMax Boost gravel e-bike, stealth ebikemotion X35 pedal-assist, button detail

All three versions are available to order now, with the first wave of the $7000€ e-bikes already shipped out to select 3T bike shops in Europe & the US, in limited numbers. Regular availability will have drop bar e-bikes shipping from around June, and flat bar e-bikes from September.

3T.bike

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