Reverence: 3T Rotundo Pro

Mimic those who are better than you; this is the underlying principle of nearly everything I do in life, whether in my work, in sport, or hobbies. The less I know about something, the more inclined I am towards this, and the more faithfully I mimic. As my skill and knowledge develope, I mime less and reason more, applying my own mistakes as well as those of others to the process we commonly refere to as becoming ‘experienced’. This process continues until I grow into an opinionated sponge; while I continue to mop up any and every piece of information and advice I can get my hands on, I follow the path that is influenced still by advice, but dictated largely by the unique journey that lays behind me and the lessons I’ve learned along it. But still the underlying premise remains: The Pros must be onto something.

So it was that I became obsessed with classic-bend bars; Gilbert, Hushovd, Basso, Potato, Cadelephant, the Brothers Grimpeur – many of my favorite riders cruised into my heart aboard classic-bend bars. Not to mention the likes of Coppi, De Vlaeminck, Merckx, and Maertens – none of whom had a choice but rode them nevertheless. Over time, the swooping curve of a classic, round drop has found its place alongside the Quick Release, Delta Brake, and Record Hub as some of the Most Beautiful Bits of Kit.

I love the way the bars sweep up from the drops and position the hoods at an elegant, upward pitch as the bar continues it’s journey upward to meet the stem. Each classic-bend bar does this, yet the particular sweep of the 3T Rotundo does it more elegantly than any other; the exact radius of its bend and the pitch of its rise is perfection. I have another set of classic 3T bars which predate the Rotundo whose radius of the bend is within a millimeter of that of the Rotundo and yet the aesthetics are not it’s equal. Like all things of sublime beauty, there is something intangible about its curve that sets it appart from others.

But aesthetics are only skin deep, and the real measure of the bar is how comfortable it is. Since getting ahold of my first Rotundo, I’ve moved to classic bend bars on all my machines. I was apprehensive about the move from an ergo bend, which I’d always ridden, to the round bend of the Rotundos. Whereas I had always assumed that a flat section of bar would be more comfortable to grab hold of, this turns out not to be the case. Evidently, my hand is not straight and is in fact quite good at bending and forming to various shapes. Riding in the drops, wrists pointed inwards towards the V-Locus, my fingers grip the curved surface of the drops perfectly. The classic bend also reduces the reach from the drop to the brake lever, which means that long descents with frequent use of the brakes are also much more comfortable.

The positioning of the hoods is a slightly different matter and depends somewhat on the groupo. Bikes Number 1 and 2 both wear 10 speed Campa Record, while Bike Number 3 wears Dura-Ace 7700. The design of the Campa hoods resemble the Power Triangles of Merckx, while the design of the Shimano hoods more closely resemble pegs. The transition from the bar to the hoods on my Campa bikes is smooth like Keith Stone, allowing you to choose multiple positions along where bar meets hood.  The design of the Shimano levers, on the other hand, cause them to stand up from the bar more abruptly, meaning that there are fewer comfortable positions available. It’s not really a significant issue, but it does provide less positions which can play a factor on longer rides.

As an aside, the matching 3T ARX stem meets nearly every expectation one can have of a stem; it’s light, stiff and simple. My only complaint is that it is only available in a 6 or 17 degree version; those of us who pay careful attention to how low or how high our bars are find that these two combinations don’t provide enough flexibility to dial in the position; I’m running the bars on Bike Number 3 and am stuck riding my bars about 5mm higher than on my other bikes. To be fair, this is not a shortcoming of the ARX stem in particular; very few manufacturers offer choices outside 6 or 17 degrees. However, for perfect positioning, 3T and others should add an 8 or 10 degree stem to the mix.


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212 Replies to “Reverence: 3T Rotundo Pro”

  1. @tomb
    And now you’ve revived it we can see that the orignal conversation stopped abruptly when @chubster mentioned his numb crotch.

    Chubster has been conspicuously absent since.

  2. I debated long and hard about what i wanted most in a set of bars, classic shape or a nice flat top. In the end I went with the Ergonovas. 3T must have read my mind and sensed the emptying of my wallet because they’ve come up with these, the Tornova, flat tops with a classic bend…

    I can only imagine that the name means that they’d like me turn over while they empty my wallet again and have their evil way with me.

  3. So, we haven’t talked about Rotundos for a while.  Still looking for the right bar.  -10 degree stem is slammed, running Zipp SSR (70 reach, 130 drop) bars and still want to go lower without a) adding a lot of reach and b) going to an ugly (on my Hampsten with a 6 degree sloping TT) -17 stem.  I have a set of FSA New Ergos sitting here than I’m getting ready to put on which spec out at 80 reach, 150 drop so I’m thinking those would get me lower in the drops.  However, I’d like to get the position on the hoods lower as well.

    Hence, considering trying Rotundos or even the Deda Campiones.  Will a more classic bar put my lower on the hoods as well as on the drops — of coiurse, while providing comfortable positions on the top/hood positions and their vairants?  FYI, running Chorus 11 levers….

    Inquiring minds want to know — and avoid spending even more money on bars than I already have.  Thanks!

  4. @teleguy57 I like them and run them with both 10s and 11s Campagnolo levers.  They have 139mm drop and 83 mm reach.  But bar preference is pretty personal so it’s hard to say if you’ll like them without trying.

  5. @teleguy57

    The Rotundo is a much different shape than the bars you are referencing.  If you want lower on both hoods and drops, get the lower stem.  I see nothing ugly about a flat stem with a sloping TT, if anything I think it looks better.

  6. @DerHoggz

    Appreciate your input; I did try a -17 stem and to my eye it was ugly on this frame.  To each his own — as long as it’s rule compliant, right?

    I just put on the FSA (flame suit on) New Ergo bars so we’ll see how those feel on the rollers.  Since WI is in this ‘3-6 inches of new snow every third day’ cycle for a while and the roads have way too much packed/icy crap on them to put #1 outside that’s the best I can do right now — and I’m thinking rollers will give me a better feel for positioning than the trainer since they’re more dynamic.

    And, hey, maybe if they were good for Faboo and Tommeke a couple of years ago they’ll work for me.

    The Rotundos/Campiones are still in the back of my mind….

  7. To me the the best visual impact comes when either the TT and stem or parallel, or when the stem complements the TT angle into the HT.

    I contemplated the Campiones, but went with Newton Shallow as I have short fingers and want to ride in the drops more, something I’ve been loathe to do with the current ergo bars I run.

    @teleguy57 Can you shoot me an email at [email protected].  have a question for ya

  8. @teleguy57

    You could try a -10 stem.  I’m not sure who makes them but I think @frank runs them, maybe he’ll pipe up.

    In my experience if something works on the rollers it will be great on the road — rollers expose small problems that don’t bother me on the road at all.

  9. Rite of passage at 47: Operate your own bike surgery with the proper tools. The no.1 is undergoing a bar and stem transplant and who better to do the operation than the no.1’s own conservator — its daddy. Removing a tried and true 140mm 3ttt quill stem (thanx Wiscot) went as it should — smoothly. A hard strike on the loose wedge bolt with a 6mm insert and hammer to break free from the steerer, felt like Superman deactivating his Fortress of Solitude causing the master crystal to ooze upward. It was awesome.

    Now to restore life with 140mm 3T ARX stem and 44 Rotundo Pros — and vintage 3ttt bar black ribbon.

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